Mercedes air suspension

Discussion in 'Mercedes' started by DavidG58, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Evening all

    I have searched for answers but can generally only find similar questions

    We have an 8m Hymer on a LWB Sprinter 5T chassis

    We get significant rolling on roundabouts, and serious side to side rocking on site type rough ground

    I have had a long chat with a very well informed and helpful Mick at SAP and am pretty much convinced I am going ahead, however......

    I now know (thanks to Mick) that a Mercedes Sprinter can not be fitted with air suspension all round, only rear is allowed due to chassis arrangement, so my question really is if I am only paying for half the vehicle to be air suspended am I going to get rid of the problems. It is a lot of money to spend and not have close to 100% improvement

    I accept that by design the body over hangs the chassis so there will always be some roll, but I need most of it to go if spending nearly £4K

    Any success stories, or horror stories?


    edit - I should add we have a basic manual system already fitted, seems to make no difference, have tried that at different pressures without any change

    the £4K would get us a fully automatic system, with added benefit of lifting for ferries, we ground a lot on small boats in Scotland
     
  2. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    A few years ago when I toyed, briefly, with the idea of semi air assistance, I spoke to Mercedes UK in Milton Keynes. They advised me to talk to Glide-Rite if I wanted to pursue it as they were the only supplier then recommended by Mercedes. A lot of their work is for Sprinter-based ambulances.
    If you look at the Glide-Rite website you will see that they refer to full air suspension for Sprinters.

    http://www.glide-rite.com/category_s/85.htm
     
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  3. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    It looks like they mean 'full' as in the original cart springs are completely removed and new suspension links added to locate the axle, now sprung by airbags.

    The pics look like the rear axle only.

    They offer the same arrangement for a RWD Transit, but its a big investment to save a few hab area rattles!
     
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  4. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Thanks JeanLuc

    The key to Glide-Rite's success is a unique design that incorporates 4 small airbags instead of the traditional 2-bag system adopted by other manufacturers. Positioned in pairs either side of the rear axle, the increased surface area of the 4-bag system requires less air pressure to support the chassis, resulting in greater energy absorption.

    Just seen Jons reply as well, this is lifted from their text, looks like they use a four bag system, but all on the rear axle

    Funnily enough the ambulance reference was used by Mick (SAP) they are fitting 100's to local and further afield Mercedes ambulances

    Similar kind of money though by the look of it
     
  5. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    With reference to David's rolling and rocking, these are controlled mainly by the anti roll bar on the most loaded axle.
    In the case of RWD chassis cabs, the thicker anti roll bar is on the rear axle generally.
    Our Transit has similar issues although cornering is stable.

    The problem is, to decrease cornering roll, you need a stiffer anti roll bar. This has an adverse effect on rough ground in that the axle resists articulation and therefore the body sways violently from side to side with every bump.

    If you wish a more compliant cross country ride, a thinner anti roll bar is the answer. This will mean you will be scraping your wing mirrors on the ground as you negotiate roundabouts though!

    Land Rover came up with a clever solution to this problem. They used electronically controlled anti roll bars on their later Discovery and Range Rover models with live axles.
    When off road, at low speeds, the axles were free to articulate and follow the ground offering superior traction.
    On road, the anti roll bars were stiffened and flat cornering and car-like handling were the result.

    I think it was called the ACE system.
     
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  6. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Thanks again Jon

    You describe the problem better than me

    Are you saying that an improved air suspension will not cure the rocking and rolling?

    Do you think it will reduce it at all?
     
  7. Gorse Hill

    Gorse Hill Funster

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    Don't know about the merc, we have a 7 mtr van on a fiat and noticed the first time I drove it on the motorway I had the same as you a lot of movement when overtaking/being overtaken and rolling on roundabouts
    Ours is an automatic system but only on the rear (how can they work on the front?), but made a huge difference to the drive
     
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  8. Madwife

    Madwife Deleted User

    Hi David

    We had air suspension fitted to our previous MH (Autotrail Cheyenne) and it made a massive difference to the drive and handling particularly on motorways when been buffeted by large lorries and side winds. It was also helpful for ferries and stopped us grounding the back.
    We got it fitted to the Burstner shortly after we bought it and again it helps with stability although being a tag axel it was less of a problem. In both cases though the MH's were fwd and based on fiat ducatto chassis so I don't know if this is relevant to you.

    We got the work done at AS near Warrington and can highly recommend them.

    Kath
     
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  9. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    Not all chassis designs can incorporate air suspension on the front, on the IVECO post 2006 you can get this as an option because they run struts on the front and replace the spring with an air bag, Fiat ducato also.

    The glide rite system is indeed on the rear only, as has been suggested the "full" refers to the fact that you no longer have the full cart springs plus the air bags as helpers as in your current system @DavidG58 so it all runs on air. You will see reference to single channel (CH) right through to 4 channel what this describes is the control of the air bags in that with single channel you or the automated system would alter the air pressure equally across the rear axle whereas with 2CH the pressure can be different from one side to the other to facilitate levelling and the as follows and if the front suspension allows (not Merc) the 4CH will run different pressures all round again for levelling or dodgy loading.

    It looks like that one the VB they fit a lot more metal and cross bracing to your chassis than on the glide-rite.
     
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  10. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi David I have it fitted onto my Ambulance -You can stiffen up the ride to help stop any body roll -but this has the effect of making the ride harsh and knocking out your fillings :D just the same as no suspension at all (that's anther story;)) Once you find the right setting between comfort and handling it's a great system with virtually no body roll and very comfortable ride -all adjusted from a turn knob fixed to the seat-too soft = lots of bounce --too hard = no bounce/no fillings :(:D
    You already have air assist in the rear so let air out and go for a drive then pump lots of air in and take note of the difference --you will prob find the difference again if you go full air set up

    Do I think it will make a great difference to your van? NOPE it's simply a narrow wheel base and a large overhang you will get almost the same feeling with your existing bags pumped up :DARE you going to listen ? NOPE you have an idea in your head so spend the 4k and come to a meet and tell us all how much difference it's made :LOL::D
    If you come up to mine (quickly) and I still have the ambulance I will take you down the road with little air in -just right- and too much --the difference is quite a lot -I may even try it with no air for a few hundred yrds that's enough to realize you need some air in the system ;)
    Mine is probably a little more complicated than what they would use on yours simply because it needs to higher/lower on a switch connected to Handbrake but it will be basically the same---couple of relays (to tell 12v compressor on/off )air pipe -holding tank-air bags and actuators /control knob --AIR SUSS=very easy once you know what does what -with a lot to go wrong relays pipe bust joins in air pipes to come undone = expensive to repair simply because they rip you off /not a lot of people know how it works:D Normal suss = other than bushes nothing to go wrong that anyone can repair --- in either case if it breaks it is low loader time
    terry
     
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  11. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Bit harsh Terry :D

    You are right I have definitely got my spending hat on, but still open to opinion, especially as the price has gone up £500 from verbal to written quote!!

    I think my biggest concern now is the side to side, rocking and rolling, that really has to be experienced to be believed, may be just the same after spending £4K+, now that would be a serious shame

    Be assured though, regardless of how much I have spent and how embarrassing it might be, if it doesn't work I will tell the world (y)

    If it is as good as it says on the box, I will bore you all with the benefits :)
     
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  12. FJmike

    FJmike Funster

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    When we picked up our Merc. based Pilote A class new in 2007, the first thing I found was how bad the body roll was. Getting back to England one of the first things we had fitted was an Airride system. I have found to get the best out of it, the air pressure needs to be about 60psi. So it may well be better to try a bit more air in your present system before spending £££££££££s
     
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  13. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Morning David (y)HARSH me? I am the voice of reason :DAnn spent yrs talking me out of buying things I don't need ;)it's rubbing off me onto you :) I have no one to tell me I am wasting my money now so I find myself wanting toy's rather than needing them
    -Last time we spoke you were on about changing vans :D so why do you want to fit air suspension for someone else -it won't put any value on your van :(;)and I am sure you won't get 4.5k s worth of use from it :Dsimply because you won't have it that long -It's not a racing car and you don't drive fast so put up with a little body roll around the cnrs :)I'll grass you up to Bev :LOL::D:D:D
    terry
    edit read above post FJmike,(and try ) then decide
     
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  14. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Thanks Mike

    I have already tried changing from 40 up to 60 and back down to about 50psi as it is now, it seems to make no difference

    My real issue is low speed side to side rocking, typically on sites or rough ground such as picnic areas. It really is bad

    I am beginning to think I might be £4.5K poorer and have no improvement to this part of the issue at least
     
  15. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Based on your reply, you should get this logic

    If I change the MH it is likely to be for something over £100K, already fitted with jacks and air suspension, but that is going to cost me somewhere above £50K

    So £9K on jacks and suspension is 'a bargain' :D(y)

    But I do want some improvement not just less money in the bank :)

    Oh and so far Bev hasn't asked how much, by the way, she does know I am looking at it though, which is usually the beginning of the end:LOL:
     
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  16. TheCaller

    TheCaller Funster

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    If Jon (jonandshell) is correct (post #4), then it doesn't sound as if air suspension will make a great deal of difference to the slow speed rough ground rocking & rolling, even though it may improve the normal on-road ride.

    It sounds as if you need a variable rate anti-roll bar for that - or more simply, one that can be decoupled when you go off-road at slow speed. VW have such a system on their SUV range.
     
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  17. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    We have the airide system (manual) on a Mercedes Rapido at 7.6m and enough pressure will make a big difference to the roll. We usually run about 65psi but make sure you measure it with a pressure gauge as the built in one on our system is way out.
    I suspect your £4k spend will have little benefit over what you've already got, I'm sure you can find something else to spend it on if it's burning a hole in your pocket.
     
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  18. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Jon, do you think a revised anti roll bar and 'better' air suspension might be a solution

    Looking like it will levelling jacks only, or back to changing
     
  19. flatpackchicken

    flatpackchicken Funster Life Member

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    I have a merc sprinter based Frankia 8.2m long and 4.6t mh with air bag suspension on the rear, and is very noticeable that the air is not up to about 3bars when I go around the first corner, so I pump up to 3 bars with the onboard compressor button and then virtually no rolling at all at roundabouts and motorways when trucks pass me (yes I know I like to poodle along in the slow lane about 55mph) so air suspension for me and this mh work perfectly in tandem, the system I have is Goldshmidt and was already fitted when I bought the mh, and I think (not sure) that Travelworld in Telford is agents for them and they know all about them,, so maybe have a word with them first?????
    Regards Garry Flatpackchicken
     
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  20. FJmike

    FJmike Funster

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