Home' Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine : Australian Auto Aftermarket e-Zine - August 14 Contents 66 AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET MAGAZINE AUGUST 2014
Unfortunately a vehicle that is good at
lugging around heavy loads at low speeds – or
crawling across rugged countryside dodging
stumps and drains – doesn’t always shine when
the owner wants to have some agility and comfort
in the town or country, or vice versa.
Frequently the suspension is the weak link. A
vehicle that rides beautifully with a load can
become a bounce box when it’s empty.
Conversely, a vehicle that’s set up more for
highway cruising than hard work often has
stability problems when loaded up.
“Uneven loading will also help shorten its life
by stressing the vehicle’s chassis and frame,” air
suspension specialist and founder of the national
Airbag Man network, Richard Clamp said.
Long-time truck driver, construction
contractor and professional kangaroo shooter,
Allan Linnett drives his 2004 GQ Nissan Patrol
DX on the entire range of roads and rugged
terrain likely to be encountered by work and
recreational drivers alike. As an Airbag Man
client, he’s ideally placed to comment on this
Based in Balranald in outback NSW near Hay,
Mr Linnett’s vehicle has to be just as much at
home on sealed roads as it is when carting hefty
loads (building materials, kangaroos weighing up
to 70kg each, plus his four-wheel motorbike)
across paddocks and wilder wooded countryside
where he plies his trade.
“The initial reason I went to the Airbag Man
system was a safety issue – when the vehicle was
fully loaded on the tray, the lights were pointing
up in the sky because of the weight. I needed
something to counterbalance the many different
loads I carried, so I could drive without being a
menace to myself and being honked at by other
road users,” Mr Linnett said.
He ultimately invested in an Airbag Man pure
On-Air rear suspension with an onboard
compressor and in-cab controls, for simple and
rapid varying of pressure in the Firestone airbags
on which the vehicle now rides. The airbags –
identical in design to the tough Firestone air
springs on which huge vehicles such as semi-
trailers are suspended – guaranteed the
durability he needed when out by himself, far
from anywhere in the dead of the night.
The same benefit applies to Ride-Rite air
helper suspension kits for vehicles with leaf
springs, which place a similar spring between the
leaf spring and the vehicle’s underside.
One of the big pluses for air suspension –
which applies whether the vehicle is being used
in the town or country, on a mining or
construction site – is that the suspension can be
readily adjusted to cope with the different
surfaces on which it is traveling.
“If she’s carrying a light load on rough
surfaces, you can take pressure out. And if she’s
heavy or a bit out of balance, you can pump air
in where it’s needed,” Mr Linnett said, noting
that his vehicle had a long tail overhang which
could become an issue when loaded.
“Not only is this air suspension good for
keeping the vehicle flat and stable on the road,
but you can also use it if you get stuck in a ditch,
for example. If it looks like tipping over – a big
issue for a vehicle operating at the maximum
legal GVM – you can let down the high side and
pump up the low side.
Airbag Man is introducing a broad range of
air helper and full air suspensions throughout
Australia, to help counter work and recreational
vehicle problems with conventional suspensions,
and allow vehicle operators to improve their
safety, steering, braking and comfort. The key to
the success of the Ride-Rite air helper
suspensions for leaf springs and On-Air full air
suspensions is keeping vehicles flat and level
under all conditions – including carrying heavy
loads, uneven side loads and towing.
The premium quality Firestone airbags used
in both systems are all fully adjustable. By
simply adding or removing air, owners can
maintain the same vehicle height under different
load conditions. This gives ideal performance
and safety from empty to full. Fitted between the
chassis and leaf springs, Ride-Rite springs
absorb the increasing weight of loads that cause
vehicles to sag or lean, resulting in hazardous
driving conditions and wear and tear on the
vehicle's tyres, suspension and frame. Bag Boy
suspensions do the same, entirely replacing front
or rear coil spring suspensions that are not
delivering to their owners’ satisfaction.
Vehicles using On-Air or Ride-Rite
suspensions can also be fitted with in-cab
controls and an on-board compressors like Mr
Linnett’s. Owners don’t even have to get out of
their seat to dial in the ideal suspension setting.
Or they can be pumped up and deflated
externally – just like putting air into and taking
it out of a tyre.
“Suspensions can be as simple or as
sophisticated as owners like – whatever the load,
the air suspension system will eliminate body
roll,” said Mr Clamp.
“With no load, it’s the prefect suspension.
With 200 kg aboard, it’s still the perfect
suspension. And with 500kg or more on, it’s still
the prefect suspension. When you go over a
bump, you just don’t notice,” he said.
Air springs level loaded vehicles to their ideal
configuration, which is with frame and body
parallel to the axle, as in an unloaded vehicle.
Ride-Rite kits also have benefits when the
vehicle is empty, because the air pressure takes
the strain off existing leaf springs, preventing
sagging and helping them to last longer.
Airbag Man supplies On-Air full air
suspensions for coil replacement and trailers
plus Ride-Rite air helper springs for leaf sprung
vehicle applications including utility trucks
carrying uneven loads for users as diverse as
building tradesmen, couriers, manufacturers and
government and private service industries.
Delivery vans, including retail, electrical
contractors, engineering and transport industries,
and recreational and work 4wd vehicles are also
suitable, as are towing and specialist vehicles
and machinery, including wreckers’ vehicles,
ambulances and transit buses.
For product inquiries, please contact
1800 AIRBAG (1800 247 244) or visit
Tradesmen, contractors, farmers and
urban business owners these days
invest a lot of care in the
performance, safety and longevity of
their work vehicles. In addition to
being a major professional
investment, the ubiquitous ute, crew
cab or 4WD often doubles as a
suspension’s the way
for work and play
AM AUG 2014:AM MAGAZINE SHELL 5/8/14 10:05 AM Page 66
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