Suspension system service: Knowledge is power

Management Lucas Deal June 14, 2013

Bill Nolan, president at Power Brake & Spring, says it’s important for heavy-duty distributors to stock components viable for all duty applications.

“Like most systems on a truck or trailer, the entire suspension is only as good as its weakest link,” he says. “When you replace a spring or suspension component with an inferior part, you risk the integrity of the system.”

The trailer market operates primarily with fixed and slider suspensions, says Howard Adkins, manager of technical services at Hendrickson.

Fixed suspensions are bolted directly to axles and a trailer chassis at a specific point. Common with tanker, platform and dump trailers, Adkins says some fixed suspensions can lift a single axle off a driving surface to eliminate tire wear and improve fuel mileage when hauling lighter weights. They are available in the aftermarket with air and leaf springs.

Adkins says slider suspensions are commonly used with box vans and reefer trailers. They are designed to allow drivers to adjust the placement of the chassis on the suspension, improving maneuverability when necessary.

“With [sliders], you can move your suspension to where it is equalizing the weight on the axles best,” Adkins says.

Spring options for slider suspensions are similar to their fixed counterparts, but can vary in size and placement.

Adkins advises distributors to communicate with suppliers about suspension system configurations when determining what aftermarket components to stock.

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