Velvet Ride RV suspension problems and solutions.
Love your RV or motorcoach but are tired of the rough ride, swaying back and fourth and the occasional “porposing” down the highway at 65 miles an hour when it meets an unexpected bump in the road?
If this describes your problem then you have a coach with a torsion bar front suspension often referred to as a ?Velvet Ride” or BF Goodrich’s “Torsilastic Suspension”.
If your coach is great up top but underpinned with this now outdated suspension, or if you need suspension work, what can be done to mitigate this the next time it meets an unexpected hump or a dip in the road?
RV’s Velvet Ride
The Velvet ride a torsion bar suspension, was developed by BF Goodrich for use in emergency vehicles and adopted by RV makers such as Safari, Monaco, and was used in busses to get a ride similar to air ride without having the air system.
Advantages to Velvet Ride suspensions are that they require almost no maintenance. Since they do not have an air system, or a critical air system, there are no hoses to dry rot and leak and no air bags that can blow out or tear. The ride is acceptable as the system isolates movement on 3 planes.
Disadvantages to the torsion bar system are they can sag over time, although they seem to settle out and stay put.Becuase it is now an outdated system, parts can sometimes prove difficult to find. Working with an oder system can be a bit of a pain, as the large bolts have weathered threads that are next to impossible to work with. They’re all grade 8 and expensive. Another disadvantage is since it’s a self-contained system, there are no air bags and/or level sensing linkages to compensate for road curves. Good shocks do help though.
Velvet Ride Replacement Costs
If you can find the parts, you can replace the tortialistic units for about $1,000 per wheel position.
Improving Your Tortialistic Suspension System
Older and worn Velvet Ride systems can be renewed and in some cases upgraded to regain some of the ride characteristics they once had. The first thing you need to do is check ride height and get the RV leveled. Shims are removed or added in order to raise ride height.
First check the ride height and if it is off, fix it by removing shims, with each ship removing about 1/4 inch. Correct ride height is measured from the center of the axels to the bottom of the belt line molding. This is approximately 42 inches off of a concrete pad finished flat
Some shops will reverse the upper front shock mounts (taking the right front and turned it upside down and placed it on the left side, same for the other side). There is a bolt that cannot be dropped so put a wrap of safety wire on it to keep it from dropping back into the dark hole of the chassis and the fuel tank. This fine wire can be left in place when installing the mount. Replace the shocks with the new ones.
There are aftermarket fabrication shops that produce a kit with 3 stabilizer bars, ( 2 for the front and one for the rear)
Supplemental air bags will also help the them tortialistic suspensions live a healthy and long life..
Total cost for parts was under $3000. Sounds like a lot of money but it is safer to drive and puts a big smile on Janet’s face.
There are also aftermarket companies that make upgrades for the suspension, including double shock mounts for the front.
Be aware that Monaco started building the Safari line circa 2000 and put the wrong (too short) torsilastic springs in the front of many coaches. Around about 2003 Monaco stopped using the Magnum chassis and went to something else. From then on the Safari coaches used air bags.
Option #2 Complete Airbag suspension upgrade.
Velvet Ride suspensions are outdated and Air ride is much more comfortable and stable than springs. There are two places where the air bags are placed: inside the rails and outside the rails. Air bags placed outside the frame rails gives you a wider stance, hence a more stable and comfy ride. The number of air bags makes a difference also. Some have four, some six. Some even have ten airbags per set up.
With some fabrication and some aftermarket parts, your RV or Coach can be upgraded to a modern airbag suspension. Price for this service depends on the coach so it is too difficult to pin down an exact price without knowing your particular coach.
So if you have an worn out velvet ride system and want to explore a repair or conversion option, click the button below for a free quote.