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You don't say whether it was an empty van or not, or whether you might buy it?

Many vans are nose light and it is often because they have too much weight behind the back axle and air suspension will not change that weight distribution in any way.

Nose light can make driving on wet grass or mud or snow unpredictable but is usually OK on the road unless you have to brake hard in the wet or with the front wheels turned from straight.

We once had a Cheyenne of that era and it too was light on the steering but gave us no problems in use, but the actual payload when weighed on a weigh bridge was woeful and nothing like the Autotrail quoted figure.

Part of this was due to added extras like spare wheel, extra battery, satellite dome, awning all of which eat into available payload.

We uprated and replated the weight limits with air suspension and heavier tyres and redistributed the load to between the axles where possible but the basic handling charecteristics did not change.

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k99bbb - 2018-07-20 5:48 PM


Just been out in 2011 auto trail apache it always Seams light on the front it is not overloaded on the rear

Would air suspension HELP PLEASE !!!


Having scanned through your earlier forum postings I believe you’ve owned your 2011 “Apache” motorhome from new, but I don’t think you’ve ever stated which model (632, 634 or 700) it is.


It would be worth knowing what inflation-pressure you use for your motorhome’s front tyres as, if the pressure is the generally-advised 72psi (Ducato ‘light’ chassis) or 80psi (Ducato ‘heavy’ chassis), the vehicle’s steering will tend to feel light.


Having owned a Ford Transit-based motorhome with relatively heavy steering and relatively low front tyre pressures, on changing to my present Ducato-based Rapido with the front tyre pressures at 72psi I was immediately aware of how much less effort was required to steer the vehicle. This was when the Rapido was empty, so there was no question of excessive weight being located at the rear.


I disliked how light the steering felt (and how harsh the ride was at the front) so lowered the front tyre pressures to 65psi which was well within the ’safety window’ for the Rapido’s front-axle loading. This improved the ride and raised the effort at the steering-wheel enough to be noticeable without making it anywhere near heavy.


As Keith has advised, it would be worth you having your Apache weighed in the state you normally drive it to establish its individual front and rear axle weights. This would indicate whether or not your motorhome is genuinely unusually light at the front axle and, if you were to consider altering the tyre pressures, you’d need to know the axle weights in any case.


Adding 'semi-air’ suspension (ie.air bags fitted to the rear suspension) won’t alter the front-axle loading and, if the vehicle feels light at the front now, there’s no credible reason to think that semi-air suspension would change this.

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Grumblewagon - 2018-07-20 7:32 PM

Tracker, we used to have a Cheyenne which looked as if it was running uphill all the time! Positively the worst van that I owned. I had considered air suspension, but that would only have addressed the symptoms and not the cause. I was glad to trade it in.


Sounds like ours - so were we glad to get shot of it!

One of the worst made vans I have ever owned with fault after fault and a diabolical payload.

It rattled so much we named it Mr Jingle!

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k99bbb - 2018-07-20 7:14 PM


Many thanks all Will get it on weigh bridge


I suspect that, once you have had your motorhome weighed, you will have further questions - so if you could provide the following information now, it might help later.


1: What is your Apache’s date of UK-registration? (This will be shown on the motorhome’s V5C registration certificate.)


2: The 2011 Auto-Trail brochure suggests that three Apache models were marketed then - the 632 and 634 (both around 7 metres long) and the larger/heavier 700 (around 7.5 metres long). Which Apache model do you have?


3: According to the 2011 Auto-Trail brochure the maximum overall weight and maximum axle-weights of the 632, 634 and 700 models were as follows:


Apache 632 and 634

Maximum overall weight - 3500kg

Maximum front-axle weight - 1850kg

Maximum rear-axle weight - 2000kg


Apache 700

Maximum overall weight - 4005kg

Maximum front-axle weight - 2100kg

Maximum rear-axle weight - 2400kg


What are the stated maximum overall weight and maximum axle-weights of your Apache? (Those weights can probably be found on an Auto-Trail data-plate at the front of the under-bonnet engine compartment. If you can’t find an Auto-Trail data-plate, there should be a Fiat data-plate there that carries weight-related values.)


4: What make/name of tyres are fitted to your Apache? (Either Continental “Vanco Camper” or Michelin “Agilis Camping” would probably have been factory-fitted to the motorhome in 2011 and the make/name will be on the tyres’ sidewall.)


5: What size/specification of tyre are fitted? (I’d expect this to be either 215/70 R15CP or 225/75 R16CP. This information will also be on the tyres’ sidewall.)


6: What tyre pressures are you using? (The Auto-Trail advised pressures for 215/70 R15CP tyres will have been 5.0bar/72.5psi (front axle) and 5.5bar/80psi (rear axle), and for 225/75 R16CP tyres 5.5bar/80psi for front and rear axles.)

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