We had just over 28,000 miles on the stock suspension that came with our Grand Design Momentum 397TH. We've traveled all over the United States and experienced some of the worst highways our country has to offer!
Our RV came with three 7K Dexter Axles and, for the most part, they have served us well. We did have had one broken leaf spring on I-90 somewhere in Minnesota, and one blown tire (also on I-90) in New York. I-90 is very high on the least favorite roads list for sure!
If you peruse any of the RV pages on Facebook, you'll see a ton of broken leaf springs, broken hangers, and the like. It's a fairly common issue for fifth wheels and travel trailers.
Also stock on our RV as well as the vast majority of trailers are drum brakes. We've never had a problem with our brakes and have had no real problems stopping under normal circumstances. However, there have been a couple of times with quick light changes or jerks cutting us off in traffic where we put those brakes to the test and the result was less than stellar. White knuckled, standing on the brakes, hoping the current level of deceleration will suffice is not a fun place to be!
Full Disclosure: MORryde did give us these upgrades to try out and make a video. THANK YOU, MORryde!
MORryde Independent Suspension
There are a few things that can be done to upgrade and improve one's suspension on a travel trailer or fifth wheel: 8K axles, beefier leaf springs, reinforced hangers, shock-absorbing shackles, and regular shock absorbers can all improve on a stock leaf spring suspension. But, at the end of the day, it's still the old technology of axles and leaf springs.
The MORryde Independent Suspension (IS) is different in just about every facet. No axles, so the left wheel is completely independent of the right counterpart. No leaf springs. No shackles. No hangers. All of the common problem areas of a traditional suspension are GONE!
With the MORryde IS, each wheel has its own suspension system mounted directly to the RV Frame. Each wheel rides on a cushion provided by double shear rubber springs and a shock absorber, allowing five inches of vertical travel compared to two inches from a regular leaf spring.
With a traditional suspension, each wheel is forced to react to road conditions from the other wheels. When the left front wheel hits a pothole, the right front wheel “feels” it through the axle. The wheel behind it “feels” it through the shackle system. They are all tied together.
Kodiak Disc Brakes
It's no secret that disc brakes outperform drum brakes. They perform better in wet conditions, have fewer moving parts, dissipate heat better, and maintenance is much simpler.
Since traditional drum brakes are electric, and disc brakes are hydraulic, it requires the use of an actuator that will “translate” the electrical voltage from the brake controller into hydraulic pressure.
In our opinion, it would be silly to upgrade the suspension and not include disc brakes, and MORryde can install all of it in one shot.
Note: Your brake controller needs to be able to communicate with the new electric-over-hydraulic brake system. Most trucks 2015 and newer can do this natively. MORryde can help you figure that part of the puzzle out.
Currently our brake settings are Medium (effort) @ 7.5. As time goes on, this might get adjusted some more.
These are the options and prices for products installed at the Elkhart Indiana facility at the time of this post (Dec 2020). This price DOES include installation.
|Tandem 7K Independent Suspension||$4,199|
|Tandem 8K Independent Suspension||$4,899|
|Triple 7K Independent Suspension||$6,399|
|Triple 8K Independent Suspension||$7,149|
|Tandem 7K Independent Suspension and Disc Brakes||$6,999|
|Tandem 8K Independent Suspension and Disc Brakes||$7,499|
|Triple 7K Independent Suspension and Disc Brakes||$10,399|
|Triple 8K Independent Suspension and Disc Brakes||$10,899|
With the leaf springs removed, that's one less thing to maintain. However, there is still a hub and bearings to maintain. Those should be inspected and re-packed approximately every 10,000 miles or 12 months (whichever comes first). After we reach 10K miles on ours, we will produce a video on the topic.
When re-packing the bearings, the brake pads should also be inspected and replaced if needed.
The torque bracket (the main suspension arm pivot point), should be greased every 6000 miles or 12 months (whichever comes first). Greasing the torque bracket is super simple. There is a single zerk fitting on the bottom of the bracket. Simply apply grease (any lithium grease) till it comes out of the ends of the tube.
If you need to work on the suspension, the RV should be jacked and supported under the frame.
If you need to change a tire, pack a bearing, etc., each wheel can be jacked up just behind the tire on the plate. Contact MORryde for specifics.
Like any suspension, the MORryde IS should be inspected before travel. We also do a cursory inspection at every stop while traveling.
The suspension should be inspected for any loose bolts, any loose rubber (coming un-bonded from the plates), shocks leaking oil, etc. Small cracks in the rubber are normal. If there is a question about the integrity of a marginal rubber spring, a 3” wide object (such as a 3” putty knife) can be used to probe the rubber spring in the affected area. (If the probe penetrates the crack or separation .75” or more, the spring should be replaced). Rubber Springs should be inspected when supporting the trailer.
As you (hopefully) saw in the video, the test rides inside the RV before and after IS were amazing! On the pre-install test ride, the motions were very jarring! Sometimes it felt like our feet would be bumped right off the floor! On the post-install test ride (along the same route), you could still tell when we went over rough patches, but there was no jarring. Just soft bumps. Amazing!
To be honest, what we felt in the RV was completely expected after such an upgrade. It certainly validated the efficacy of the Independent suspension, but it was not a suprise.
What WAS a surprise was how different towing felt in the truck! Holy cow!!! We figured there might be a slight improvement in the truck, but we were wrong! The difference in the truck is just as big of an improvement as the RV itself! We had no idea the suspension on the RV would have such a pronounced effect on the ride in the truck. Color us IMPRESSED! Now, this upgrade falls into the “why the heck did we wait so long!” category.
In addition to our subjective test rides, we use an app called SensorLog to record the accelerometer (G-Forces) before and after. The data clearly shows a significant improvement.
You can see the raw data and math used in a spreadsheet here.
- MORryde Independent Suspension: changinglanesrv.com/morryde-is
- Henderson's Line-Up (Oregon IS Dealer): www.hendersonslineup.com/
Products in Video 🛒
- Daisy's Dog Bed: amzn.to/3oqsfHK (stock comes and goes, so keep checking!)
- NEBO Slyde+ 500 Lumen Rechargeable Flashlight Work-Light: amzn.to/3lMcSYj
- Vantrue Dashcam: amzn.to/33MnJeK
- RV Basement 2.0 (MORryde Slide Trays!): youtu.be/0nmJJQafPSQ
- BOOM! Our First RV Tire Blowout!: youtu.be/x99FBmR6OrI
- RV Travel Day and GPS Showdown: youtu.be/82tcHq84KTU
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