Over 60 Years Experience with Towing Brackets and Trailers

Watling Engineers-Motorhome and Commercial Vehicle Air Suspension

If there is one accessory that benefits nearly every single motorhome on the road, in our opinion, it would be supplementary air suspension.

Air Suspension

A typical Air Suspension setup

Everyone who ownes a motorhome drives somewhere at some point to enjoy their vehicle, so on road performance is as much a part of an enjoyable holiday as the standard of campsite, or the quality of your internal furnishings. The difference that a properly installed air suspension system gives is marked and instantly noticeable.

Why do I need Air suspension?

The vast majority of motorhomes manufactured and enjoyed in Europe are built on standard van chassis such as the Fiat Ducatto, Ford Transit, Peugeot Boxer, Renault Traffic, Citroen Relay and Mercedes Sprinter. Now, although these are workhorse vehicles, in their normal working life as delivery vans or commercial trade vans or chassis cabs, they spend the majority of their time at best half full but often with very little weight actually in them. If we now take the average motorhome, which has a large extended body filled with cookers, sinks, a shower unit, beds, fridge freezers, heaters, 2 weeks worth of food and drink, all your clothes, the dog, and that case of beer that was on offer in the supermarket, what you end up with is a vehicle which is at almost its maximum laden weight all of the time. Even when it is sitting empty on your drive, you only need to compare the payload of a standard van or chassis cab to that of a motorhome to see the stress the suspension is under. For example:

Auto-Sleeper Broadway EK

Ducatto Chassis Cab base vehicle

An off the shelf Fiat Ducatto MWB Chassis Cab when converted to a flatbed weighs about 2000kg and has a payload of 1500kg. However, a motorhome like the Auto-Sleeper Broadway built on the same chassis has a mass in running order of 3074kg and a user payload of just 426kg (figures taken from Fiat and Auto-Sleeper websites).

In a surprisingly short time your rear suspension will sag and you will be travelling around on the bump stops or with very little actual suspension left in the springs. Here at Watling we see a huge number of vehicles where the rear suspension offers only an inch or so of travel, or in many cases nothing at all.

Having a system working at maximum capacity all of the time is never a good idea and is guaranteed to shorten its life expectancy. Air suspension alleviates this problem.

What benefits will I get from an Air Suspension System?

  1. The primary benefit of an air suspension system is the resoration of the original ride height. However, it is the supplementary benefits which many people find most noticeable.
  2. The general ride and road handling will improve and will seem less wallowy under normal conditions, and straight line stability on motorways will greatly increase.
  3. Body roll at roundabouts and when cornering is decreased, as is the sideways movement felt when in strong winds or when being overtaken by large vehicles.
  4. If your vehicle has already sagged to its bump-stops, you will notice a reduction in vibration and jarring being transmitted through the suspension to the chassis of the vehicle.
  5. Another important supplementary benefit is the ability to raise and lower the rear height of your vehicle. This is especially useful when boarding steep ferry ramps, or negotiating kerbs or driveways. The rear valance of a motorhome is very fragile and is easily damaged in such circumstances.
  6. Air suspension can help towards the uprating of a vehicles carrying capacity, but it WILL NOT raise the legal carrying capacity on its own. For more information about increasing your vehicles maximum permissable load, please follow this link: www.svtech.co.uk

What vehicles can I fit Air suspension to?

Almost any commercially based vehicle with rear leaf springs can benefit from air suspension. This list includes, but is not limited to:

Ford Transit, Ranger and Connect, Fiat Ducatto and Doblo, Iveco Daily, Mercedes Sprinter, Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara, Peugeot Boxer, Renault Master, Toyota Hilux, VW LT and Crafter.

In addition to this, the list of motorhome manufacturers that modify these vehicles includes:

ACE motorhomes, Autocruise, Burstner, Auto-sleepers, Bessacarr,Compass, Elddis, Lunar, Murvi, Nu Venture Campers, Rollerteam, Orian, Swift, Timberland, Adria, Benimar, Chausson, Kentucky, CI Motorhomes, Dethleffs, Eura Mobil, Geist, Hobby, Hymer, Knaus, La Finca, La Strada, Laika, LMC, Maesss, McLouis, Mobilvetta, Auto-trail, Niesman and Bischoff, Pilote, Rapido, Rimor, SeA, Tec, Trigano etc.

How can I get an Air Suspension System?

Here you have 2 choices. You can either purchase one directly from us and have it sent to your home for self fitting. Or you can come and visit us here in St Albans and we will be happy to fit it for you. Depending on the vehicle and your preferred position of the inflation schrader valve and guages, the process takes between 1 and 3 hours. We can cater for just about any make and model of motorhome including those with an Alko chassis, so please just ask.

Example of Fiat Ducatto Suspension Kit

Here at Watling, we have full workshop facilities and trained staff to ensure that job gets done quickly and with the minimum of fuss.

Our experience of working with all types of vehicle and not just motorhomes, gives a different perspective on what is possible and how to get the right result.

Because the kits are vehicle specific, it is important when getting a quote to fully describe the base vehicle it is to be fitted to. This information must include the manufacturer, model, year, number of rear wheels and in some cases whether it is front or rear wheel drive.


I still need another incentive!

OK, you twisted our arms! How about we give you a portable 12v mini air compressor with every system we fit? This enables you to raise and lower the pressure in the system at your own convenience and not just when you go past a garage. This is ideal for running at a standard pressure on the motorway and then raising the pressure and lifting the rear of your vehicle when you need to get on a ferry or go up a steep drive. Now isn't that handy?

For further information on fitting an air suspension kit to your vehicle, please just give us a call on 01727 873661 or send a request here.


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