Tip # 43 for New Owners: Tough Choices on Suspensions, Pros and Cons, a Study..

Submitted: Monday, May 30, 2005 at 20:53
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On the air bag suspension, I thought this should be an independent Posting rather than put it in the previous thread, as before I got back to the BOG, there were about 70 viewings that might not see this, so here goes… I will give both sides of the argument from, 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 $4000 with extra chassis work, and I don't think we are charging enough for it to be honest! 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 in R&D for the Truckie types that thought the Air Bag suspension was the ONLY way to go and would not hear of anything else... And they just insisted and demanded it in their vans! After three years of my own experimenting with it on my Ford (now gone) and Mitsubishi horse truck, Vehicle Components stepped up to bat and were the brilliant Contributing Engineers to make it an option for Bushtracker, meeting our requirements... VC have been a real pleasure to work with...

Yes there are advantages: 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.... HOWEVER, I try to give a balanced view on things with 40 years of experience, and the combined Feedback of the Bushtrackers in the field, and ongoing R&D. It really comes down to this: IS IT NECESSARY? I am not sure it is worth the expense when there is nothing wrong with our regular suspension! Yes it has the added advantage of side to side levelling with valves, letting down or pumping up one side only… But 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.. Yes those with it, claim it rides nicer, and is adjustable; but my point is there is nothing wrong with the current suspension that is modified to our requirements that has served us so well for so long!

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 side levelling when you stop, and such as I have mentioned above. Yes, it could help to make the ride easier on the corrugation, but it is still a good idea to drop the tyre pressure when the corrugation is severe... I guess it comes down to money, as it is expensive for not only the airbag suspension but extra chassis work and different tankage arrangements, and valving and wiring and installation. Money no object? And you want the best? Well OK, yes it is better in some respects… But is it necessary? I don’t think so.. I personally did not do it on my latest new van just finished.

About the only other negative potential that I can see: I can say is that while it is the best, there will possibly be some instances of staking of air-bags in the long run. To run with the lighter loads, these airbags are only a fraction of the thickness of the huge ones the Truckies run in the Outback.. So there is the potential of damage to the airbag itself off-road.. Mind you, none have failed yet, but I can see the potential in the longer 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 fully independent and load sharing suspension, and it is tough: So I think it is just not a necessary thing, more like a luxury choice possibly, but not necessary, OK?

Cheers from the “Lone Ranger” at Bushtracker

"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: Bushtracker - Monday, May 30, 2005 at 22:44

Monday, May 30, 2005 at 22:44
There have been a lot of Postings by me of late, and I will try and minimize them to only once a week or so, as a vocal minortiy of a half dozen or so do not want Bushtracker on the BOG, some claiming we are "hogging the site", others having their own other private agenda... Since you have until Wednesday to make your feelings know to the Committee as to whether or now Sponsors stay in the BOG, I thought I would get these last few already written on board, in case we are not welcome in the future.... This is really just me trying to help in a positive way.

There has been a great deal of nice comments sent by private email to Bushtracker, and on the Private Forum by Bushtracker Owners. We would like to Thank all of you that are giving us your support and positive feedback, in the face of only a handful of “Knockers” which we here at Bushtracker can just ignore.. Some of the Tips are just for Bushtracker Owners, as part of our R & D and relates just to Bushtracker, and those are on the Private Forum. The rest are a matter of general interest, and I have done it to be of service here on the Public Forum. I could just as soon Retire with my Quarter Horses, but with 40 years experience developing Independent and Self-Sufficient Lifestyles in Caravans and Yachts and travel worldwide, this continuous and ongoing research is still is what I do for fun; and I am happy to share it. We continue to spend a lot of time, and money, to do a good thing here on the BOG; with absolutely no strings attached. I personally, Steven T. Gibbs, am spending considerable time to do what I see is a “Good Deed” in life, and try to help people who have a common interest in our chosen Lifestyle. We Thank You for your Support, and we will continue to contribute as long as we are welcome.

Kind Regards, da “Lone Ranger” at Bushtracker….
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Follow Up By: jandm - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 at 08:03

Tuesday, May 31, 2005 at 08:03

Why try to minimise your postings to one a week? If you have something to say, then you ought to post it. If a few don't want to read your posting then I am sure they will simply scroll past it. Those of us who derive benefit from your postings will continue to read them.


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Reply By: Rockgoc - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 at 20:39

Tuesday, May 31, 2005 at 20:39
My thoughts exactly! I, and I am sure many others take what we want of STG'S tips and hints and place them in a folder for any future reference. My daughter and her fiance are watching this site with great interest for when they too get their van and hit the frog and toad, and these postings are assisting them no end as to what to have and not to have. Only wish we had the same advantage when we were in the planning stage!
My two cent's worth....over to you...
Jan OI
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