Suspension system service: Knowledge is power

Management Lucas Deal June 14, 2013

Class 7 and 8 truck and trailer combinations are heavy.

A Class 8 commercial truck weighs more than 33,000 lbs. Its Class 7 counterpart weighs in between 26,000 and 33,000 lbs. Combined with a full trailer in tow, on-highway trucking rigs can tip the scales at up to 80,000 lbs.

Carrying that much weight requires a lot of specialized componentry; and no component may be more important than the suspension.

Designed to link a vehicle’s axles with its chassis, suspensions help distribute weight evenly across multiple axles while working with springs and other components to create a smooth ride, says Bill Simmons, field service and warranty manager at Reyco Granning.

In the heavy-duty industry, these systems are incredibly complex.

To successfully assist suspension customers in the aftermarket, distributors and service providers should be well-informed on how commercial truck and trailer suspensions work and how they are maintained.

Heavy-duty truck suspensions are designed to keep vehicles running smooth and drivers comfortable while hauling extreme weights.

To do this, these trucks require suspension and spring systems in place over the front and rear axles.

Front axle suspensions can be integrated into the axle itself or positioned above it, and can operate with leaf and air springs. Rear axles also can operate with multiple spring configurations, and are affixed between the vehicle chassis and axle systems.

Application and usage are important factors in deciding on truck suspension and spring systems. John Devany, sales manager at Betts Truck Parts and Service, says his parent company builds spring systems specific to the duty applications required by its customers.

Devany says “air spring suspension systems are often preferred in fragile or breakable load situations. Leaf spring suspension systems are often preferred in off-road and heavy load situations.”

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