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Shock Absorbers


Gord
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The subject of shock absorbers came up the other day and I would be interested in any feedback from members on them.

 

Are they a good improvement to the van or a waste of time?

 

Assuming they are good, are oil filled or gas filled best? Are they rated according to the weight of your 'van? Any good retailers?

 

Thanx, Gord <_<

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The questionable logic is that the rubber suspension of Al-ko axles damps out the oscillations itself. Questionable because similar rubber suspension in Minis (dry type) still needed conventional dampers.

 

Having fitted them to my Bailey, who have a good reputation for towing ability, they do make the caravan more stable.

 

German caravans are fitted with them as standard. Lack of dampers is one of the reasons UK caravanners are limited to 60 mph.

 

They're only about £65 at retail and very easy to fit, I don't understand why British makers don't fit them, other than saving money.

 

Al-ko sell oil-filled dampers on mail order to suit their chassis, in several weight ranges.

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Hello Gord. Some foreign vans have shock absorbers fitted as standard. Alko have them for UK vans (buy on their web-site). They are colour coded for weight of van. Alko chassis are already drilled to accept. Personally I wouldn't bother, as the Alko chassis uses rubber suspension which does not require shocks as it is self damping. BUT, they MAY provide some addition to the carrying capacity and/or stiffness to the suspension

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Gord

 

I intend to fit them to my 2004 Eccles Topaz when it goes in for service at the end of April. Just we warned that if you have a motor mover, depending on type, you may not be able to fit them. My Reich is OK as the motors are inboard of the chassis.

 

David

David - Milton Keynes

Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome for holidays and a Kia Venga for home.

 

Caravan Travels

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I have fitted them to our Europa 460 and I notice less lateral movement of the van.

 

Although the Indespension setup on modern vans is more self damping than the old Mini system,shock absorbers must improve the damping characteristics.

 

It's interesting to hear that the lack of dampers on UK vans is partly the reason for the 60mph limit.

 

The fitting of dampers has no effect on the load carrying capacity or stiffness of the suspension.

 

Frank

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The subject of shock absorbers came up the other day and I would be interested in any feedback from members on them.

 

Are they a good improvement to the van or a waste of time?

 

Assuming they are good, are oil filled or gas filled best? Are they rated according to the weight of your 'van? Any good retailers?

 

Thanx, Gord <_<

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Gord - is your van on an Alko chassis? Alko sell their 'octagon' range of dampers that are supposed to make the van more stable and less susceptible to pitch / yaw motion when towing especially when you're being overtaken by trucks etc.

 

They are rated on MTPLM of the van.

 

Most people probably would not notice much difference (modern vans tend to tow so steadily anyway). I guess the most noticeable difference will be when you're over the 85% of the tow cars kerbweight - when the tail starts to wag the dog. ..

 

Si.

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Lack of dampers is one of the reasons UK caravanners are limited to 60 mph.

 

11170[/snapback]

 

Anybody know where this limit is stated by a manufacturer?

 

Yossa

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Guest Hobbybod

As indicated by others, the UK manufacturers consider rubber in compression suspension to have sufficient 'damping' properties without the addition of seperate shock absorbers.

 

IMHO this is purely another example of cheap-skate UK manufacture, driven by accountants to improve profit, rather than by technical bods to improve stability.

 

They do it differently on the continent, . . . . for technical reasons!!

 

So 'take home message' is that seperate shock absorbers are better than none.

Remember, the properties of 'rubber' do change with time. The resiliance and shock absorption characteristics deteriorate, hence the need for some folks to have the suspension replaced or 're-rubbered' at great expense.

 

Not a problen with steel torsion bar suspension and proper shock absorbers; now guess which suspension my 'van has got!! :rolleyes:

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Hi John,

 

Point taken about the speed limit in the UK, but we do far more miles on the Continent than we do here. I simply can't believe that with a well matched and stable outfit, 60mph is the top limit (and yes, I do expect some flak!).

 

Yossa

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Dampers should be a legal requirement. The tyre's contact patch is about the size of the palm of your hand and all the braking force is transmitted through it. Without dampers this area varies when braking due to the wind up and reaction in the suspension arms. Dampers control this movement and the reduction in stopping distance is considerable.

 

If you want to see the effect of travelling on a trailer with rubber suspension and without dampers look at the next film you see where the characters are supposedly driving in a car but the car is actually being transported on a trailer whilst the film is shot. The up and down movement is considerable and much worse than the car would produce when being driven normally on its wheels.

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Point taken about the speed limit in the UK, but we do far more miles on the Continent than we do here. I simply can't believe that with a well matched and stable outfit, 60mph is the top limit

 

Yossa

 

No flak but, as you know, the speed limit varies from country to country. In quite a few countries the speed limit is lower still at 50mph. Perhaps when Hobbybod next gets his TUV certificate he could ask whether they can do the test on a UK van (with shock absorbers of course)?

 

David

 

PS Hobbybod and Tall Limey - Don't I know you both!!!!!!!!

David - Milton Keynes

Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome for holidays and a Kia Venga for home.

 

Caravan Travels

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Guest john1215
Speed limit 60! - Bu**er. Better ease off on the right foot in future. Much prefer France where it's a sensible 80mph. ...

 

(sits under table in anticipation of fallout. ..)

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80mph is nice, surprising that you have the same limit solo or towing provided yout complete outfit weighs less that 3. 5t European Driving Regulations

 

john1215

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Guest Hobbybod
In quite a few countries the speed limit is lower still at 50mph. Perhaps when Hobbybod next gets his TUV certificate he could ask whether they can do the test on a UK van (with shock absorbers of course)?

 

David

 

PS Hobbybod and Tall Limey - Don't I know you both!!!!!!!!

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You sure do David, . . . . know us that is. Seemingly Tall Limey was called that by the yanks when he went over the pond to see their trailers and RV's.

 

David has touched on a topic which may not be realised by many. In order to tow at 60mph in Germany the 'van should really be TUV certificated. This is a bit like an MOT for 'vans and is a wise safety measure. Obviously UK 'vans will not be certificated and will be limited to 50mph. I have heard of folks getting into problems because of this, so be aware!

 

Whether you can get such certification for a UK 'van I'm not sure, but I doubt it. Whether you get away with it or not, may be dependant on the Polizei and AFAIK if they deem you have sufficiently large tyres on the 'van. (German/continental 'vans tend to have larger tyres than UK ones)

 

Take care out there,

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Whether you can get such certification for a UK 'van I'm not sure, but I doubt it. Whether you get away with it or not, may be dependant on the Polizei and AFAIK if they deem you have sufficiently large tyres on the 'van.

 

Last year going down the A60 in Germany I had a radar gun pointed at me by those guys in the pretty green and white cars!!!! I must have eased off in time or more likely the X-Trail speedo was over reading - thank goodness.

 

David

David - Milton Keynes

Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome for holidays and a Kia Venga for home.

 

Caravan Travels

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Last year going down the A60 in Germany I had a radar gun pointed at me by those guys in the pretty green and white cars!!!! I must have eased off in time or more likely the X-Trail speedo was over reading - thank goodness.

 

David

11415[/snapback]

 

The speedo on our X-Trail is about 10% optimistic according to a Tom Tom. If you are travelling abroad for less than 6 months, then if the outfit is legal in your home country then it is legal in the EU, irrespective of local laws.

 

Mike

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Guest Hobbybod
. . . . . If you are travelling abroad for less than 6 months, then if the outfit is legal in your home country then it is legal in the EU, irrespective of local laws.

 

Mike

11566[/snapback]

This is a very grey area and I would not suggest anyone rely on it.

 

AFAIK There is a 'Gentleman's Agreement' whereby if you are legal in your home country then they will not persue/prosecute you in a 'foreign' country where the regs may be different.

 

However it's just that; a 'Gentleman's Agreement'. The Polezei that pull you over may not know it and just enforce the law that they know. Try convincing them that they are wrong and you'll likely run into further trouble!!! They can enforce on-the-spot fines and if you wish to argue the point then you do it in court, with all the delays, cost and loss of holiday this may entail!!!

 

It certainly doesn't apply to drink driving and alcohol limits, so where does it apply? I suggest you don't want to be in the position of having to find out!!

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I do not know what the different laws are relating to caravans BUT I think you will find that if the vehicle (and a caravan is a vehicle) is as produced in its home country and not been owner modified then it will be assumed to comply with the local laws.

 

Some items such as head light dipping, national indentifiers etc are posted to the various bodies and people such as the AA will be able to prewarn you.

 

Also im most countries, including Germany, you can refuse the 'on the spot fine offer' and elect for a court hearing BUT be certain you are in the right as if you are then found guilty the fine increases by enormous percentages.

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[quote

 

David

 

PS Hobbybod and Tall Limey - Don't I know you both!!!!!!!!

]

 

You sure do David although we have not actually met. This forum would not let me use my normal user name (someone else must have registered it)

 

Re speeds in Germany - many years ago I was cruising along at 80 mph with a tandem axle canvas tilt trailer behind going to the German Caravan Show when I was pulled up by the Polizei. When they asked me what speed I was doing I said about 130kph and they said yes that's what we have checked you at. They asked if I knew what speed limit there was and I said none on an autobahn. They pointed out that there was a limit of 80kph! They then asked who had made the trailer and I said it was made by the firm I worked for (B & B Trailers). They then said it was the best towing trailer they had ever seen and asked if they could have a good look at it. The axles were twin steel torsion bars with interconnected tie rods so the loads were equally distributed and they gave good suspension travel and had hydraulic dampers fitted. They were so impressed that they sent me on my way without a ticket but of course asked me to keep to 80kph. All todays twin axles are simply one axle behind the other with no load compensation or equalisiation. Is that progress? NO, simply cheaper.

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But would they be so sympathic with a Sterling!!!!

 

David

David - Milton Keynes

Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome for holidays and a Kia Venga for home.

 

Caravan Travels

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