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.
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.
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.