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CHAPTER 6 Suspension System

Suspension System
Supports the weight. Provides a smooth ride. Allows rapid cornering without extreme body roll. Keeps tires in firm contact with the road. Prevents excessive body squat (body tilts down in rear) when accelerating or heavily loaded..

Prevents excessive body dive (body tilts down in front) when braking). Allows front wheels to turn side-to-side for steering. Works with the steering system to keep the wheels in correct alignment.

Suspension System
Basic Parts
Control arm movable lever that fastens the steering knuckle to the vehicles body or frame.

Steering Knuckle provides a spindle or bearing support for the wheel hub, bearings and wheel assembly.

Steering Knuckle

Suspension System
Basic Parts
Ball Joints swivel joints that allow control arm and steering knuckle to move up and down and side to side.

Springs supports the weight of the vehicle; permits the control arm and Wheel to move up and down.

Suspension System
Basic Parts
Shock absorbers or dampeners keeps the suspension from continuing to bounce after spring compression and extension.

Control arm bushing sleeves that allows the control arm to swing up and down on the frame.

Suspension System
Shock absorbers
Limits spring compression-extension movements to smooth the vehicles ride.

Without shock absorbers, the vehicle would continue to bounce up and down long after striking dip or hump in the road.

A sway bar, or stabilizer bar, is used to keep the body from leaning excessively in sharp turns. The sway bar is made of spring steel

It fastens to both lower control arms and to the frame. Rubber bushings fit between the bar and the control arms.

Suspension System

Non-independent suspension has both right and left wheel attached to the
same solid axle. When one wheel hits a bump in the road, its upward movement causes a slight tilt of the other wheel.

Independent suspension allows one wheel to move up and down with minimal
effect to the other.

Test Your Understanding level the diagram

Which one is independent and non-independent?

Type Suspension System Spring

Coil spring is the most common type of spring found on modern vehicles. Leaf springs are now limited to the rear of some cars.
Consists of several layers of metal (called "leaves") bound together to act as a single unit.

Leaf springs & Coil spring

Suspension System Spring

Torsion bar (large spring rod)

One end is attached to the frame and the other to the lower control arm. Up and down of the suspension system twists the torsion bar. It will then try to return to its original shape, moving the control arm to its original place.

Torsion bar

Suspension System Spring

Air Spring Uses air to give the vehicle the support it needs. It does this by using an air-filled cylindrical chamber that's positioned between the wheels and the vehicle's body. The vibrations made by the wheels are then absorbed by this component with the help of stored air. Because of this, driving through rough terrains won't be a problem

Air Spring

Type of Suspension System

Strut assembly (MacPherson struts)

Consists of a shock absorber, a coil spring, and an upper damper unit. Strut assembly often replaces the upper control arm.


Type of double-A or double wishbone suspension Wheel spindles are supported by an upper and lower 'A' shaped arm. The lower arm carries most of the load. If you look head-on at this type of system, parallelogram system that allows the spindles to travel vertically up and down. This side-to-side motion is known as scrub


It's currently being used in the Audi A8 and A4 amongst other cars. The basic principle of it is the same, but instead of solid upper and lower wishbones, each 'arm' of the wishbone is a separate item. These are joined at the top and bottom of the spindle thus forming the wishbone shape. The super-weird thing about this is that as the spindle turns for steering, it alters the geometry of the suspension by torquing all four suspension arms. Spring is separate from the


The solid axle front suspension system mainly consists of a solid axle or axle housing, on which the wheels are mounted. In this suspension system, both wheels share the same axle, and work as one unit. When one wheel rides on a bump, the shock will be transferred to the other wheel.


It is, as the name suggests, set up so that the axles pivot about a location somewhere near the center of the car and allow the wheels to travel up and down through their respective arcs. This system was eventually adapted for rear suspensions as can be found on the old beetles. Ill use a simple chart to help identify the advantages the swing axle has over the solid axle and highlight some of the shortcomings of this suspension design as well.



With trailing arm and semi-trailing arm suspensions the wheels are free to bounce independently

design in which one or more arms (or "links") are connected between the axle and the chassis

Suspension System
Checking Shock Absorber Condition
Bounce test Push down on one corner of vehicles body. Release the body and count the number of times the vehicle rebounds. Good no more then two rebounds.

Leaking Shocks Check for signs of leakage. If oily and wet, replace it.

Suspension System
Replacing Coil Springs

Need to compress the coil spring, before removing it. Warning A compressed coil spring has a tremendous amount of stored energy.