Which off-road caravan suspension design will deliver the best performance for your caravan? Leaf spring, torsion, trailing – what’s the best for a stable tow? With so many options in the market, which glossy brochure should you believe?
Well, if you want your trailer to articulate to keep it from flopping, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a quick Alpha Suspensions guide to help you:
First Things First: How Do Caravan Suspension Systems Work?
Before we get into suspension systems, let’s take a step back and think about the fundamentals. What does a suspension system do? – It absorbs undulations.
In simple words, it absorbs the energy from the tyres, allowing the frame of the caravan to remain stable. This means that when a wheel hits a bump or sinks into a depression, its movement is not transferred to the rest of the caravan, reducing bouncing and rocking.
Why Is Your Caravan’s Suspension So Important?
A good suspension system increases the friction between the tyres and the road. This offers steering stability and good handling. It is vital for braking, cornering, and even fuel efficiency since it ensures that the tyres are in touch with the ground.
The better the suspension, the smoother and safer the tow becomes because minimal force is transferred to the frame of the vehicle. There’s less strain on the trailer and its contents as well.
The suspension system, therefore, promotes passenger comfort by reducing the influence of different road conditions on not just the caravan, but also the passengers within. This is particularly important for off-road driving.
Choosing the Best Off-road Caravan Suspension in Australia
A premium off-road caravan should have a high-quality suspension design for the passengers and the vehicle’s safety. Here are different suspension design methods for an off-road caravan.
- Rigid Axle Suspension
This is considered the grandfather of all suspension systems and has withstood the test of time. It was first employed in the motor industry’s early stages and some brands of off-road caravans still use it.
The system is a dependent suspension type where a set of wheels is connected laterally by a single shaft or beam. It’s strong and can carry a large load capacity. It’s pretty simple to install and maintain than more complex systems.
- Semi-Rigid Axle Suspension
The system includes an outer primary axle that is welded to the caravan’s chassis. Each of the wheel hubs has an inner tube linked to it. The inner tube will revolve within the outer axle when the wheels move up and down over bumps in the road.
Because the inner tubes connecting the right and left wheels are not attached, this type of suspension is known as independent suspension. It allows for a form of independence between the left and right wheels of a caravan.
- Leaf Spring Tandem Suspension
This is the most common type on caravans. Leaf springs are made up of multiple layers of flat, rolled leaves that are placed on top of each other and fitted below the axle for the suspension system.
Leaf springs are great at cushioning the jolts from potholes and other rough patches on the road. This suspension system has a proven track record of reliability in a variety of heavy-duty vehicles.
- Trailing Arm Suspension
This one has proven ideal for the Australian terrain. The tyre of the caravan is usually mounted to the chassis of the caravan through a trailing mechanical link, hence the term “trailing.”
As such, the arm pivots over the hanger and moves up and down as the vehicle travels over bumps. There is a spring located between the chassis and arm, which absorbs the impact.
Which Is the Best for Off-Road Stability? Consider These Factors
Because an off-road caravan travels on dirt roads, there’s a higher risk of component damage from things like potholes and rocks, thus you need a sturdy system. The trailer’s suspension must also give adequate ground clearance.
Heat dissipation is also another important factor to consider in an off-road suspension setup. Remember that as wheels move up and down relative to the caravan, energy is released in the form of heat.
That said, the answer to the best suspension system is to look for good build quality, proper weight distribution, heat dissipation, and solid tuning. Since trailers are different, there’s no singular clear-cut type suitable for all caravans, but we are here to help.
Contact Alpha Suspensions Australia
Alpha Suspensions is the best bet for people who want to get the most out of their time in the great outdoors. We provide fully independent suspension systems and components. These are self-contained, multi-terrain suspensions that are both dependable and affordable. Reach out and let’s get you the best!
Please call us today on 03 7009 2660 and get a free quote for any on or off-road caravan suspension requirements you may have or you can leave an inquiry.