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CHASSIS AND SUSPENSION DESIGN AND RATINGS

WORDS PHILIP LORD, IMAGES VARIOUS/RV DAILY

It’s all well and good if the van body and chassis are well designed and engineered, but all this falls down if the suspension is not set up correctly or if the chassis is not correctly rated for the load it is intended to carry. There are some questions you should raise with the dealer to clarify how well the van’s suspension is tuned to suit the specific caravan design.

If the suspension is not designed and built by the caravan manufacturer, is it just a generic suspension tune or were spring rates calculated (and where applicable, damper rates) to match the van’s characteristics?

For a non-load-sharing tandem-axle suspension, has a safety factor been incorporated in the load rating of the axles? If so, how is it determined? Is the Axle-Group Rating at least 1.2 times the GTM Rating, as required under VSB1?

If the caravan has a non-load-sharing suspension system, is the front wheel/tyre set strong enough to withstand hard impacts?

GUIDE Caravan design and engineering – Part 3

Correct position of water tanks is a hallmark of a well-engineered caravan

If a repairer isn’t paid fairly for their work, we understand that this will reflect in the quality of their work. And if the repair isn’t done to the right standard, that results in rework and additional cost, not to mention frustrated customers. 

That’s why, at Club 4X4, we pride ourselves on having developed a network of repairers that we know we can trust to get 4WD repairs done right. We also give you the option to choose your own repairer. Because should something happen and your vehicle needs repairs, our priority is to make sure your Rig drives, looks, and feels just like it did before.

If you love your 4X4, insure it with an organisation that understands you, your vehicle, and the importance of getting things right.

Call 1800 258 249 or visit club4x4.com.au

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Apollo says it ensures suspension is engineered with the appropriate load ratings, “as are all critical design elements, including drawbar, chassis, axles, wheels and brakes.”

Zone RV says that it takes a lot of time and effort to make sure that the chassis design is fit for purpose and work with suspension suppliers that utilise similar software with the ability to share models to make this integration seamless.

Ezytrail sources suspension components from Pedders, and says that in co-operation with the Aussie suspension company ”we can now tailor spring rates as well as shock absorber compression and rebound dampening forces to specifically match the rated load of a particular product and provide improved handling characteristics across all driving scenarios.”

As for the chassis, if it was built by a supplier rather than the manufacturer itself, does it have a placard noting its maximum (GTM and axle group) ratings? These ratings should meet or exceed the caravan’s GTM rating.

Ezytrail warrants its new chassis for a lifetime (for orginal owner)

Interesting to see the static stress areas on the Ezytrail arm

WHAT’S THE RISK OF NOT HAVING A WELL-ENGINEERED CARAVAN?
Damage and wear can be accelerated as a result of poor or insufficient design and engineering. With the impacts from the road surface, body panels and cabinetry can crack or loosen on a van where those impacts have not been accounted for in the CAD/CAE design and engineering stage. Leaks and accelerated wear are inevitable, as are the potential for even more series issues, such as chassis or A-frame cracks.

GUIDE Caravan design and engineering – Part 3

CHASSIS AND SUSPENSION DESIGN AND RATINGS

It’s all well and good if the van body and chassis are well designed and engineered, but all this falls down if the suspension is not set up correctly or if the chassis is not correctly rated for the load it is intended to carry. There are some questions you should raise with the dealer to clarify how well the van’s suspension is tuned to suit the specific caravan design.

If the suspension is not designed and built by the caravan manufacturer, is it just a generic suspension tune or were spring rates calculated (and where applicable, damper rates) to match the van’s characteristics?

For a non-load-sharing tandem-axle suspension, has a safety factor been incorporated in the load rating of the axles? If so, how is it determined? Is the Axle-Group Rating at least 1.2 times the GTM Rating, as required under VSB1?

If the caravan has a non-load-sharing suspension system, is the front wheel/tyre set strong enough to withstand hard impacts?

Correct position of water tanks is a hallmark of a well-engineered caravan

If a repairer isn’t paid fairly for their work, we understand that this will reflect in the quality of their work. And if the repair isn’t done to the right standard, that results in rework and additional cost, not to mention frustrated customers. 

That’s why, at Club 4X4, we pride ourselves on having developed a network of repairers that we know we can trust to get 4WD repairs done right. We also give you the option to choose your own repairer. Because should something happen and your vehicle needs repairs, our priority is to make sure your Rig drives, looks, and feels just like it did before.

If you love your 4X4, insure it with an organisation that understands you, your vehicle, and the importance of getting things right.

Call 1800 258 249 or visit club4x4.com.au

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

Apollo says it ensures suspension is engineered with the appropriate load ratings, “as are all critical design elements, including drawbar, chassis, axles, wheels and brakes.”

Zone RV says that it takes a lot of time and effort to make sure that the chassis design is fit for purpose and work with suspension suppliers that utilise similar software with the ability to share models to make this integration seamless.

Ezytrail sources suspension components from Pedders, and says that in co-operation with the Aussie suspension company ”we can now tailor spring rates as well as shock absorber compression and rebound dampening forces to specifically match the rated load of a particular product and provide improved handling characteristics across all driving scenarios.”

As for the chassis, if it was built by a supplier rather than the manufacturer itself, does it have a placard noting its maximum (GTM and axle group) ratings? These ratings should meet or exceed the caravan’s GTM rating.

Ezytrail warrants its new chassis for a lifetime (for orginal owner)

Interesting to see the static stress areas on the Ezytrail arm

WHAT’S THE RISK OF NOT HAVING A WELL-ENGINEERED CARAVAN?
Damage and wear can be accelerated as a result of poor or insufficient design and engineering. With the impacts from the road surface, body panels and cabinetry can crack or loosen on a van where those impacts have not been accounted for in the CAD/CAE design and engineering stage. Leaks and accelerated wear are inevitable, as are the potential for even more series issues, such as chassis or A-frame cracks.