Leaf springs on Tandem axle caravan

Submitted: Saturday, Jul 04, 2009 at 21:13
ThreadID: 70399 Views:8648 Replies:5 FollowUps:3
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Can anyone please share your experiences or advice on the practicalities of Leaf Springs on Tandem axle Caravan with Tare 2380 kgs and ATM 2780. Are the leaf springs suitable for normal use on rough sealed roads or average gravel roads with a little corrugation. My concerns are damage to internal doors, drawers, glass shower doors etc. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Saturday, Jul 04, 2009 at 22:17

Saturday, Jul 04, 2009 at 22:17
All depends on who builds it really

AnswerID: 373119

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Jul 05, 2009 at 01:19

Sunday, Jul 05, 2009 at 01:19
You are probably better off with load sharing leaf spring suspension than non load sharing independent suspension.

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AnswerID: 373126

Follow Up By: jeepthing - Sunday, Jul 05, 2009 at 07:54

Sunday, Jul 05, 2009 at 07:54
Nomadic Navara is spot on it if you fit a tandem trailer with non load sharing leaf spring suspension the ride will be rough and your trailer will not handle very well, particularly on corrugation and rough roads.

I beefed up my boat trailer many years ago to tandem and I was initially going to just add another axle and spring but when I went to get a second set of springs I was informed that I must connect them with a rocker otherwise it would be illegal.

The other problem was that if I just added another set the tyres they would be too far apart causing issues when turning tight corners, backing etc as there would need to be a differential on the rear set of springs.
FollowupID: 640337

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Sunday, Jul 05, 2009 at 12:16

Sunday, Jul 05, 2009 at 12:16
Why would you need a differential as the wheels are independant of each other and would just scrub when turning.

Any tandem set does that on tight corners but more so the further apart the axles.

FollowupID: 640357

Follow Up By: jeepthing - Monday, Jul 06, 2009 at 08:28

Monday, Jul 06, 2009 at 08:28
The advice I got was in terms of just adding another axle and springs and not having them connected via a rocker arm. If I did it without the rocker arm and just welded the spring supports behind the other springs I would need to have some distance behind the swinging arm of the first spring for clearance so it would not hit the front spring frame of the rear spring.

This would make the distance between the 2 axles and tyres too great for easy manouvering.

I know that any tandem will scrub and yes it would be more the further apart the axles are but the advice I received was that there was a real risk of having a tyre on the rear axle actually being pulled off the rim due to the weight of my boat particularly when fully loaded.

So I took the advice I was given by the experts and bought a proper tandem set up with rocker arm.
FollowupID: 640448

Reply By: mowing - Sunday, Jul 05, 2009 at 11:40

Sunday, Jul 05, 2009 at 11:40
I have a tandem trailer with leaf springs and rocker arm, with the trailer weight varying from 1.3T to 2.2T and it is amazing how much the rocker arm moves depending on load and angle of trailer in doing its job of spreading the load.


AnswerID: 373155

Reply By: Member Boroma 604 - Sunday, Jul 05, 2009 at 14:45

Sunday, Jul 05, 2009 at 14:45
Have a 21 Ft Full Caravan, has Load Sharing suspension. Tare 2320KG Max Load 3000Kg have been accross the Centre, Donghue, Great Central and no problems. At least if something goes wrong you have a chance of getting home with this tried & proven system.
Boroma 604.
AnswerID: 373182

Reply By: blown4by - Sunday, Jul 05, 2009 at 21:20

Sunday, Jul 05, 2009 at 21:20
Leaf springs are the way to go I reckon but they must be load sharing and no trailer builder would build with leaf springs any other way. The good thing is you only need to carry one spare spring assembly and if any of the four fail you can easily knock out the shackle pins with normal tools and a jack on the side of the road and replace that spring pack. If you load the trailers sensibly, drive at a speed to suit the conditions and have your tyre pressures set to assist the springs in providing some suspension they generally will not fail in any case. Make sure you get rockers and bushes each end of the spring that are fitted with grease nipples. The other benefit of leaf springs is that due to them being mounted on a common axle when cornering or going over uneven ground some load is transferred to the opposite side which assists in keeping that wheel in contact with the ground and therefore is more stable. Independent suspension is just a gimmick used by camper trailer and caravan manufacturers to charge more money for no cost benefit to the customer. If you think about it the whole of outback Australia was explored, prospected and opened up on vehicles using leaf springs. e.g. Landrovers, trucks, trailers, Army vehicles, Holden & Falcon utes & cars, etc, etc. If worst comes to worst you can always use a fence post, guide post, star picket, post cut from bush timber or a block of wood to support the axle in an emergency should a spring leaf fail. Try doing that to effect emergency repairs to a trailing arm on independent suspension.
AnswerID: 373241

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