Pick-up suspension is a compromise. Many people find their stock truck suspension too harsh when empty and too soft when fully loaded. New trucks are getting better all the time, but springs tire and dampers wear out more quickly than you might imagine, so depending on the age of your truck it might be time for a freshen up anyway.
The majority of our campers are light enough that with many trucks suspension upgrades may not be absolutely necessary for road use. Having said that, most trucks will benefit significantly from upgraded suspension with ride and handling showing marked improvements. For off-road and expedition use upgraded suspension is always recommended.
Air Assitance: Air springs are very useful for small load levelling adjustments and for levelling the car at night for a good night’s sleep. When used correctly they help keep everything taught & level although off-road ride is generally poor and (contrary to popular belief) they are not a cure for excessive weight. Installation is quick and easy. Generally the air spring simply replaces the bump stop but it’s worth remembering that most chassis are not designed to take the full weight of the load there so care is needed not to over stress things. There are numerous manufacturers of air suspension kits but most of the ‘bags’ themselves come from two main manufacturers so choosing your supplier or installer might be as simple as finding one close by. It’s also worth remembering that damper rates need to be carefully balanced with spring rates and as you inflate the air spring you effectively increase the spring rate. If you opt for air springs you really should consider upgrading the dampers too. There’s a wide choice of dampers on the market, our personal favourites are the ‘Foamcell’ dampers from Pedders.
Full Air: With a full air system the steel springs are totally replaced with air springs. A well engineered full air system can give an exceptional ride and excellent load levelling ability. In some cases it’s possible to have the air springs fitted on front and rear axles, these are known as ‘four corner systems’. ‘VB Air’ produce very well proven full four corner systems for VW Amarok, Land Rover Defender and many others. If the budget allows this is a very nice solution for the demountable owner looking for an exceptional ‘all road’ ride.
Upgraded Springs and Dampers: This is the best solution for owners looking for excellent performance at a modest price as well as for those venturing off-road. There are a number of well known brands available but we use and recommend Pedders. We’ve had exceptional results with them both on and off-road and have worked together with them to develop special kits for demountable owners. Ride is improved with or without the demountable in place and it can be used inconjuction with their lightly charged air system for small load levelling adjustments and overnight levelling.
Remember, none of the above are a solution for an overloaded truck!