Suspension advice and air bags

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 17, 2005 at 08:32
ThreadID: 121787 Views:3750 Replies:1 FollowUps:0
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Hi All

I am after advice on two suspension related questions:

(1) does anyone have experience with / advice on suspension upgrade / lifting to gain better ground clearance on Holden Suburbans (leaf springs and IFS)? After having crawled under Landcruisers for the last 25 years, getting under a Surburban is a shock to the system when you have to breathe in to move around (yeah, yeah - the verandah over the tool shed has had an extension or two over time but nonetheless the ground is a heck of a lot closer to the Burb's floor!) I have fitted Ultimate Suspension kits to both a 60 and 80 series Cruiser in the past and was continually impressed. However, I also know there are other good set-ups these days from other manufacturers.

(2) use of air bags on both the Surburban or similar vehicles but also on the BT's. I am looking at a 20 ft van.


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Reply By: Bushtracker - Friday, Feb 18, 2005 at 21:55

Friday, Feb 18, 2005 at 21:55
Hello Jim,
I was waiting to see if anyone could help you with the Suburban, but with 80 odd viewings and no replies, you may not be in luck..... However, I would get on the Internet and see some 4x4 Accessories Shops or Suburban Websites on the internet, because I have seen them with beefed up ground clearance but cannot tell you how they do it... There are not enough of them here in Oz...

On the air bag suspension for the Bushtracker, I will give both sides of the argument, as there is not a definitive answer. Yes it is nice, but unless money is not an issue, I am not sure the advantages are there. The upgrade costs $3500 and I don't think we are charging enough for it. But anyway, I spent the years in development and running the air bags in testing on first a Ford F-350 and then a Mitsubishi truck, and then a couple of prototypes for vans, and yes they do give a couple of advantages… But it was more for the Truckie types that thought the Air Bag suspension was the ONLY way to go and would not hear of anything else... And demanded it in their vans... That made me pressure the development....

It does give a nice adjustable ride, and it does give you another compressor to fill tyres, and it does give you a nice ability to do side to side levelling with the air bag pressure being let down one side or the other... And if you had a short overhead clearance to a shed or something, you could drop the suspension down about 100 mm.... But I am not sure it is worth the expense when there is nothing wrong with our regular suspension.... And there is nowhere in Australia that you can't scuff some sand in front of the tyre, or pick up a rock or scrap tree branch to put in front of the tyres to pull up on to level the van side to side, while you are waiting for your Turbo to cool down.. My new van will have the Standard Suspension...

In saying that, if money is not an issue, and you want the best, then yes the Air Bag Suspension is nice improvement and it does make the ride adjustable and it makes for easy side levelling when you stop. It also takes out some of the need to drop down the tyre pressure on the corrugation, but it is still a good idea to do so when the corrugation is severe... I guess it comes down to money... Money no object and you want the best, well OK... I personally did not do it on my latest new van being finished now.. Probably because I am a Dinosaur Engineer, with the KISS principle of “Keep It Simple Stupid”, Ha! And in general I like the "tuff tried and true". About the only other thing I can say is that while it is the best, there will no doubt be some instances of staking of air-bags in the long run. All in all, it is nice, but a personal choice that may come down to just dollars of which way to go.... Money not a problem, then go for the best. But there is nothing wrong with our Standard Fully Independent and Load Sharing suspension, and it has proven itself tough for over eight years now...

Cheers from the “Lone Ranger” at Bushtracker, Ha!

"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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