1. #1
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    Default Tanker/tender rear suspension

    Looking for input on rear suspension - Air vs Spring (Hendrickson walking beam etc) no large twin screw pumper/tanker. 50000lb+ GVWR

    Getting chassis salesmen with 180degree opposing opinions/view. Air ride gives a better ride. In particular looking for experience with air ride suspension.

    Our terrain is gently rolling, no major grades. 50% paved 50% well graded gravel, no weight restrictions. Gravel may be soft in the Spring.

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    We put a spring suspension in ours. I know a couple of departments that have air-ride rear ends and hate it with the hills/curves we've got around here. They say it makes any leaning/rocking worse in the corners.

    The diesel mechanic/truck driver I've got as a deputy chief agreed with the theory and pushed for the spring suspension when we specced.

  3. #3
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    Catch 22

    Yes, to some folks the sensation that you are rolling over is there with the air ride but it is only a sensation. All the tires are on the road and the lean is under control by the suspension which is doing what it was designed to do.

    On the other hand you won't feel this with a steel leaf suspension. They have no leaning sensation but if you exceed your limit they just flip.

    Another nice feature about air-ride is the elimination of "wheel hop" on a rough road or emergency stop. (T.C., do they still have wheel hop)

    Follow an air-ride truck down the road and watch the bags bouncing up and down. None of this makes it to the truck. On a steel spring truck all of this energy generated between the road and the suspension is transferred directly to the chassis and everything connected to it.

    They may cost more to purchase but the cost of ownership is probably less if the vehicle sees a lot of use. I always liked the Neway Air-ride because it was rated 100% on and off road. (Don't panic) Not because you would go off road but because think how much it was overbuilt for on road use.

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    Savage / Hyneman 08'

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    Air ride generally makes things last longer by cushioning the force from the road without transfering thru the suspension.

    I worked in a tank shop for years. Everytime we got a tank in with multiple cracks and failures in the tank metal, it was a spring ride. The air ride tankers held up much better. Granted, these were aluminum which doesn't handle the stresses as well, but it is a good illustration.

    If you have a lot of roads that are crowned and you lean goin down the road, get a air ride leveler valve on each side, instead of the single one for the entire rear.

    Also on spring ride: Our 4000 gal tanker has spring ride. And when it is empty it rides very hard and doesn't handle the best. The air ride compensates for weight or lack of weight.

    In my experience driving big trucks on and off road on many different missions, I just don't see how you can go wrong with the air ride. Just spec out the air ride which is right for the application, as mentioned in a previous post

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    If you gotta have springs, the Hendrickson walking beam or the Mack camelback are about as tough as it gets. I don't know that a Reyco suspension has enough articulation.

    In a fire truck there shouldn't be enough miles to become an issue, but my recollection is that the Mack suspension needs less maintenance. (TC, you in on this?) But as the Baron points out, will you ever feel it when you're empty! Maxx's points are well taken and should be considered carefully.

    We put a Neway air suspension on our new engine. It will take some getting used to. It rides great, but on certain roads, a person prone to seasickness could begin to feel it.

    We have a couple of speed bumps on one of our roads in town. I took one a little too fast yesterday and bounced all the way to the next corner. Learning curve.

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!

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    A neighboring dept. put a Watermaster tanker into service about 2years ago with a Hendrickson air ride suspension. They have a suspension available for the fire service with twice the number of sway bars and the FD says it rides nice. (no leaning in turns like other air rides). The information is available on their web site [url]http://www.hendrickson-intl.com/products/product_detail/firemaax.aspurl]
    Last edited by HEYVERN; 08-08-2007 at 12:18 PM. Reason: wrong website link

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    How much more does it cost to get the air ride for fire service trucks?

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    Here's my take.If the rig is going to venture OFF pavement AIR RIDE would NOT be my suspension of choice.While I haven't tried a Raydan off road,I've had to recover enough of the others to know they don't come close to the Hendrickson Walking beam in soft off road conditions.Like Tony says a lot of the sway/tipping sensation of air ride will depend on brand and how they are set up.The Mack Camelback is also an excellent choice for a tanker suspension.Given a choice,the REYCO would be at the bottom of my list.You have to have both rears dogged together to get over a ho**turd.Absolutely useless offroad.And if you go air,make sure the guy who sets it up knows how to for a tanker operation. T.C.

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