Towing a caravan means your truck needs a decent set of heavy-duty shocks, especially at the rear. In this article, we'll go over the best caravan towing shock absorbers as well as some helpful tips on how to prepare your truck or SUV for towing.
Now towing a heavy load is not as easy as it sounds. When it comes to towing a caravan, shock absorbers are only a small part of the equation. In fact, the springs absorb most of the load and feedbacks from the road. This is a reason it is better to start evaluating springs before you focus on the shock absorbers, and this is true if you are doing a lot of heavy towing and hauling on your equipment.
If your truck is a real workhorse it's best to install a nice helper spring kit, but there are downsides to it. Yes, your truck will ride better and stay more stable if accessory springs are fitted, but only if you are constantly towing a travel trailer or hauling a heavy load in the bed. No-load support springs will give your vehicle a stiffer and more stable ride.
This is the reason why most enthusiasts choose expensive airbags, especially a kit with a built-in air compressor. Thanks to the airbags, you can adjust the stiffness of the suspension in flight. You can make it stiffer when towing a trailer and choose a softer setting if the bed is empty. Airbags offer the best of both worlds, except for the price. Granted auxiliary springs cheaper; airbags provide better functions for a higher price.
When towing a caravan, you need durable shock absorbers, and there is a reason for that. Towing places excessive stress on the chassis and suspension, especially in the rear of the truck. This exposes the rear shock absorbers to more wear than the front shock absorbers. When towing, the rear shock absorbers absorb the weight of the trailer. And if you get it wrong - and by that we mean, if you are towing heavy trailers that exceed the total Gross Vehicle Weight (GCWR) of the truck - you'll end up with broken shocks and a lousy truck.
Towing is a numbers game
Before you think about towing a boat, trailer, or mobile camper, you need to consider the number of vehicles being towed. This includes the towing rating, Gross Vehicle Weight (GVM), Total Gross Vehicle Weight (GCWR), Total Axle Weight and Vehicle Curb Weight.
OK, once you've figured out the numbers, how will you know you're towing too much? There is an easy way to do it and a simple formula is enough.
(GVW + gross trailer weight + load box weight (if any) + passenger weight) <GCWR
So, if you add the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVM) to the trailer weight, payload weight, and passenger weight in the truck, this number should be less than the Total Gross Weight (GCWR). If you do, you will have time to spare and that means it is safe to tow a trailer.
But if you find the equation a bit complex, we have a simpler formula for you.
GVM + weight of the trailer drawbar (from 9 to 15% of the trailer's weight) <GVM
If you add the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVM) to the drawbar weight of the trailer (which is typically 9% to 15% of the trailer weight), the resulting figure should always be less than the vehicle's gross vehicle weight (GVM). If you exceed the permissible gross vehicle weight, it means that the weight of the tongue is putting too much strain or the weight on the rear of the truck. This means that the front of your kit will face upwards, which is a big problem when towing a caravan.
And if you're always towing within the GVW or GCWR limits, you don't need to replace your truck's springs and shock absorbers - unless both are damaged or worn. But for heavy work and / or modified off-road trucks with larger wheels and tires, installing a premium shock absorber kit for heavier loads will produce noticeable results.
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