When you focus on safety concerns for a fleet of delivery vans, don’t you mostly think of driver concerns? Perhaps you think of things like driver training and safety policies that reward safe driving.
Well, even the safest drivers are limited when the vehicle they drive is not completely safe.
For the past 10 years, automobile manufacturers have introduced a new kind of van: A cargo van that is not only longer but taller. In fact, these new-style vans resemble their European counterparts: tall and skinny. It all began about 15 years ago with the arrival of the Mercedes Sprinter.
STABILITY = SAFETY
When the Sprinter first arrived, the manufacturers—Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, and Chrysler—soon became aware they had a problem with instability and went to great lengths to try to solve it.
The solution came in the form of something called ESP—Electronic Stability Program. A few manufacturers of the “tall and skinny” van have made it a standard item on their super-tall models.
To begin, let’s compare the interior height of the conventional GMC Savanna cargo van with the newer Mercedes Sprinter van.
- Savanna interior height—51 inches
- Sprinter interior height—79 inches
If we do the math, that’s a difference of close to 30 inches.
The Ford Transit 350, Ram Promaster 3500, and Nissan NV3500 have roughly the same interior height.
- Ford Transit 350—81 inches
- Ram Promaster 3500—76 inches
- Nissan NV3500—77 inches
The extra height of cargo vans today makes it possible for the owner/operator to overload it and make it top-heavy. When a vehicle—any vehicle—becomes too heavy up top, you suddenly have a suspension problem on your hands.
When we’re talking about light-duty vehicles, we have to ask ourselves the million-dollar question: How high is too high? The center of gravity of an enclosed van shifts depending on where loads are placed. Consequently, even the risk of rollovers will increase.
The folks at Timbren Industries are aware of the pitfalls of a vehicle that is top-heavy. Any vehicle, whether it’s a car, a van, or a light-duty truck can become quite unstable when the load has a high center of gravity, i.e., it’s top heavy.
If you ask any builder how they can prevent a tall building from total collapse, they’ll talk about the foundation. They know the taller a building, the deeper and stronger the foundation must be.
The same principle applies to automotive. The taller the van, the more solid a suspension is required.
For over 50 years, Timbren Industries has always known that the best approach to safety and stability is usually simple and straightforward. Timbren’s team isn’t thinking high-tech solutions even if today’s manufacturers tend to focus on problem solving that involves sophisticated computer software.
AEON VS AIR
Of course, Timbren isn’t the only company that offers a solution to your suspension problems. Air bag systems—aka air springs—have been around for over 100 years. Ever since the turn of the century (1901) inventors have experimented with air springs for trucks, cars, airplanes, and even trains.
As wonderful as an air suspension can be, there is one crucial factor where Timbren’s rubber springs have an edge: added stability.
You see, as sophisticated as air ride suspensions have become, the stability problems of top-heavy vans persist. Even with the introduction of automatic height control valves that help to maintain the consistent ride height of each air spring, it doesn’t adjust fast enough when the van starts rocking, rolling, and swaying side to side.
The most effective solution is Timbren’s Aeon® hollow rubber spring. These easy-to-install helpers are completely maintenance free. You can set it and forget it.
Once again, simple and straightforward wins the day.
Aeon springs have certain characteristics that are inherent in every hollow rubber spring. Something called “hysteresis” comes into play when the load pushes down on the Aeon spring. (We’re talking about the laws of physics.)
So, to keep things simple and straightforward, let’s just say that an Aeon hollow rubber spring acts like a shock absorber, slowing down the bounce while at the same time delivering a soft, stable ride.
Additionally, Aeon springs are maintenance free and easy to install. At the end of the day, more stability means added safety.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Find out more about Timbren’s affordable solutions and see how Timbren SES maintenance-free products can keep your fleet of commercial vans running smoothly and safely, visit www.timbren.com.