Trucking Info

Fleet FAQ

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Q. What is important to keep in mind when spec’ing truck and trailer suspensions?

A. For trailer suspensions, the first consideration should be the vehicle type and how it will be used. This information helps us determine the optimal suspension type for the operation of the vehicle while providing the required suspension performance. Air suspensions provide an adjustable spring rate while maintaining a constant ride height via a height control valve. Pressure inside of the air springs is adjusted based on the payload to ensure optimal suspension dynamics and ride comfort whether loaded or empty.

The next consideration should be the suspension mounting envelope, including tire sizes. The suspension mounting space limitations must be considered when choosing the suspension that will best fit within the trailer structure to ensure trouble-free suspension performance.

Other key factors include: the number and types of suspensions included on the trailer; additional functional requirements, such as the need for a liftable axle or self-steering axle; and suspension operational requirements such as a ride height lock or suspension air exhaust system.

Finally, the fleet should consider what types of suspension options might help enhance their operations and improve their bottom line. These types of options can include extended life wheel end packages, a tire inflation system, or reduced maintenance damping suspension systems.

Air suspensions can also be lifted when the vehicle load is reduced. Lifting a suspension can increase the vehicle’s fuel economy and help extend the life of the brakes and tires on the lifted axle. A lifted axle can also reduce toll road costs.

There are also benefits of a mechanical suspension (leaf spring or rubber). These are generally simpler in design with less parts and can be better suited to more demanding operations, especially off-road. Hendrickson provides a complete portfolio of suspensions to suit different vehicle types and operations, there is not a “one size fits all.”

Ride quality is a consideration for both truck and trailer applications, but the influencing factors can differ. Truck suspensions have more of a focus on driver comfort and reduced driver fatigue, while also prolonging the life of the tractor. Trailer suspensions are primarily focused on cargo and trailer protection, with some consideration towards the driver as well.

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Expert Bio

Answered by : Omar Fernandez

Marketing Director, Hendrickson Trailer Commercial Vehicle Systems


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