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Lippert Road Armor Shock Absorbing Equalizer Kit Installation - 2022 Grand Design Imagine Travel Tra

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How to Install the Lippert Road Armor Shock Absorbing Equalizer Kit on a 2022 Grand Design Imagine


Hi there, Grand Design owners. Today on your 2022 Grand Design Imagine trailer, we're gonna be taking a look at and showing you how to replace your factory equalizers with Road Armor equalizers from Lippert. To assist us with this installation, we're also gonna be using Lippert's wet bolt kit as well as some bronze bushings from Dexter. And this is what our Road Armor looks like when it's installed. We can see it is a replacement equalizer that's going to get rid of your old one, and our new Road Armor here has rubber dampeners inside to absorb a lot of the impacts. Also, your road armor will come equipped with bronze bushings so that way you can have a wet bolt set up to extend the life of your components.

Here we have the factory equalizer for comparison. These have the Never Fail plastic bushings, which, they do fail, you can see this one here is pretty beat up right there and that's also pretty beat up. So, bronze bushings, now if you are consistent in lubricating your bronze bushings, they're gonna last a lot longer than these plastic Never Fail type bushings. These are self-lubricating though, so if you don't maintain your trailer often, you want to just kind of forget it, you're better off sticking with the plastic ones. But, if you wanted things to last longer, and you're real particular about maintenance, then I would highly recommend going with bronze and wet bolts.

Now, one of the big differences though, besides this being a bronze setup, is that dampening material that's in there. And you can see our original equalizer is just a solid piece of steel, there is no real dampening whatsoever. And when our equalizer's in place, let's say you go over a big bump, well, when you hit a pothole or we're gonna say it's a speed bump. When you hit a speed bump, this is our front axle, it's gonna hit the bump first, well it's gonna go up. Well when this goes up, it's gonna pull this up.

When it pulls that up, it pushes down on this axle, and all those forces are getting transferred through your axles. Then after you hit the next bump, that's gonna go down, it's gonna do the opposite thing. But all the force is transferred directly from one axle to the other into your chassis giving it a pretty rough ride. Our Road Armor here has dampening material in between so when this axle goes up, a lot of that force that would be transferred through our suspension system into the trailer is absorbed into the rubber there, so there's less of that transfer to this axle. Now, they're not completely independent.

The optimal setup, I would say for a trailer, would be Roadmaster's Comfort Ride system, it has two fully independent systems with shock absorbers and it is definitely a very premium option, so it is gonna be a little bit more costly than, like, a setup like this, but the performance is significantly higher. But compared to a standard equalizer, this is gonna be a nice upgrade over the standard one, you're gonna get some dampening in there, everything here is a heavier duty component. And this is a '22 trailer, it's still '22, so, you know, it hasn't even made it through the year and these bushings are already pretty beat up. So, this is definitely something that's gonna last you several years, again, as long as you maintain grease in your components, and the absorption in there is gonna help extend the life of the rest of your suspension system. A lot of these big heavy trailers, it's not uncommon to see broken leaf spring hangers. Now on this one you can see it's reinforced, but they're not always reinforced, and this is something that's gonna help save those things from taking so much brunt of the force with that dampener in there. So it is definitely a great upgrade for your trailer. I would highly recommend, if you are performing this upgrade, to also get Lippert's Road Armor wet bolt kit, that's gonna come with these heavy duty shackles. They are gonna be a little bit longer shackle to compensate for the different dimensions of the Road Armor here, 'cause they are slightly different dimensions than your factory one, you can see that there. So that'll help compensate for that so that way your trailer still rides like it's supposed to. But it does not come with any bushings, so, your Road Armor has bushings pre-installed in it, but if you want to also upgrade your leaf springs, you would wanna make sure you purchase bushing kits, you can get those here at etrailer as well, with a 9/16 inner diameter and 11/16 outer diameter 1-3/4 inch bushing, so you would want to grab those as well. And that's what we've done on here, so now he's got a much more reliable suspension system that he can maintain, that's gonna absorb a lot of those impacts. All in all this is gonna make it a smoother ride when you're pulling it with your truck, it's not gonna be quite as rough as it was before. The main difference that your gonna notice though is on the stuff that you have inside your trailer, if you had cabinets and stuff that we're slamming open, broken dishes and stuff like that, this is gonna reduce how much movement's inside of there so your gear inside is also gonna be a little bit safer, it's gonna extend the life of all that stuff as well 'cause if your cabinets are open and closing, eventually those components are gonna wear out in there as well, so, this is kind of taking care of your whole trailer with one easy upgrade. So if you wanna follow along with us, we're gonna show you how to remove your old equalizer, get it upgraded with the new Road Armor, we'll show you how to drive out your old bushings, and also upgrade to the wet bolt kit with the bronze bushings. Before we install our equalizers, we're just gonna take it out on the test course and see how it operates. And here you can see it going over, it's a pretty noisy setup, I can hear a lot of squeaks and stuff. Now, that could be some from his weight distribution system that he has installed, but we'll find out after we install our new equalizers. Now we're gonna go back out on the test course with our new equalizers installed. Here you can see 'em in action, and right away I can notice that a lot of the squeaks and noise that we had before are now gone. We're still getting a couple of pops from the weight distribution system that's installed, but it is significantly quieter than what it was before. We'll begin our installation by jacking up our trailer, and you wanna make sure you support it under the frame with jack stands. We've got some at the front and we're using our lift here in the back to support the rear end that we lifted it up with, at home you can just use your floor jack and jack stands. Now, if you don't have a really powerful impact, you might want to crack each one of the lug nuts loose before you lift it up, while the weight's still on the tire, 'cause if you try to use a wrench with it now it's just gonna spin and you're gonna have a really hard time. If you have a powerful impact you should be able to zip 'em off. I went ahead and already cracked them all loose, so that way they're gonna be easier to take off now that we've got it up in the air. We'll then remove our wheels. The lug nut size can vary, ours is going to be a 19 millimeter, but typical sizes are usually a 19, or a 21 is kind of the most common size. So we already cracked ours loose so they come off pretty easy. And we're gonna be removing both our wheels, so once you get this one loose and take it off, set it to the side, and then we'll remove our other one. Once our wheels are out of the way, we want to make sure that we support our axles, 'cause when we take our hardware loose here, they can drop down some and we're gonna have to lift them up with a jack or something to make 'em line up so we can get our hardware back installed. So, I placed jack stands underneath each one, close to this side. Now I did leave a gap on the jack stand, so this is kind of just there for emergency to catch it if it goes too low 'cause we're gonna need to move 'em up and down just a little bit to install it. So, the majority of the work's gonna be done with your floor jack, you'll wanna place one underneath each axle. If you only have one floor jack, then on the other axle you would wanna make sure your jack stand is fully touching the axle so that way you can just move one at a time, and you can move your jack back and forth as necessary. We're also gonna set up another one under this axle though, 'cause we do have two jacks. If you have two, it'll make your life a lot easier. And we're just bumping it right underneath the U-bolt, just 'til it kind of touches, a little bit of support there, and that's really where we wanna stay. We're underneath, we're looking at the backside of the equalizer here. To remove the equalizer you'll have to take out all these bolts. And boy, look at that movement there, you can tell that the bushings are a little worn out on that one and they're a little bit worn out on this one too. So, to assist us in this install, since our new equalizer comes with bronze bushings pre-installed, those bronze bushings are designed to take grease and use wet bolts. This old style that we've got here is a dry bolt set up with Never Fail bushings, they're a plastic-type, self-lubricating bushings and you don't want to grease those, the grease can actually damage the bushing. But, I mean, they call 'em Never Fail, but in my opinion they don't last as long as the bronze bushings. Now, if you never grease your setup, the Never Fail's will last longer than a bronze bushing, but if you grease your bronze bushings, they typically have a much longer life than the Never Fail plastic style, again, as long as you're maintaining grease on them when you take it out. So we're gonna use an 11/16 socket to remove these nuts. You may or may not need a 13/16 to hold it, they are splined, so they shouldn't spin. I'm gonna put it on there anyway to prevent it from spinning, just makes it come out a little bit easier, and we'll zip these off. So I've got a 13/16 to hold the other side, 'cause it is bigger, the nuts are smaller at 11/16. So we'll take out all the nuts, you do wanna save your nuts 'cause we're gonna be using those. There may be some instances where your impact's just not gonna be able to pull it out, so we do have a wrench down here, or a ratchet, to be able to help us. We're just gonna move on for a minute. Continue to get these outta here. Now, in the wet bolt kit that we're gonna be using, we're also gonna be replacing all the Never Fail bushings with bronze bushings. So I would recommend doing that too so that way you can lubricate all of your setup here and have a nice working suspension system. All right, we'll just switch to our ratchet for those if the gun can't take it out. It's not uncommon for an impact to struggle with these 'cause there's so much play, you saw how much play was there, that play really absorbs a lot of the impact. Now, when you take these off by hand, it's also not uncommon that your axles might wanna move on you a little bit. So we just need to crack it loose. See how it's gonna lift up a little, that's pretty normal, don't worry about that. Usually once you crack it loose, the gun can usually take care of the rest of it from there. Now we'll put a wrench on the other side just to make sure. Okay. And we are going to be taking out the spring eyes on the end as well, and replacing those with wet bolts and bronze bushings. So we'll be doing that as well, I recommend you do that at home also while you're doing this. So once you've got these loose though, we should be able to take these off of there, they should be fairly easy since our axles are being supported. So it's kind of supported in a neutral state where our hardware should slide out of there pretty darn easy like that. Now the upper bolt here is pressed in to the hanger here, so you'll have to drive it out. These are pressed in to the shackles, so they come out when you just pull the shackle out. We are gonna be replacing these as well, these are 2-1/4 inch shackles. For our Road Armor, where we're gonna be using 3-1/8 inch shackles that are a little bit longer to compensate for the slightly different dimensions of the equalizer. They also have heavier duty shackles so they're thicker, better shackles too. So we'll get this bolt out next. We're gonna take one of the nuts that we just took off and we're gonna thread it on there a couple of turns, this is gonna do a few things for us. One, if you're planning on reusing these bolts, this is gonna save your threads from getting damaged. We're gonna try a different nut though, I don't like the way that one feels. The other thing this is also gonna do, beyond saving the threads so you can reuse the bolt, this is also gonna prevent you from mushrooming the end of the bolt here, 'cause if you hit it and it starts to spread out and mushroom, it might get so wide that you can't get it to slide out and then you're just gonna be fighting it, so this'll make your life a lot easier. And now we're just gonna strike it and drive it on out. One good whack there, and it brings it down to the end of our bolt, or the nut here, to the face. So we'll just unthread that now. And most of the time you can just pull it out from there, or if you need to, you can tap it out with your hammer, but usually once you get that initial drive she comes out pretty easy. So you can see there's that plastic Never Fail bushings in there. Our new one's gonna have all bronze, so we're gonna update these as well, so while we're down here we might as well do that. So we're gonna go ahead and just take the bolt that we just used there and we're gonna use that to drive out these bushings. You could also use a similar sized socket, one that's close to this size, but ever so slightly smaller, so it'll drive through. But I actually just prefer the bolt, you got it right here, you just took it out, it works great. If you look at the bolt, it's got a shoulder on it, so that shoulder fits on the lip of your bushing pretty well. And we're just gonna use this to drive this out of there. We'll drive this one out as well. Now, you do wanna keep in mind that the bushings and the wet bolts and stuff don't come with your equalizers, you will have to purchase those separately. Sometimes these plastic bushings do kind of fold in on you, so you just gotta fold it in a couple of times and then it'll finally grab and start to drive out. Now we're gonna drive in our new bushings. Again, these didn't come in the kit, you can buy a pack of four bushings like this, they're 9/16 for the inner diameter there, 11/16 outer diameter. I always like to check 'em, if this pushes in there super easy, then the leaf spring is damaged. And it's close, it is worn a little bit but I'm still gonna have to drive it in there, so I always check 'em. As you push your thing, if this just, like, slides, boom, just shoots straight through, the leaf spring has already, the bushing has already worn out to a point where it has damaged the spring eye and you'll need to replace the entire spring at that point or else you're still just gonna get a bunch of slamming and you're just gonna repeatedly destroy new bushings because of the outer roundness there, the expanded, no longer a tight fit. But that is still pretty snug, it's just a little bit right there, so we'll be okay. I'm gonna use a little bit of silicone spray just to make the bushing drive in a hair easier, and then we're gonna drive it in. Now, to drive it in, you could use a similar size socket like we talked about. But, again, I like to use the bolts, the bolts work out well, it fits in there, slides right in like that, we've got a nice head to drive on. So we're just gonna put that in there and we're gonna drive it on in. When you're driving it in, you do wanna make sure the bolt is flush against the head. If you hit it like this, it has that momentum and you'll end up mushrooming the outside a little, so make sure the bolt is all the way flush when you strike. And, yeah, that one pushed in pretty darn easy, usually it is a little bit more difficult than that. This one is on the edge of this leaf spring eye, being worn out, but we should be okay, it was tight enough towards taking up most of the outside so that should be fine. We've kind of caught it right there at the end before further damage was gonna require replacement. So now we'll drive in this one, we're gonna do it the same way. Slide in our bolt, get it lined up, and then tap it in. And that's closer to what it should feel like if you have a nice good eye layer. All right. And now we've got that one drove in, needs to go just a hair more. All right, there we go, that feels good. So we've got those taken care of. We'll now take our Road Armor, this is the Road Armor. This side's gonna be the outward facing edge, but you can see here that it has bronze bushings pre-installed for us. So that's why we want to use wet bolts, and that's also why we're updating the rest of our system to accept wet bolts and bronze bushing so that way you can grease everything and that usually makes a big difference in the length of your suspension components lasting 'cause you can keep those lubricated. So now we're gonna go ahead and slide this up. We do have new bolts that we're gonna be using up there, new wet bolts, so I'm gonna grab those now and we'll get that up there in place. All right, so we've got our new wet bolts here. This is the Lippert Road Armor aftermarket parts kit. So this kit is designed to work with the Road Armor to update with the correct shackle lengths, and the correct bolt length, all wet bolts. The wet bolt kit though does not come with the bronze bushing so you will have to purchase those separate. So this is just gonna slide up in here, our bolt will slide through. And then we're gonna place a nut on the other side, but we're not gonna fully tighten this down just yet, 'cause the bolt is serrated on the one edge so it's not pushing in all the way, we're gonna have to come out here on the outside and we're gonna have to drive it in. So this is just another one of the bolts here that you get in the kit. You can see it's exactly like this one, and there's that serrated edge so the bolt will push in until it hits that, and then it fits tightly in there to prevent it from being able to rotate. So we're gonna drive it in, but we've got to grease that fitting there, so we're gonna use a socket, you can take the square end and fit over your zerk fitting, and we can drive the socket to push our bolt in. All right, we've got it most of the way drove in, looks like there might be a small gap, but at this point we should be able to tighten up the nut. If we still see a small gap, we'll come back out here and tap it a little bit and then retighten the nut. Back here on the backside I pulled the nut off just to look at it. You wanna make sure the shoulder, the flat part of the bolt, is inside the hole here 'cause if you got the thread just sitting on that when you tighten this down, you're actually gonna be pinching this hanger between the shoulder and the nut, so ours is resting in there good, so, we're ready to just put this on and send it on home. It's gonna be the same size hardware, or same size socket and wrench, for our new bolt. And, again, I am gonna hold it just to prevent it from spinning. All right, now we've got it cinched down we're gonna head back out there, tap it, and we'll come back in here and finalize tightening it down. So I'm just gonna hit it once or twice there just to make sure it is fully seated. 'Cause this second time that we're hitting it here, we've now got a little bit of bolt pressure from us clamping it to help it drive in and we're now plenty solid so we're just gonna tap it real quick. These don't have a real high torque spec so we're not gonna go crazy with it, we're just gonna kind of hit it just to drive it in and, yeah, that'll be good enough for there, we'll come back with our torque wrench at the end and finalize torquing them. So at this point now, if you're not gonna change out your spring eyes, you can go ahead and go back together with the new hardware that comes with the Lippert hardware kit for your Road Armor. Again, that is a separate part. But we are replacing the bushings across 'cause in your Lippert kit here, the wet bolt kit for the Road Armor, you do get new wet bolts for your spring eyes and if you don't change out the bushing, you don't wanna put 'em in there because, again, those Never Fail is a plastic bushing, the grease will deteriorate that bushing and you're gonna have premature failure because of it. So you wanna make sure you're changing out the bushing to a bronze one if you're gonna use the wet bolt. So we're gonna go ahead and do that now. I'm gonna go ahead and get those replaced before we hook up this 'cause we'll have a little bit more axle movement to be able to drop down and do our spring eyes before we put our shackles in. So to do our spring eyes, if you're following along and you also purchased the same wet bolt kit and enough bronze bushings, we'll just head over here and we're gonna remove this just like we did the center one for our equalizer. So we're taking the nut off, threading the nut back on there, few turns, drive it out. And it's not uncommon for these ones to be pretty tight, you might have to raise or lower your jack a little bit to get it out of there. I think we need to go down just a hair. Oh, there we go, we we're almost at the sweet spot, right there. And you can kind of tell the sweet spot if you're bolt's sticking straight out. If it's angled down a little bit, you need to jack it up some, if it's angled up, you need to let it down some. So we got that one out of there. Now, we got this jack here and we got a nice little gap there 'cause we wanna lower this down now. But what I wanna try to do, is when I'm lowering this, I want the spring eye to be down enough where I can drive my bushing out, but up just high enough to where the top of the leaf spring is still between these two pieces, that'll give you a little more support when you're driving and make it drive out a whole lot easier. So, we're coming down. So now we've got it down here, just like our other ones we're gonna drive this out with the bolt. So now we're taking our bushing, we're just sliding it over that bolt, that will be a good piece to drive in. Again, we're checking that two fitment, it can't push straight through, so, our spring eye seems okay and we just drive it on in. All right, that feels good. So now we'll just raise this one back up. May have to position it just a little bit differently. And then we can insert our new bolt. And you may need to go up or down slightly as necessary to get this to line up. We're pretty close there. There we go. And just like with our other bolt, the serrated edge does need to be driven in to the hanger. So we're gonna do that with our socket here on the outside again. All right, and this looks good. Same as with our middle one we wanna make sure that shoulder is inside the hole, which we are lined up. So now we'll put on our new nut and snug it on down. All right, and then as soon as that kind of hits there, we're just gonna stop and we'll finalize torquing it. You may or may not need again to tap it from the outside after snugging it up some to fully seat it if it's not fully seated. We're now gonna head over to the other spring eye on the other side at the front of the trailer, on the front axle, and then we'll head back to our equalizer in the middle once we get that one done. All right, we got our spring eyes on the ends installed and back together, bronze bushings throughout. We can head back to our equalizer now. These are the heavy duty shackles, they have the bolts, wet bolts, pre-installed in them. This is for the Lippert Road Armor hardware kit, again, it doesn't come with the Road Armor. So to install these now we've got everything on jack stands so we can make it easy on ourself by lifting it up and down. And the first one's really easy 'cause you can just kind of rotate this back and forth to get it to line up and get your bolts pushed through there. We'll then place our other shackle on the other side, making sure you get it over the shoulder of the bolts, and then we'll install our nuts on there. And we can just leave 'em loose here for a minute while we go to put the other one on. All right. Now when we go to install the other one here, if you take it up there and hold it up it's not quite perfect on the way it's lining up, we need to raise this axle just a little bit. So just pump that up a couple pumps and look at there, slides right in, nice and easy now, just by lifting that up just a little bit. Place our shackle on the other side. Now this is where usually you find a little bit of trouble, but actually that's lined up pretty good, it's on the shoulder of each one. Sometimes if you can't get this inner piece to go over the shoulders while you're pushing it together, you can just take your hammer and just kind of tap downwards on this a little bit, and usually you can get it to walk on there. Now we'll put those on there and then we can go ahead and snug 'em down. Again, it's all the same size hardware as before, or same size socket and wrench as before, so our 11/16 for the nut, 13/16 for the bolts. All right. We'll now go back and torque all of our hardware to the manufacturer's specifications. We can now go back and grease all of our wet bolts. And we're gonna put a little extra in this one 'cause it's coming out this side and we wanna try and see some come out on the other side as well, so, we might have to grab a rag. There we go, I see it coming out on the other side now. We'll clean up any mess we make, but it is important you get grease all the way to the other side of the bushing, and you can just wipe that mess away. So we'll just continue that, moving on down and greasing the rest of our bolts. Now that we've got this side completed with all of our bushings replaced, our new Road Armor, and everything greased, we can now go ahead and move over to the other side, which you'll move all your jacks and everything over to that side, and you can perform the same installation over there. Once you've got both sides installed, we can go back and put our wheels in place, slip those in there, reinstall your lug nuts. Once we snug down our lug nuts and get our trailer back on the ground, we wanna make sure we torque our lug nuts to the manufacturer's specification. Once you've completed both of your equalizers and everything, we can go back and put our wheels on. After we get the wheels on and tightened down, don't forget to torque them once you get it back on the ground. When tightening down your bolts, you'll want to do it in a star pattern to draw it in equally against the hub face. And that completes our installation of Lipperts Road Armor equalizers on our 2022 Grand Design Imagine..


Info for this part was:

Employee Jeff D
Installed by:
Jeff D
Employee Joshua S
Video Edited:
Joshua S
Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Kathleen M
Video Edited:
Kathleen M
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
Chris R
Employee Dustin K
Video by:
Dustin K
Employee Zach D
Video by:
Zach D
Employee Schuyler H
Video by:
Schuyler H
Employee Shane H
Test Fit:
Shane H
Employee David F
Test Fit:
David F

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