Trailer Suspension: What Type of System to Choose

Posted by at 1 December 2014, at 22 : 47 PM

Trailer Suspension: What Type of System to Choose

The type of trailer suspension you choose will help determine the performance of your trailer. There are several types of trailer suspension systems available. This area is often overlooked when people are purchasing or building a trailer, because a wide majority of customers seem to get focused on other trailer features.

The most popular type of suspension is the tried and true leaf spring suspension. Some leaf spring style suspensions, usually on lighter trailers, typically come in slipper style. Basically, the back portion of the spring “slips” through a ring welded to the trailer. This style is typically pretty noisy as the trailer bounces down the road.

Rubber torsion suspensions are also available and good for light duty trailers, because they are compact and offer a smooth ride. This torsion suspension/axle system is complete with a torsion arm type suspension system, which is self-contained within the trailer axle. The suspension attaches directly to the trailer frame through brackets and makes it easy, because the axle is built in.

Air ride trailer suspension is a popular style on larger trailers, typically with 8000 lb axles and above. The system contains small air bags which are controlled by an air valve called the ride height valve. The ride height valve is connected to the trailer frame by an adjustable linkage. This linkage can be used to “fine tune” the deck height of the trailer. Although considerably more expensive, Air ride suspensions are by far the smoothest riding of all.

When choosing your suspension system, you are going to need to make a few considerations.

1. Trailer Size: This is somewhat obvious because the size, and amount of suspension required will depend on your trailer’s size. This is a fundamental area to start with, and is not usually variable depending on what you are going to be hauling.

2. Capacity Options: There are several options to choose from here as well, but they will also depend on the size of your trailer. Some typical sizes include:

* 1,000 pounds

* 2,000 pounds

* 3,500 pounds

* 5,200 pounds

* 6,000 pounds

* 8,000 pounds

* 10,000 pounds

* 12,000 pounds

* 15,000 pounds

* 20,000 pounds

* Multiples of these for larger trailers.

3. Number of Axles: obviously, the size of your trailer is going to dictate how many trailer axles you require. You also need to consider the type of cargo you will be hauling. If you are hauling livestock, you will most likely choose a double axle in conjunction with a larger trailer. Smaller light duty trailers will often have one axle and larger trailers may require three. This all depends on your needs in hauling.

Each type of trailer suspension system has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. If you have options available to you in building or purchasing your trailer, then you will want to consider these areas and compare what you need, and what each system has to offer. The key is that you match the right trailer suspension system with your specific application.

General Automotive Articles