You are on page 1of 42

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension System

by

ANDREW BAYER

Submitted to the
MECHANICAL ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
In Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the
Degree of
Bachelor of Science
m

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY


at the
OMI College of Applied Science
University of Cincinnati
May2009

...... Andrew Bayer

The author hereby grants to the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department


permission to reproduce and distribute copies of this thesis document in whole or in part.

Accepted by
Muthar Al-Ubmd1,
, Department Head
Mechanical Engineering Technology

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design


Andrew Bayer
University of Cincinnati OCAS, MET
June 1, 2009
Prof. Amir Salehpour

TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS ........................................................................................................... I
LIST OF FIGURES .................................................................................................................. II
LIST OF TABLES .................................................................................................................... II
ABSTRACT.............................................................................................................................. 1
1 - INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................... 2
2 - CURRENT CATERHAM SUSPENSION PROBLEMS .................................................... 3
3 - CURRENT SUSPENSION DESIGNS ............................................................................... 4
4 - PUSHROD SUSPENSION DISCUSSION ......................................................................... 5
5 - CUSTOMER NEEDS ......................................................................................................... 6
6 - PRODUCT OBJECTIVES .................................................................................................. 7
7 - ALTERNATIVE DESIGNS................................................................................................ 8
8 - DESIGN SELECTION ...................................................................................................... 11
9 - CALCULATING NATURAL FREQUENCY OF THE SUSPENSION.......................... 12
10 - SUSPENSION LOADING CONDITIONS .................................................................... 13
10.1- LOWER CONTROL ARM LOADING ........................................................................... 13
10.2- PUSHROD LOADING ..................................................................................................... 14
10.3- BELLCRANK LOADING................................................................................................ 15

11 FABRICATION AND ASSEMBLY.............................................................................. 16


12 - DESIGN TESTING..16
13 DESING SCHEDULE .................................................................................................... 19
14 - BUDGET PLAN.............................................................................................................. 19
REFERENCES ....................................................................................................................... 20
APPENDIX A - RESEARCH................................................................................................ A1
APPENDIX B - SURVEY ...................................................................................................... B1
APPENDIX C - QUALITY FUNCTION DEPLOYMENT (QFD) ....................................... C1
APPENDIX D - WEIGHTED DECISION METHOD TABLE ............................................ D1
APPENDIX E - BILL OF MATERIALS ............................................................................... E1
APPENDIX F LOADING CALCULATIONS .................................................................... F1
APPENDIX G ASSEMBLY DRAWINGS ........................................................................ G1
APPENDIX H - BUDGET .................................................................................................... H1
APPENDIX I - DESIGN SCHEDULE....I1

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1- Caterham. 2
Figure 2- Caterham Suspension Detail and Coil-Over Angle 3
Figure 3- Camber Explanation.... 4
Figure 4- Unequal Length Double Wishbone Suspension. 5
Figure 5- Design Concept 1 Standard Suspension. 8
Figure 6- Design Concept 2- Pullrod Suspension.. 9
Figure 7- Design Concept 3- Pushrod Suspension. 10
Figure 8- Completed Pushrod Suspension Design. 11
Figure 9- Unloaded suspension sitting at ride height. 17
Figure 10- Firm suspension setting with 200 lb static load.... 17
Figure 11- Soft suspension setting with 200 lb static load................. 17
Figure 12- Screenshot taken from ride quality testing video.. 18

LIST OF TABLES
Table 1- QFD Results. 6
Table 2- Pushrod Mounting Point Comparison.. 12

ii

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

ABSTRACT
The Caterham is a type of car used mostly for everyday driving, but also for occasional
trips to the racetrack. This requires a suspension design that is both road friendly but also
able to give the handling characteristics needed for track use. The car itself is a lightweight
kit car that unfortunately has an inefficient suspension design where the spring and shock
assembly is mounted at an extreme angle due to the low ride height and lack of space.
Currently to remedy this, much higher spring rates must be used to compensate for the
reduced spring efficiency, which results in a very firm and uncomfortable ride quality.
Therefore an adjustable pushrod style suspension was designed, like that of open wheel
racecars. Modifying this design allowed for adjustability of ride quality without the need to
dismantle the suspension to change spring rates. This design allows the driver to have
separate settings for ride quality, a softer and more comfortable feeling suspension with
better ride quality while driving on the street, as well as a firmer setting that allows for
betting handling during track driving. The suspension passed a static loading test to make
sure that the settings fell between current industry standards for ride quality. Qualitative
testing was also done to make sure that people could feel a difference in ride quality between
the firm and soft settings.

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

1- INTRODUCTION
Light and fast are two important characteristics of a great track car, and both can be
achieved fully with a Caterham kit car. A Caterham, shown in Figure 1, is a very small and
extremely lightweight car that can be purchased fully built, as a kit or be pieced together by
the individual builder. Due to reduced cost of building a Caterham from scratch, there is
always a rather large group of builders working to design and build their own custom cars.
However many people end up confused about designing a correctly functioning suspension
for their car. The suspension and handling are one of the most important features of a car of
this nature because it utilizes only a small four-cylinder engine that does not produce high
levels of horsepower. This means that the suspension and ability to adjust to any condition
that the car will encounter is absolutely necessary to maintain the quickness that Caterham
cars are famous for around the world.

Figure 1- Caterham

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

2 - CURRENT CATERHAM SUSPENSION PROBLEMS


Currently the mounting positions of the double wishbone type suspension on a Caterham
car is flawed because of the extreme angles that the spring and shock assembly must be
mounted due to the cars low ride height and lack of space for the suspension. This leads to
many disadvantages in terms of performance, reliability and adjustment of suspension parts.
Also a springs effectiveness is proportional to how close to 90 it can be mounted between
the upper and lower control arms (2). Because of the angle that the spring and shock
assembly must be mounted, as shown in Figure 2, higher spring rates are required to
compensate for the loss of effectiveness in the spring and damper. This inadequately
transmits more of the forces that the tires encounter into the frame itself rather than absorbing
and damping them using the suspension. This suspension setup translates to a good handling
car with an extremely harsh ride quality. In comparison, if the softer spring were left in, a
softer ride quality would be felt, but there would also be a lack of performance in the
handling characteristics of the car.
As for the adjustability of the current Caterham suspension components, there is only the
ability to slightly change the cars ride height by utilizing a coil-over spring and shock
assembly, as well as a slight change of camber. To achieve different handling characteristics
or ride quality, the spring and shock assembly must be removed and the spring changed with
a different spring rate. While this may be okay for a racing team that has the resources to
keep an entire stock of springs with different spring rates available, it is unrealistic for the
average weekend racer. Therefore, builders and designers are constantly looking for
different ways to allow the drivers to have more adjustability in their suspension setups.

45

Figure 2- Caterham Suspension Detail, Spring and Shock Angle

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

3 - CURRENT SUSPENSION DESIGNS


Suspension designs found on todays street driven passenger cars use everything from
the simplistic leaf springs to the complicated electric motors and electromagnets to dampen
the forces that the wheels and frame see. Most automotive manufacturers design their cars
suspensions to be on the softer side to increase ride comfort, while track and sports cars use
firmer suspension setups to achieve the levels of performance and handling needed for the
increased speeds, down force and cornering loads. Suspension is possibly the most important
component on a car because it has to be able to keep the tire in contact with the road while
encountering any type of forces including potholes and speed bumps.
Most passenger cars on the market today use a form of the double wishbone, McPherson
strut or multilink suspension design (see Appendix A). Everyday passenger cars use these
types of suspensions when standard handling performance is desired, as well as space and
cost are taken into account. Whereas most high performance sports cars today utilize a type
of unequal length double wishbone design (1). This type of suspension design is suited well
for track use because it allows for greater adjustment and can be set up to achieve negative
camber to accommodate the roll that a car encounters during hard cornering. By using a
shorter upper control arm and the correct suspension geometry, the tire will actually gain
negative camber as the cornering forces increase, therefore increasing its cornering ability.
Figure 3 shows how designing a suspension to have the correct amount of negative camber
will allow for the tire to roll through a turn and increase the contact patch of the tire to the
road.
The pushrod and pullrod suspension designs are used mostly among open wheel race
cars because of the aerodynamic and adjustability advantages it gives. When researching
types of suspensions used in the highest forms of motorsports, such as Formula 1 and Indy
Car racing it is known that the proven design is a type of inboard pushrod suspension when
space is limited and the shock cannot be mounted in the most beneficial location. Opposed
to the normal type outboard suspension, the inboard design transmits the wheel forces
through a pushrod and bellcrank to transfer the motion of the wheel to an inboard mounted
spring and shock assembly.

Figure 3- Camber Explanation

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

4 - PUSHROD SUSPENSION DISCUSSION


Formula 1 and Indy Car racing is technologically the most advanced form of racing in
the world. Therefore, the same concepts that are currently being used for suspension design
are constantly being applied to different racing applications such as the Caterham track car to
improve performance. Currently most Caterhams come with a type of unequal length double
wishbone suspension set up as shown in Figure 4. This is not the case however with a
Formula 1 pushrod suspension design. These cars cannot use the standard outboard spring
and shock assembly because aerodynamic drag is a major concern when racing at high
speeds. Like the Caterham, open wheel race cars have such a low ride height that the spring
and shock assembly would have to be mounted at an even lower angle than in a Caterham.
Therefore a pushrod style suspension is utilized so that the spring and shock assembly and
bellcrank can be mounted at any position that will better dampen the large wheel loads that
are seen during racing. This design also reduces the cars drag by moving the spring inboard
the frame. The pushrod suspension also gives easy adjustability because of the different
motion ratios that can be changed by adjusting the distances that the pushrod and spring and
shock assembly are mounted from the pivot point of the bellcrank itself. Changing these
mounting locations effectively changes the ratio of wheel movement to spring compression,
whereby changing this ratio different handling characteristics can be seen.

Figure 4- Unequal Length Double Wishbone Suspension

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

5 - CUSTOMER NEEDS
In order to specify some specific details about suspension designs, a survey was sent to a
number of race mechanics, race team members, drivers and Caterham enthusiasts; this helped
to show what the most important issues were in a suspension design (see Appendix B). The
results showed that the most emphasis was on the reliability and safety of the suspension and
all of its components, so they would not fail under the worst road conditions that the car
could encounter. Next on the list of importance was the multiple adjustability characteristics
and ease of access to the suspension to make the necessary adjustments. These were the
main design criteria that needed to be met to achieve a successful design according to the
survey results.
The Quality Function Deployment (QFD), results shown in Table 1, for the pushrod
suspension design showed similar results as that of the survey. The highly weighted areas of
the design were that of safety at 12.8% and reliability at 11.7%, with adjustability of spring
rate close behind at 11.4%. It also showed that the material used in the design and the
loading of the suspension members was to be the most important engineering characteristics
with importance values of 12.55 and 10.05 respectively.
Table 1- QFD Results
Performance &
Features

Relative Weights

Reliability

12.8%

Safety

11.7%

Adjustability of ride
quality

11.4%

Accessibility for
adjustments

11.2%

Adjustability of ride
height

10.8%

Suspension
geometry

9.1%

Reducing unsprung
mass

8.9%

Compactness of
design

8.7%

Ease of installation

8.0%

Adaptability to
different chassis

7.4%

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

6 - PRODUCT OBJECTIVES
This is a compiled list of the product objectives and how they were to be achieved or
tested to ensure that project goals were met and the project was successful. The project
objectives focused on the adjustable pushrod suspension design of a custom built car that
would have a soft suspension setting as well as a firm suspension setting.
Adjustability of ride quality
-Suspension has two settings for ride quality, a soft setting for street use and a firm
setting for track use.
-By adding a weight equal to the sprung mass of the car and measuring the static
deflection, the Natural Frequency could be calculated and must fall between the
following ranges.
-60 to 90 CPM Soft ride quality, Street use
-120 to 200 CPM Stiff ride quality, Track use
-By designing an adjustable bellcrank with different mounting locations for the pushrod
to attach, these ranges were achieved.
-Qualitative testing was also done do determine if persons riding in the car could tell a
difference in the two separate ride quality settings.
Safety and reliability of suspension components
-All suspension components were designed to meet the industry standards of 5 Gs shock
loading on any wheel.
Accessibility to components for adjustment
-All suspension links and adjustment points were designed to give enough room for an
average sized human hand or the needed adjustment tool to fit and work properly
through its range of motion.
Compactness of design
-The spring and shock assembly as well as most of the bellcrank were designed to be
fully housed within the body of the car, leaving only the upper and lower control arms
and pushrods being the only suspension links visible from the exterior of the car.

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

7 - ALTERNATIVE DESIGNS
Three suspension designs were compared to come up with the ideal suspension setup for
the Caterham to be used as a street car as well as a track car. The unequal length double
wishbone suspension geometry of the actual suspension links themselves were predetermined
using geometric methods and was kept constant when comparing the mounting locations of
the spring and shock and the bellcrank assembly.
Design Option 1, shown in Figure 5, is the standard placement of the spring and shock
assembly used in most vehicle suspension designs on the road today. The spring and shock
assembly are mounted as close to vertical as possible while still mounting between the lower
control arm and the frame of the car. However, Figure 5 shows that to reduce the bending
load on the lower control arm the bottom of the spring and shock assembly is mounted as
close to the wheel, which gives the unfavorable angle that was explained earlier. This is not
as large of a problem in standard passenger cars because the upper mounting location for the
spring and shock assembly is able to me mounted much higher in the car to reduce the
mounting angle and keep it closer to the more effective 90 position.

Design 1 Standard
Suspension
Figure 5- Design Concept 1 Standard Suspension

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

Design Option 2, shown in figure 6, is a pull rod suspension design used on some
open wheel race cars. In this design the spring and shock assembly is mounted inboard of the
frame and are placed horizontally. The spring forces of the wheel movement are transferred
to the spring via a bellcrank that is mounted low in the frame. The bellcrank is actuated by a
pullrod that connects the bellcrank to the upper control arm in this case. This design allows
for the center of gravity of the suspension to be very low in the car and can improve
performance. However, the problem with a pullrod suspension is that all the forces
transmitted through the suspension parts put the components is tension, which is the loading
condition that most welded joints will fail. Another problem that is specific to this
application is that by mounting the bellcrank at this point on the frame will fully encase the
bellcrank within the bodywork and would make it difficult to have easy access to the ride
quality adjustment.

Design 2 Pullrod
Suspension
Figure 6- Design Concept 2- Pullrod Suspension

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

Design Option 3, shown in Figure 7, is a pushrod suspension design used on open


wheel race cars and in applications where space is limited. This design is similar to the
pullrod design in that it also transmits the forces that the suspension sees remotely through a
bellcrank. In this case however rather than a pullrod, there is a pushrod that is connected to
the lower control arm and to the bellcrank. When the tire hits a bump the force is transmitted
through the pushrod, causing the bellcrank to pivot and compress the spring that is mounted
inboard the frame. This design does raise the center of gravity slightly, but is more beneficial
to this application because it puts the links in compression and there will be less of a chance
for the welds to fail. The pushrod suspension also places the bellcrank at an optimal position
that will put the mounting locations for ride quality just outside the body work, and more
accessible than in the other designs.

Design 3 Pushrod
Suspension
Figure 7- Design Concept 3- Pushrod Suspension

10

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

8 - DESIGN SELECTION
After choosing the three most likely designs that could be used for this application, a
5-point weighted decision method (see Appendix D) was utilized to choose the best design
concept. Completing the weighted decision method showed that all three designs yielded
similar ratings because each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The standard
suspension design received a rating of 2.67, the pullrod suspension design received a rating
of 2.45 and the pushrod suspension design received a rating of 3.22. The pushrod
suspension, shown in Figure 8, was decided to be the best design concept for the application
because of its ability to transmit the most force seen from tire movement directly into the
spring rather than into the frame. The pushrod suspension design also provided the best
design for ease of adjustability by utilizing the adjustable bellcrank so that the suspension
motion ratios can be changed to achieve the different suspension settings for ride quality.

Figure 8- Completed Pushrod Suspension Design

11

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

9 - CALCULATING NATURAL FREQUENCY OF THE SUSPENSION


To achieve the desired ride quality characteristics for the car, the natural frequency
(N.F.) of the suspension needed to be calculated. After researching known corner weights
for Caterham cars using the same components in this design, it was found that the weight at
each corner of the car would be approximately 355 lb. To find the sprung weight at each
corner of the car, the unsprung weight must be subtracted from the total corner weight. The
unsprung weight included any part of the suspension that moved relative to the wheel. The
weight of the wheel, brake assembly, bellcrank, and a portion of the pushrod, spring and
shock assembly, upper control arm and lower control arm was found to be 55 lb which gave a
sprung corner weight of approximately 300 lb. The spring rate used was set to be k=250
lb/in. After setting the spring and shock placement at 2 in. from the bellcrank pivot point,
distances from 1 to 5 in. were tested for the mounting location of the pushrod, as can be seen
in Table 2. Using these variables the motion ratio, wheel rate (WR), and natural frequency in
cycles per minute (CPM) of the suspension could be calculated. It was found that mounting
the pushrod at 2 in. would result in a suspension frequency of around 171 CPM, which was
within the range for stiff suspension ride quality. And mounting the pushrod at 4 in. would
result in a suspension frequency of around 86 CPM, which was within the range for a soft
suspension ride quality.
-Wheel Rate

-Suspension Natural Frequency

Table 2- Pushrod Mounting Location Comparison

12

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

10 - SUSPENSION LOADING CONDITIONS


10.1 Lower Control Arm Loading
The suspension was an example of an area on the car where it was better to be
overdesigned than to be close to the designed factors of safety. An industry standard for
suspension design is to design for the worst-case scenario of 5gs acceleration directed into
the tire. In this case the loading condition turned out to be 275 lb per wheel. In the free body
diagram of the lower control arm, A is the mounting location of the control arm to the frame,
B is the mounting location of the pushrod and C is the effective center of the wheel where the
force would be applied. After completing the shear and moment diagrams for the lower
control arm, the force transmitted to the pushrod as well as the maximum bending moment
could be found. The force transmitted into the pushrod was calculated to be 589 lb for the
firm suspension setting at 543 lb for the soft suspension setting. The maximum bending
moment for each tube in the lower control arm was found to be 1100 in-lb. The maximum
bending stress for 3140 Chrome Moly under impact loading was found to be 6250 psi. Using
these values and setting the outside diameter of the tubing to be 1 in. the inside diameter of
the tubing was found to be .94in. The closest standard size tubing available was 1 OD x
.065 wall thickness. The increased tubing thickness above the required specifications will
add even more to the factor of safety in the lower control arm. Calculations can be found in
Appendix F.

9.8 in.

8 in.

FA

Fpushrod

Fwheel= 275 lb

13

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

10.2 - Pushrod Loading


Using the maximum loading of 589 lb for the pushrod in the firm suspension setting,
the critical buckling load was needed to make sure that the pushrod was designed with an
adequate factor of safety. The k factor, slenderness ratio and column constant was found and
compared to find that the column was considered to be short. Therefore the Johnson formula
was used to find that the critical buckling load of the column was 13136 lb. Comparing these
values yielded a factor of safety that was well above shock loading.

Fbellcrank= 589 lb

12 in.

Fpushrod= 589 lb

14

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

10.3 - Bellcrank Loading


The bellcrank was designed so that the pushrod in both the soft and firm setting
locations would transmit the force from the pushrod into the bellcrank at a 90 degree angle.
The spring and shock assembly was also mounted at a 90 angle to the bellcrank so that the
forces were almost completely transmitted into the spring and damper rather than into the
frame. It is shown below in the free body diagrams of the bellcranks at the firm and soft
suspension settings that the motion ration affects the spring force greatly. By utilizing the
2:1 motion ratio of the soft suspension setting, it is shown that much more of the forces that
are seen by the tire are transmitted directly into the spring and damper rather than into the
frame. The spring displacement was also calculated to make sure that the spring and shock
assembly that was chosen would be effective over its length of travel, and also so the
suspension would not bottom out when a large bump is encountered.

-Firm Suspension Setting


A
C
2 in.

FS= 589 lb

2 in.
Fpushrod= 589 lb
103
B

-Soft Suspension Setting


C
A

FS= 1086 lb

2 in.

4 in.

Fpushrod= 543 lb

112
B

15

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

11 - FABRICATION AND ASSEMBLY


Fabrication of the suspension components was driven by the calculations for the tubing
thickness required for the 5 G shock loading condition. Once the suspension was modeled
using SolidWorks, drawings for the components could be generated and dimensioned. Using
these drawings the suspension tubing was cut to length and notched to allow for easier
welding of the round tubing. All suspension mounting brackets were cut to the drawing
specifications using a CNC plasma cutter to achieve a high tolerance and consistency in the
parts being manufactured. All suspension pieces were TiG welded together so that heat
could be accurately controlled to minimize warping and allow for a stronger weld.
After the suspension components had been fabricated, spherical rod ends were used at all
the suspension end links which gave the suspension nearly unlimited adjustability. Corner
scales, camber gauges and toe plates were utilized to setup and align the suspension. After
some rolling testing, the suspension alignment was optimized so that the car was rolling
perfectly straight. To adjust the ride quality a jack was placed under the front frame rail of
the car to take all the compression forces out of the springs, which in turn allowed for the
pushrod mounting location to be easily unbolted and changed by one person.

12 - DESIGN TESTING
To make sure the suspension worked effectively, both qualitative and quantitative testing
was completed. First, a static load test was used to calculate the natural frequency of the
suspension to see if the two suspension settings were within the specified ranges for soft and
firm suspension ride quality. A ride quality test was also completed, to prove that a
difference could be felt between the soft and firm suspension settings.
For the static load test, a 200 lb load, which was equal to the sprung weight of the cars
frame, was placed above the front suspension. By adding a weight equal to the sprung
weight of the car, the static deflection of the frame displaced downward could be recorded
and used to solve for the natural frequency of the suspension using the equation below.
Figure 9 shows the suspension sitting at ride height before testing. After the 200 lb load was
applied, the firm suspension deflected 2 in., shown in Figure 10. With 2 in. of deflection the
natural frequency was calculated to be 133 CPM, which was within the firm frequency
ranges of 120 200 CPM. Figure 11 shows that the static deflection for the soft suspension
under the 200 lb static load was 4.5 in. This translated to a suspension natural frequency of
88 CPM, which was within the soft frequency ranges of 60 90 CPM.

16

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

Figure 9- Unloaded suspension sitting at ride height

Figure 10- Firm suspension setting with 200 lb static load

Figure 11- Soft suspension setting with 200 lb static load

17

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

To test the ride quality settings, a group of test subjects were assembled from people
who had previously filled out the pushrod suspension survey. The test group included race
car mechanics and Caterham enthusiasts. Before explaining the workings of the pushrod
suspension, each subject sat in the drivers seat of the car and the car was run over a 2 in.
bump in the road at a constant speed as seen in Figure 12. The suspension was then changed
to the opposite setting and the test run again so that the test subject could have a comparison
suspension setting. Thus far four out of four test subjects could correctly tell the firm
suspension setting from the soft suspension setting.

Figure 12- Screenshot taken from ride quality testing video

18

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

13 - DESIGN SCHEDULE
The design, fabrication and assembly were completed by the final deadline date of the
2009 OCAS Tech Expo on May 7th. The major part of Senior Design 1 was the actual design
of the suspension geometry so that everything would function correctly. The preliminary
design of the suspension was completed by Feb. 4th. Originally the schedule was planned to
design each of the parts separately over the course of a few weeks. However, these plans
were flawed because the designs of all the suspension parts were complimentary to each
other and were unable to be designed separately.
The largest part of Senior Design 2 was the fabrication of the suspension components
and was completed by April 20th. The fabrication took slightly longer than originally
planned because of all the extra components that had to be fabricated so that the suspension
could work properly. This included the extra fabrication of the rear suspension and steering
for the front wheels. The project was then assembled and testing of the suspension lasted
until May 23 because of the need for safety equipment that had to be installed to perform the
ride quality testing. The project was presented at the 2009 OCAS Tech Expo on May 7th.
Following the completion of the Senior Design 2 presentation on May 26th and the final
paper deadline of June 1, the Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design Project met all of the
required goals. See Appendix I for a full design schedule breakdown.

14 - BUDGET PLAN
The budget for the pushrod suspension assembly can be split into two major parts, the
raw material and the purchased components. The raw material included the steel that was
used for the fabrication of the suspension links, mounting tabs, and bellcranks and was
estimated based on current material cost to be approximately $110. The purchased
components being the larger portion of the budget were estimated to cost approximately
$970. This in turn gave a final estimated cost for the entire pushrod suspension assembly to
be $1080. After purchasing all the material and components that were necessary for the
fabrication and assembly of the suspension, the final cost of the assembly was $751. The
difference in the budget came from finding that the material prices had originally been
slightly underestimated, while some of the purchased components had been overestimated.
Labor cost was not estimated for the fabrication and assembly of the components, but
factoring this in would keep the total assembly cost within the ranges that the customer
survey results showed to be a reasonable price for a pushrod suspension assembly.

19

Adjustable Pushrod Suspension Design

Andrew Bayer

REFERENCES
1. Longhurst, Chris. The Suspension Bible. The Car Maintenence Bibles. [Online] 19942008. [Cited: September 4, 2008.] http://www.carbibles.com/suspension_bible.html.
2. Adams, Herb. Chassis Engineering. New York : The Berkley Publishing Group, 1993.
3. Haney, Paul. Photos from a Phoenix Test. Inside Racing Technology. [Online] March 3,
1999. [Cited: September 23, 2008.] http://www.insideracingtechnology.com/phnxtst.htm.

20

APPENDIX A - RESEARCH
-Cheap design
-Can act like an
independent suspension is
designed correctly

-Very limited adjustment


http://www.rodtech.com.au/IBEAM%20ASSEMBLY.
htm
9/23/08
Transverse Leaf Spring Suspension
The transverse leaf spring suspension is an older design that
uses either a trailing arm or one control arm, and the other
control arm is effectively a leaf spring that is mounted
transverse across the body of the car. It can act like a
independent suspension in some cases because the center of the
leaf spring is bolted to the frame of the car and each end acts
independent of the other. However, the wheels are still
connected by a single link. An advanced form of this design is
used today on the new Chevrolet Corvettes, but if the car is
used for racing the leaf spring is almost always removed and
replaced with a double wishbone and coil spring suspension
like the ones above.

A1

-Small overall suspension


package
-Average independent
suspension ride comfort
and tire to road adhesion

Copyright 1994 - 2008 Christopher J Longhurst. All Rights Reserved

www.carbibles.com/suspension_bible.html
9/20/08
Trailing Arm Suspension
In a trailing arm suspension design there are two larger links
that supports the steering knuckle with the spring and shock
assembly mounted to one of trailing links and the other end to
the frame of the vehicle. The wheel and tire trails behind the
links of the suspension, effectively dragging the tires over any
obstructions in the road surface.

-In high cornering load


situations and sudden road
irregularities the trailing
links are subject to very
high loading and bending
may occur, resulting in
vibrations in the
suspension and steering
-Camber of the wheels
changes as the car body
rolls through a turn
-Extremely heavy and
bulky in some cases

A2

www.motorera.co
m/dictionary/cardica.htm
9/20/08
Typical
MacPherson Strut
Suspension

-Standard advantages of an
independent suspension in ride
comfort and performance.
-Extremely small compact design
-Good for use on small front
wheel drive(FWD) cars.

-Lacks the ability of using a


wider tire because of the
placement of the spring and
shock assembly.
-Lacks the ability to gain camber
in hard cornering.
-Tall design, not able to be used
on lower profile race cars.

The MacPherson strut type suspension is made up of


one lower a-arm(control arm) attached to the bottom of
the knuckle. The top of the knuckle connects directly to
the spring and shock assembly with the other end being
attached to the frame of the vehicle. This is mostly used
on smaller front wheel drive cars because it allows for a
straight shot for the drive axle to the knuckle. Like the
trailing arm suspension this design is best suited for
production road cars, but is not very performance
oriented for a race car.

A3

-Improves on the independent


suspension characteristics
-Because of the rigid a-arm links
there is no deflection in the
suspension during hard corning
forces
-keeps the alignment of the wheels
and tires constant

-camber is lost during hard


corning, similar to the
MacPherson strut suspension
Copyright 1994 - 2008 Christopher J Longhurst. All Rights Reserved

www.carbibles.com/suspension_bible.html
9/20/08
Equal Length Double A-arm Suspension (Double
Wishbone)
The equal length double a-arm suspension, often
referred to as a double wishbone suspension, attached
the steering knuckle to the frame via two equal length
control arms at the top and bottom. The spring and
shock assembly mounts to the bottom control arm and
to the frame.

A4

-Negative camber gain


during corning forces

http://www.automotivearticles.com/uploads/aarm_img.jpg
9/20/08
Unequal Length Double A-arm Suspension
(Unequal Double Wishbone)

-For low profile cars the


spring and shock assembly
will have to be mounted at
an extreme angle. The
further from 90 degrees that
the shock is mounted the
less effective the
performance will be
-Suspension adjustment can
only be made by replacing
the springs

The unequal length double a-arm suspension is the same as


the design above except that the top a-arm or control arm is
shorter than the bottom control arm. This causes the tire to
gain negative camber through hard cornering which is ideal
for a suspension design. This is the suspension design utilized
on most cars from quality manufacturers today.

A5

-Motor can so fast that


almost all vibration caused
from inconsistencies in the
are not felt in the car
-Suspension is able to adapt
to hard cornering and firm
the correct suspension parts
to reduce almost all body
roll.

-Expensive design
-Still in testing phase

www.carbibles.com/suspension_bible.html
9/24/08
Linear Electro Magnetic Suspension
The linear electro magnetic suspension is a design by Bose
that replaces the springs and shocks with linear
electromagnetic motors and power amplifiers. When
electrical power is applied the motor will extend or retract,
which creates the motion between the wheel and the chassis of
the car.

A6

insideracingtechnolog
y.com/phnxtst.htm
9/23/08
Pushrod Suspension
used on Indy Cars

-Design can be built to


achieve a rising spring rate,
as the spring compresses
during hard cornering
-Ease of adjustment in all
the links and spring rates
-Reduces unsprung weight
of the vehicle
-any spring rate can be used
by changing the bell crank
to achieve any desired
mechanical advantage

This is an example of a pushrod suspension on an Indy Car.


The design utilizes two unequal length control arm to connect
the steering knuckle and wheel to the chassis. The spring and
shock assembly is not mounted directly to the control arms
like in the double wishbone design, but is rather actuated
remotely via pushrods and bell cranks.

A7

The Formula OCAS 2006 team of four MET students


designed, built and raced a SCCA autocross car prepared for
the A-modified class. The team utilized a pushrod suspension
design for their small cars suspension

MET Project
Formula OCAS 2006

Interview with Chris Lowe. 9/25/08


Outofideas327@gmail.com
Mechanic for F1000 open wheel racecar driver Justin Pritchard.
Car uses pushrod suspension.
To change spring rates according to track and conditions they have
to completely swap out springs.

A8

APPENDIX B - SURVEY
Pushrod Suspension Survey
My name is Andrew Bayer and I am a senior of Mechanical Engineering Technology at
the University of Cincinnati. I am currently in the process of designing a pushrod
suspension for my senior design project to simplify the swapping of springs to achieve
different spring rates when going from track driving to street driving. It would be helpful if
you could please take a few minutes to rate the following features.
How important are the following characteristics to you in a suspension design?
Circle or highlight the appropriate answer. 1 = low importance 5 = high importance
Accessibility to components for
adjustment

2(1)

3(1)

4(8)

5(9)

4.33

Ease of Installation

1(1)

2(6)

3(5)

4(5)

5(2)

3.05

Compactness of design

1(1)

2(2)

3(8)

4(6)

5(2)

3.32

Reliability

4(1)

5(18)

4.95

Safety

3(2)

4(5)

5(12)

4.53

Rising rate suspension geometry

3(11)

4(7)

5(1)

3.47

Reducing unsprung mass

2(2)

3(8)

4(7)

5(2)

3.47

Adjustability of ride height

3(4)

4(7)

5(8)

4.21

Adjustability of spring rate

2(1)

3(1)

4(6)

5(11)

4.42

Adaptability to different chassis

1(2)

2(5)

3(5)

4(7)

2.89

How much would you consider paying for a complete pushrod actuated front suspension?
$0-$200

$200-$400

$400-$600(5)

$600-$800(7)

$800 or above(7)

Thank you for completing this survey.

B1

APPENDIX C QUALITY FUNCTION DEPLOYMENT (QFD)

0.11 11.4%
0.11 10.8%

Relative weight %

Relative weight

4.39
4.17

Adjustable Bellcrank

Customer Importance

Adjustable Coilover Spring/Shock

Endlinks Used

Camber Gain

Loading Setup

Surface Finish

Material

Diameter of Links

Weight

Overall Size

9 = Strong
3 = Moderate
1 = Weak

Performance
Adjustability of spring rate
Adjustability of ride height

Reducing unsprung mass

Adaptability to different chassis

Suspension geometry

3.44

0.09

2.83

0.07

8.9%
7.4%

3.5

0.09

9.1%

4.3

0.11 11.2%

4.5

0.12 11.7%

4.94

0.13 12.8%

3.33

0.09

8.7%

3.06
38.46

0.08
1.00

8.0%

Features
Accesability of components

Safety
Reliability
Compactness of design
Ease of Installation
Abs. importance
Rel. importance

1
1

1
9
1
1.5
6.14

3
1.1
4.37

1.5
6.27

1
1

1
3.0
12.55

1
0.0
0.00

3
2.4
10.05

1
1.2
5.19

1
0.7
2.75

3
0.2
1.00

3
1.3
5.28

Abs. Impt. Total=

12.9

C1

APPENDIX D WEIGHTED DECISION METHOD TABLE

D1

APPENDIX E BILL OF MATERIALS


#

Description

Material

Quantity

1in x .065 in Tubing

4130 Chrome Moly

130 in

QA-1 250 lb/in Springs

QA-1 Coilover Shocks, 5 in. travel

Aluminum

in Rod End, 12 x 20 RH Thread

4130 Chrome Moly, PTFE

12

in Ball Joint, 12 x 20 LH Thread

12 x 20 RH Threaded Tubing Adapter

4130 Chrome Moly

12

12 x 20 LH Threaded Tubing Adapter

4130 Chrome Moly

in Sheet Steel

1020 Carbon Steel

80 in^2

1/8 in Sheet Steel

1020 Carbon Steel

270 in^2

10

Steering Knuckle

Cast Steel

E1

APPENDIX F LOADING CALCULATIONS


Lower Control Arm Loading
A

9.8 in.

8 in.

FA

Fpushrod

Fwheel= 275 lb

-Impact loading for ductile material

-Calculating bending stress to find required ID of tubing

-Firm setting pushrod force

-Soft setting pushrod force

F1

Pushrod Loading
Fbellcrank= 589 lb

12 in.

Fpushrod= 589 lb
-Slenderness ratio

-Column constant

-Critical buckling load

F2

Bellcrank Loading
-Firm Suspension Setting
A
C
2 in.

FS= 589 lb

2 in.
Fpushrod= 589 lb
103
B

-Force transmitted to spring

-Spring displacement

-Soft Suspension Setting


C
A

FS= 1086 lb

2 in.

4 in.

Fpushrod= 543 lb

112
B
-Force transmitted to spring

-Spring displacement

F3

APPENDIX G - ASSEMBLY DRAWINGS

G1

APPENDIX H BUDGET

H1

APPENDIX I DESIGN SCHEDULE

I1