Tue Jan 9, 2018
Showing a remarkable 82 percent average in stress reduction over a variety of rough surfaces, a new suspension system will be offered in Forest River’s XLR Division.
Tests conducted on the NAVISTAR Proving Ground’s Durability Roads between the “All American Super Suspension” and a conventional suspension system both using similar tandem 5th wheels garnered some more-than-surprising results for William Conway, Forest River’s chief engineer, who conducted the tests. Conway measured energy transferred into the RV with the placement of five strain gauges mounted to sensitive sections of the trailer’s exterior to measure the energy transferred to the frame under a variety of conditions.
Over inverted chatter bumps the Super Suspension showed a 50 percent energy reduction over that of the conventional suspension; over impact bumps, a 94 percent reduction; over resonance roads, a 75 percent reduction; over undulating roads, a 77 percent reduction; and over gravel roads, a 94 percent reduction – for an average 82 percent energy reduction.
The Super Suspension also underwent, and successfully completed, the grueling NAVISTAR Proving Ground’s 1,000-mile simulated lifetime durability test. The challenging terrain the vehicles are subjected to is expected to create about the same amount of structural insult as would occur in the average lifetime of RVs.
Bob Mater, co-owner of Stalwart Design & Development LLC, the small company that developed the Super Suspension, said there were minor failures during the lifetime durability tests, which often require repairs, concerning shock brackets and leaf spring mounts. However, he said Stalwart has already addressed those problems with slightly altered engineering.
Mater said the Super Suspension, puts his company’s three main product brands -- Joy Rider Shock System, Liberty Rider suspension and Bulls Eye alignment, under one brand umbrella.
“The trailer was brought home, refurbished, and they actually sold it,” Mater said. “We have had some success in aftermarket, and at rally events, but this is our first OEM.”
Forest River’s XLR Division is the first Recreational Vehicle Manufacturer to offer the Super Suspension as an upgrade option on all of it’s units. Many of XLR’s models are triple axle so additional testing was conducted in November jointly by Lippert’s Frame Division and Stalwart on an XLR Thunderbolt Toy-hauler equipped with motion detecting sensors to confirm the suspension’s suitability for use with 3 axles.
The All American Super Suspension is now approved for use on certain frames, and units so equipped are covered by the Lippert frame warranty.