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Charliefarlie

Air assist suspension for tow cars ?

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On the Motorhome we recently sold we had air assist suspension on the rear. Particularly good when I had a car on the towbar. 

 

So  the question is is there air suspension kits for tow cars ? 

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Some tow cars have air suspension as an option, it can be retrofitted but the cost would be high - it may also be possible to import after-market air systems, typically from Australia, where there's a thriving market for them.

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Have a look at Monroe ride levellers, they replace the rear shock absorbers, depending on vehicle and type of suspension.

A mate of mine had some on his old car back in the day and worked well, surprisingly, they are still marketed.

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I don’t think you can get the “Air-ride” type system for cars like you can motorhomes.

 

For those not familiar they are a couple of bellows that are attached to a remote car type tyre valve so they can be pumped up to whatever pressure you want. They really work well on motorhomes because they are nearly always nudging the max design axle loadings. They fit between the leaf spring and chassis rail on the rear axle of motorhomes. As VERY few cars now have leaf springs I suspect they may not be available for coil springs. 

 

I fitted a couple of spring assisters (basically rubber rings) to the rear coil springs of my car as it has a long overhang so the back rode low when the caravan was hitched. Didn’t make any noticeable difference when solo, but a huge improvement when towing. Cost under twenty quid, about 10 minutes to fit. Result!!

 

Andy

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11 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

I don’t think you can get the “Air-ride” type system for cars like you can motorhomes.

 

For those not familiar they are a couple of bellows that are attached to a remote car type tyre valve so they can be pumped up to whatever pressure you want. They really work well on motorhomes because they are nearly always nudging the max design axle loadings. They fit between the leaf spring and chassis rail on the rear axle of motorhomes. As VERY few cars now have leaf springs I suspect they may not be available for coil springs. 

 

Andy

 

https://airride.co.uk/air/shop/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwiILsBRCGARIsAHKQWLMx9FsRT5gcaiMYSzm2Z9daomaOHyk6wa145gWsCGXDy73my65V2-caAoz_EALw_wcB

 

http://onairsuspension.uk/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwiILsBRCGARIsAHKQWLMDMD7RT1JfhpLiotIAXrOOuX-Vi861Zmhyc_EcAlIMHmUS9kDv48AaAketEALw_wcB

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Wouldn’t it be really helpful if when replying to a post,  rather than posting JUST a link, there was a couple of lines saying something like “You can get it for cars, see the below links?” 

 

Onky a small thing I know, but it does niggle me, and I am sure others.

 

Andy

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36 minutes ago, Seizingup said:

Have a look at Monroe ride levellers, they replace the rear shock absorbers, depending on vehicle and type of suspension.

A mate of mine had some on his old car back in the day and worked well, surprisingly, they are still marketed.

 

Big Vauxhalls used them - very good, even in their most basic form where raising suspension just needed a tyre pump - Volvo also used them, often with an onboard compressor and dashboard switches.

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1 hour ago, Charliefarlie said:

On the Motorhome we recently sold we had air assist suspension on the rear. Particularly good when I had a car on the towbar. 

 

So  the question is is there air suspension kits for tow cars ? 

In the 70's I was running a Triumph 2000.  It had rather soft coil sprung rear independent suspension.  I fitted thicker rear springs and air adjustable rear dampers (probably Monroes).  It transformed the car for towing.  

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It’s not that our cars suspension is lacking or needs uprating but having had experience of these air assist systems I’m very surprised they are not commonplace in the caravan community. Very surprised.  

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I thought many cars today had self levelling air suspension as standard or an option?

 

The Discovery also has a useful feature... a button in the boot area which raises the suspension significantly above even its off road high level. This means you can level the caravan (front to back)while hitched by raising the cars suspension. When level, drop the jockey wheel, lift the hitch lever... and lower the cars suspension. Great fun.

Edited by ericfield

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If a car has air suspension, when you hook up the caravan will the rear return to the original height when towing?  Same applies if you have a heavy load in the rear?  Thanks.

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5 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

If a car has air suspension, when you hook up the caravan will the rear return to the original height when towing?  Same applies if you have a heavy load in the rear?  Thanks.

That depends on whether the air suspension is paired up with a self levelling feature. Original equipment air suspension will often be self levelling, aftermarket fitted less so.

 

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On 18/09/2019 at 17:38, Charliefarlie said:

It’s not that our cars suspension is lacking or needs uprating but having had experience of these air assist systems I’m very surprised they are not commonplace in the caravan community. Very surprised.  

 

If the vehicles suspension is not "lacking" or needs "uprating", what are you achieving by altering it?

 

I see a big danger in most vehicles without way over specced rear ends, they simply facilitate overloading all the things in the rear suspension including the tyres and axle.

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22 hours ago, JTQ said:

 

If the vehicles suspension is not "lacking" or needs "uprating", what are you achieving by altering it?

 

What you achieve is much better handling for the same load rating.

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On 19/09/2019 at 10:31, Stevan said:

That depends on whether the air suspension is paired up with a self levelling feature. Original equipment air suspension will often be self levelling, aftermarket fitted less so.

 

Update!  Over the weekend hitched up and back of car went down and then slowly back up to self level.  Caravan nose weight is about 145kg.

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I've had self levelling suspension for the last 13 years and it makes a difference having the car and caravan level as opposed to being low at the tow ball/hitch. It helps prevent the jockey wheel catching on bumps and getting damaged as well. On other cars I have tried heavy duty rear springs and rubber spring inserts but these were not that good.

 

The other day I passed a car towing a twin axle on the M180 where rather than sagging at the tow hitch it was lifting the rear of the car quite a bit going by the large gap between the rear tyres and the wheel arch. It certainly did not look stable. Self levelling suspension would probably not help, the tow ball height might have been wrong but most likely the loading of the caravan was bad so the nose weight was too low.

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20 hours ago, Durbanite said:

Update!  Over the weekend hitched up and back of car went down and then slowly back up to self level.  Caravan nose weight is about 145kg.

Interesting:-

"The towing limit is a stratospheric 3500kg and the towball limit is 140kg. The Jeep's muscle comes from a 3.0-litre V6 diesel producing 247bhp and 420lb ft of torque."

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