July Update- Little Home on the Road is now selling shock kits from their webpage: https://littlehomeontheroad.com
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
LHOTR makes kits to add shock absorbers to Casitas. The kits use bolt on brackets that can be installed in a few hours. You need to confirm you have a bolted in Casita axle which started around 2003. The older welded on axles are not compatible. 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.
Called them today to order a kit, fell off my chair when they told me its a 12month wait to get them. I politely said I can do without their product.
Haha had the same experience. Looking into building a similar modification myself. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested a set once complete.
Can these work on an older welded axle? I have 2002 SD and was hoping for a smoother ride. I would weld them on rather than bolting if possible. Matt, I’ll be wending you an email.
In short, no. They used to make brackets for it, but because the age of welded axles, it’s not recommended to add them and they stopped making them. The money is better spent on getting the old axle cut off and having a new Dexter axle installed. That should fix your ride. The rubber cords in the axle are considered aged/worn out after 10 years! Then you’ll have new brakes and bearings too.
I called them last week and got the same answer. I don’t think they were prepared for this kind of business. I’m surprised there’s no other options out there besides making it yourself. This is something Casita should look at making it a permanent part of their builds, the Casita’s obviously can benefit from them. I’ll email Matt Cambell : )
how do you adjust the brakes the shock bracket is so close and right in font of the adjusting slot
On the one side it’s a tight fit. I’ve had luck with a screwdriver and flashlight. Sometimes it’s just easier to remove the lower shock bracket to make more room. When I changed my brakes, I upgraded to self-adjusting ones so it was no longer an issue.
I talked to them today (8/30/21) about a jack relocation bracket and they quoted me 1 year to 18 month lead time. If simple brackets are out 18 months then I consider these guys to be out of business…
The jack relocation kit is easy enough to make yourself, as is the lift kit, the shock kit is another story. 🙁
Little Home on the Road will only sell as installed in Texas! Any other options to buy as a kit to self install?
Nope, they’re the only game in town. Another way is to have a leaf spring axle welded up then Dexter’s shock kit will work, but that lifts the Casita 4+ inches up and causes all kinds of other issues.