Have you ever driven a car, pickup truck, or an RV motorhome? Did the drive feel smooth and steady? This is due to specialized hardware in the vehicle such as trac bars, RV shocks, and brand-name springs such as Bilstein steering stabilizers and others. With Bilstein steering stabilizers and the like, an RV motorhome will drive more smoothly, and anyone who owns an RV is urged to examine their vehicle’s hardware regularly to spot any maintenance issues early. If any steering stabilizers are wearing out or coming loose, then the RV owner may look for brand name replacements, such as Bilstein steering stabilizers (as just one example) and have them installed. One might ask: what do Bilstein steering stabilizers even do? Also, how can electronic brake controls keep a towed RV running safely? This is not something to ignore.
Owning an RV
Not everyone owns an RV, but many do, and they take great pride in their vehicles. Statistics say that American ownership of RVs reached an all-time high back in 2011, according to a University of Michigan study that the RV Industry Association commissioned. At the time, some 10 million households across the United States own an RV, and that figure is probably even higher now. That same report said that the most “typical” is 48 years old, married, and earns an income of around $62,000 or so, making them a somewhat above average household. Often, these RV owners spend around three to four weeks in their vehicles on trips and vacations. Usually, these RV owners are aged 35 to 54, though some older Americans are known to retire, and then travel the country while living in their RV full time.
This brings us back to steering shocks. A motor home is rather like a bus, and may handle like one. But smooth steering should not be taken for granted, and it’s only possible thanks to a series of steering control parts in the vehicle. A motorhome’s wheels are each connected to the axle with a spring and rod, and the tension of that spring keeps the wheels in their position, the neutral position. As the motorhome drives and the driver turns the steering wheel left or right, this will move the wheels, and the tension on the steering shocks will change. One spring is stretched out and the other is compressed, and the springs “want” to return to their neutral position. The driving mechanism keeps the wheels in these position according to the driver’s input, and once the driver straightens things out, the springs will easily allow the wheels to return to their neutral position. That is, once the driver finishes their turn and wants to drive straight ahead.
Without fully functional drive springs, this would be more difficult, and the RV’s wheels and turning may become rather sloppy and erratic. This could potentially be dangerous, and even lead to a crash in a worst case scenario. So, every so often, a driver may have their RV’s hardware checked so that they can take care of a problem early. And if a buyer is looking for a gently used motorhome for sale, they are uged to check out the steering mechanisms for any issues before making a purchase.
Not all RVs drive themselves. What about a towed RV? These RVs have their own wheels, axles, and brakes, but the driver is in the truck towing all this. To keep all brake systems coordinated, the driver will buy and install electronic brake controls. These will wire up the RV’s brakes with those of the trucks, and a control panel sits on the truck’s dashboard. The idea is that once the driver applies the truck’s own brakes, this sends a signal to the RV brakes, which will operate in tandem with the truck’s brakes. Otherwise, an RV may slam right into the truck when it brakes, and that trailer may yank the truck backwards if the truck brakes while on an inclined plane. For lighter RVs going at lower speeds, a timing-based brake model will work fine. An for larger or faster-moving trailers, the precision of an inertia-based brake control system will be needed to keep all vehicles braking in tandem.