How Suspension Upgrades Can Extend Your Love Affair with Caravanning
If you have a love for caravanning or camping you may already have a van or trailer that you have used over the years. Yet you may be thinking about upgrading your experience, taking more people with you when you go on trips, or simply carrying more within your rig. In this case, you need to consider the capabilities of these vehicles and whether or not you need to upgrade the suspension. What do you need to consider when thinking about revised trailer suspension?
Why Consider an Upgrade?
Many people choose to upgrade the suspension on an existing vehicle, because they are perfectly happy with the configuration of the van or trailer, or may in fact have some kind of emotional attachment to the present vehicle due to happy adventures over the years. Upgrading suspension can give these vehicles a new lease of life in this case. Other people may just be embarking upon the outdoor life and may have bought an older vehicle at a good price with the aim of upgrading it for their own use.
Firstly, you need to take care of the suspension and axle upgrade, but secondly don't forget that you need to register your vehicle legally by fitting a modification placed to it.
The easiest way to upgrade the suspension is to swap the existing springs thereby increasing either the number of coils or the number of leaves in a leaf spring configuration. This will allow you to increase what is known as the "aggregate trailer mass" or ATM.
Always remember that when you do increase springs you automatically alter the ride height of your vehicle. When you do this, you will need to prove that the drawbar which connects the towing vehicle to your caravan and camping trailer is now suitable. This requires a very precise calculation, and you should contact the manufacturer of the vehicle in order to help you determine this. Once you have that information you can then obtain a modification plate to attach to the vehicle. These details will also need to be relayed to the registering authority in your state.
Other Possible Changes
Sometimes, you will need to change the size of the brakes fitted to the vehicle. This is more likely the case if your new ATM places you into a different category of towing vehicle/trailer. As part of this changeover you may also have to upgrade the coupling device between the vehicles and the safety chains.
Remember, that before making the change permanent check to see if your projected set up will allow the wheels and tyres to fit well, with enough clearance under the wheel arches.