Rubber (torsion) suspension

Submitted: Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 19:15
ThreadID: 91343 Views:5927 Replies:7 FollowUps:1
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Wondering what people can tell me about torsion suspension? I'm looking to build a small boat trailer (3m dinghy). The idea is that it can either be used as a day to day boat trailer when we're home or be dismantled when the dinghy is used in roof rack mode and we're travelling. I've considered the various fold-aways but have decided not to go down that route as I don't think they'd last as a day to day trailer. Long trips would kill them. The design priority (light, quick assembly) is wrong for us.
Anyway, I'm looking hard at rubber suspension ( like this; ) as it seems to make sense for a light weight trailer that's intended to be dismantled. No axle for one thing. My problem is that I'm getting wildly conflicting opinions on this sort of suspension. On the one hand I'm being told that salt water will destroy the rubber whilst others say it's a great system. Everyone has an opinion!
Anyone been down this path and have some actual experience of the product?
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Reply By: franken - Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 20:14

Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 20:14
I had a car trailer (single axle) fitted with torsion suspension. Met a lot of nay sayers but I never had a problem with it. Had some decent cars on the trailer over the years too. I liked it. Easy way of doing independent suspension, can make the floor of the trailer very low, don't have to worry about chassis hitting the axle. No experience with it is salt water though. Mine lasted well, bought the trailer 2nd hand (and it was nowhere near new then), had it for about 10 years, still going strong when i sold it.
AnswerID: 475533

Reply By: Inflataduck - Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 20:15

Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 20:15
A lot of boat trailers are of rubber torsion type & work well but you can normally not inspect & its only when they fail you know you have a problem. they are more common in the uk & Europe than Aust. In my experiences the smaller single type are not much chop but the larger hayman & alko type are fine but you can not inspect the corrsion/rust on the inside
good luck
AnswerID: 475534

Reply By: Wilko (Parkes NSW) - Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 20:53

Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 20:53
Hi Nutwood,

They build a lot of comb trailers (for harvesters) with torsion suspensions. They have performed well in service for the past decade or so, so your needs wont overly stress them.

The only issue is they are pricey.

Cheers Wilko
AnswerID: 475543

Reply By: Member - Bucky - Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 07:33

Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 07:33

Our Travelling Companions had an Outback Camper Trailer, with that Rubberised Torsion Bar Suspension.
At first when I found out, I was a sceptic, as I had heard a lot of negative breaking down, rotating in socket, and collapsing.

Since then we have done the Canning and the Kimberley, with them and seen that suspension cop an absolute pounding, with weight, and road conditions.

I can only recommend that if the design of the trailer suits ALKO Rubberised Torsion Bar Suspension, then get it, with no regrets.

Just make sure that it is all Genuine, and there is no cheap Chinese look-a-like stuff floating about

AnswerID: 475559

Follow Up By: nutwood - Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 07:48

Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 07:48
Thanks Bucky, we both posted at the same time!
The sort I was looking at was the third set down in the link in my OP. 250kg for a pair. I reckon they'd provide a nice soft ride for a 3m dinghy. Springs tend to be a bit harsh on lightweight boats. No weight to make them work.
FollowupID: 750494

Reply By: nutwood - Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 07:43

Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 07:43
Thanks for the replies. I can live with them being pricey. On my little trailer the difference is about $300. Not particularly significant if they do a good job and last.
I have noticed that they are more popular overseas. I'd imagine that's something to do with Australian corrugated roads. I believe corrugations are unkind to rubber suspension and whilst not everyone travels extensively on corrugated roads, bad news tends to get around.
I've had a few people tell me not to touch them but they can't say why. Probably they were talking to someone who heard from his mechanic that his brother had met someone who'd had a failure....!
Anyway, the only definite problem I've been told about is that they don't like salt water but I can't verify this. It seems to me that the water is also salty in other countries and if they work OK there, they should work here.
AnswerID: 475560

Reply By: Member - Rodney B- Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 08:48

Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 08:48
Had a trailer for about 10 years with rubber torsion suspension and had a 16 ft aluminium Quintrex runabout on it. Used to weigh in at about 500KG. Took it all over the Top End and KImberlys during that time . It eventually wore out on the corrigations but that was in the days when most of the Top End roads were dirt and the road from Alice to Port Augusta was unsealed. Was more than happy with it's performance

AnswerID: 475565

Reply By: kev.h - Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 19:47

Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 19:47
Hi Nutwood
The ones you are looking at are no issue with salt water they are fully moulded and sealed
The ones that give trouble are the other type which have a square axle diagonally inside a heavy box section with 4 round rubber rods inserted onto the spaces in the corners of the box section, they allow salt water in and it rusts out the box
You are on a winner with the ones you picked
AnswerID: 475606

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