Vehicle suspensions must be set up to match the challenges posed by rapidly changing loads resulting from carrying tanks and other containers of liquids. In addition to preventing damage to tyres and suspensions, this is critical for vehicle safety and longevity.
The problem is particularly acute with 4WDs, utes and light trucks carrying heavy tanks of water, chemicals and fuel in applications as diverse as crop spraying, dust suppression, cleanup equipment as well as vehicle and machinery service on remote roads, farmland and mining and construction sites.
These vehicles have to cope with wide variations in load in addition to extendable booms and pumps that can impose side-to-side stresses.
James Maslin of air helper suspension system specialist All Air Suspension says that steering and braking can be immediately compromised by the widely varying load and poor load distribution encountered when carrying liquids.
This, he says can jeopardise safety as well as place the chassis and tyres under immense pressure by loading distortions.
One solution for vehicles with leaf springs is the Ride-Rite system that incorporates Firestone air springs, which have a lifetime warranty. The brackets are made by AirBag Man to suit a large range of Australian vehicles.
The air springs can be inflated to different pressures to cope with uneven loads and varying weight distribution, says Mr Maslin of All Air Suspension, which is the NSW distributor for Ride-Rite suspension kits manufactured by Airbag Man for leaf spring vehicles.
The easy-to-install Ride-Rite kits are manufactured in Australia and incorporate high quality Firestone airbags identical in construction to the tough Firestone airbags used in the suspensions of trucks and semi-trailers.
Thousands of these suspensions have been installed on scores of vehicle types for more than 15 years.
By simply adding or removing air, drivers of vehicles equipped with the airbag kits can maintain the same vehicle ride height under different load conditions. This gives ideal performance and safety from empty to full. Air can also be added to overcome the imbalance inherent with uneven loads.
Fitted between the chassis and leaf springs, Ride-Rite springs absorb the increasing weight of loads that cause vehicles to sag or lean, resulting in hazardous driving conditions and wear and tear on the vehicle's tyres, suspension and frame.
Mr Maslin comments that Ride-Rite air helper springs work with the existing suspension to re-level loaded vehicles to their ideal configuration, which is with frame and body parallel to the axle as in an unloaded vehicle.
Ride-Rite kits also offer benefits when the vehicle is empty, because the air pressure takes the strain off existing leaf springs, preventing sagging and helping them to last longer.
Ride-Rite springs are inflated by standard workshop compressors or optional onboard compressor systems. They can handle 0-7 bar (0-100 psi) and up to 1500kg each depending on the kit and subject to chassis gross vehicle weight limits.
Complementary kits are also available for coil sprung as well as on board air systems.
Air Springs Supply is Australia’s leading supplier of air springs and associated pneumatic technology for the industrial and transport sectors.