Colorado Suspension - Slide on camper

Submitted: Monday, May 07, 2018 at 08:24
ThreadID: 136662 Views:1728 Replies:5 FollowUps:21
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I have a my17 Colorado single cab ute on which I carry a Travelander slide on, their shorter dual cab version. The ute has about 40000 k's on the clock.
I thought the suspension on a single cab ute would be able to carry the weight but after installing a 300kg constant loan support spring and still experiencing significant sag, and significant lift of the rear when the camper is removed, it's time to review my options.
I have been told I need to install the 600kg constant load springs but I'd like the ute to sit relatively level both when loaded and empty.
I have been looking at ARB options.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Reply By: RMD - Monday, May 07, 2018 at 09:01

Monday, May 07, 2018 at 09:01
Peter56
Not sure what you mean with the statement "single cab" and then say it is a "shorter dual cab version"? That is the camper version is it? Still the weight must be quite a bit if a single cab ute isn't readily handling it with upgraded springs. Some springs claim a weight ability but give up readily.
The camper must weight significantly more than you think and more than the rating of the OE springs anyway.
If you have replaced the OE springs with + 300kgcapacity and the camper is more than that, then yes it will still sink.
You may need to weight the vehicle with the camper on and then off to achieve a full understanding of what weight problem you are trying to solve. Then advice given by spring sellers will be more in line with reality and ehat you know to be true. Then they can begin to solve the problem.
If a spring pack doesn't sink much when loaded and remains almost the same when unloaded, the spring has to be very non compliant and would ride like a solid billy cart when unloaded.
ARB springs are still the same, a leaf spring. Some have two sections, light and more leaves come into use when lowered by weight. That seems to be not what you want though.
Maybe you need to look at spring types which have an additional leaf coming into play when you need it via a link between both sections of the spring, those allow you to disconnect that additional lift feature when camper is off.
Can't remember the brand name.
AnswerID: 618718

Follow Up By: Member - Peter56 - Monday, May 07, 2018 at 09:12

Monday, May 07, 2018 at 09:12
Thanks for your reply. The reference to dual cab was in relation to the size of the camper. They make both single cab and dual cab versions so I have a shorter version, the dual cab version, of the travelander camper.
The vehicle is a single cab ute.
When fully loaded, with the camper, the vehicle weighs about 3 tonne.

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Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, May 07, 2018 at 11:46

Monday, May 07, 2018 at 11:46
Peter

2 or 4 wd?

That mean the camper is around 1300kg weight on the chassis. The gross is 2950kg and at that you would expect the springs to be near the limit of travel and close to, if not sitting on, the bump stops.
If you have a tray then some of the 1300kg difference is in the tray of course.
To hold it up away from the bumpstops with some abilty to have upward travel of the suspension it will require a decent set of spring leaves.
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Follow Up By: Member - Peter56 - Monday, May 07, 2018 at 12:08

Monday, May 07, 2018 at 12:08
4wd. 1300kgs is about right including passengers and fuel - fully loaded. The gvm is 3150.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, May 07, 2018 at 13:35

Monday, May 07, 2018 at 13:35
Peter
Have you consulted any spring manufacturers who make springs and understand deflection and load etc, whereas, 4wd store staff really only see figures on a catalogue and recommend something in a load range which looks like a spring.
That doesn't mean sometimes they get it right.
The actual performance and carrying capacity isn't their forte, with the spring maker it is their business.
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Follow Up By: Member - Peter56 - Monday, May 07, 2018 at 13:48

Monday, May 07, 2018 at 13:48
I spoke to Dobinsons when I was last in Rockhampton. That's who fitted the 300kg spring. But I have not thought about going back to a spring specialist as I thought I needed to upgrade the whole suspension.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, May 07, 2018 at 18:43

Monday, May 07, 2018 at 18:43
I bought new suspension for a Landcruiser HDJ79 from Dobinsons when we purchased a slide-on camper. Thought the camper was only 400kg so purchased 500kg constants with h/d front coils. Was a bit rough empty but with the canopy on the ride was the best of any work ute that I've driven. Prefer to use my own choice of shockie rather than Dobinsons brand.

Those Travelander campers are pretty good, but there's a real weight penalty, so 5-600kg would be best bet for successful touring.

Bob

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Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Member - Peter56 - Monday, May 07, 2018 at 20:32

Monday, May 07, 2018 at 20:32
Thanks for the comments. Time for some action. Thanks again
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Follow Up By: mountainman - Wednesday, May 09, 2018 at 05:21

Wednesday, May 09, 2018 at 05:21
I have had 3 Arb leaf springs fail at exactly same spot.
Doesnt matter which side
They are complete rubbish.
Would never ever get arb suspension in a leaf form ever, even if you gave me your money.
The sourcing of another leaf out of another arb store was a complete joke too.
It took me about 5 phone calls , 9 emails to source, get a invoice and get the correct leaf spring sent to me.
It was that bad....no joke , i ended up going through a TJM dealer , mitchel bros in sydney to source it for me
IM NOT JOKING, i gave up with arb....
And this was in suburbia..
I could not imagine how shite id be in if i was somewhere out bush.
I would be stuffed worse than a dead dog in marble bar in 65deg heat.
If you want something custom made or with someone who does take your vehiclescurrent situation / setup into it.
Look up Ultimate suspension.
Been around many many years and have alot of experience in the armoured vehicle game for overseas use.
They also run a thicker leaf and a way better setup that stops main leaf failure compared to arb junk.
The thicker leaf ends up being one less in the pack but gives you the same ride.
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FollowupID: 890838

Reply By: Member - wicket - Monday, May 07, 2018 at 09:24

Monday, May 07, 2018 at 09:24
If you have a single cab and want to regularly add/ remove the slide on and keep the ute level when empty then your only real choice is air bags, any upgrading of the springs will raise the rear end when empty, even adding an extra leaf or two will raise rear end as you still need to deal with loss of the distance between the new level of the springs and the bump stop distance.
Don’t be concerned about the stories of broken chassis as it is extremely unlikely with a single cab. I had a single cab with slide on and air bags for over ten years but the issue i had was having to replace the air bags every 3 or 4 years due to the fact that i gave them a bit of a hard time as the ute laden was at gvm and we did quite a few demanding tracks, they were polyair so i would not recommend going with that brand.
AnswerID: 618720

Follow Up By: Member - Peter56 - Monday, May 07, 2018 at 09:37

Monday, May 07, 2018 at 09:37
I've been a bit anti air bags. On a trip to Cape Livique in 2016, I had a single cab bt50 with air bags and they unhooked or came apart somehow and when I returned to Broome the mechanic spot welded the air bag structure to the chassis to fix the problem. He indicated they had this happen a lot due to the depth of the corrugations.
I have therefore been reluctant to consider air bags for the Colorado.
The other concern is the prevalence of cracked chassis, especially given that we will be fully loaded.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 08:04

Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 08:04
Peter, Airbags will lift the rear end when loaded, and you can lower the pressure to soften the ride when unloaded. However, If you are “overloading” the suspension, then you stand a good chance of bending the chassis.

I had airbags on my 76 series Landcruiser to take the sag out when I connected my 2.5 T Off Road Caravan. I found them great, but you need to be careful to not overload the Ute.

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Follow Up By: Member - Peter56 - Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 11:26

Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 11:26
When fully loaded the vehicle is close to GVM, but we do not overload either front or back axle. So the air bags may be an option as well as doing a bit with the suspension.
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Follow Up By: mountainman - Wednesday, May 09, 2018 at 05:34

Wednesday, May 09, 2018 at 05:34
Other thing with airbags.
Always get your fabrication done first

Fit airbags last.
Our work melted the airbag from fabricating the steel tray.
Air bags should be the last thing fitted on a build out.

Also if your airbags lasted 3-4 years at a constant full gvm and you done some really hard tracks
I would have thought that is quite good service from a airbag to be honest.
No item on a 4wd has a long service lifeif you really are at your weight limits.
Airbags and shocks would go hand in hand for routine replacement.
Then suspension.
Then tyres
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Reply By: Gbc.. - Monday, May 07, 2018 at 16:20

Monday, May 07, 2018 at 16:20
300kg springs are basically a comfort lift. You are at gvm. The 600’s are required. Height difference unloaded will be negligible but it will bounce the rear end. Can’t have it all.
AnswerID: 618729

Follow Up By: Member - Peter56 - Monday, May 07, 2018 at 20:30

Monday, May 07, 2018 at 20:30
Thanks for the comment. Every decision is in effect a trade off. But i need to ensure the weight is carried effectively. The Travelander is a great camper so we just need to get the vehicle sorted. Thanks again.
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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Monday, May 07, 2018 at 20:32

Monday, May 07, 2018 at 20:32
I got a set of standard height 400Kg springs made for my max weight Dmax and they were to hard. Removed one leaf and they are perfect. 600kg springs on a Dmax are classed as GVM upgrade springs. They are used toupgrade the GVM to 3500
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Follow Up By: Member - Peter56 - Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 11:24

Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 11:24
As I indicated in earlier comments, we have 300kg springs on the vehicle now, with the standard suspension - springs, shockies etc. The ARB guys have suggested I go to a 600kg constant loan set up. The vehicle is quite good to drive at present, when unloaded, but it sags quite a lot when loaded near the GVM.
I don't think I have a lot of choice other than to stiffen it up a bit, so that it can cope with the weight when loaded.
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Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 12:10

Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 12:10
You'll have to keep a few sandbags at home mate like we used to have to with the old hilux's to settle it a bit when unladen.
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Follow Up By: Member - Trouper (NSW) - Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 12:51

Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 12:51
Peter, Dobinsons are pretty good go back to them and explain your situation. I'm sure they'll see you right. Personally I wouldn't go to ARB, as said earlier they just work from catalogues, not suspension experts.
Cheers
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FollowupID: 890828

Reply By: Bushranger1 - Monday, May 07, 2018 at 20:57

Monday, May 07, 2018 at 20:57
Hi Peter,
We bought a Single Cab Dmax last year & ARB did a Old Man Emu GVM upgrade to handle a Slide on Camper (Outback Campers) No problems to date except when we drive around without the Camper weight it's rather a harsh ride but 5 off 20L drums of water in the back settle it down a bit.
Mate bought an Extra Cab BT50 at the same time & also got the ARB GVM upgrade & his comments were similar.
We both got the GVM upgrade prior to Registration. I believe it is a bit harder to do this after Registration as it requires an engineers certification.

Cheers
Stu
AnswerID: 618732

Follow Up By: Member - Peter56 - Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 07:10

Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 07:10
Thanks Stu. I don't think I can avoid a stiffer ride when the vehicle is empty if I want to carry the weight. Thanks for the input.
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FollowupID: 890813

Follow Up By: Theo D - Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 10:52

Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 10:52
Hey Peter

I had a similar issue with my old dual cab Navara. I did a suspension upgrade on it and was strictly told by no means to fit it with constant load leaf springs (through Ironman 4x4) unless it was always carrying good amounts of weight. So I ended up fitting they're performance springs (mid range) due to this advice. They rode quite nicely with bare weight and with some load, but when half loaded they flattened out way too much to the stage they looked reversed! I had a spring mob here in Cairns add a spring to both sides and they alerted me that it might ride really hard and they were spot on the money. Around town it was ok, out bush with no load - really bad. But out bush fully loaded it was great.

I solved the harshness withn a undertray water tank one side (50L) and a similar sized toolbox other side. Worked well but given the chance to go back and change time Id opt for the constant load springs in the first place. They will soften up marginally over time in my mind.

Good luck with the decision
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Follow Up By: Member - Peter56 - Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 11:20

Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 11:20
Thanks Theo. Appreciate the comments.
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FollowupID: 890824

Reply By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Wednesday, May 09, 2018 at 23:35

Wednesday, May 09, 2018 at 23:35
Hi Peter
I have the full Travelander now for 10 years. I have been everywhere including the CSR. Originally I tried 600kg leaf springs with air bags from Boss. Took the load quite well but unloaded they where a bit rough. I now have parabolic 3 leaf springs. They take the load as easy. I only use the airbags to 'tighten' the load but not really lift it. When unloaded they are soft as only one spring does the work. Best choice I made. I will say - off the record - I carry too much weight. And did this on the CSR & Anne Beadell. No problems. Springs from WestraliaSprings. Google 'westraliasprings parabolic' Not sure they do your model. Other mobs also do parabolics but I have not used them so no comment.

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Follow Up By: Member - Peter56 - Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 07:17

Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 07:17
Thank you. I have no knowledge of this setup so will do some research. The Travelander is a great camper - we are generally not overloaded, but we are pretty well maxed out in terms of the GVM. Thanks for the tip.
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