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Uneven Ride Level 2009 Swift Charisma 535


ROBIN WARD
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Has anybody out there had a problem with an uneven ride level in their swift caravan?

 

I own a 2009 Swift Charisma 535 which is "listing" about 30 mm low on the off side. The axle assembly has been returned to Al-Ko for examination & refurbishment which revealed slight rolling of the suspension rubber which in the view of Al-Ko would not cause this uneven ride level as the tests carried out were recorded as within spec. Although the rubbers were replaced and tested OK.

 

Only when the axle assembly was refitted to the caravan was the uneven ride level from one side to the other evident. The permitted deflection tolerance from one side to the other is quoted by Al-Ko as 12mm yet on the caravan while in the unloaded state has been recorded as 30mm, can anyone throw any light on this problem?

 

The only reason I could suggest is that all the heavy appliances, sink assy. Oven, fridge and fixed bed are all on the off side.

 

I have sent emails to Swift on this issue but have not received any communications from them as yet, this saga has been ongoing for a year now and I am becoming very tired of the lack of help from Swift Customer Services and would like to reach a higher authority, but when I tried to contact Peter Smith my corrispondence was diverted.

 

If anyone is having the same problem with their Swift please let me know.

 

Robin ward

 

 

Admin comment:

Upper case text removed, and post moved from the introduction section (which is regularly cleared out) to the Swift section.

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I have a similar problem with my Lunar although the difference on the O/S in 20mm (2cm ) , I measured the distance on both sides chassis to ground which is the same but the body sits lower .

My Lunar agent assures me its within tolerances and the van tows absolutely perfect with no uneven tyre wear and is not really noticeable when you look at the van unless you measure the distance from body to ground .

 

Neil @ Barnard Castle C&CC site

Edited by neil and lena
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Strikes me you are going round in circles due to lake of cause/evidence.

 

Get the thing weighed with the weight on each wheel. Now if the weight difference is say 100 kgs (I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT WILL BE IF ANYTHING) But if it was 100 kgs I would then place that weight inside (people are cheap and don't mind standing around usually) the van as near to the light wheel as possible. Now measure each side. If you find it is more or less level you have established a cause. If it is still way out then you have eliminated that cause. Next stop is either ignore it as it tows / loads ok or independent engineers report. It should be a simple case to find out the cause. Then you can pursue the right people to get it fixed. Photo and document each and every step.

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Robin

This topic has been raised a couple of times on the Swift Talk forum. Swift technical people stated that there will be a difference in the load distribution side to side and this differs depending on the van layout and loading etc. They say that Swifts are designed to cope with a difference in weight distribution of upto 45% one wheel and 55% to the other.

On say a 1400 KG van this means that it could have 630KG load on one wheel and 770KG on another and still be within their acceptable range. If this is the case then it is likely that one side of the van will sit lower. It maybe that your van is outside of this range (or not) so it would be worthwhile checking on a weighbridge.

As Alan suggests you can then adjust the loading internally to see if you can achieve 50%/50% or as near to it as possible. This may have the effect of balancing the ride height side to side.

Frank

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Hi again,

I have had the axle assembly examined and tested and re-rubbered by Alko and the actual assembly is within their tolerances of 12mm with the same loading on both suspension units, it's only when fitted to the caravan that is is out of tolerance of up to 30mm on the off side with the caravan empty.

Although Swift may claim that it is O. K. by them the problem remains in that the weight distribution of the appliances as fitted by Swift i. e. fridge, cooker, sink unit and microwave all on one side this uneven load takes it out of balance of the loading tolerance stated by Alko which may invalidate the Alko chassis warranty. I will contact Alko for clarity.

Robin

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And again,

In answer to "One Star" for his contribution, it would be impossible to adjust the internal loading of the caravan to abtain an even suspension loading unless you equalled the combined weight of the fridge, oven microwave and sink unit on the near side.

 

Where you would store this amount of weight on the near side inside the caravan and what effect would this combined weight have that would give a level ride without exceeding the maximum permisable payload.

 

Wouldn't have been better to have used differing rated suspension to allow for a layout that requires different loadings in the first place and that would not exceed the chassis manufactures design tolerences that if exceeded may invalidate their warranty specifications.

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Hi Robin

 

The loading situation of your van with large fittings on the near side is the same as mine (Sterling Eccles Quartz) and many other models of van. I would hope and expect that this design should not in itself present any problems under normal circumstances. It will be interesting to find out what view Alko take about this very common principle of van design and the resulting different load levels on each wheel.

If you have not already done so you may want to contact Swift direct about the problem and get their view as well. They are usually very good at responding to technical questions raised on their own forum "Swift Talk". I will be very interested to hear the outcome on this issue because of the general loading/design principles it has raised.

 

Frank

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Hi Frank,

Thanks for your input.

 

I have made Swift well aware of the problem on several emails and they have been very evasive when answering, in fact emials which I have sent addressed to the swift customer services manager directly have been passed around the office to other staff it would seem rather than them being answered by him directly.

I desperation I have sent SWIFT'S NEW CEO a letter (recorded delivery) describing the problem with copies from Alko and emails to & from swift customer services dept. So far I have had NO REPLY apart from one customer services staff who has passed the information on to the design team at swift for their input, STILL No ANSWER.

I wish I shared your optimisum with regard to swift and their willingness to help or even accept that there may be a problem.

 

Have you checked your caravan Frank?

 

Regards, Robin

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  • 10 months later...

Well Here I am at last with the latest on my Charisma 535 suspension problems.

 

After many months and after over 50 emails and letters to the C. E. O. of Swift caravans I eventually got Swift to take my suspension claims seriously.

Swift arranged for an independant engineer's report carried out by Al-ko as they did not believe there was a fault.

Al-Ko's independant manufacture's examination reported some areas of concearn that the suspension deflection was not within the "manufactures limits".

 

This was refuted by Swift as it was "Within their Limits" and requested the caravan be sent back to their premises for inspection.

 

Subsequently and after detailed examination they proclaimed that it was indeed "Within their tolerances" although Al-ko said it did not meet their operational specification according to the visiting engineer.

 

After many emails back and forth I was obliged to reject Swift's findings and eventually only as "A gesture Of Good Will " would they agree to repair the one suspension unit to "reastablish the level ride height" which was in their view without fault.

 

Afer 3 months back at the Swift factory I eventually got my caravan back after being informed that the 2 road wheels "Appeared to have become scratched". When I checked the caravan on receipt, there were 2 new road wheels + 2 new tyres, 1 new spare wheel + tyre and what appeared to be 1 new brake drum although it is difficult to be definate about the brake drum.

 

Having carried out my measurement of the caravan I can see that there does appear to be "AN Improvement" but how much I am not quite sure, it will "Settle" and I will know more later after usage over the next few months and when I am back on the cross channel ferry next week with car and caravan both on a flat even steel car deck, I am hopefull.

 

Has it been worth all the trouble, hard to say yet but even if the lopsided ride height is still evident I will definately NOT be approaching Swift again on any matter dissapointing as has been my experience throughout my dealings with them has been.

 

This is my last word on the "LOPSIDED CARAVAN"

 

If anybody wants to contact me directly, see email adress below as this will be my last Blog

 

robinward@live. co. uk

Edited by ROBIN WARD
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