Dandy trailer suspension

Dandy indespension unit

by admin on May 1, 2009

Since purchasing my dandy I have been aware that it is riding a little low. The quick fix for me was to put a drop plate on the towbar in order that it towed level. Now I am looking at a more robust solution and given that my dandy has bolt-on indespension units, a change for new seems appropriate. The rubber in these units does perish and harden, resulting in not only a lower ride than is recommended, but also a lack of spring.

How to check your suspension height:

The most accurate and easiest way to check whether your suspension has “dropped”  is to level the trailer and then measure the height at which the towball would have to be to connect. ie. measure the height from the ground to the coupling. This is far more reliable than checking the clearance between the wheel and the wheel arch, as this is often smaller than it should be due to the flattening of the wheel arches from the inside when they are used as a step or seat. In this case a rubber mallet from the underside of the wheelarch is the solution – much cheaper than new suspension units!

The list below tells you what the height of the coupling should have been at new:

  • Dandy 4 Berth – 345mm
  • Dandy 4/5 Berth – 345mm
  • Dandy 5 Berth – 345mm
  • Dandy 6 Berth – 395mm
  • Dandy Dart – 400mm
  • Dandy Delta – 400mm
  • Dandy Designer – 420mm
  • Dandy Destiny – 420mm
  • Dandy Dimension – 420mm

When measuring my 5 berth, the height of the coupling was aroung 300mm indicating that I had lost around 40-45mm, accounting for the occasional scrape of the heater!

Speaking to indespension assured me that the current 6 hole suspension units are perfect replacements for the original 8 hole units ( for all but the earliest models which had the suspension welded to the chassis).

My next decision was whether to replace like-for-like with 500kg units as originally supplied, or upgrade the units to 750kg. Given that the cost difference is minimal I decided to look around for a reasonably priced pair of 750 kg units.

The best deal for the 750kg units I found was here

I am am going to check the condition of the brakes this weekend and if they are good will investigate whether or not I can swop them over onto new units, I have a feeling that the back plate is welded to the stub axle and tehefore this could be a non starter…

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny Knudson May 2, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Very interesting article about suspension. Where do you get drop plates for the tow bar from and can they be in situ leaving the caravan tow ball in place – I have a caravan and a Dandy but, like you, my Dandy tows with the front rather high.
Thanks.

admin May 2, 2009 at 2:11 pm

The drop plate I have is permenant, most decent trailer and towbar outlets would stock them. I have several trailers also and although the Dandy tows the “lowest” its not too much hassle to remove the drop-plate when towing other trailers. Having said that there are variable height towballs available. Have a look here to get the idea for the fixed plates

The adjustable height couplings are a bit pricier, but obviously more convenient: These are what I mean

Hope this helps

Steve May 2, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Are you sure the 750Kg units will bolt straight on?

Riva upgraded our Designer to 750Kg units for me. They’ve done quite a few as cutsomer requests. Ian does it by using a piece of stell box section to which he welds a 500Kg plate on the top and a 750Kg plate on the bottom. This acts as an adaptor if you like. It raises the ride height so that when attached to our Zafira it is now level rather than nose up.

admin May 2, 2009 at 8:16 pm

I may have been a little presumptious! A call to indespension on Monday will confirm one way or the other. Will post here

John Mellor June 3, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Where can I buy replacement hub-caps for a rather old Dandy, please? It predates those with electric hook-up.

I should appreciate any help you can give on this.

Thanks,

John

admin June 4, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Hi John,

Hot sure I can help much on this one – All I seem to remeber is that the hubcaps were made by a company called Rubery Owen – maybe this will point you in the right direction?

Cheers
Alex

Geof Austin August 2, 2009 at 8:51 pm

there is or was a firm who made Mini Brake bits in Wrexham Area they were part of Rub/Owen Will have to do some diging among papers let me have an e-mail address

regards Geof Austin

David Farmer August 25, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Hi,
Just bought a 1993 Dandy Designer. Got to get a tow bar fitted to my Honda CRV but as i towed it home with my Dad’s Caddy pick up i noticed that it was towing pointing upwards. This is because it is riding low. I am thinking about fitting a drop plate with my new towbar but i may also need to adjust the suspension. Is there a way of doing this without the “bigish job” changing the entire suspension procedure?

I will do this in future but i want to use it a few times before giving it a real bending next year.

gary July 12, 2010 at 7:33 pm

We have a Dandy Designer and it too is suffering from tired suspension.
I am having trouble sourcing parts that are suitable to fit (without a major re-build) that we can afford. I have made a temporary repair with box-section bolted between the sus-units and the chassis but have still lost most of the damping effect due to the perished rubber. Also the wheels rest at an unusual camber i.e
in at the top like the old Triumph spitfire.
Im looking at 750kg units as I would like to find a carrying rack for a mirror dinghy, or top-box.
Most suspension units I have found don’t fit our wheels 4 stud with a pcd of 4inches.

mike wilkinson August 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm

quote
measure the height from the ground to the coupling.

sorry to ask but is this the base of the coupling

mike

Matt April 24, 2011 at 9:12 pm

That link through to Ebay shows 750KG suspension units with 5.5″ PCD

Are not Dandy wheels 4″ (101.6mm) PCD?

adrian Tredinnick June 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Hi need to get a wind down strutt for my Dandy Destiny, + a gaiter for the towing bar and a set of bearings. where’s the best place to get spares please? any help much appreciated.

Many thanks. Adrian

Chris October 27, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Hi I have one of the original Dandy trailer tents from late 1970’s /early 80’s (orange and white). The suspension has finally packed up and I need to replace.
This looks like a tricky job as the suspension is welded to the chassis and not bolted like the more modern units – however I have found someone to replace the units – but they want me to buy them. So I really need help on what suspension unit to buy – if I buy the 750kg indespension braked unit will my existing wheels (original dandy mini wheels) fit straight on or do I need to get more modern trailer wheels. Any advise on this would be much appreciated!!!

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