Innovation

What Best Type Caravan Suspension Corrugations

What Is The Best Type Of Caravan Suspension For Corrugations?

Have you ever taken a caravan off-road and experienced the juddering, bone-crunching feeling of corrugations on the road? Have you noticed how when you’re going faster over them, the ride feels smoother? What you may not realise is that at high speeds, that smooth ride comes at the expense of strain on your caravan suspension.

Corrugations Put Stress On Your Vehicle

Corrugations are caused by a combination of soft terrain, wind, and traffic. They’re common on relatively busy stretches of road, particularly dirt roads. If you encounter short stretches of corrugations, your best option is to slow down to reduce the risk of damage to your vehicle. 

Unfortunately, the ride won’t be comfortable for you or your passengers, but you’ll put less stress on the suspension. The last thing you want on a long off-road trip is a cracked or damaged suspension when you’re in the middle of nowhere and miles away from help.

You can alleviate some of the stress that corrugations put on your vehicle by running lower tyre pressures, but the real work will need to be done by the suspension, and that’s why the choice of suspension matters so much. Even ignoring the mechanics, the difference between single vs independent axles is clearly noticeable when you’re driving in such difficult conditions.

Choosing The Right Suspension For Off-Road Use

There are several types of caravan suspensions, but some of the most common are:

  • Single axle/axle and leaf spring
  • Al-Ko independent axles
  • Independent coils
  • Air assisted

Of these, single axle suspensions are affordable and relatively easy to maintain. They don’t offer the smoothest ride, but they do have the benefit of being simple and cheap. Springs tend to flatten out after about 50,000 miles of riding, and they could break on heavy corrugations. However, if you are a motoring enthusiast and you pack a spare spring, you should be able to fix suspension issues yourself.

What Best Type Caravan Suspension Corrugations

Rubberised independent axles are relatively maintenance-free and long-lasting. This type of suspension was popular in Europe and has only recently started being seen on Australian vehicles. The axles need less hands-on care and maintenance, but when they do need servicing it’s a more specialised job.

Independent coils tend to last much longer even in rough conditions and should be able to handle the abuse of long stretches of road with corrugations. They offer a far more pleasant overall experience and are still reasonably easy to maintain.

Air-assisted suspension is hugely popular with outback tourers and offers the smoothest ride of all. However, this type of suspension is harder to maintain on the road. It’s important to make sure the pipes and compressor are properly protected to prevent damage from hard debris or impacts.

At Alpha Suspensions, we have a variety of suspensions to choose from, including tough and durable independent suspensions made with the toughest conditions in mind. These suspensions can handle long stretches of corrugated road, and make the transition to dirt or firmer tracks smoother too.

Drive The Conditions, Not Your Schedule

Whatever type of suspension you choose for your caravan, it’s still vital to respect nature. When you’re taking an off-road journey, you can’t afford to take risks. If the road conditions are difficult, slow down and drive carefully, otherwise, your trip could be cut short due to damaged suspension.

If you are looking for the most reliable caravan suspensions in Australia, look no further than Alpha Suspensions.

Please call us today on 1800 325 742 and get a free quote for any on or off-road caravan suspension requirements you may have or you can leave an inquiry.

How Caravan Suspension Work

How Does Caravan Suspension Work?

Caravans are large, heavy vehicles that are frequently used by people who don’t have a lot of experience driving anything bigger than a car. They’re often taken off-road, adding to the challenges of keeping them under control. Because of this, caravans need to be well-designed and easy to handle, and that means good responsive caravan suspension.

What Is Suspension?

Suspension systems make travelling in a vehicle more comfortable by keeping the vehicle a safe distance above the road, absorbing shocks, and making the vehicle feel more stable. They usually consist of a spring and a damper. The spring compresses and extends based on the movement of the vehicle, while the dampers absorb excess energy, stopping the vehicle from bouncing around out of control.

What Sort Of Suspension Do Caravans Have?

Because caravans are so large and heavy, and people often drive long distances in them, a caravan suspension system needs to be able to handle large amounts of energy. This means the springs need to be strong enough to withstand repeated compression and extension. In addition, the dampers need to be able to handle repeated use.

Dampers convert the energy from the springs into heat. The longer the drive, the more heat they need to be able to cope with. This is one thing that sets high-quality suspension systems apart from lower quality brands.

The most common suspension systems seen on caravans are:

  • Live Axle/Solid Axle suspension
  • Independent axle suspension
  • Leaf Spring suspension
  • Airbag suspension

How Caravan Suspension Work

How Does Caravan Suspension Work?

Live axle suspension systems use a single axle with wheels on each end and are often used together with leaf springs. This type of suspension is popular for on-road caravans which aren’t under a lot of strain. It generally works well and offers a smooth ride, but does tend to sag over time.

Independent suspension systems use two shorter axles that, as the name suggests, operate independently of each other. This allows for more ground clearance, and also works well in unstable conditions, because if one wheel hits a pothole or a bump in the road, the other wheel’s suspension doesn’t move.

Independent suspension has good shock-absorbing properties and can help to promote good toe and camber, stopping the wheels from leaning too much in varying conditions. The challenge with independent suspension is that the springs may become overly compressed, and need to be replaced.

Leaf spring suspension has been used by caravan and other large vehicle manufacturers for around a century. It’s a technology that people stick with because it works. Modern manufacturers have made some tweaks – improving on the materials used to make them lighter and more durable, but the basic design remains the same.

Airbag suspension uses air instead of springs. Rubber bags of pressurised air respond to the changing terrain and allow the caravan to bounce up and down. This kind of suspension is more expensive and needs regular maintenance because there needs to be an air cylinder or compressor to supply air to the suspension. The trade-off is that the suspension gives a very smooth ride even in the most challenging of conditions.

Choosing Suspension For Your Caravan

Many manufacturers choose trailer suspension that mimics that used in cars, even though trailers rarely have passengers in them. It’s important for caravans to offer the level of comfort of cars, for the benefit of the riders in the cab, but for trailers, this is less important.

If you’re considering upgrading the suspension on your caravan, look for something that can handle the weight of the vehicle, the conditions that you’re going to be driving it in, and the strain you will put it under. Thermal dissipation is important for long journeys, and good toe and camber is important for off-road use.

If you are looking for the most reliable caravan suspensions in Australia, look no further than Alpha Suspensions.

Please call us today on 1800 325 742 and get a free quote for any on or off-road caravan suspension requirements you may have or you can leave an inquiry.

What Are The Different Types Of Caravan Suspension Systems

What Are The Different Types Of Caravan Suspension Systems?

Caravans are an excellent way for you and your family to explore different places throughout Australia. Every caravan has a suspension system which plays an important role when it comes to cushioning the ride thus making the ride more comfortable for passengers. A good caravan suspension absorbs road shocks and prevents these forces from being directly transmitted to the caravan. 

There are several different types of caravan suspension systems, including the following:

1).  Rigid Axle Suspension

The rigid axle suspension system is one of the earliest suspension systems and was primarily used in the early stages of the automobile industry. The suspension system has successfully stood the test of time and can still be found in some off-road caravan brands.

A rigid axle suspension system is easy to manufacture and install. It might offer less comfort, but it is simple and cost-effective. It has lower maintenance needs compared to other advanced suspension systems but is still robust and has a massive load capacity.

2). Leaf Spring Suspension

The leaf spring suspension system is one of the oldest types of suspensions and can still be found in many off-road caravans. It is far more cost-effective than the majority of suspension systems currently in existence.

Leaf spring suspensions are often used for light trailers and are an excellent option when it comes to absorbing blows from rough spots on the road. Still, even with all their popularity leaf spring suspensions aren’t recommended for heavy-duty use.

3). Trailing-Arm Suspension

Trailing-arm suspension systems were originally used in aircraft landing gears, but are currently used extensively in ground vehicles too. A trailing arm suspension has a link or arm that connects the trailer’s axle to a pivot point on the chassis.

The trailing arm is located at the rear of the trailer’s axle and is perpendicular to it. The use of independent trailing-arm suspensions on the trailer allows every wheel to move independently and vertically to ensure a comfortable ride.

What Are The Different Types Of Caravan Suspension Systems

4). Air Suspension

Air suspension systems have been used in ground vehicles since the 1980s. The air suspension is the result of making a slight change in the trailing-arm suspension. Instead of using steel springs such as those used in trailing-arm suspensions, bellows made of textile-infused rubber, known as air springs or airbags/bellows are used.

The air springs bear the load of the trailer in air suspensions as opposed to the steel springs in the trailing-arm suspensions. Air suspension systems are an excellent choice for caravans as they perform well on all kinds of terrain. However, to modify the pressure according to the terrain, you must first have an air cylinder or air compressor with you.

5). Rubber Suspension

Rubber suspension systems are lightweight and relatively simple suspensions. A rubber suspension system is essentially a torsion arm suspension. The torsion arm is attached to the trailer’s frame, and inside contains a heat-treated inner bar that’s surrounded by 3 or 4 rubber cords.

Once a load is applied, the inner bar rotates and this causes rolling compressive resistance in the rubber cords. Rubber suspension systems are independent too just like the trailing-arm suspension systems and the rubber cushioning eliminates metal-to-metal contact.

Final Thoughts 

It can be difficult to choose the right caravan suspension system for you if you don’t know about the different types available. Fortunately, the different types of caravan suspension systems currently available have been featured here to help you make a more informed purchase decision.

Still, it is a good idea to discuss the various options with a professional or someone experienced in suspensions before you make a final decision. If you are wondering which suspension is best suited to you, keep in mind that it will all depend on the application.

If you are looking for the most reliable caravan suspensions in Australia, look no further than Alpha Suspensions.

Please call us today on 1800 325 742 and get a free quote for any on or off-road caravan suspension requirements you may have or you can leave an inquiry.

How Prevent Caravan Suspension From Getting Rusty

How To Prevent Caravan Suspension From Getting Rusty

Caravans, by their very nature, spend a lot of time exposed to the elements. Rust on the body can be an eyesore, but corrosion that attacks the caravan suspension and chassis can be a serious safety concern. If you have any concerns about your caravan chassis, please continue reading below.

How Long Should A Caravan Suspension Last?

Many caravans are classed similarly as light commercial vehicles. These types of vehicles endure very high mileage and are usually scrapped or replaced before the suspension starts to rust. Caravan owners, on the other hand, likely only use their vehicles for a couple of holidays a year and the odd long weekend here and there. 

Most people only travel less than 5,000 kilometres per year in their caravans, even though they are rated to be able to do far more than that. It’s not unreasonable to expect a caravan to last up to 20 years if it’s cared for properly.

Caravan and trailer suspension mechanisms have barely changed in a century because the old leaf-style designs work well however, they have evolved from leaf spring to coil spring as well as airbags, similar to automotive. 

With proper maintenance, caravan suspensions can be expected to last for many years. The challenge is stopping rust before it sets in. Once corrosion starts to take hold, it spreads easily.

Preventing Rust On Your Caravan Suspension

Rusting is a reaction known as oxidation. This occurs when iron (or another ferrous metal) reacts with water and oxygen, forming hydrated iron oxide. For rust to happen, the metal must come into contact with water and oxygen. If either of those things is missing, rusting won’t happen.

So, to prevent rust, you need to protect your caravan from the things that cause it.

  • Clean your caravan using a specialised soap to remove salt deposits after off-road use
  • Use an oil or wax treatment on areas that are exposed to the elements
  • Have the underside of your vehicle jet washed every year
  • Inspect and treat the caravan every year, paying particular attention to where dissimilar metals meet

How Prevent Caravan Suspension From Getting Rusty

What To Do If Corrosion Is Already Happening?

It’s good practice to thoroughly check over your caravan every year, cleaning it, closing vents, and taking the time to treat and repair any issues that are found. If possible, pay a professional to elevate the van so that the suspension, axles and other areas can be properly inspected.

While the caravan is elevated, have the suspension cleaned. Individual parts will need different treatments using pressure washers, compressed air, a wire brush or just simple hand cleaning. Small areas of rust can be cleaned and treated, but anything that is showing serious signs of damage should be removed and replaced.

Don’t forget to remove the wheels and look behind and under large parts. It’s the areas that you can’t see that are at the most risk of damage. Once the suspension is fully cleaned, it can be treated with wax or oil to protect it from the elements.

Be sure to read the instructions on any rust-inhibiting products you use, and to only apply them to the right components. Mask up any areas that should not be exposed to rust inhibitors, such as plastic or rubber areas that may be damaged by certain treatments.

Corrosion is Inevitable But Can Be Slowed

Rust is a scientific inevitability. Unless the caravan is kept in a climate-controlled environment, certain parts will eventually start to corrode. With proactive care, however, the rate of corrosion can be reduced dramatically, giving you a lifetime of use out of your caravan.

If you are looking for the most reliable caravan suspensions in Australia, look no further than Alpha Suspensions.

Please call us today on 1800 325 742 and get a free quote for any on or off-road caravan suspension requirements you may have or you can leave an inquiry.

Quick Guide Choosing Best Caravan Off-Road Suspension System

Quick Guide To Choosing The Best Caravan Off-Road Suspension System

Are you planning on some serious off-road caravanning? Do you understand the difference between on-road and off-road caravan suspensions? Do you want to have the smoothest ever experience while experiencing the beauty of Australia? 

You can take your current caravan with its current suspension anywhere you wish but if the caravan suspension isn’t designed to handle rough terrain, you’re not going to have the best time out there. 

Following is what you need to know about the various types of off-road caravan suspension systems.

Why Is Off-Road Suspension So Important?

First and foremost,  we need to make it clear that every suspension system sporting an ‘off-road’ sticker isn’t necessarily designed to handle the vagaries of rough and rugged country roads. 

There are plenty of entry-level systems that might look impressive to someone who doesn’t understand the difference between the spring and the shock absorber however, they are not really built for hundreds of kilometres of travel on the dusty and bumpy outback roads of Australia. 

If you are planning to stay off the bitumen for long distances and soak up the natural beauty Australia has to offer, you need to understand the different types of off-road suspension systems available today and how to go about choosing the best one.

1. Rigid Axle

These are simple in design and have been used since the early days of the automotive industry. The term rigid indicates that the left and right wheels are not independent and are connected with a rigid bar of metal. 

The beam axle suspension can be made to handle heavy loads by increasing the weight of the beam axle significantly which, in turn, makes the ride much more uncomfortable. These are good for on-road conditions but are not really designed for rough terrain.

2. Leaf Spring

Most caravans have this type of suspension system as it’s inexpensive compared to other options. The leaf springs do a good job of keeping your caravan and everything inside it stable when dealing with rough spots on the blacktop but these are not really meant for the outback. 

Even though they are widely used in many heavy-duty vehicles, it doesn’t have the shock absorption capacity you need for bumpy dirt roads.

Quick Guide Choosing Best Caravan Off-Road Suspension System

3. Semi-Rigid Axle

As the name suggests, this suspension system doesn’t connect the right and left wheels and allows both the wheels to act independently which provides more stability. This is known as an independent suspension system as the left and right wheels are not connected.

This is a much better option for off-roading compared to the above-mentioned options but you still need something more robust and sturdier for rugged terrain.

4. Trailing Arm Independent System

These systems are designed for limited off-roading. These are better than beam axle or leaf spring systems. With this type of suspension system, you shouldn’t have any problem in taking your caravan to National Parks and other popular tourist destinations. 

However, these are not designed or designated for long distances on outback highways such as the Plenty Highway, Oodnadatta Track and other such terrains. The biggest problem with this and the above-mentioned options is that the shock absorbers or the dampers can’t really stand the heat generated when subjected to long hours of undulations and corrugations in the road.

5. Airbag Suspension System

If you are searching for a really premium solution that allows you to take to your caravan anywhere, this is the suspension system you want. This system allows you to raise or lower either side. 

The airbag suspension system is much more flexible and offers a number of advantages over the traditional coil spring systems as you can lower the caravan when on the road and raise it when you are caravanning off-road.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, there are a number of options when it comes to off-road caravan suspension systems but most of the suspension systems sold as off-road systems aren’t really meant for true off-roading. 

If you carefully check the fine print on the terms and conditions of their brochures or on their websites, you’ll find that most of these systems are not designed to sustain heavy landings or hard impact or for use on four-wheel-drive tracks. 

If you want a true off-road caravan suspension system, consider investing in an airbag suspension system or an independent suspension system made from the highest quality components that won’t fail after just a few hundred kilometres.

If you are looking for the most reliable caravan suspension in Australia, look no further than Alpha Suspensions. 

Please call us today on 1800 325 742 and get a free quote for any on or off-road caravan suspension requirements you may have or you can leave an inquiry.

 

What Makes Good Caravan Suspension

What Makes A Good Caravan Suspension?

Are you planning to buy a caravan? Are you aware of the importance of a good caravan suspension? Do you know what makes a good caravan suspension? Following is what you need to know about choosing the right caravan suspension for the ultimate caravanning adventure.

Suspension is often overlooked when it comes to caravan purchases. However, it is vitally important to understand what it is and why it is so important. Suspension is what sits between the tires and the entire weight of your caravan and towing vehicle. It is what keeps things stable inside the caravan as you travel. 

Suspension keeps you safe from bumps when you take your caravan out on the road, particularly when off-road. If you have already shelled out tens of thousands of dollars on a caravan, you are wasting your money by choosing a cheap quality suspension.

Where Do You Plan To Take Your Caravan? 

The choice of suspension depends a lot on the conditions your caravan will have to face. If you don’t plan to go off-road and feel your caravan will always be on the road, there is no point in spending extra money on independent suspension as the regular leaf spring beam axle setup is usually enough for on-road travel. 

However, if you are planning to go off-road and enjoy the countless adventures Australia has to offer, it is best to invest in a system where every wheel is able to move independently along with the bumps and dips of the terrain. 

Such systems ensure that only the wheel that encounters a bump moves without any effect on the other wheels. This will help to keep your ride smooth and keep your things inside the caravan completely stable. Of course, you will have to pay extra for this but the comfort you will enjoy is almost priceless. 

While many prefer the full off-road experience, there are others who venture into the grey area of semi-off-road caravanning. Think of it as taking your caravan on some gravel or dirt roads with the majority of the time spent on the road. In short, you are not going to the extremes but at times, the suspension will need that extra support. 

In such cases, suspension upgrades are recommended and there are independent coil setups that can be bought for this type of caravanning. You also have the option of installing a load sharing roller rocker system which is designed for semi-off-road conditions and performs equally well on the road.

What Makes Good Caravan Suspension

Take Care Of The Weight

One of the biggest mistakes people make is they put anything and everything they want in their caravan without thinking about the overall weight capacity of the caravan suspension system. You want your life inside the van to be comfortable but that does not mean that you can just throw anything you want into your van. 

It is important to understand how much weight your caravan can take on safely and stick to that limit. If you are unsure, go to a weighbridge and find out how much weight you can still add to the vehicle. It is much better to do this if you feel you are pushing towards the maximum weight.

Quality Of Components

Another common mistake people make is they do not pay attention to the quality of the components of their suspension system even when they have done their research in choosing the right suspension system. The quality of your suspension system is the single most important element of your entire caravan, so don’t scrimp on costs.

At the end of the day, you should make sure that the bushes, shackled bolts and the centre rocker arm are made from high-quality materials as these are the components that are subject to the most wear and tear. You do not want to end up in a situation where the springs collapse and the bushes are worn out as you will then have to replace the whole system.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, choosing the right suspension system depends on where you plan to take your caravan. If you’re planning to spend a majority of your time on sealed roads and gravel roads, the regular beam axle leaf spring suspension setup should work fine. However, if you want to go off-road, and remain comfortable, consider investing in an independent suspension system. 

And remember, don’t scrimp. Choosing a cheap suspension system will eventually cost you a lot more as you will need to replace it much earlier compared to a quality independent system. Worse still, your suspension could fail you when you’re in the middle of nowhere – and this is the last thing you want to happen! 

If you are looking for the most reliable caravan suspension in Australia, look no further than Alpha Suspensions. 

Please call us today on 1800 325 742 and get a free quote for any on or off-road caravan suspension requirements you may have or you can leave an inquiry.

 

What Best Type Caravan Suspension Corrugations

What Suspension System Is Usually Used For A Caravan?

Even though a suspension system plays a vitally important role when taking your caravan on an adventure, it is usually the last element people think about. Because this is a component that isn’t readily visible, it makes sense that people don’t pay it much thought. 

However, why are caravan suspension systems so important and what type of systems are usually used for a caravan? Whether you are about to hire or buy a caravan, these are very important questions to ask. 

Please keep reading as we explore this topic in more detail below:

What Suspension System Is Usually Used For A Caravan?

There are several different types of suspension systems, but the one you are most likely to find in the average caravan is called the Leaf Spring Tandem Suspension. Not only is it cost-effective, but it does a great job in general. 

Other suspension systems you may find on a caravan are: 

  • Rigid Axle Suspension: One of the first and trusted suspension systems (mostly used for on-road caravans)
  • Semi-Rigid Axle Suspension: Allows independent movement between the left and right wheel 
  • Trailing Arm Suspension: Great for off-road caravans 
  • Airbag Suspension: A modern system to replace the coil spring systems 

What Is The Purpose Of Caravan Suspension? 

If you were to associate a suspension system with a single word, the best association would be “absorption”. More specifically, the suspension allows the wheels of the caravan to move without moving the caravan itself. 

This literally absorbs all the little shocks that come from bumps or other inconsistent driving surfaces, like dirt roads where you can find potholes. Here are some examples of how a suspension system adds to the quality of your trip: 

  • Stability: You cannot take any chances when towing a caravan, and a suspension system is crucial to keep the caravan stable while in motion
  • Control: When a bump or pothole causes the caravan to jolt, the suspension allows you to safely maintain control of your vehicle
  • Safety: Your number one priority should always be safety, and the right suspension directly caters for this priority

What Suspension System Usually Used Caravan

The Main Difference Between On And Off-Road Suspension 

One of the first things you have to think about when buying or hiring a caravan is where you will be towing it. If you love nature and outdoor activities such as camping, it is recommended to look for caravans with off-road suspension systems. These are specifically designed to handle tougher terrains that are not paved or used on a regular basis. 

Alternatively, you can shop for caravans with on-road suspension systems if you are going to stick to sealed roads. And just because on-road systems do not face the same challenges as off-road systems, this does not mean you should compromise on the quality.  

Why Is Quality Suspension So Important? 

  • Wear and tear: 

Certain sections of the suspension system, especially off-road designs, are going to suffer from different levels of wear and tear depending on how much you travel. If these components (bushes, shackle bolts, centre rocker arm) are not quality, they can fail in mid-drive and compromise your safety. 

  • Overall safety: 

You need to be able to trust the suspension system on and off-road for overall safety. As mentioned, the suspension plays a critical part in terms of control and stability. Without these, your trip can be cut short pretty quickly. 

  • A Smooth Ride: 

There is no question that you want to enjoy the scenery along the way, don’t you? Well, the suspension is responsible for giving you a smooth ride, which means you have more fun on the road.

Even though the Leaf Spring Tandem Suspension is the most widely used system for caravans, make sure it can handle where you want to go. At the same time, make sure it is a quality system that won’t let you down along the way.

If you are looking for the most reliable caravan suspension in Australia, look no further than Alpha Suspensions. 

Please call us today on 1800 325 742 and get a free quote for any on or off-road caravan suspension requirements you may have or you can leave an inquiry.

Difference Between Off-road On-road Caravan Suspension

What Is The Difference Between Off-road And On-road Caravan Suspension?

Are you planning to buy a new caravan? Are you aware of the importance of suspension in a caravan? Are you aware of the major differences between on-road and off-road caravan suspension

A caravan that is designed to be driven primarily on bitumen usually doesn’t have adequate suspension for off-roading. If you take this type of caravan on dirt roads where you’re likely to encounter bumps and potholes, you’re going to have a tough time out there.

That is why it is recommended to invest in a good quality off-road suspension system when you are going to spend a majority of your caravanning time off-road. Let’s take a look below at the various types of caravan suspension systems:

Different Types of Suspension Systems

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of different types of caravan suspension systems, it is important for you to understand exactly what these systems are and why they are necessary for your caravan. 

As you might be aware, the goal of a suspension system is to absorb the bumps and potholes on the road. The suspension system needs to be strong enough to keep everything inside the caravan stable and safe. 

A suspension system primarily consists of a spring and the shock absorber. The spring is elastic and comes into play during compression as well as extension. The compression happens when the vehicle hits a bump and the extension happens when the vehicle hits a pothole in the ground. The springs absorb this energy and transfer it to the shock absorber or damper. 

The goal of a damper is to convert this energy into heat or thermal energy in order to dissipate that energy. This is why dampers or shock absorbers need to be capable of handling a large amount of heat.

Basic Types

The two basic types of suspension systems include a live-axle suspension system and an independent suspension system. The live axle is also known as a solid axle where there is one single rod with a wheel on either end. These live axle suspension systems are typically supported by leaf springs.

Another type of suspension system is the independent suspension system where there are 2 shorter axles that are not interconnected. In short, every wheel is independent and the movement of one wheel does not get transferred to the other wheel. Typically, an independent suspension system offers better ground clearance and better wheel alignment.

Difference Between Off-road On-road Caravan Suspension

Here are the major differences between off-road and on-road caravan suspension:

On-Road Caravan Suspension

 

On-road caravans are essentially semi-off-road caravans which means they are designed to be taken off the road at times but you can’t go fully off-road with these. This is due to the reason that these are not designed to handle extremely rough trails or conditions. 

The caravan suspension essentially works like your car suspension. In the case of caravans designed for semi-off-road conditions, the spring is usually the typical leaf spring. In the case of smaller trailers, the suspension consists of only the springs and no shock absorbers or dampers are there as the leaf spring also doubles as a damper.

Off-Road Caravan Suspension

Off-road caravan suspension is typically an independent suspension system where each wheel works independently and does not transfer movement to the other wheel. These are perfect for rough terrains as each wheel moves independently. 

As far as the choice of springs in an independent suspension is concerned, most independent suspension systems make use of coil suspensions or airbag suspension. The airbag suspension system allows a lot of flexibility and is capable of handling any kind of terrain. The airbag suspension systems tend to be more expensive compared to coil spring systems.

Things That Really Matter

Now that you are aware of the major differences between on-road and off-road caravan suspension systems, you are probably thinking that all you need to do is get the right suspension system and everything will be fine regardless of the terrain. 

The fact is that regardless of the suspension system you choose, you need to ensure proper weight distribution and solid tuning as, without these, no suspension system will succeed. If you have a heavy trailer where weight isn’t properly distributed, the suspension system won’t be able to do much.

Summary

Overall, an independent suspension system is typically better than a live-axle suspension system but also costs a bit more. It is recommended to get an independent system if you plan to spend a lot of time off-roading.

However, if you plan to stay primarily on the bitumen, the extra expense isn’t really worth it as the live axle leaf spring system usually works fine on the road.

If you are looking for the most reliable caravan suspension in Australia, look no further than ALPHA SUSPENSION. 

Please call us today on 1800 325 742 and get a free quote for any on or off-road caravan suspension requirements you may have or you can leave an inquiry.

What Causes Caravan Suspension Problems? 

Every caravan has a suspension, which is the system of parts responsible for holding it up, absorbing bumps, and allowing for easier steering. The suspension will eventually wear out slowly, but with periodic inspection and proper maintenance, you will minimise any minor issues from occurring.

However, caravan suspension systems may fail suddenly and dramatically. Sometimes it can be a matter of only a few inches until metal touches metal. The sudden failure of a suspension system is known as a collapse and is typically the result of a spring or other weight-bearing part breaking.

The good thing is that suspension systems rarely collapse. Still, it does happen and here are the top 5 reasons why your caravan’s suspension system may fail/collapse:

1). Road Bumps

If you are the kind of person that is not afraid of speed or road bumps, you are likely to soon find yourself having to deal with caravan suspension problems. The faster you go over these road hazards the harder it usually is on the springs.

If you hit a bad road bump at high speeds, you may end up breaking the suspension spring right there and then. If you hit the bump hard enough, you may actually end up breaking multiple suspension springs. To protect your caravan’s suspension, go over bumps slowly.

2). Overweight

Your caravan has weight restrictions and if you ever make the mistake of overloading past the manufacturer recommended weight restrictions, the suspension system will be compromised by the excess weight.

The result is that your suspension springs will be damaged and you may also end up wearing out your tyres more quickly. An overloaded caravan is also capable of breaking a completely new suspension spring, which is why it is advisable to stick to the caravan’s load limits.

What Causes Caravan Suspension Problems

3). Age-Related Wear and Tear

Your caravan’s suspension system bends and vibrates constantly when it is in motion, particularly when the road isn’t smooth. It is only natural that this constant movement will weaken the suspension system over time.

Suspension systems, however, don’t usually collapse until they are really old. Still, if your suspension system has been weakened by any of the above, it may eventually collapse, due, in part, to age-related wear and tear.

4). Rust

If you live in a naturally humid climate, your suspension system is likely to rust much faster, but all suspension system components will eventually rust. It is nothing to be worried too much about since it is a natural chemical process that occurs once water meets air.

It’s natural that you will drive through puddles as well inclement weather, and the water collected doesn’t dry immediately. Over time, your suspension system components will rust and perhaps even break as the rust will eventually eat through it.

5). Wheel Bearings

If you live in an area near the sea, or an area that experiences large amounts of wet weather and moisture, water could get into your caravan’s wheel bearings and displace the grease. This makes your wheel bearings wear out faster than usual due to the lack of lubrication.

Worn-out wheel bearings can affect the wheels’ ability to rotate smoothly which means it can be dangerous when maneuvering over bumps or turning corners or travelling at slow speeds and taking off, as the wheels can lock. This can be extremely hazardous so it’s important to ensure that your wheel bearings are regularly lubricated.

Final Thoughts

Caravan suspension problems can be due to any of the factors discussed above. If you are having an unusually bumpy ride in your caravan, you should consider whether any of the factors discussed here could be responsible.

If you discover that your suspension system is indeed faulty, you should consider taking the caravan to a competent caravan suspension professional for proper diagnosis and resolution as opposed to undertaking the repairs needed yourself.

If you are looking for the most reliable caravan suspension in Australia, look no further than ALPHA SUSPENSIONS. 

Please call us today on 1800 325 742 and get a free quote for any on or off-road caravan suspension requirements you may have or you can leave an inquiry.

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Australian Designed and Made Tested in Australian Outback

We offer independent suspensions for off-road and semi off-road applications For people who want to travel to many of our parks or nature reserves, Alpha Suspensions is a great choice. These are independent and multi-terrain suspension, it’s reliable and cost-effective. It also has many unique features including a highly effective top bump stop, to protect the spring and the shock absorber popping out.