Over the Christmas/New Year holiday season many Australians take to the roads with caravans, trailers and additional loads as they seek out the perfect spots for themselves or their family.
Towing loads and heavy or unevenly loaded vehicles can reveal suspension issues as holidaymakers set out on long journeys. Airbag Man air helper and pure air suspensions are one solution.
But drivers should be careful, says All-Air Suspension General Manager, Mr James Maslin, because prolonged towing trips and heavy loads can show up suspension issues not evident during day-to-day, shorter or unloaded trips. These safety issues can become particularly evident in both family and work vehicles where they are taken out of their usual environment and subjected to rough country roads and Outback odysseys.
“Towing isn’t just a matter of attaching a trailer and away you go. You have to consider the extra strain this is going to put on the vehicle, and make sure you are adequately equipped to handle it, without jeopardising the safety of yourself and your family,” says Mr Maslin. “For all its usefulness, towing will lead to some serious safety concerns if the suspension is not correctly set up to support the load.”
Rugged air-helper suspension kits, such as the example fitted at left to a Toyota Troopie 4wd, are suitable for a wide range of vehicles, including motorhomes. Coil spring kits are also available for most vehicles.
Here are some signs that you’re not hauling safely:
Your suspension is sagging. This can happen at both the front and the back of the vehicle. If one half looks visibly lower than the other, this is called suspension sag and means that the vehicles suspension is not able to cope with the load. Driving with suspension sag leads to extra wear and tear on the vehicle.
Your vehicle is leaning to one side. This can happen when too much of the load is positioned on one side of the vehicle and your suspension isn’t set up to handle the uneven load.
Not providing adequate support for extra loads can cause the vehicle to sag.
Your shock absorbers are wearing out too quickly. Heavier loads will inevitably wear down shock absorbers faster than usual.
You’re over your Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM). This is the maximum operating weight, and is set by the vehicle manufacturer. Exceeding this weight should be avoided at all costs, as it strains the vehicle and is unsafe for the user.
If any of the above scenarios sound familiar, Mr Maslin says it may well be worth considering the solutions offered by All-Air Suspension, which distributes Airbag Man suspension kits throughout NSW (and which can provide Airbag Man contacts for all other States and Territories).
The Firestone airbags used in the Airbag Man kits are outstanding for front-to-rear and side-to-side levelling control of a vehicle. They enable it to “level up” when carrying heavy, uneven loads and when towing trailers, caravans and boats. Users can adjust the airbags for varying loads and road conditions by simply inflating or deflating them, just like inflating or deflating a tyre. Airbag Man also offer a wide range of airbag inflation options.
“The kits also have benefits when the vehicle is loaded or empty, towing or not towing, because the air pressure can be adjusted to suit the load, preventing sagging and helping them to last longer,” says Mr Maslin. This adjustability can be particularly important where a vehicle (such as a 4wd or dual-cab vehicle) doubles up as a work vehicle and as a family vehicle.
All Air Suspension has solutions for both leaf spring and coil springs vehicles, including Leaf Helper kit (left) and High-Pressure Coil Rite kit (right). The air springs do not increase the vehicle’s load capacity – they are designed to optimise the performance, within the vehicle’s limitations. Users should not exceed the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM).
About All Air Suspension
All Air Suspension are Airbag Man’s NSW appointed distributors. All Air’s experienced team will suggest the optimal air suspension solution for any towing or suspension problem, including.
Air suspension kits for leaf springs, designed to fit between a vehicles chassis and the axle or leaf spring to provide levelling control, front-to-rear and side-to-side, when a vehicle is under load. The heavy duty double convoluted airbags are a two ply, reinforced rubber bellows.
Air suspension kits for coil springs, designed to fit inside existing coil springs to provide levelling control to a vehicle when under load. These airbags are made of durable polyurethane, providing years of comfort and stability to a vehicle. High pressure sleeve kits are also available.
Air Control Kits – in addition to the inflation valve facility that comes standard in all Air Suspension Kits, Airbag Man has a large range of complementary On-Board and wireless Air Control kits and components including compressors, portable compressors, tanks, gauges, switches, valves, fittings, tubing and more, that allows greater convenience for inflation and deflation of airbags via portable or on-board air supplies and air controls.