Ram May Offer Air Suspension in Upcoming Trucks

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ram-longhauler-concept.jpg

by Patrick Rall

There is a violent battle going on between the heavy duty pickups of Ford, Chevrolet/GMC and the Ram Truck brand, as they vie for the title of “Most Capable Truck”. Now, rumor has it that the Rams could take a big shot at the title with the introduction of an optional airbag suspension setup.


The first Ram to sport an airbag suspension setup was the Ram Long
Hauler Concept, which featured a Kelderman Air Ride system and some
massive capacities – both in distances and weight ratings.  Should
Chrysler find a way to offer an affordable air ride suspension setup
similar to what we saw on the Long Hauler Concept, the Ram Truck brand
could push their towing and hauling capacities through the roof…while
still offering a comfortable ride.

Unfortunately, the common complaint with heavy duty pickups offering
huge load-bearing capabilities is a big decline in ride comfort for the
passengers.  Along with the chassis and drivetrain, the suspension
components play a major role in allowing trucks to carry/pull the big
loads.  A stronger traditional suspension setup with leaf springs
also means a stiffer setup – in turn making for a less comfortable
ride.  However, the fully adjustable nature of an air ride suspension
setup allows for a smooth ride under all sorts of loads – which is why
the heavy-hauling tractor trailers on America’s roads have been using
this type of suspension system for ages.

AirRide-1.jpg

The Ram Truck brand air bag system, if offered in a similar fashion to
the Kelderman system on the Long Hauler Concept, would be equipped with a
set of airbags in place of the traditional leaf springs found on the
Ram Heavy Duty.  This system continually monitors the ride height and
amount of air pressure needed to maintain a given ride height based on
the amount of load.  Where a leaf spring system when loaded down can run
out of suspension travel – thus making the ride rougher for passengers –
the airbag system adds more air to maintain the same amount of damper
and ride quality.  In addition to providing a smoother ride across a
broader range of load levels, the Kelderman Air Ride system offer the
driver the option of lowering the back of the truck for easier loading
and trailer connections.

The addition of an air ride suspension system to the new Ram Heavy Duty
trucks
could give Chrysler’s Ram Brand tractor trailer-like towing
capabilities, but the challenge for this option will be cost.  While a
traditional leaf spring suspension system uses just a few basic
components, the air ride system includes far more items — such as the
air bladders, the air lines, the compact air compressor, the electronic
sensing system and more.  All of these items add up quickly so it will
be interesting to see if Chrysler can put together an air ride
suspension package that makes a real difference in the trucking world
without putting the price of these air ride-equipped trucks through the
roof.

What do you think? If the price was right, would you want air ride in your ride? Voice your opinion here!

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