How to Choose Your Ideal Offroad Seat - Mechanical or Air?

11.08.2016

When you are ready to replace the seat in your tractor, skid steer, zero turn mower, or other offroad equipment, choosing the ideal seat for your machine can be overwhelming.  There are so many choices.  How do you know what to choose?  Do you select a mechanical or air suspension?  Do you need or want additional functions like a fore/aft isolator or swivel (more to come on these functions in later posts)?  This can be a daunting task.  Below I hope to help explain some of the suspension options in more detail so you can make an educated decision in your next seat buying endeavor.

First, and really most important, you need to start with the suspension as this is key to your seat ride experience.  Much can be said about cushions and comfort of the seat top, but the true ride comfort really originates in the suspension. 

A seat suspension provides you with a great deal more vertical movement than any cushion can offer or take the definition of suspension from dictionary.com:  the state of being suspended.  A cushion may be able to absorb minimal jolts and vibrations of the seat, but a suspension can offer anywhere from 2.3 to 7.0 inches of vertical stroke.  This can make much more of an impact in your day-to-day operations providing optimal ergonomics and comfort.  We cannot deny the actual human interface to the cushions and seat top, but this will be addressed in later posts.

Now, down to the nitty gritty of suspensions.  To even qualify as a suspended seat, the suspension must include a scissor and damper.

·         Mechanical Suspensions:

o   Designed with a scissor, mechanical springs, and a damper, mechanical susupensions offer a stroke up to 2.3 or 3.1 inches in a low-profile and up to 7.0 inches in a full suspension.  This offers a great amount of adjustability in how soft or hard you would like the suspension to be set.

o   The MSG85 mechanical suspension offers a unique feature for height adjustment allowing three different settings.  There is a low, mid, and high setting for those who may be short or tall; the suspension can be adjusted to meet many possibilities in height.

o   Three varying suspension widths can be found in a mechanical suspension. 

§  A narrow suspension (MSG83 or MSG283) can be utilized in machines with limited space – like small utility tractors.

§  A mid width suspension (MSG85), is used in 100s of varieties of applications – like wheel loaders, motor graders, excavators, articulated dump trucks, backhoe loaders, tractors, golf course mowers, forklifts, and the list goes on.

§  A wide suspension (MSG87) should be considered for demanding applications where space is optimal for a wider seat – like large construction equipment and tractors.  This wide suspension offers a wider base making it even more stable and rugged.

o   Offers weight ratings from 110 – 400 pounds.

o   No connection to power is required making for a simple installation.

·         Air Suspensions:

o   Also designed with a scissor and damper but supported with an additional air bag to operate the weight adjustment of the suspension.  The air suspensions offer a stroke up to 2.3, 3.1, or 4.3 inches in low-profile suspensions and up to 7.0 inches in full suspensions.

o   Varying operations of weight adjustment are possible in air suspensions from manual to automatic. 

§  A manual weight adjustment (a G or GL suspension) is simply adjusted by holding the weight adjustment handle up to increase the air in the suspension or pushing it down to decrease the air in the suspension. 

§  An automatic weight adjustment (an A or AL suspension) can be set to your weight by clicking the weight adjustment handle.  The suspension will then automatically adjust to your ideal setting based on your weight.  You can then modify the height of the suspension by holding the weight adjustment handle up or down to meet your needs.

·         Low frequency suspensions (L suspensions) - Machines with axle and cabin suspensions have a low resonant frequency. A low-frequency suspension has been developed especially for them. It absorbs vertical vibrations and jolts, thus preventing the seat from bouncing in critical situations as a result of resonance build-up. It’s a fact that suspensions with a lower natural frequency result in a more comfortable ride.

§  A fully automatic, electronically-adjusted weight adjustment (an EL suspension) is modified by simply sitting down in the seat.  The suspension takes all weight adjustments automatically from there.  No handles to operate, just sit.  A separate pneumatic height adjustment handle is then available to be continuously adjustable.  These features, together with optimized suspension travel, let the seat fully tap its potential for delivering greater ergonomics and safety.

o   Height adjustment is possible within the adjustment window of all full air suspensions up to 3.1 inches allowing for comfort to many body types – short or tall.

o   Here again, three varying suspension widths can be found in an air suspension. 

§  A narrow suspension (MSG93) can be utilized in machines with limited space – like small utility tractors.

§  A mid width suspension (MSG95G, MSG95GL, MSG95A, MSG95AL MSG95EL), is used in 100s of varieties of applications – like wheel loaders, motor graders, excavators, articulated dump trucks, backhoe loaders, tractors, golf course mowers, forklifts, and the list goes on.

§  A wide suspension (MSG97) should be considered for demanding applications where space is optimal for a wider seat – like large construction equipment and tractors.  This wide suspension offers a wider base making it even more stable and tenacious.

o   Can include a fore/aft isolator function to aide in reducing horizontal vibrations and prevents jarring on your back.

o   Can include an adjustable shock absorber to modify the stiffness within the suspension presenting even greater adjustability in your suspension.

o   Offers weight ratings from 110 – 440 pounds.

o   Two voltages are offered in an air suspension including a 12V or 24V.  Both can be found depending on what is required for your application.

This information will hopefully help you make a decision in your seat buying process on whether you desire a mechanical or air suspension seat.

 

Please visit the blog soon to find additional posts on seat functions beyond the suspension.  Please visit our website at www.usa.grammer.com or contact us on https://usa.grammer.com/usa/contact-us.html to find out more.