ONE of the most common problems with work vehicles is getting them to ride comfortably and safely under different load conditions. Many 2wd and 4wds are set up to ride beautifully when fully loaded- but will buck like a brumby when empty.
Longtime suspension specialist Ray Johnson says they will kick the driver out of the cab when empty and can be real shockers.
Another problem is setting up standard suspensions to cope with irregular loads, such as heavy toolboxes carried by tradesmen, service techs and farmers.
Mr Johnson, proprietor of Orange Spring and Suspension Pty Ltd in NSW's Central West, says these loads can put terrific strains on standard suspensions, affecting not only vehicle life, but also driver safety. His company is one of a comprehensive network of Ride-Rite dealers around Australia.
Mr Johnson's 20 years of experience with a huge range of working vehicles convinced him of the need for adjustability in suspensions to cope with different loads.
His search for a convenient and cost-efficient solution to the problem led him to Firestone Rite-Rite Air Helper spring kits from All Air Suspensions , which distributes the Ride-Rite product in NSW and the ACT in association with national distributor Airbag Man.
Rite-Rite is designed for light trucks, utes, vans and 4wd work vehicles fitted with conventional leaf-spring suspensions. (Full air conversions are also available for a number of more popular coil-sprung vehicles).
Not only does the Ride-Rite air helper suspension system give better ride and handling - these are the same springs often fitted to luxury 4wds and as original equipment to leading heavy truck brands - but also the air springs can be inflated to different pressures to cope with uneven loads and varying weight distribution.
Instead of contractors, tradesmen and farmers beating the life out of suspensions not designed for the battering dished out by rough roads and building and mine sites, these air springs protect the existing springs and chassis of the vehicle as well as the driver.
By simply adding or removing air they can maintain the same vehicle height under different load conditions. This gives ideal performance and safety from empty to full. Fitted between the chassis and leaf springs, they 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.
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 ground, as in an unloaded vehicle. Ride-Rite kits also have 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.