DIY Running Gear

    I can no longer recommend parts from Perfect Casita/Orbital Machine Works.  They’re not delivering products in a timely fashion and their customer service has taken a dive.  If they get their act together and start shipping parts, I’ll reconsider.  Their products are top notch, but the delivery delays are in-excusable.

    What are shocks, and why use them?

    Every car and truck on the road is equipped with shock absorbers.  These hydraulic wonders dampen the up and down movement of the suspension while the springs do their job of soaking up the bumps.  Some vintage trailers and modern off-road trailers also use shocks.  Modern camper-trailers do not.  The reason is simple, it is cheaper and faster to make trailers without shocks.

    Shocks reduce the amount of bouncing the Casita experiences going down the road.  We’ve found less gear adrift, no more doors popped open, and even the toilet paper roll quit un-spooling onto the floor upon reaching our destination.

    Where to get shocks

    Perfect Casita makes kits to add shock absorbers to Casitas. The kits use bolt on brackets that can be installed in a few hours.  There are different brackets dependent upon if your Casita has a factory “high lift” axle, or if you have Perfect Casita’s 3″ lift blocks to raise the trailer even higher.  The kits utilize Monroe brand shocks.

    How to Install

    The instructions are good and the first step is installing the shocks to the brackets with a collection of bolts, washers, and nuts.  The install does not require removing the wheels or even jacking up the trailer, but it can make the install easier by giving you more room to work.   There are a lot of sharp corners under a Casita, so take caution.

    The four nuts on the brake studs are removed and the lower shock bracket is installed over the studs.  The studs are a little short for the new hardware, so I skipped the washers and used red loctite so the nuts won’t loosen over time.

    The upper brackets are bolted in replacing the two bolts that hold the axle to its mounts.  These bolts holding the axle are TIGHT and require either an impact wrench or a socket wrench with a “cheater bar” for enough leverage to break loose.  I soaked the axle nuts in penetrating oil before starting the project, which helps them break loose.

    The upper brackets are bolted to the lowers and then the shock needs to be compressed to fit onto the lower stud.  Torque all bolts to spec and do the other side.

    A “Cheater Bar” is a section of pipe slid over a wrench handle to make it longer for more leverage.  It’s dangerous and can break the wrench, but it works.

    Once everything is bolted tight, the project is done and the Casita is ready to float down the highway.

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