Maxi life suspension

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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:58 am
Engine size/power: 1.9 TDI (104bhp)

Maxi life suspension

Post by veearrsix » Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:25 pm

Hi all,

I'm slightly confused by the suspension on my maxi life. I believe it's running the comfort spec suspension (second leaf with rubber bump stops). My question is about how soft this setup is supposed to be. I'm not expecting the car to handle like a sports car, but it seems waay too soft. I have managed to bottom it out a few times already on the motorway hitting a couple of dips in the road with a semi full load.

I read that this suspension is considered an upgrade for vans, which surprises me as I was wondering if upgrading to van suspension might help. I don't know the history of the suspension as I have not long since bought the car, but the rear shocks look surprisingly new. Are they really this soft?

Posts: 274
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2015 6:41 pm
Engine size/power: 2.0 CR TDI (108bhp)

Re: Maxi life suspension

Post by SnoWhite » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:16 am

The following comments are made on the assumption that your maxi has not been lowered ...

If your maxi feels wrong then it is well worth getting it up on a lift and checking for broken leaf springs, tired dampers and battered bump stops.

Standard springs on the life models are rarely as stiff as the van equivalents. Hence the springs on the Caddy passenger models are more at risk of damage if you hit a really deep pothole whilst heavily loaded. Leaf springs tend to fail just at the top at the inherent weak spot where there is a hole drilled through the leaf for a location bolt to the axle - so it can be very difficult to see without getting it on a lift and inspecting with a decent torch.

On the Caddy there is a large range of rear springs available for SWB and Maxi models which shows there has been an attempt to match suspension springs to expected loadings.

The passenger variants were assumed to normally carry nowhere near full rated load, with the majority of trips actually carrying just one or two people and little if any luggage/load. Hence the rear leaf springs and dampers were selected to provide a rather softer more car like suspension feel for that type of use The downside of softer springs is of course that there is very limited suspension range/damping left when the vehicle is at or above fully loaded status. Hitting the bump stops with a sensibly loaded maxi should be a rare if never event. If it is happening often for your safety get the suspension checked.

My 7 seat 2012 maxi 4 motion has the uprated suspension pack which was only offered on German Roncali models. Whilst it is only a single leaf set up the leaf thickness is what matters. Even when fitted with a huge roof box it can easily ferry 7 people with holiday luggage from Geneva airport up to a ski resort in the alps, and when it is full, the suspension is actually very pleasant.

But when it is just me in the Caddy, it does give quite a fairly stiff / harsh ride and you feel even quite small potholes. With the rear seats out things change noticeably as those seats actually weigh a lot and help keep the back planted on the ground. As a result the rear feels quite bouncy and there is a fair amount of road noise discernible with the van empty . However when a brace of motorbikes are securely loaded in the rear, the maxi is perfectly planted and makes the run from the Alps to the TT with ease.

For some larger fleet buyers VW fit van models with significantly uprated springs to compensate for their staff carrying masses of kit and racking systems> So if you need stiffer springs - they are out there - you just need to speak to the parts people at TPS to work out what your Caddy was fitted with when it left the factory and discuss possible alternatives. .

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