Air suspension - a gadget or a necessity?
In recent years, our editorial office has had the opportunity to try out many motorhomes from various price segments, with different dimensions, bodies on different base cars and with different equipment in action.
Whenever we test a vehicle, we take a closer look at safety, driving comfort and utility values. Our experience shows that one of the key elements is the selection of the suspension and its parameters. There are many modifications to serial solutions available on the market, which only seemingly may seem universal and the same.
What can we gain by installing additional air suspension?
- suspension work optimization
- increased security
- increased comfort
- protection of the base suspension
- protection of cargo and passengers
- saving on repairs
- periodically increasing the ground clearance of the vehicle
- leveling the vehicle with unevenly distributed load (dual-circuit version)
- the ability to set the hardness of the suspension when the road surface changes (version with a compressor)
Stock = imperfect?
Of course, the above statement may seem harmful, but we are in a hurry to explain. Budget and mid-range motorhomes are very often delivered with the complete suspension of the base car manufacturer - take the Fiat Ducato for example. Perhaps the use of a standard solution will not adversely affect the driving properties of a standard tin plate in a construction company, but a camping vehicle is a specific vehicle with a considerable weight and a completely different distribution. Here we must honestly define the comfort and quality of the Italian solution as mediocre at best.
The first serial alcove on the Ducato , after covering a few hundred meters on unevenness, can give the driver and passengers a headache. Characteristic "tapping" of the suspension, swaying, jerks and blows along with acoustic fireworks - this is not what we expect from cars often worth several hundred thousand zlotys. To improve the characteristics of the car, we can choose between options - from budget to the most technologically advanced.
The assisting air suspensions are relatively simple systems available at affordable prices. As a base, they use the original suspension of the vehicle, strengthening and stabilizing it. A vehicle with air suspension is definitely more resistant to high mass loads and uneven surfaces, and at the same time responds much better to the driver's commands.
The air suspension, thanks to the constant height of the body, also results in significant savings in fuel consumption and suspension components, the work of which is transferred to the optimal range. The incredible variety of available booster suspension kits means that almost every delivery vehicle available on the European market can be equipped with them. The most common solution here are air springs with pressure gauges placed in the cab. The regulation takes place by means of valves, and in most vehicles the pressure element is a simple compressor. Such a modification usually costs several thousand zlotys. The improvement of many parameters - especially in the case of series chassis, eg FCA / Stellantis, is significant.
Full air suspension - uncompromising comfort
By transferring the load from the mechanical parts to the pneumatic cushion, we obtain greater comfort, and in the event of an overload, we maintain driving safety and increase control over the vehicle. Thanks to automatic control and programmed options, we have the ability to set the suspension at the level required at the moment. Due to these advantages, full air suspension is so popular on specialty cars such as motorhomes. We have quite extensively presented the assembly method and benefits here: Air suspension and hydraulic supports in the motorhome - assembly at the Elcamp Group
Theme for specialists
When deciding on such a motorhome upgrade, it is worth trusting specialists with appropriate preparation and authorization as well as technical facilities. Thanks to the knowledge and experience of specialists fromELCAMP RV from Krakow, we gain the possibility of precise, individualized selection of the suspension to the needs and conditions of the car. The company works with the leading manufacturers of air suspension in Europe: DriveRite, VB and Goldschmitt and has a wide range of chassis solutions of all the most popular brands.
I feel best in the form of trade fairs and meetings with enthusiasts. Technical freak. In my life I have dismantled many motorhomes for the first time. Fan of large vehicles, mountain biking and traveling without weight and financial restrictions. At CampRest, I am responsible for all publications on automotive topics.