Caravan suspension

Submitted: Friday, Apr 16, 2004 at 20:42
ThreadID: 12119 Views:3424 Replies:5 FollowUps:2
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I am new to caravanning after having had a Koala camper trailer for the last 15 years. I have just purchased an old (25 YO) Capricorn 14" Pop-top which I tow with a Pajero. Stabilizer bars are fitted. (I think that's what they are called.)
The Pajero is stock standard - no fancy springs, etc.

I have noticed that the van is down at the back when loaded despite moving much of the the internal gear to the front of the van. Related to this, I would like to have a bit more ground clearance and I notice that the springs are located under the axle.

Questions -
Is it expensive/legal/advisable/possible to place the springs on top of the axle thus increasing the clearance?
To fix the level problem, is obtaining a lower towbar tongue the way to go or are there other suggestions?
Any advice would be appreciated....................

Geoff
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Reply By: The Banjo - Friday, Apr 16, 2004 at 20:58

Friday, Apr 16, 2004 at 20:58
Geoff....I've recently been into this subject area while researching load issues with camper trailers..... drifted into the van technical issues area .....this whole issue of trailer/van configuration and loading, with attitude, control and stabilising of vans etc is big .... your very safety while mobile hangs on it....I reckon you would be wise to get a van pro to advise you on the steps to take......a coordinated and pro approach from the start.....might be able to do the actual work yourself, but it has to be right.
AnswerID: 54606

Reply By: David N. - Saturday, Apr 17, 2004 at 13:04

Saturday, Apr 17, 2004 at 13:04
Yes it is legal/possible to put the axles under instead of on top of the springs.
Common sense is required- obviously this will raise centre of gravity and therefore increase your chance of a roll-over.
Other simple options to raise the van include having the springs reset (less than $100 if you remove them yourself) and longer shackles. Suggest you get some expert advice.
AnswerID: 54677

Reply By: Crackles - Saturday, Apr 17, 2004 at 17:49

Saturday, Apr 17, 2004 at 17:49
Geoff. I swapped my springs above the axle on a 6x4 trailer and it really jacked it up probably more than you need for the van. It will lift it the thickness of the axle & the springs which may be as much as 10 to 12 cm. The better option for the van would be reseting the springs or longer shackels. I'd suggest jacking the van up at the back till it's level (while on the car) then measuring how much you lifted it at the axle. You will then know how much you would need to reset the springs by. If it looks too high & unstable go for a lower tow hitch. If you have room in the wheel arches, bigger tyres will jack it up a few cm too. Just a couple of options to look at. Cheers, Craig...................
AnswerID: 54694

Follow Up By: William - Saturday, Apr 17, 2004 at 19:40

Saturday, Apr 17, 2004 at 19:40
"I'd suggest jacking the van up at the back till it's level (while on the car)"
that is the dumbest most stupid idiotic advice anybody could give
are you crazy?
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FollowupID: 316385

Follow Up By: Crackles - Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 20:21

Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 20:21
Sorry William, I'm not shure that you understood the reasons. By using a couple of trolley jacks to level the van you get to safely see exactly what the ride height will look like without modifying anything. `There is alot of mucking around to swap the springs over only to find it's too high. Anyway what was your suggestion??????
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FollowupID: 316541

Reply By: sean - Saturday, Apr 17, 2004 at 22:41

Saturday, Apr 17, 2004 at 22:41
Geoff

I have a 17 foot single axle poptop and axles are UNDER the springs. I have towed ti for about 20,000 over half of oz and absolutely no problems. You will need to make sure that it is done right so the axle cannot move. You should have weight from gear forward of the axle at any rate. I tow with a 180 to 200 ball weight adn van is very stable over all surfaces adn wind conditions.

Sean

AnswerID: 54754

Reply By: Geofff - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 18:42

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 18:42
Thanks everyone for your advice.
I've decided to take the van to a suspension expert and get their opinion. Based on your opinions however, I'll be looking at getting the springs reset and possibly an adjustable height tow hitch if needed after the springs are done.

Geoff
AnswerID: 55185

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