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Air suspension innovations aid comfort and safety

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article image Suspension kits come complete with fittings and brackets manufactured in Australia.

AIRBAG Man has announced a series of new kits designed to improve the ride, durability and safety of some of the most popular work vehicles used for mining, construction, infrastructure, maintenance and service tasks.

The new Ride-Rite kits for leaf-sprung vehicles and On-Air kits for coil-sprung vehicles are tailored to the latest models of vehicles, such as Ford F250 4wd using 5th wheeler attachments and the new Toyota Hilux 4x4s and 4x2 models.

They join the extensive Airbag Man range of more than 100 suspension kits for vehicles up to 30 years old used throughout Australia by operators of rough-riding work vehicles. The suspension kits are used to counter the impact of heavy and uneven loads, second-rate roads and rocky worksites.

"The expanded range encompasses the broad sweep of light trucks, utes, vans and 4wd work vehicles encountered in applications from the city to the outback, from the Bowen Basin and the Hunter Valley right across to the Pilbara," said Airbag Man Managing Director Richard Clamp.

In addition to the most common conversion kits for Landcruiser HZJ Series, Isuzu NPR/NQR models, Mitsubishi Canter and Nissan GU Patrol models, the extensive Airbag Man range includes scores of Ford, Holden, Jeep, Fiat, Iveco, Landrover, Mercedes, Mitsubishi and Vokswagen types, ranging from workaday Falcon and Commodore utes right through to specialist sports and luxury vehicles such as Lexus, Chevrolet Suburban and Dodge Ram.

"We are constantly adding the latest work vehicles but don't focus only on the most sophisticated types, because there are hundreds of maintenance teams and contractors running around in tough leaf-sprung chassis and old faithful vehicles that have proved their worth over decades," said Mr Clamp.

Ride-Rite kits feature the same type of tough Firestone air springs used underneath semi trailers that fit between vehicle chassis and leaf springs to absorb the increasing weight of loads that cause vehicles to sag or lean. This imbalance results in hazardous driving conditions and wear and tear on the vehicle's tyres, suspension and frame.

On-Air kits also correct this problem with coil-spring vehicles, according to Mr Clamp, whose company also engineers full air conversions for a wide range of vehicles.

Airbag Man suspension kits are supplied complete with fittings and brackets manufactured in Australia in response to local design needs.

Not only are the Ride-Rite and On-Air kits designed to give better ride and handling, but their air springs can be inflated to different pressures to cope with uneven loads and varying weight distribution.

The airbags are fully adjustable. By simply adding or removing air they can maintain the same vehicle height under different load conditions. This gives excellent performance and safety from empty to full.

Loading heights can also be adjusted, with the suspensions being raised or lowered by manual inflation/deflation or onboard compressors with in-cab controls. This flexibility can also be an asset when dealing with different ride surfaces, ranging from roadway to soft, muddy and sandy.

On-Air and Ride-Rite 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.

The kits have benefits when the vehicle is loaded or empty, because the air pressure takes the strain off existing metal springs, preventing sagging and helping them to last longer.

A vehicle that rides beautifully with a load can become a bounce box when it's empty. Conversely, a vehicle that is set up more for highway cruising than hard work often has stability problems when it is loaded. Uneven loading will also help shorten its life by stressing the vehicle's chassis and frame. Adjustable air suspensions help overcome these problems.

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