Air Suspension on Ladder Truck

Selecting The Right Fire Truck Suspension

Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2018 by Neil Mardell in Product Insight & Trade Show Insight
Tagged with Air Link Redline

Link Manufacturing has a long history of working closely with the firefighting industry to design fire truck suspensions specifically suited to the unique needs of their vehicles. Delivering on our commitment to the fire industry means creating a strong connection with fire truck OEMs and the brave men and women who use them on a daily basis. Next week I will be traveling with Jeff Simms from Link’s Canadian operation on our annual trip to the Fire Department Instructor’s Conference to meet with fire truck OEMs, firefighters, and the administrators who are responsible for responding to more than a million calls each year. Jeff and I are on the phone weekly with the OEMs and meet with them face-to-face multiple times each year. We also connect with as many fire departments as possible throughout the year. Getting to talk about suspensions for one of the most iconic vehicles in the world is a really fun part of our jobs.

Minimal Maintenance & Equipment Protection

We’ve found through numerous conversations that, almost universally, what fire departments are looking for from their fire truck suspensions is minimal maintenance, protection of their mounted equipment, and a stable, comfortable ride.

As you can image, the heavy loads and high speeds put tremendous stress on fire truck suspensions and components. In fact, what makes fire trucks especially well-suited to respond to fires and other emergencies also makes them susceptible to large amounts of wear and tear. Despite the trucks strong construction both cracks and component failure can start to occur without the right suspension.

A standard rubber block or spring suspension won’t be able to protect this valuable investment over the long term. Typically, the suspensions don’t get cared for like they should, causing the suspension to fail prematurely. This results in alignment issues and other problems including broken ladders and leaking water tanks from excessive vibration. Only an air ride suspension can provide the combination of a smooth ride, minimized vibrations and reduced maintenance. When reviewing your options, there are some important things to know about the fire truck suspensions Link Manufacturing has engineered.

Air Link for Fire Truck Suspensions

Our Air Link tandem drive suspension feature the unique combination of air springs over walking beams. The walking beam provides superior traction and high roll stability while the air springs provide the smooth ride that protects the mounted equipment. The suspension is extremely durable, with polyurethane bushings that don’t corrode as quickly and last longer – reducing maintenance costs.

Air Link is also engineered to equalize the weight on the axles. This helps prevent overload, damaged axles and poor traction, which accelerates wear and tear on the vehicle and equipment. The dual height control valves similarly maintain optimum ride height and level the vehicle side-to-side when driving.

Another unique aspect of Air Link is its ability to remain operable in the result of an air leak. If an air system failure occurs (such as puncturing an air spring) rubber stops inside the air spring prevent the frame height of the truck from dropping more than one and three-quarter inches, keeping the driveline angle correct and the rear overhang off the ground. It was proven in some of the toughest terrain imaginable - northern Canada logging roads and oil fields – so we know it can perform in extreme conditions.

Air Link was designed for the toughest and most severe service applications and has been a standard suspension on many OEMs of dual axle fire trucks for more than decade. Standard capacities range from 52,000 to 65,000 pounds but can be customized up to 84,000 pounds.

See Our Fire Truck Suspensions for Yourself at FDIC

Our Air Link suspensions will be featured on many of the fire trucks on display at FDIC. If you’re in attendance, be sure to ask about what suspensions are available and what benefits they provide. We would be happy to schedule a time to discuss what benefits Air Link can bring to your department.

Blog Author

Neil Mardell

Manager of Defence Programs & Heavy Vocational Products

Neil Mardell - Manager of Defense Programs & Heavy Vocational Products