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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 of the Suspension

At the beginning of the motor car development the two rigid axles were taken over from the times of the horse and carriage. Also coming from this period, is the kingpin steering (Ackermann steering), which was also installed very early. In the period, up to the turn of the century, the engine was genarally moved forwards, and already before World War 1, the center of gravity, due to the smaller wheels and the altered chassis, was being lowered.

Right up to the end of the 1920s, racing cars capable of speeds of more than 200km/h, were still, normally, equipped with rigid axles in front and at the rear (see figure 3). Hydraulic shock absorbers, as we know them today, only finally established themselves after World War 2.

The somewhat tentative increase of the front-wheel-drive (DKWF, CitroŽn) only appeared around 1930, a construction, combined with independent suspension and transverse-mounted leaf-springs, which with transverse-mounted engines, was used up to the 1970s. Although producers of vehicles with front-mounted engines and rear-wheel drive did occasionally install double wishbone suspension after 1933, see Chrysler (figure 2).

Due to the fact that, after 1945, first of all, the pre-war cars were still being built, the rigid front axles were still being used. The first new constructions changed this drastically. For the mid-range cars, it was now almost standard to install coil-sprung double wishbones in the front, combined at first, with leaf- and later coil-sprung rigid axles at the rear.

Compact cars appeared almost exclusively with rear-mounted engines and with the gearbox lying in front of the rear axle (figure 4), they had a tendency to oversteering, which could, nearly always, only be tamed by using stronger front stabiliszers. At the rear, the pendulum axle did the job. Mercedes installed these with only one joint, (indeed very much lowered) even in the upper- and sports car class (300 SL).

If one ignores the twin trailing arms and the crank steering of the VW-Beetle, from then on, there was only the the double-wishbone, which was replaced, in the economy and mid-range cars of the 1970s, always combined with the here, long established, self-supporting car body.

Unfortunately, the rear pendulum axle allowed a positive camber when slightly rebounding. Rear independent suspensions which avoided this, appeared, in a technically reasonable form, for the first time at BMW in the 1960s. Later the construction was adopted basically by all the manufacturers, even by those with the remaining rear mounted engines.

As early as 1959, the Mini from Great Britain, very, very slowly, spread to France and then later to Germany, making the front-wheel-drive and transverse mounted engine popular. When it got to VW/Audi, they invented the particularly effective and reasonably priced twist-beam rear axle which also enjoyed enourmous success all over the world.

Mercedes must be mentioned again, they wanted to build a Baby-Benz but because of the tank, there was insufficient space for the usual trailing arms. The multilink-axle was born, it didn't use up much space, however, it did call for a lot of criss-cross linkages.

By the 1990s it started getting complicated, because now the front-wheel drive was joined by the four-wheel drive. In this case, the rear axles became similarly complicated, like those of the front-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive.The keyword was now the multilink-axle. Small tie rods now appeared at the rear as well, to be able to exactly regulate the oblique running angle for a wheel at every angle of roll.

In the front, Audi even makes two single guides out of one wishbone, thereby relocating the swivel axle into the wheel. The steering was to become free of disturbing forces, a principle which was later partly retracted. In this case, the important elements are the, in the meantime, omnipresent, maintenance free ball-heads which, at the latest, in the 1970s, replaced the maintenance- and repair-intensive kingpins.

They are still found today in trucks, they are however, fitted with needle bearings. Here, the rigid axles also remain unchanged, apart from their complex guidance by the air suspension. Coaches, on the other hand, have followed the example of motor cars and light transport vehicles, even if only on the front axle.

In the meantime, the keyword is air suspension. It was tried out in the Mercedes 600, and then dropped again for a long time. Nowadays, it is, as an optional extra, almost standard in the luxury-class. Generally speaking, the electronics also control the chassis to a large extent, among other things, in the adaptive damping. It stiffens the suspension in milli-seconds and provides for more quietness, the same as the ESP, which recently, not only affects the braking system. 12/09               Top of page               Index
2001-2015 Copyright programs, texts, animations, pictures: H. Huppertz - E-Mail
Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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