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Crane Hot Line

Link Introduces 52K Air Link Gen 3 Tandem Drive Suspension

Oct. 28, 2019 - Link Mfg., Ltd., has introduced its new 52K Air Link Gen 3 tandem drive suspension, which has been specifically reconfigured to use with tire chains on heavy vocational equipment with 315 tires.


Many entities with responsibilities for large-scale snow and ice management operate heavy equipment during winter months. Unfortunately for those fleets, running 315 tires using tire chains can cause damage to a vehicle’s suspension and undercarriage due to inadequate clearance.


“Link’s new 52K Gen 3 has been reengineered specifically to improve clearance for 315 tires and chains, while maintaining the exceptional ride quality long associated with our Air Link heavy vocational suspension line,” said Neil Mardell, manager – defense programs and heavy vocational products for Link. “Hanger brackets have been lengthened, heavy-duty dampers have been moved forward, center bushings have been raised, and the vertical distance between the trailing arm and walking beam pivots has been optimized.”


The 52K also features larger, high-volume, low-frequency air springs that deliver a smoother ride whether the vehicle is under load or empty. Dual height-control valves maintain proper ride height, leveling the vehicle independent of load and maximizing its roll stability. Weighing in at only about 875 lbs., the 52K Gen 3 is now 50 lbs. lighter than its predecessors and lighter than competing suspension offerings. 


The Gen 3 has also been engineered to enable easier service and demand less maintenance. The suspension’s anti-corrosive polyurethane bushings require no lubrication, and trailing arm bushings can be easily replaced with hanging brackets in situ. The suspension has been designed with a lower number of moving parts, extra-large bearing surfaces, more brawny main components, and a higher level of load-bearing redundancy. Once wheel alignment is set on the Air Link, no future adjustments are required.


The new suspension offers numerous advantages compared to spring leaf or rubber block walking beam, two-spring “six-rod,” and trailing arm suspensions, not the least of which is ride quality. The Air Link Gen 3 delivers a smooth comfortable ride, resulting in less driver fatigue and equipment damage. High roll stability, coupled with equal weight distribution to both axles means safer operation on-highway, off-highway, and in all weather conditions.


The new suspension’s superior ride, handling, and tractive characteristics can make all the difference when a vehicle is transitioning from paved roads to off-highway conditions, such as worksites or municipal dumps. These attributes also play a significant role in vehicle control during snow and ice management duty.


“The Air Link suspension was originally developed to operate in extreme environments, such as Canada’s oil fields and remote northern logging areas, and has also been proven in harsh military applications in the U.S., Canada, and the Middle East,” said Mardell. “The 52K Gen 3 is the latest iteration of the air-over-walking-beam suspension design Link patented more than 26 years ago, and is a sound and mature technology.”


According to the company, the Air Link has three times more roll stability than any other vocational air-ride suspension, rides four times smoother than a conventional spring pack, and 10 times smoother than a rubber block suspension. It retains the benefits of a walking beam suspension without any of the problems associated with steel or rubber walking beam suspensions.


All Air Link suspensions are treated with Link’s exclusive Link-KOAT migratory self-healing metal treatment. Link-KOAT provides unparalleled corrosion resistance and rust protection, even when surfaces are exposed to excessive abrasion, harsh chemicals, and other severe-duty environmental factors. The new 52K includes an extended three-year warranty.


“Until now, fleets managing snow and ice with heavy vocational vehicles were forced to choose between the benefits of air springs and the ability to use 315 tires,” said Mardell. “Link’s new 52K Gen 3 Tandem Drive Suspension makes their choice a lot easier moving forward.”



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