As we have had several purpose built caravan hoists for the past 30 years, we have always done lots of chassis related work. Therefore we have always worked on lots of different caravan suspensions and become proficient at tackling any problems they face.
The Vehicle Components range of suspensions are very well designed and proven suspension now used extensively in the caravan industry. We are the Melbourne Agents for Vehicle Components and can handle any repair or alignment issues you may have. We also convert a lot of caravans over to the CruiseMaster or CRS suspension. These suspensions are available in single or tandem axle. Setup correctly they need very little maintenance, the occasional alignment adjustment, and greasing of the front bushes whenever the caravan is serviced. Our workshop always stocks all the Suspension Parts required to repair and service these suspensions.
A very well regarded suspension that has stood the test of time. It was one of the first independent suspensions, and has traditionally used a leaf spring, however is now also available with a coil. Commonly found on Bushtracker Caravans, and a few years back many other brands such as Evernew, Roadstar, Paramount etc. Needs very little maintenance apart from toe-in adjustment. On the tandems the top bushes will need replacement at some stage and we recommend new springs at about the 100,000km mark (That’s a long way off!).
A suspension mainly found on Coromal Caravans. It’s a simple independent suspension that needs very little maintenance. It rides on unique leaf springs and these springs only need replacing when they start to sag (anywhere from 60 – 80,000km). It is like the Simplicity system in that it is simple plus seems to virtually never wear the moving components it uses. The swing-arm on this system is different from the other Independent suspensions in that it hinges from the middle of the caravan, so when a spring is starting to flatten out it will let you know by wearing the inner edge of the tyre.
This reasonably new independent suspension is unique to Jayco Caravans. As we service a lot of Jayco’s we have already seen a lot of JTECH suspensions. It is well designed, robust and has already proven itself as a great feature for many Jayco Caravans. Periodic checking of the shock absorber, greasing of the front bushes plus occasional toe-in adjustment is about the only maintenance required.
SugarGlider Suspension (Independent)
Sugarglider is a reliable Independent trailing arm suspension designed and manufactured here in Melbourne by Withers Engineering. The coil spring is mounted behind the stub axle giving greater control. The Sugarglider can run one or two shock absorbers per trailing arm, and has adjustable Toe-in. It was one of the few early independent suspensions and manufacturers such as Trakmaster and Kimberly Campers ran it under their caravans for years. Like many of the others check shockers and alignment. Some Sugarglider suspensions we see have done in excess of 150,000km and they often need an overhaul to the front bushes but they generally never let you down whilst travelling.
Control Rider is another reliable, heavy duty Independent trailing arm suspension built by G&S chassis. The coil spring is behind the stub axle, however since the shock absorber sits inside the spring, you can only have one shock per trailing arm. The shock absorbers is well protected within the spring however more difficult to remove for replacement. Control Rider utilises its own sub frame which bolts to the chassis. Control Rider has adjustable Toe-in, and again very maintenance-free.
The AL-Ko IRS Axle is a simple torsion bar system, it has few moving parts which minimizes the chance of it failing. It is fully sealed and there is little required maintenance. The hexagonal axle tube houses three rubber elements which then compress to dampen the road shocks. As the axle is loaded with weight, it increases the self-dampening action of the trailing arm, creating a smoother ride. Over time the axle can sag as the rubbers compress, which requires the axle to be re-rubbered. Being an Alko service agent we can arrange re-rubbering of IRS axles. This axle is commonly used on Avans so we find it’s generally when a caravan may have done in excess of 60,000km and the wheel is starting to get close to the mudguard.
This independent rubber axle is reasonably new to Australia, but used in the US for many years. Some Elite Caravans have run this axle system. Melbourne Trailers have distributed Dexter products for years and so it is a very well supported product. We are service agents for any Dexter products. It is a maintenance free axle that like the Alko IRS system having no adjustments. Sometimes after many kilometres and years of use they need re-rubbering however not for some time.
Tandem Rocker Suspension (Axle Load Sharing System)
The standard rocker suspension is the cheapest and most basic suspension on tandem caravans. It is a load sharing suspension and travels well, however it was never designed for the long term touring that most caravans now do. Its downfalls are it can break springs (even on normal blacktop) and will wear the bushes out reasonably quickly. Our service approach with this system is to carry a spare spring (in case one breaks), get some wear out of it and then in time convert to the Rocker-Roller. The Rocker-Roller is still a fairly basic system however it doesn’t tend to break springs. This system is being used less and less as people travel further in their caravans.
Rocker Roller Suspension (Axle Load Sharing System)
While broadly similar to the Rocker suspension system, Rocker Roller suspension includes a big loop incorporating steel roller at the end of each spring. The benefit this system provides is that the loop ensures free play at the end of each spring, allowing smaller axle movements without affecting the second axle. More significant axle movements rock on the primary pivot arm in a way comparable to the Rocker system. Another advantage is that this system also incorporates fewer parts, eliminating a number of bushes and pins in addition to the shackle plates. You’ll get much more distance out of this system before wear becomes apparent, and the risk of spring breakage is significantly reduced.
Our team has performed conversions on many caravans over the years for owners looking to switch to this durable, reliable and easy to maintain system. This option is much better for outback touring than a conventional rocker system, which is unfortunately prone to spring breakages on unmade roads. For the ultimate in safety and security while touring the country, speak to our staff today about upgrading your vehicle.