VW T5 Safety Warning
We are aware that a number of suppliers have entered the market for T5 air suspension over the past 12-18 months and we are horrified with some of the things that we have seen. We regularly get to upgrade dangerous installs with inferior components to our own AirRide system. We have seen broken front dampers from numerous manufacturers. Some installers instruct you to remove the anti roll bar in order to get the vehicle lower – this is dangerous and renders the vehicle unsafe and illegal for road use. Others use a twin circuit system – also illegal for road use on grounds of safety. Remember that just because you have an MOT does not mean the vehicle is legal or safe – liability is often established following an accident! At this point your insurance company usually reuses to pay the claim!
A regular installation technique being advised by some sellers is to cut away a chunk of the hub in order to allow the damper to sit lower and therefore to lower the vehicle. This is particularly unsafe and we regularly have to replace cracked or broken hubs. Removing material from the heavily loaded hub which is there fore strength is rather reckless in any situation.
We often also see sellers using the incorrect airbag because they are easy to get, or easy to install. These are usually small car bags. These never work well on the heavy T5 in terms of ride or handling. 6 inch bags work well on a car which weighs between 900 and 1300 Kg – it is massively under size on a commercial vehicle weighing 2-3 tons (2000-3000 kg). A bag that is under size will usually have to be massively pressurized in order to lift and then provides a bouncy choppy ride. Many sellers do not use the correct VW specification 25mm damper piston instead preferring to use smaller 17 or 18mm ones from car derived coil over conversions because they are cheaply available.
Remember just because someone has welded some mounting tags to a car damper/shock so it can be bolted to a T5 does not mean it is a well developed T5 conversion.