Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by ShiftZZ, Apr 29, 2013.
What is it and whats the benefits?
I was thinking same my self why does a lot of motorhomers rant about al-ok being better
I know the firm that fitted my tow bar said they are stronger ?
I was told that they are lower than the standard so give a better ride. Our Burstner has an Alko chassis and it is certainly more stable than the Autoquest was - though that probably has something to do with not having a Luton as well.
I bet the majority of us are going to be interested in the answer to this. It's one of those questions that we would like answered but didn't like to ask.
The answer lies with Mr Google. He will tell you all about Al Ko
This is what I touched on in this thread as we're considering the Bailey 740SE with an Al-Ko chassis.
AS Air Suspension fit the system to Al-Ko's so must be a reason.
Originally Posted by Rolfarris
This follows on from a query I made on a thread regarding the Bailey Approach. Does air suspension give a better ride on an Alko chassis or should it not be necessary with the lower floor?
air assist's primary function is to maintain correct ride height....anything else is a bonus (stability etc)
motorhomes are usually built close to, so constantly runs near, the vehicles max permitted weight limit so a lot more suspension 'give' is to be expected
the same base vehicle in a working environment will spend more time unloaded than loaded so the suspension doesnt suffer anywhere near as much. (Pappajohn)
Have a look here:
They have been fitted to many front-wheel drive motorhomes for several years (mainly Ducato and other Sevel - based chassis). The converter orders a front-end chassis-cab only with stubs behind the cab, onto which is bolted the Al-ko conversion. Advantages are lightweight, stiffer resistance to torsion, lower (but that can affect ground clearance), wider rear track, and in many cases a double floor which can contain tanks and services.
Al-ko have more recently developed units to fit on RWD chassis.
My van went through mOT last week.
When the guy went underneath, he checked itover and said "Al Ko chassis. Never much fuss with them, they are galvanised."
They are also generally lower than standard manufacturer's chassis.
They are lower and more stable and can be adapted to size far more easily than a standard chassis. You also have a lower step up. Not sure if they still have nipples but if they do then make sure they are pumped up with grease regularly.
Just on the axle mountings, I think.
Could be wrong though, a question for the technicians.
Where it came from is not important:Blush: but it makes good reading.
Edit. sorry didn't know we had a bar.
Posted: 2013-02-04, 11:53:12 Post subject: Alko chassis
My Bolero is coming up to 12 months old and I note from the Alko literature the chassis(single rear axle) requires to be lubricated. As this will not be part of the habitation check and a Fiat service is not required until 2 years or 26k miles, is it a matter of returning to the servicing of 1960s cars and getting out the grease gun myself? I am waiting for better weather to get underneath to see the lub points?
What do other owners do?
Brian Author: WildThingsKev, Location: Cornwall
DIY Author: lgbzone, Location: Heysham
I get mine MOT'd through a friend, so when he does that he does a service and the axle for me as well. but yes they're standard nipples you could do yourself with appropriate grease and gun.
HTH Author: tony_g, Location: Nuneaton
2013-02-04, 12:12:35 Post subject:
I think there are two versions of torsion bar on the Alko chassis. One is 'sealed for life' and the other requires greasing. The presence or otherwise of grease nipples is the clue. In the case of those which require greasing, I understand that this must be done with the weight off the vehicle so the wheel drops down and the load is off the torsion bar. Author: 747, Location: Gateshead
Posted: 2013-02-04, 12:14:58 Post subject:
There will be a grease nipple just inboard of each wheel on the underside of the axle. It needs 8 to 10 pumps of gre4ase in each one.
MOST IMPORTANT. The van needs to be jacked up so that the suspension is hanging down before pumping in any grease. Author: Agilityman, Location: Kidderminster, Worcs.
Posted: 2013-02-04, 12:26:52 Post subject:
Word of caution.
When jacking up my Alko chassis I had two 1 ton hydraulic jacks. I had to jack up both sides at the same time i.e. one pump one side and then one pump the other side and so on until suspension was unloaded. Why? well the Van was so torsionally stiff that with only one jack on one side the jack lifted the Van and at the same time was lifting the other side as well until the 1 ton limit was reached, at which point the jacks bypass system operated and wouldn't lift any further. Author: statenisland, Posted: 2013-02-04, 15:50:15 Post subject:
Thanks for your information.
Based on your experience I have got to ask how is one supposed to jack the vehicle up with the Fiat jack. I had intended to use the Fiat jack when greasing the chassis(with additional support before getting underneath) because that is the only jack I have available and it would have been a practise for if I get a puncture.
As an aside -when I booked my previous MH(standard Fiat chassis) in for service at a Fiat dealer the first question was 'is it an Alko chassis' as they could not lift them. At the time my guess was that the chassis flexed but obviously from your experience that is not the case. Is there another issue with the Alko chassis?
Brian Author: WildThingsKev, Location: Cornwall
]Posted: 2013-02-04, 16:43:31 Post subject:
I have found the Fiat scissor jack fine and I've used it on all wheels several times. Remember to chock the diagonally opposite wheel and NOT apply the handbake. It is ok to lift one side at a time to grease, I put a couple of concrete blocks on flats plus a bit of timber to take the weight whilst underneath.
Kev Author: javea, Location: Nottinghamshire France and Spain
Posted: 2013-02-04, 16:49:04 Post subject:
There is an article about how to do this in this month's MMM.
First thing I would do is ditch that Fiat jack and get something more stable and strong. IMHO they are dangerous. Get a hydraulic bottle or small trolley jack. Must admit I no longer carry a jack as changing a wheel at the side of a busy road or motorway is a hazardous operation, I would rely on breakdown services to do this for me.
Mike Author: barryd, Location: Richmond North Yorkshire
Posted: 2013-02-04, 17:51:29 Post subject:
I learned the hard way with this one. Im guessing the previous owner of our Kontiki never greased the Axle and after two years of us belting around Europe it broke. Well the bars started to snap. As it was the older axle the whole lot had to be replaced at a cost of £2600. Its greased religiously now every year by the local garage when its in for a service. Doesn't cost much. Both wheels have to be off the ground at the same time as already mentioned.
I wonder how many newbies buy second hand vans like I did and never carry out this procedure. Actually I wonder how many experienced motorhomers don't do it either! I only found out when it broke. Its not a topic you see very often on the forums.
I think the gas on the rear end of the van suspension in my case would help on ramps, ferries. ect due to the long overhang it can be used to give more ground clearance when needed.pos up to 100mm , I do not think in my case it is too relevent to the ride.My ALKO chassis has 2 grease nipples on each side and if not maintained can lead to serious problems and costly replacement.
I don't think anyone has mentioned one of the key benefits of the Alco chassis, which is the have genuine independent rear suspension, unlike the standard fiat / Peugeot which has a fixed "dead" axle. This gives better ride and more stability.
As others have said, they are also lower and fully galvanised. Gives the converter the opportunity to either make a lower van or to have a double floor - the latter is better for insulation and gives more storage.
They also used to be wider, but not so now since the current Fiats etc have a wider rear chassis anyway.
Yes there is one grease nipple at each side - any dealer will grease these for you, usually at no charge, when you have the van serviced if you ask him.
I know it's not exactly scientific as the two motorhomes were not the same, but I've had one on the standard Fiat (heavy) chassis and one on the AlKo chassis.
The AlKo has a smoother suspension - not softer, but more compliant. It seems to handle roundabouts with less swaying and rocking about, and generally feels more planted on the road.
The standard Fiat chassis needed a double electric step to get into the habitation part, the AlKo needs no step as it is significantly lower.
The fact that the AlKo is galvanised bodes well for long life, and it seems to have more cross pieces and outriggers than the standard Fiat one did (although that might be specific to the model of motorhome).
Instead of Fiat's leaf (cart!) springs, the AlKo uses torsion bars inside the rear axle to give independent suspension. It also has dampers (although I believe these are expensive to replace if they lose their bounce). It's important to have the nipples on the rear axle greased regularly with both rear wheels fully suspended - our local MoT garage does this for me every year. Ignore it, and a replacement rear axle could be the result at ~£3000 I think.
All in all, I'd be very loathe to go back to the standard Fiat axle on any future motorhome. The only downside that I can see to the AlKo is the need to keep it greased every year. Everything else is on the plus side.
far lighter and much more rigid than a standard box or C section steel chassis.
with the added bonus of being galvanized so no rust.
I was just on my daily nipple search and this site pops up
Yes, but you now know that your nipples need to regularly greased or they will fall off......... The power of the Internet!
My van is on an Al-Ko chassis and sometimes I wonder why they put a step on the hab door entrance. Rides wonderfully as well. A convert........
Stronger than 4"x2"?
From my experience the Al-Ko chassis system on the Ducato Maxi is outstanding. It greatly reduces the twist (torsional strain) in the chassis by using strong but lightweight metalwork. Think of trussed or cellform steel beams.
Less flex means the habitation stays together for longer - less leaks from joints and furniture doesn't squeak on the road.
I did previously have the standard Al-Ko chassis (not Maxi) with 15" wheels and it was okay but the payload was low and the tyres always looked like they needed some air (despite having 5.5 Barr in them)
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