Caravans are vehicles that typically use four wheels and have a flat roof or canvas top without windows. Caravans were popular during the age of horse-pulled carriages to carry goods to sell, but they have also been used by nomads. Caravan suspensions systems are designed to make it easy for the vehicle to move over rough terrain without compromising safety and comfort.
However, ideally, the vehicle will be fitted with a more sophisticated system than just four coil springs in each corner because of the varied type of terrain that it may be expected to travel across. This is where well-known brands come with their innovative and highly successful range of caravan suspensions. Therefore, in this article, we will look at different types of suspension used in a caravan and the best system for Caravans.
Leaf springs are the most commonly used suspension system for caravans. They are normally found at the back of a van, although some units may have the leaf springs fitted all around the vehicle, especially if it is a truck built for carrying heavy loads. The springs will either be U-shaped or flat with helical compression leaves that expand under heavy load to provide extra support to the vehicle.
Springs are usually made from solid steel to make them very durable. They also utilize flexible friction pads at each end of the coil to prevent any collision or impact between the spring and the axle frame. This type of suspension is usually designed for light loads all around and can support up to 2-3 tonnes on most occasions.
Air suspension is normally fitted on vans with a large carrying capacity, such as motorhomes and trucks built for heavy loads. Air is drawn from a compressor into pressurized air tanks located within the vehicle floor and is fed through a shock absorber system which may have either coil springs or airbags. Air cushion suspension is trendy on caravans and trailers as it prevents the vehicle from sinking into soft ground or mud.
This suspension is mainly used in heavy vehicles such as caravans and motorhomes. Its main function is to make the vehicle move over uneven terrain without damaging the suspension. The axle is fitted with a differential, which splits the power into two different units, one of which goes into each axle. This way, one side of the axle may be going at a slow speed, while the other moves at a faster speed without damaging the movable parts within the axle.
These are the most common suspension systems used on caravans. However, they are also found in many vehicles such as buses, trucks, motor homes, and even military jeeps.
What is the Best Suspension for Caravans?
While there different kinds of suspension systems, there are two basic and common suspension systems that are best for caravans: live axle and Independent suspension
Live Axle Suspension System
A live axle suspension system has the axle pivot mounted on a solid frame. The wheels are attached to the axle, and they can faster rotate freely. Live axle suspension systems give the van a smooth ride while reducing vibrations and bumps in the road. The advantage of this system is they do tend to sag and flatten out. They are commonly used with a leaf spring for distribution. Lift kits for trucks are often added to this system to increase the vehicle height and make them best for on-road caravans.
The Independent suspension system is the best for caravans. It has a floating axle mounted on a frame and suspension attached to both the frame and axle. The advantage of this system is that shocks travel through the entire frame of the vehicle and not just the wheelbase. This system will allow you to have a smoother ride than even a live axle system will give you, plus it will reduce fatigue during long journeys. Independent systems are also commonly used with lift kits.
Suspension systems on a caravan are essential for comfort and safety. It allows the van to handle bumps in roads better and gives a smoother ride. Most people will have shocks for the front wheels and airbags or coil springs for rear axles. However, while both types of suspension systems have their advantages and disadvantages, in the end, it is best to use a system that will suit your needs as well as your caravans.