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Video History-Suspension 1
Video History-Suspension 2
Video History-Suspension 3
Video History-Suspension 4
Video History-Suspension 5
Video History-Suspension 6
Video History-Suspension 7

Video Undercarriage 1
Video Undercarriage 2
Video Steering Wheel 1
Video Steering Wheel 2
Video Steering Lock
Video Steering
Video Safety Steering
Video Rack Pinion Steering
Video Steering Ratio 1
Video Steering Ratio 2
Video Steering Ratio 3
Video Ball Steering
Video Worm Roller Steering
Video Hydraulic Power Steer. 1
Video Hydraulic Power Steer. 2
Video Electr. Power Steer. 1
Video Electr. Power Steer. 2
Video Electr.-hydraulic Pump
Video Torque (power steer.)
Video Electr. Stab. Program
Video Finger Steering
Video One-piece Track Rod
Video Four Wheel Steering 1
Video Four Wheel Steering 2
Video Four Wheel Steering 3
Video Dry Joint
Video History
Video Suspension control 1
Video Wheel positions
Video Suspension
Video Spring systems
Video Electr. Air Suspension
Video Center of Gravity
Video Oblique/lateral drift angle
Video Elasto-kinematics
Video Elk Test
Video Wheel Bearing 1
Video Wheel Bearing 2
Video Wheel Bearing 3
Video Wheel Bearing 4
Video Ind. pulse sensor
Video Wheel sensor 2
Video Transversal Axis
Video Suspension Carrier
Video Below View
Video Adj. suspension
Video Stabilizer 1
Video Stabilizer 2
Video Double-wishbone 1
Video Double-wishbone 2
Video Double-wishbone 3
Video Air suspension truck
Video McPherson Strut 1
Video McPherson Strut 2
Video McPherson Strut 3
Video McPherson Strut 4
Video Trailing Arm
Video Twist-beam Rear Axle
Video Space Arms
Video Multilink Axle
Video Semi-trailing Arm Axle
Video Rear-wheel Drive
Video Electr. Stab. Program
Video ABS/ESP-Hydr. Unit
Video One-arm Swing. Fork
Video Formula-3 Racing Car
Video Pend. Wheel Suspen.
Video Torson Crank Suspen.
Video DeDion Axle 1
Video DeDion Axle 2
Video Rigid Axle 1
Video Rigid Axle 2
Video Rigid Axle 3
Video Rigid Axle 4
Video Rigid Axle 5
Video Self steering axle
Video Track rod joint
Video Springs
Video Coil Spring 1
Video Coil Spring 2
Video Coil Spring 3
Video Leaf Spring
Video Torsion Bar Spring
Video Rubber Suspension
Video Hydropn. Suspension
Video Air Suspension 1
Video Air Suspension 2
Video Shock Absorber 1
Video Shock Absorber 2
Video Shock Absorber 3
Video Shock Absorber 4
Video Shock Absorber 5
Video Single-tube Damper 1
Video Single Tube Damper 2
Video Double-tube Damper
Video Shock Absorber Piston
Video Friction Absorber
Video Tyres
Video Wheel Positions

Video Tyre Calculation
Video Inch -> mm
Video Slip
Video Axle Load Distrib.
Video Payload Distrib.
Video Roller Resistance 2

Video Wheel suspension 1
Video Wheel suspension 2
Video Wheels 1
Video Suspension 1
Video Suspension 2
Video Suspension 5
Video Steering 1
Video Steering 2


          A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  History Suspension 3









Previous page

The expertise of almost all the vehicle-sytems is actually summarised in the suspension. Whether a car has a particularly high center of gravity, whether the engine is in the front or the rear or if the weight is taken off the rear axle at high speed, all this is evaluated by the suspension. It is here that the capabilities of the car are as a rule, transferred by four small contact surfaces between the tyres and the road. If this is done smoothly, with a high degree of effeciency and under all possible conditions, then the suspension has done the job properly.

The influence that certain construction decisions have here, is enormous. For many years, actually for a whole century, the big question mark was, how the individual components of the drive-train, e.g., the engine and the gearbox, were to be arranged. At the time, when the automobile was created, it was taken for granted that the engine should be mounted at the rear. Carl Benz even mounted it flat, lying on it's side, because he was afraid that an upright engine could cause the car to tip over. This was not confirmed. Nonetheless, it still took approx. 20 years, before the engine was moved to the front. After that it was no longer started by turning the flywheel but with a crank-handle.

The gearbox had by no means, an exactly fixed position, actually, the same as it is even today. From about 1900 onwards, it was separated from the engine and driven by a short shaft, transferring the power through a chain to the rear wheels. By the way, even after the middle of the last century, this type of engine with the gearbox separated, was actually still around, e.g., in the BMW 501/502. We won't even mention the Transaxle-principle, which right now, is celebrating a happy comeback. As a matter of interest, a Frenchman by the name of Marcel Renault, is reputed to have first driven the rear wheels through a cardan-shaft with the suitable gearing.

The only thing in the following approx. 20 years, that underwent a radical change was the center of gravity. The power-train was mounted lower down and the chassis deviated considerably from the two straight longitudinal profiles. As far as racing cars were concerned, something new only appeared in the 1930's, when Ferdinand Porsche mounted the Auto-Union engines behind the driver. Indeed, it has stayed that way, right up to today, only the gearbox and the final drive have changed. The first serial production front-wheel drives appeared somewhat earlier.

The fact that the front-wheel drive only appeared almost 50 years after the invention of the vehicle with a combstion engine, has to do with the drive shafts. The above shown model was created before the turn of the century. However, if you enlarge the picture, you can make out the drive shafts where universal joints were used to achieve the necessary flexibility. Of course, such an uneven transmission of the torque when the steering angle was increased, caused a disturbance in the steering. A problem which was to some extent, solved only through the invention of the homokinetic Tracta-joint (constant-velocity joint), a good 20 years later.

No, the first serially built front-wheel drives did not have the same configuration as the cars of today. The position of the 1932 DKW Front, was indeed, transverse, it was however, mounted as a mid-engine, behind the front axle. The 1934 Citroen Traction Avant had the same type of mid-engine, however, it was straight-mounted. The latter, by the way, also had a monocoque-body (self supporting), which however, would only really assert itself after the mid-century. This change definitely influenced the chassis construction.

Apart from the experimenting with particularly streamlined bodies, Porsche's Beetle development, which was probably derived from Ledwinka's love of the rear-engine, the engine remained up front. This only changed after the war, when born out of necessity, a great many compact cars were created, these however, disappeared again after the mass appearance of the tranverse mounted engined front-wheel drives. As far as sports cars, and those which would like to have been known as sports cars were concerned, this was followed by a good decade of mid-engined vehicles.

The relationship between the engine position and the chassis can be well explained using the mid-engine as an example. Since actually, there's no good reason, why the really usable space behind the front seating should be obstructed by an engine. Unless of course, we're talking about weight-distribution, since a vehicle tends to break away, if countermeasures are not taken, there where the greatest weight is found. By the way, in this context, the already mentioned Professor Porsche, even paid attention to the position of the fuel tank, to ensure that the handling with a full tank, did not differ that much from when the tank was nearly empty.

What remains of the mid-engine philosophy, is the Porsche Boxster, the creation of which, had not only technical reasons but at least half of it was marketing strategy. Apart from it's rear-engined relative, the 911, when a new sports car in this category appears, it mostly follows the Transaxle-principle, unless however, special reasons speak against it, as in the case of the Bugatti Veyron. It now seems that the world has been divided, between the so-called standard drive in the large models and the front-wheel drive, whereby, with particular regard to the dictates of downsizing, the future belongs to the transverse engine. 12/13

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Translator: Don Leslie - Email: lesdon@t-online.de

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