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Suspension Upgrades

Car Suspension Upgrades

 A lot of thought and huge development has gone into making cars handling better over the years. Suspension Upgrades can come in a number of different components and the overall aims is normally to reduce ride height, to improve the centre of gravity, improve transitional weight transfer under acceleration, deceleration and cornering loads. 

The ultimate aim is to have a more precise and controllable handling set up, which will result in higher lateral G's while cornering. This helps to bring down lap times on the track or by having a more composed driving experience under extreme driving conditions. With a lower centre of gravity and more aggressive stance, upgraded suspension is a must for complete performance package.

In many cases these Suspension Upgrades might comprise of a fully adjustable system, where a car can be set up for different tracks and driving conditions. Or to help balance a car's particular handling characteristics, for example a FF ( front wheel drive) car's understeering tendencies. Or even a tail happy FR ( Front engine, rear wheel drive), oversteering antics.

A lot of thought and huge development has gone into making cars handling better over the years. Suspension Upgrades can come in a number of different components and the overall aims is normally to reduce ride height, to improve the centre of gravity, improve transitional weight transfer under acceleration, deceleration and cornering loads. 

The ultimate aim is to have a more precise and controllable handling set up, which will result in higher lateral G's while cornering. This helps to bring down lap times on the track or by having a more composed driving experience under extreme driving conditions. With a lower centre of gravity and more aggressive stance, upgraded suspension is a must for complete performance package.

In many cases these Suspension Upgrades might comprise of a fully adjustable system, where a car can be set up for different tracks and driving conditions. Or to help balance a car's particular handling characteristics, for example a FF ( front wheel drive) car's understeering tendencies. Or even a tail happy FR ( Front engine, rear wheel drive), oversteering antics.

Anti-Roll Bars/ Sway Bars

 Ant-Roll Bar

Most modern cars have Anti-Roll Bars/ Sway bars fitted as standard, these suspension components have the job of helping to stabilise the vehicle under cornering loads. It effectively reduces body roll and helps the car to remain level when cornering, helping the suspension to do it's job properly. Otherwise the car's load transfers during heavy cornering forces, may unload the outside wheel too much and result in a lose of traction.

When you want to use suspension upgrades like after market or performance Anti-Roll Bars/ Sway Bars, It gives you the ability to adjust the handling characteristics of the car. Depending or the adjustment to the front or rear torsional stiffness, it is possible to reduce understeer ( reducing front thickness) or decrease oversteer ( reducing rear thickness). You can get adjustable Blade Anti-Roll Bars/ Sway bars ( adjustable in the car) or you will have to fit different thickness ones (the thicker the more torsional stiffness).

By having the ability of reducing body roll through Anti-Roll Bars/ Sway bars, it is possible to make suspension adjustments with out the need to reduce suspension stiffness ( which could affect ride quality) through spring or damper settings. Making anti-roll/ sway bars idea in dealing with fine tuning for specific handling imbalances.

Anti-Roll Bars/ Sway Bars are normally constructed from a U shaped piece of steer and connect the left and right wheels together. When the right and left wheels move together, the Anti-Roll Bar/ Sway bar rotates around it's mounting points and will not bend. If the wheels do move relative to each other, then the Anti-Roll Bar/ Sway Bar with be subject to torsional forces and made to twist. So when you have different thickness , or a adjustable set up; this ultimately affects the amount the bar will counteract this forces.

Due to the fact that the Anti-Roll Bar/ Sway Bar are connect to each wheel, when one wheel undergoes a bumps on rough terrain. This is transmitted to the other wheel on the opposite side, causing a jarring effect or waddling effect. With thicker Anti-Roll Bar/ Sway Bar thickness, the effect is proportionate to the thickness, increasing with the thickness and speed of the car, will increase negative handling characteristics.

With too much excessive roll stiffness which is achieved by configuring an anti-roll bar too thick or adjusted to stiff, the inside wheels will lift off the ground during very hard cornering. This is only possible if the regular spring rate actually allows the outside wheels to handle the much increased transitional loads. This can be used as a advantage with some FF car set ups.In fact many front wheel drive production cars will lift a wheel when cornering hard, in order to overload the other wheel on the axle, so limiting the effect of understeer. Learn more about suspension tuning.

Suspension Bushes


suspension bushes

Often a overlooked component in the Suspension system, are the suspension bushings or bushes, they are devices which can help isolate vibration and noise. Overtime factory fitted rubber bushes can become tired and worn out, from the constant contact with heat, cold and motor oil. This can result in a adverse affect on the handling of a car and could affect Camber, Caster and Toe. Due to the structural integrity of the factory fitted rubber bushes becoming sub standard over time.

The bushes work by separating the faces of two metal objects and allowing a certain amount of movement through the component. This movement allows the suspension parts to move freely and when traveling over a large bump minimises the transmission of noise and small vibrations through to the chassis of the vehicle, helping to stabilise handling.

Factory fitted rubber bushes are a potential weakness in the suspension system, upgrades are available which are made of more durable materials like polyurethane.

These upgraded bushes, have a more durable construction and can increase suspension stiffness and effectiveness. Improve tyre/ tire life, also they provide a more precise and reliable platform to mount you upgraded suspension components on. 

Suspension Coilovers

Coilovers

The term Coilover is short for the description of Coil over Strut and once fitted look similar to a MacPherson strut set up. But don't be fooled by appearances, as this suspension upgrade have their origins in Motorsport. 

Due to the complex way the suspension has to work over a number of different surfaces and tracks, engineers had to come up with a fully adjustable solution.

With Coilover installed and depending on the exact feature on offer, it is possible to adjust Ride Height, Stiffness and damping setting. The general rule is the more expensive and features your Upgrade component has, the more complex and difficult it will be to get the correct set up.

It is normally recommended for the Coilovers to be professionally set up once installed. A process called Corner weighting can be applied to make sure each corner of the vehicle has a similar weight diagonally from back to front. This process takes into account that during the manufacturing process cars are not made to have equal corner weights, due to the location of different components. In Race cars, the whole weight distribution can be played around with, but with Road cars, normally spare wheels or batteries are the only things that can be moved around for maximum effect. 

Weight saving and more durable construction are a few of the other benefits on offer with this upgrade type. These units can range from mid level pricing up to the pinnacle of the Top Level Motorsport. So research your application well, as the wrong selection could be overkill for a medium focused project. 

Sports Springs and Upgraded Dampers

sports springs and dampers

Sport springs and Upgraded dampers are a common performance option. These are normally none adjustable, but offer a lower ride height (25mm to 60mm) and firmer, sports focused suspension set up over compromised factory fitted items. But with most things, the more you pay the more features are available.

Ideal for a project on a budget as these are normally more cost effective then Coilover units, due to the range of units available. Also weight saving and more durable construction are normally on offer over stock.

But don't dismiss these on performance as many Motorsport applications and Range topping models use this type of unit to provide precise and focused handling characteristics.

Sport springs and Upgraded dampers are a common performance option. These are normally none adjustable, but offer a lower ride height (25mm to 60mm) and firmer, sports focused suspension set up over compromised factory fitted items. But with most things, the more you pay the more features are available.

Ideal for a project on a budget as these are normally more cost effective then Coilover units, due to the range of units available. Also weight saving and more durable construction are normally on offer over stock.

But don't dismiss these on performance as many Motorsport applications and Range topping models use this type of unit to provide precise and focused handling characteristics. 

Strut Braces

strut baces

Strut braces are a device which can be located on the top and bottom of the front suspension, also over the rear suspension mounts.

Normally constructed from Stainless steel, these bolt on Upgrades make Strut braces a easy and effective Suspension Upgrade. They help to keep a constant relationship between the suspension components, which are subjected to torsional loads under cornering forces. 

Due to structural flex in the body, under these extreme loads, suspension can wander and might not be fully optimised. Fitting Strut braces will let the suspension components do their job fully with out the added stresses from structural twist. Fitting a Roll cage has a similar effect of keeping the chassis stiff and firm, as well as greatly increasing structural strength.

 Strut braces are a device which can be located on the top and bottom of the front suspension, also over the rear suspension mounts.

Normally constructed from Stainless steel, these bolt on Upgrades make Strut braces a easy and effective Suspension Upgrade. They help to keep a constant relationship between the suspension components, which are subjected to torsional loads under cornering forces. 

Due to structural flex in the body, under these extreme loads, suspension can wander and might not be fully optimised. Fitting Strut braces will let the suspension components do their job fully with out the added stresses from structural twist. Fitting a Roll cage has a similar effect of keeping the chassis stiff and firm, as well as greatly increasing structural strength.