Description of a Tractor Trailer Air Ride System
The air ride system is a type of commercial diesel truck suspension. A tractor trailer is a combination of a semi truck with its payload hauler or
Air ride systems on tractor trailers are conceptually the same as those on cars, but they are uniquely adapted with air hoses to span from the
truck to the trailer.
They are also larger, using more air volume to accommodate the greater weight of truck and load.
Air ride systems use air cylinders in place of steel suspension members or to augment steel suspension members such as leaf springs. The top and bottom of the air cylinders are rigid, metal
discs. The round cylinder is a flexible and extremely durable bag, made from a combination of woven material and rubber-like material such as hypalon-nylon
used in commercial-class rubber rafts.
The cylinders are so durable, they can withstand enough air pressure to suspend tons of cargo without failing.
Air ride systems use a compressor to fill and manage the air pressure in the pneumatic system, which includes the
With a truck, the same compressor may be used to drive or augment other systems such as brakes. It is a basic air compressor with a
piston that presses air into an metal air reservoir.
A variety of valves are used in air ride systems. The most important is a backflow or anti-backflow valve. This
is a valve in which air can pass through freely in one direction, but air pressure in the other direction cannot pass through the valve.
important reason for anti-backflow valves is to prevent the compressor itself from being the device that seals the air pressure in.
piston-ring makes a tight seal, air can slowly leak past it. Without the valve, the compressor would have to run continuously to maintain pressure.
Additional one-way valves can be used as relief valves that allow air out of the system but not in.