Stiff Riding Trailer Springs

One question I I often hear is: “My trailer seems to have a stiff ride, what can I do?”  There are a few things that contribute to a stiff riding trailer.

Primarily, overrated springs  for your load requirements.  The dry weight of a Tent Topped Explorer Box is around 400 lbs, loaded they are under 1000 lbs.  Most of the 4×8 bolt together frame kits available have springs rated at 1200 or 1800 lbs.  If your frame is rated at 1800 lbs, your spring would be notably overrated.  When you use higher rated springs  than your loaded trailer, there isn’t sufficient weight to flex them as your tires follow the irregularities in the road causing a stiff ride.

Another reason is spring design.  Not all leaf springs are created equally. Budget trailer springs use fewer, stiffer leafs and are fairly short.  The longer the leaf spring with more leafs in the pack, the smoother the ride for the same load carrying capacity.  Longer springs also flex and respond with less overall weight on them.  In automotive grade springs, they flex so well they need shocks to damper how much they oscillate after hitting a bump.

There are cost trade-offs to achieving a better ride. A budget slipper spring found on a bolt-together frame kits are about $12 each.  The premium, longer trailer springs I use are about $29 each.  Continuing up the scale;  if you choose smooth riding automotive grade springs, say,  from a Jeep YJ, they run about $100 each.

The above spring is one of the premium longer ones I use, below is a budget slipper spring.

The above spring is a budget slipper spring, below is a Jeep YJ spring.

So the key is matching your loaded weight with your spring rating and deciding if more improvements in ride quality are cost effective in your situation.  For more information about the trailer springs we use or to explore options in your situation, contact us.


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