Tip # 51 , Recent R&D Situation, in Favour of the Air Suspension:

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 30, 2005 at 00:09
ThreadID: 122068 Views:2714 Replies:0 FollowUps:0
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In relation to my new 22’ van… With four trips now under my belt, and my continual R&D way of thinking… This is a second thought follow up on: Tip # 43 for New Owners: Tough Choices on Suspensions, Pros and Cons, a Study.. 200 people have read that, and might miss this follow up afterthought… I was watching how my van moves off-road, and I think I have overlooked something that should have been noticed and stated…

While in general the synopsis of Tip # 43 is that with all the good and bad points I list, I am not sure the Air Bag Independent Load Sharing Suspension is a necessity, more of a luxury item but not at all necessary… OK? We in general do not recommend the Air Bag system.. But then, while watching my own 22’ van moving, I have a new perspective that I thing needs some real consideration, and a recommendation for this specific circumstance of size...

Due to the extreme over hangs front and rear, a Load Sharing Tri-Axle Air Suspension comes into its own at somewhere around the 22’ and up mark. Mind you only with trucks or Ford, Chev, Dodge type long wheelbase tow vehicles, as it would push around a shorter wheelbase.. But here is something interesting: In watching how my own van manoeuvres off-road, I think I will try the Tri-Axle on it if I build it again. Someone that comes in here and wants that exact layout and such might just want my van if they cannot wait. If this happens, or when I build myself another to reflect the state of current technology, I think I would like to try the “Tri”. It could be an advantage, for more lift out on the polar ends while climbing over things. It would also have more floatation with six tyres on the ground, (by floatation meaning load spread on soft terrain), and so it could move over softer ground without sinking in as much.. I think it could bridge the gap and make the larger vans even more “off-road” capable, where some people think they are just a high grade touring van with some off road capability when they get over the 22’ size or so…

As the lead tyre climbed, the load sharing feature with the cross over tubes would allow it to collapse to the bump stops. The ”climbing over obstacles stress”, would be spread over a larger area, and it might actually go more places do to shortening the unsupported overhangs, and the less pressure per square inch on the ground.. (And it would look Cool… Like a Caterpillar… Yea silly, I know..) But in truth, the Tri-Axle load sharing unit would get around a little better on the larger Bushtrackers due to those two points of lessening the overhangs and load spread on the ground… And hey, what about 50% more brakes? There would be a noticeable advantage there as well to feeling the van pull me up a bit more…

Now mind you, this is not proven, only speculation on my part… But I have towed more Bushtrackers than most, so I think the idea has merit. I am going to do it, if someone wants my van or when I replace this van as we have to do every few years to show the current technology… I will do the experiment. Cost for the new Tri-Axle? I will have to figure that out if someone wants it before I do it myself.. But dear.. With the chassis modifications probably around $6-7000 but don't quote me... But for a larger van bigger than 22’ and only towed by larger tow vehicles of course, I think maybe the Air Suspension can come into its own Glory there and worth considering. Now at 22’ it is not necessary, but at some size greater than that, it is starting to look really attractive for more capabilities off-road. At around 22’ a Bushtracker is more of an on road machine, but the advantage of the Tri, may be in extended off-road capabilities for larger vans…. I am sure that even in my own 22’ it would be an advantage, a handicap in the layout for sure, but an advantage crawling around off-road… Worth thinking for those that are considering 24’ and up, as I think it just makes sense…

Kind Regards, from the Ranger at Bushtracker
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