air adjustable shockies

Submitted: Thursday, Nov 03, 2016 at 22:40
ThreadID: 133714 Views:3612 Replies:8 FollowUps:10
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I have read that air adjustable shockies are not recommended for levelling a towed load such as a caravan.
Is this true or does anyone here use them for this purpose?
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Reply By: The Bantam - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 00:07

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 00:07
Air adjustable shockies where a big thing back in the 70's and 80's ...... they have a number of problems, thus that are no where near as popular as they once where.

The biggest problem is that they do not address the source of the problem.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - mechpete - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 12:26

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 12:26
leave them fitted to a HQ where they belong
cheers mechepte
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 14:27

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 14:27
C'mon mechpete, you are showing your age!
I had them fitted to my vastly more modern HX for years in the late 70's & early 80s
From memory another problem with them was there was just a single inlet valve, common for both shocks, it meant they were no longer independent
Mark
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 06:32

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 06:32
They can put undue stress on the point where the shocks attach to the chassis instead of spreading the load across where the springs attach. In the case of dual cab utes, this can cause the chassis to bend because they don't have the extra support provided by the full body of a wagon.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 15:50

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 15:50
You're thinking of air bags I'd say.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 20:56

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 20:56
They are both single point mounting on the chassis so what's the difference in their loadings?
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Reply By: RMD - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 08:27

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 08:27
Most shock mounts are not strong enough to take additional loading. most are one sided and therefore there is a bending action at where they are fixed. Fatigue then breaks them off.
The above comments of the load being presented in areas between the spring support area are true.

If the caravan load is making the nose rise and the bum drop down then those forces won't be altered by pumping up shocks. it will only cause an modest increase in ride height. The principle of levers still applies.

Springs suited to the load are best, so ride height is maintained and caravan ball loading modified and/or a levelling device may be needed.
AnswerID: 605656

Reply By: TomH - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 08:34

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 08:34
Air bags only lift the load above it and do nothing to return weight to the front axle which has been lifted due to attaching the caravan.

The only way to do this is with a weight distributing hitch.

There has been endless fighting/discussion on the Caravan Forum about this for as long as I can remember so I suggest you join there and search the subject.
Will keep you reading for a week at least.

Look at it like this You load your tug and it sits ok You attach the van and the rear drops and the front lifts due to the weight at the end of a fulcrum .
Put air bags under the load and all you do is lift the fulcrum point higher and in some cases make the problem worse.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 15:52

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 15:52
Air shocks, not aftermarket air bags. Different thing.
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Follow Up By: TomH - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 17:39

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 17:39
Well air shocks are not for supporting loads they are to stop the suspension rebounding etc. People in the distant past used them to beef up springs when heavily loaded but thats not what shockies are there for.

Springs are what supports the load and if not heavy enough can be upgraded.
The principle of both air shocks and airbags is the same and neither do anything for you when hooking a van on as I said.
They are a bit like putting a bandage on your knee when your ankle is broken if you get what I mean.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 18:55

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 18:55
In the late 70s I bought a pair of these air adjustable shocks for the back of my short wheel base Landie. They were advertised for the purpose of lifting the back when the vehicle was loaded (similar to what modern airbags as advertised for).

As shock absorbers they were crap and did take a bit of the weight BUT the landie had largish shock mounts so could handle a couple of hundred kgs but a normal car shock mounts would not have been up to scratch. I was forever chasing leaks in the system and after about 2 years the rubber bags perished.

As have been raised, for most vehicles the mounts will not really be up to scratch and the capacity is quite low.

I would stay clear of them and go for proper airbags but only after investigating the pros and cons as has also been mentioned there can be structural issues.

Garry
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Follow Up By: RMD - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 19:34

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 19:34
AIR socks don't stop rebounding. They actually make it happen more. The shock action controls rebound.
Air shocks only provide a means of holding an airbag device conveniently on a shock.
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 20:27

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 20:27
Air shocks used to lift the back end of my EJ Holden about 4" higher than the front. I would pump them up via a valve in the boot.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Saturday, Nov 05, 2016 at 09:03

Saturday, Nov 05, 2016 at 09:03
Air suspension on motorbikes:

http://www.cycleworld.com/2014/10/15/future-of-air-suspension-technology-in-motorcycle-forks
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Reply By: Paul and Mel - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 20:34

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 20:34
I had them many years ago in my FC to stop the guards rubbing on the wide wheels I had on it.Eventually it punched them through the shock mount and into the boot. Absolutely useless they are.
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Reply By: splits - Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 22:43

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 at 22:43
Paul

It sounds like you are asking this question because you have a caravan hooked up to your car and the rear end is sagging.

If that is the case then have a look in the car owner's handbook and see if the manufacturer has said anything about using a weight distributing hitch above a certain weight on the tow ball.

That is the only way you can lift the rear of the car. A WDH levers the rear end of the car up and takes weight off the rear axle. That weight is then redistributed between the front wheels of the car and the wheels of the caravan.

A WDH is not a spring. Heavier springs, air bags or air shocks do not take weight off the axle and they do not put any back onto the front wheels. The correct weight on the front wheels is critical if the car is to steer properly.

I could write for half the night on this subject but it would be much easier for you to read these links.

dynamics

towing weight

3500kg

If you happen to have a cab chassis ute then read this one

bent utes
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Reply By: backtracks - Monday, Nov 07, 2016 at 12:52

Monday, Nov 07, 2016 at 12:52
Ah, the 70's ! I remember parking quite some distance from other campers at Alice as I oxy welded up the holes punched through the floor of my mates HR wagon. About 5 cm from the fuel tank ! An extra 60 l of fuel in the spare wheel well and corrugations will do that !
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Reply By: Batt's - Monday, Nov 07, 2016 at 15:17

Monday, Nov 07, 2016 at 15:17
I would suggest don't use band-aid ideas and get the correct springs to support the load and shocks to match that way they will last longer than the standard springs and you can still have a comfy ride when unloaded. Standard springs usually can't support much extra weight because they are mainly based around comfort and not load carrying.
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