AXLE UPGRADE for Bailey, Swift, Coachman and other European caravans

AXLE UPGRADE for Bailey, Swift, Coachman and other European caravans

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Does your European caravan appear to sit very low down, close to the road, with very little clearance?

The problem

Over time, the rubber suspension insets in the axle have become squashed and no longer rebound. This will harm the whole caravan's interior and outer structure as it will be subjected to the road's impact forces.

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The effects of this problem

When the wheels hit potholes and indentations in the road, the suspension no longer absorbs the impact very well; those forces are transmitted through the structure and fabric of the caravan interior.

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If you carry on towing your caravan regardless, you will almost certainly cause more damage, and you will be surprised at what happens. The bulkheads and cupboards will become unattached from the walls, and the floor-to-ceiling bulkheads will start pushing through the roof, causing water ingress. We have even seen the chassis rails crack, breaking everything inside.

The solution

At Vantage RV we can rebuild the axle on the vehicle, no need to remove the axle and send it away to be rebuilt. However we can go one step further and fit additional springs to the axle.

Spring Upgrade

When we re-rubber the axle, we replace the old squashed rubbers with new round rubbers; after time, the squashed ones no longer have the rebound to return the suspension trailing arms to their factory position after hitting a bump, i.e., they are no longer able to point downwards at 25 degrees. Therefore, the caravan will sit lower to the ground. When the caravan goes over a bump in the road, the suspension will no longer absorb the road shock like it used to. 
Replacing the rubbers will give the suspension more travel and improve towing because the new rubber will take up the road shock much better than the old ones. However, over time, the new rubbers will also slowly get squashed again as the rubber ages, and nothing can stop it from happening.

Except when we fit a spring upgrade, we load the caravan weight onto the springs, which assists the trailing arms in maintaining the original downward position and helps take some load off the rubbers, allowing the trailing arm to travel more freely up and down. The road shock is shared between the springs and the rubbers, giving you better towing ability and better road shock protection. 
We have developed this upgrade to mitigate the damage caused by New Zealand's terrible roads. 

Will shock absorbers do the same thing?

Shock absorbers are not the same as the springs; they stop the trailing arm and wheel from bouncing up and down after the vehicle has hit a pothole or bump. They absorb the road shock but do not push the trailing arm back downward like the springs would; they slow down erratic movements.

By combining the springs and the shock absorbers, the axle will be lifted to an optimum height by the springs, and any violent movements will be absorbed by the shocks.

Can we carry more weight after the spring upgrade?

The spring upgrade was never designed to increase the payload.

The original chassis remains unchanged; the chassis was designed for the payload specified on the manufacturer's vehicle plates.

However, the springs will take the pressure off the axle rubbers, absorbing road impact forces much more efficiently than the rubbers alone. The spring upgrade should load about half the caravan's weight on the springs, meaning road impact is absorbed by the spring and the rubbers combined, so, in theory, the suspension may be capable of dealing with more weight. However, the chassis remains unchanged and can only carry the original payload.

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