Whether you’re planning a trip across Australia or a little offroading, your caravan suspension needs to be in tip-top condition to allow you to have a pleasant time out in the bush. A high-quality suspension means you don’t really need to worry about anything and won’t feel the dips and the havoc they can bring when using a poor quality suspension. A less than average suspension, especially with offroading, will leave you worrying more about the next bump rather than soaking in the natural beauty and enjoying your trip.
While there are several dedicated off-road caravan suspension brands, it does not mean that labelling their products “off-road” magically gives them the expertise to design and manufacture truly world-class products. There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to suspension design and a lot depends on the path you will drive and the weight of your caravan.
What Is an Off-Road Caravan Suspension System
Any type of chassis on tyres has a suspension system. Different types of suspension systems are meant to handle different kinds of loads. The requirements for a trailer that is only used to carry goods are never going to be as demanding as a full camper trailer or a caravan that carries a much greater weight and sensitive appliances. The goal of a good suspension system for a caravan is to generate proper friction between the road and the tyres and make sure it remains stable.
Among suspension systems, there is a further category of systems specifically designed for off-road use. The suspension requirements for offroading are completely different from caravans that spend the majority of their time on bitumen.
Off-road suspension systems are often independent systems that use the highest quality springs or airbags to keep things comfortable. Leaf spring systems are also used in some cases but only when a limited amount of time is going to be spent on dirt tracks and most of the time is going to be on the bitumen.
Steps to Calculate Forces in an Off-Road Caravan Suspension System
There are 2 parts to a suspension system including springs and dampers. Springs are there to sustain the weight of the vehicle and dampers are there to keep things smooth by opposing the movement of the spring. Essentially, dampers dissipate the heat energy generated by spring movement and keep the vehicle stable.
A variety of forces act on a suspension system including:
- Shock/impact loads
Designing an off-road caravan suspension system right from the scratch takes into account a huge range of parameters such as:
- Motion ratio
- Sprung mass
- Unsprung mass
- Spring stiffness
- Roll centre camber
- Compression ratio
- Contact depth
- Maximum speed
- Contact speed
- Roll Centre
- Centre of gravity
In short, a lot goes into designing an ideal suspension system. While major work is done in theory, the real learnings and design changes happen in the field when the suspension system is tested against various established parameters. The most important factor in the design is the contact depth.
While there are many off-the-shelf systems for off-road caravans, the best suspension system is always going to be the one that’s designed specifically for a particular caravan with a particular maximum load limit and the terrain that it is expected to tackle.
Alpha Suspensions is the premier suspension design and manufacturing company in Australia. We offer a whole range of suspension systems for semi off-road and off-road applications. All of our products are designed in Australia and tested in the Australian outback to ensure the best for our customers. Our products are reliable and cost-effective and carry a ton of unique features to enhance the reliability of the suspension system and to keep providing that comfort for years to come.
Overall, designing an off-road suspension system is a complex job that requires expertise, experience, and the willingness to walk the extra mile to ensure the ultimate comfort for buyers. There are hundreds of off-the-shelf suspension systems available for purchase but not all of those systems have been tested in the real world. In many cases, these systems are designed for on-road use and only a little bit on dirt tracks but if you take them out and give them some punishment on some of Australia’s toughest roads, those systems won’t last long.
Make sure you go through the warranty terms and conditions of these manufacturers. They clearly state the expected usage there to protect them but you won’t find it in big, bold, shiny letters in their sales material, anywhere. This is why it’s always better to choose a company specialising in off-road and semi-off-road applications.
Contact Alpha Suspensions Australia
Alpha Suspensions is the preferred choice of caravan owners for tough conditions. We specialise in designing and building a range of independent suspensions that allow you to experience the whole of Australia without worrying about your caravan suspension. All of our products are cost-effective and reliable.
What makes us different is the testing we carry out before introducing a product to the market. We make sure every single product we sell has been fully tested and stands up to our own tough standards before it ends up in the hands of our customers.
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.