You’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s, going through your safety checklist before hitting the road for a towing trip. You’ve adjusted your mirrors, connected the hitch, and ensured the brake lights are working in harmony. Feeling confident, you head out on the road, only to find your trailer swaying more than it should once you reach a steady speed. You pull over, scratching your head, wondering if the cargo weight is to blame. So, what’s the solution?
Suspension to the Rescue
If your towed vehicle is swaying like a boat at sea, the issue might lie in the suspension. A truck’s suspension should keep the wheels on the ground as much as possible, whereas a rigid one may cause the wheels to leave the pavement after hitting bumps. That’s where leaf springs come into play, stabilizing the towed load and keeping the cargo grounded.
A Brief History of Leaf Springs
Though you may not have heard of them before, leaf springs have been around for centuries, dating back to the days of Leonardo da Vinci. They’re one of the earliest forms of suspension and still play an essential role in towing today. But how do they work, and what types are there? Moreover, how do you install them?
Choosing the Right Leaf Springs
Leaf springs may not win any beauty contests, but they serve their purpose well. They’re simply long, narrow plates attached to a trailer’s frame, resting above or below the axle. With a slight curve, they resemble a metal bow without the string.
You’ll find different types of leaf springs, such as monoleaf springs for lighter loads and multileaf springs for heavier ones. They also come with varying ends, like double-eye or open-eye, depending on how they connect to the frame.
Installing Your Leaf Springs
To install leaf springs, you’ll first need to remove the wheel to access the hangers on either side of the axle. Attach the leaf springs to the hangers using the proper hardware, and voilà! Don’t forget to install a pair of U-bolts to keep the leaf springs flush against the axle, ensuring they carry the cargo’s weight without shifting during the drive.
Always check your leaf springs and their accessories for wear and tear, as a damaged leaf spring can spell disaster for your trailer and its contents. Inspect the shackle links for wear when removing leaf springs and replace them if necessary. By taking proper care of your leaf springs, you’ll enjoy a safe and smooth towing experience, with your trailer’s wheels grounded and your cargo secure.