Suspension Upgrade Brands (Eibach, H&R, KONI, KYB)
Eibach Springs are created from alloy wire specifically built for Eibach to meet its exacting specifications. Eibach's springs are cold-wound on precision CNC equipment, heat-tempered, shot-peened, end-ground (when necessary), pre-set for fatigue resistance, phosphate-treated and powder-coated for corrosion resistance.
Every H&R component is made in Germany and is tested and approved by the German government's TUV agency for quality, safety and reliability. Additional testing and research is done in their U.S. facility, right outside Seattle, to fine tune its systems for optimum handling, balance and ride quality. Every H&R part is crafted in Germany to exacting international ISO9001 standards, ensuring that it will perform with the same precision and reliability years down the road as it does the first time you roll it onto the street or track.
KONI has produced equipment for the transportation industry since 1857. Over the years, their vast experience has earned them a worldwide reputation for being able to optimize their products for any specific application. And by focusing on high quality shock absorbers, KONI's no-compromise philosophy results in superb product performance and enhanced car control.
KAYABA Industries (with products marketed under the KYB brand name) has been recognized around the world as a leader in the design and production of state-of-the-art gas shocks and struts. As Japan's largest manufacturer of automotive shock absorbing equipment, KYB employs a process of continuous refinement and improvement of its products since its founding over 50 years ago.
Suspension is the term given to the system of springs, shock absorbers and linkages that connects a vehicle to its wheels. Suspension systems serve a dual purpose - contributing to the car's handling and braking for good active safety and driving pleasure, and keeping vehicle occupants comfortable and reasonably well isolated from road noise, bumps, and vibrations. These goals are generally at odds, so the tuning of suspensions involves finding the right compromise.
Traditional springs and dampers are referred to as passive suspensions. If the suspension is externally controlled then it is a semi-active or active suspension.
Semi-active suspensions include devices such as air springs and switchable shock absorbers, various self-levelling solutions, as well as systems like hydropneumatic and hydragas suspensions. Delphi currently sell shock absorbers filled with a magneto-rheological fluid, whose viscousity can be changed electromagnetically, thereby giving variable control without switching valves, which is faster, and probably cheaper and probably better. An Australian company, Kinetic, is having (as of 2005) some success with various semi-active systems, which provide adjustable roll control and damping, by using cross linked shock absorbers, and other methods. They have now been bought out by Tenneco.
Fully active suspensions use electronic monitoring of vehicle conditions, coupled with the means to impact vehicle suspension and behavior in real time to directly control the motion of the car. Lotus developed several prototypes, and introduced them to F1, where they have been fairly effective, but have now been banned. Nissan introduced a low bandwidth active suspension in circa 1990 as an option that added an extra 20% to the price of luxury models.
The shock absorbers damp out the, otherwise resonant, motions of a vehicle up and down on its springs. They also must damp out much of the wheel bounce when the unsprung weight of a wheel, hub, axle and sometimes brakes and differential bounces up and down on the springiness of a tire. The "corduroy" bumps found on dirt roads are caused by this wheel bounce.
- A dependent suspension normally has a live axle (a simple beam or 'cart' axle) that holds wheels parallel to each other and perpendicular to the axle. When the camber of one wheel changes, the camber of the opposite wheel changes in the same way.
- An independent suspension allows wheels to rise and fall on their own without affecting the opposite wheel. In this case, the wheels are either not connected at all or are connected through universal joints with a swing axle. Suspensions with other devices, such as anti-roll bars that link the wheels in some way are still classed as independent.
- A third type is a semi-dependent suspension. In this case, a swing axle is used, but the wheels are also connected with a solid tube, most often a deDion axle.