Caravan shock absorbers

Submitted: Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 07:24
ThreadID: 109901 Views:3280 Replies:6 FollowUps:3
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Wer'e in the process of ordering/purchasing a Billabong Grove 16 caravan with "Simplicity" suspension and a 150 mm chassis so we can do bush camping. We are told by the retailer that shock absorbers are not necessary. I would have thought the opposite. Any views on this and on the Billabong vans would be appreciated.
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Reply By: Batt's - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 09:10

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 09:10
Shocks may not be necessary but they will make a big difference to the ride your van has just like your car if you get the correct springs and shocks that gives you a comfortable ride not to hard or to soft. They will absorb most of the jarring and help stop shaking things loose and in the long term your van will only be better off from having them fitted. I would get them if their available especially if you are driving off road and getting the correct springs will also make a big difference if the dealer knows their stuff correctly then the springs and shocks should be matched to suit each other so they will work together which will give your suspension and van a longer life.
AnswerID: 540717

Reply By: Athol W1 - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 09:58

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 09:58
Generally speaking any trailer fitted with a leaf spring suspension system is regarded as having the dampers (the correct name for shock absorbers) built in, as the friction between the spring leaves does provide some damping action. Having said this any suspension system can benefit by having some form of CONTROLLED damping so the addition of 'shock absorbers' can still be of benefit. The trick is to get the correct rate of this controlled damping for the particular situation.

I would suggest that you certainly do not require additional dampers for highway use, but good quality additional damping would probably be an advantage on corrugated dirt or gravel roads.

Always remember that 'shock absorbers' do not reduce the shock of the wheel hitting any bump, but Dampers (shock absorbers) do reduce the size and frequency of the oscillations of the wheel/axle after the event of hitting that bump. They will also have the effect of better controlling trailer 'sway' or body roll.

Hope this helps
AnswerID: 540722

Follow Up By: AlanTH - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 10:13

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 10:13
If the retailer can't or won't follow your instructions go somewhere else. It's your van so you can have what you want.
I'm going to have double dampers on our van as it tends to bounce a bit too much for my liking.
A further improvement to a van is to make sure the wheels are balanced as the violent shaking may go un-noticed by you in the car, but can cause damage down the back.
We know this from our experience of crap steel wheels on our Goldstream, pelmets fell off, drawers would open and an info sign shook off the chassis plus very bad tyre wear and one shock knackered because of it.
Wheels/tyre/shocks replaced after much prodding of the retailer/manu in WA through the consumer depts plus the cost of investigating the prob in the first place.
Good luck.
FollowupID: 826634

Reply By: Slow one - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 11:01

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 11:01
I have a Billabong 186 that has leaf springs, but what I can tell you is only about the van.

Had some small warranty issues but having said that Billabong has been more than helpful and have backed their warranty 100% with no if's or buts.

Ring simplicity on this number 03 9401 4077 and you will get the correct answer.
AnswerID: 540726

Follow Up By: tazbaz - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 14:38

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 14:38
Thanks Slow for the pointer to contact the simplicity people and to others who have responded. Rang Simplicity and was advised that Shocks are not needed as long as the van loading is kept to specs.
FollowupID: 826644

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 16:13

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 16:13
Some have reported that Simplicity have told them they are not to put them on.

On the other hand see Why Wheels Fall off and Nuts Come Loose.
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AnswerID: 540740

Reply By: Ross M - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 20:24

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 20:24
Any leaf spring suspension will work better with shock absorbers.
Many people, although associated with vehicles have little understanding of what a shock does and it's advantages, IF used.
Billabong may have been smoking bongs if they don't see the advantages of shocks.

Early horse drawn carts had no shocks but later improvements in suspensions require a shock to control the movement of the mass of the vehicle, be it the tow vehicle or towed.

I agree you will be able to tow it without but in this day and age and with safety in mind why not have them. For any off road/rough road use it will be a distinct advantage as Athol has said indicated.
AnswerID: 540755

Follow Up By: Slow one - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 21:40

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 21:40

Billabong said nothing about shocks, the dealer did, which is a big difference.

Simplicity that makes the suspension said you don't require them. To fit shocks to that suspension takes a lot of engineering and control as it is a walking beam suspension.
FollowupID: 826662

Reply By: The Bantam - Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 10:50

Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 10:50
Throughout the trailer industry the belief is that shockabsorbers are not required...there is no law or specification requiring them.

AND, the vast majority of trailer suspensions are not designed to accomodate shock absorbers easily or in the correct attitude.

That said.....all pasenger vehicles are considered unroadworthy with out properly functioning shockabsorbers.

In addition many of the stability issues inherant in the "pig trailer" ( that is a trailer with a single axle group in the middle..most light trailers and caravans) would be helped by having shock absorbers.

Have a look at any of the out of controll, trailer jack knife videos, and you will see that a large part of the problem is the sway exagerated by the uncontrolled and undamped suspension.

Shock absorbers may "not be required" on trailers, but properly selected and installed, there is not one trailer that would no benifit......but the suspension needs to be designed to allow it.

AnswerID: 540785

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