Suspension

Shock Absorbers - How they work

Shock Absorbers / Dampers absorb the spring energy by damping out the oscillations and converting the energy in the spring to heat.

Without a shock absorber, the spring would continue to bump and rebound for some time after the vehicle hit the bump, causing the wheel to bounce along the road.

Torsion Bar Suspension - An explanation

A torsion bar suspension is a type of vehicle suspension that uses a torsion bar as its main weight bearing spring. One end of a long metal bar is attached firmly to the vehicle chassis while the opposite end terminates in a lever (the suspension arm), to which the wheel station is fixed. Vertical motion of the wheel causes the bar to twist around its axis and is resisted by the bar's torsion resistance. The effective spring rate of the bar is determined by its length, cross section, shape, material, and manufacturing process.

A torsion bar is not self dampening, so the suspension system will still need to use a shock absorber or suspension damper.

Camber Explained - Suspension geometry, how it works

Looking from the front of the Car, camber is the inward or outward tilting in of the wheels at the top. Positive camber is the tilting out at the top, and negative camber is the tilting in at the top.

When making a turn or cornering, due to the weight transference that comes from the body roll, and the lateral force applied to the tyres due to the centrifugal effect on the vehicle, the tyre walls deform reducing the contact patch of the tyre on the road.

Introducing a small amount of negative camber counteracts this effect on cornering, increasing the tyres contact with the road, and improving directional stability and handling.

Although negative camber improves handling in corners it will go some way to reduce the cars straight line performance on acceleration and braking, due to the reduced tyre contact patch when travelling in a straight line, which will also prematurely wear the tyres.

Modern car designers will take this in to account to make a compromise between cornering and straight line performance.

Negative camber can be readily seen on track going race cars like formula 1, where the tyre remains in optimal contact with the track

surface during high speed cornering.

Excessive camber (also known as Demon camber), although can look good to ricers, can have an adverse effect on handling and be detrimental to tyre wear.

Positive camber is rarely seen on road going vehicles due to the reduced stability on cornering,however it can be found on some off road vehicles that have a greater suspension travel and

whose load can vary. A positive camber can also go towards minimising steering effort. NASCAR and other cars that race on an oval circuit can have a very specific camber setup on the car to account for the banking and subsequent lateral forces and weight transfer applying in only one direction. This consists of a negative camber on the uphill side and a positive camber on the downhill side.

Good Shocks VS Bad Shocks

Shock Absorbers / Dampers absorb the spring energy by damping out the oscillations and converting the energy in the spring to heat.

Without a shock absorber, the spring would continue to bump and rebound for some time after the vehicle hit the bump, causing the wheel to bounce along the road.

This video shows side by side the effects a worn shock absorber can have on the handling of your car along with the excessive wear on the components.

What happens if you're Shock Absorbers aren't working

If your shock absorbers become unservicable, this is what can happen.

Worn shocks will reduce stability and increase braking distances.

The first signs of worn shock absorbers are irreguar wear patterns or patches on the tyres of the affected shocks.