The rear suspension system is one of the most important components in a vehicle. It is what allows the car to move and keep you from hitting bumps on the road or getting stuck in deep mud. Suspension systems are also quite varied which in turn provides for a wide range of options.
The article will provide a brief overview of the most popular types of rear suspension systems currently being used.
What is Rear Suspension
The suspension system on the rear of a vehicle works to stabilize the vehicle and keep it level while moving down the road. It is also responsible for providing a smooth ride by keeping the wheels in contact with the road at all times.
In essence, suspension systems provide two main things: traction and stability. The traction comes from using shocks or other types of devices to keep the wheels in contact with the road, which are also responsible for smoothing out bumps and providing a smooth ride. The stability is provided by keeping the vehicle level on uneven surfaces such as rocky terrain or muddy fields.
The suspension system generally consists of two main parts: shocks absorbers , and wishbones . These components work together to keep the vehicle level and in contact with the road.
Types of Rear Suspension
There are many different types of rear suspension systems, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. There are also a few different kinds of suspensions that can be combined to provide an even more sophisticated system for your vehicle.
Rear Active Suspension
Active suspension systems are a type of suspension that relies on computer-controlled hydraulic jacks to adjust the height of the vehicle as needed. This reduces body roll when braking while maintaining control. It also increases stiffness in the lower chassis, which is where the engine and drivetrain are located.
In this system, air is compressed by electronic jacks. When the brakes are applied or when there is a sudden weight shift, then the hydraulic pistons push back against each other using equal force. This causes the entire system to adjust the height of the vehicle so it remains level while braking.
Very few vehicles are currently using this suspension, but it has been tested on a Ford Focus ST and a Volvo S40, both of which worked extremely well. It is also expected to be used in more upcoming cars including the Cadillac CTS .
Planted rear suspension
This suspension is also known as a mid-ship configuration. This design places the engine weight nearly in the center of the vehicle, and has it mounted on both sides for balance reasons. The exhaust and cooling systems are then placed at the back of each side to provide an even distribution of weight throughout the vehicle.
Power is transferred to the wheels through a longitudinal driveshaft.
This system works well for weight-distributed vehicles like sports cars and muscle cars. The main disadvantage is that this configuration makes it difficult to have an independent suspension on the front due to space constraints.
Split/Multilink rear suspension
A multilink rear suspension, also known as a long arm rear suspension, utilizes two short control arms and one long control arm to connect the wheel hub, which is attached to the suspension knuckle. This configuration allows for greater maneuverability while providing an even weight distribution.
This system works well for vehicles with a large amount of power or heavy weight on the back end such as rear-engined race cars. The main disadvantage is that there is more unsprung weight, which can lead to handling issues.
XR3/4 Rear Suspension
The XR3/4 suspension is a popular racing suspension used on rally cars, and it’s designed to provide stability at high speeds while maintaining lateral control in the turns by reducing body roll.
The system consists of two control arms known as lateral links which connect to the transmission and axle, thus transferring power from the wheels to the car’s longitudinal driveshaft. A Panhard rod is then connected between those two points for additional stability, making sure that weight distribution doesn’t cause any strange handling issues while reducing body roll.
This suspension system is great for rally racing because it provides the lateral control needed at high speeds, but it may not be well-suited to more low-speed vehicles where handling isn’t a concern.
Swing/Parallel rear suspension
The swing-arm rear suspension design is when the axle is attached by a single point to an arm that is connected to the chassis. A parallel linkage then connects the arm and the wheels, providing extra stability at both high speeds and in turns.
This system works well for rally racing because of its stability, but it may be less effective for street driving because of its limited maneuverability.
The swing-arm system uses one large arm that links the axle and the mainframe, with a stabilizer bar in between. The advantage is that it’s simple to maintain because you can replace one component at a time instead of having to get new parts for a full unit. It also provides good comfort, particularly for passengers in the back.
The disadvantage is that it’s difficult to repair, so if any part breaks down you may need to replace the entire system. You’ll also have difficulty manufacturing these components because of the high-precision manufacturing required.
A-arm rear suspension
The A-arm suspension design is used mainly on front wheel drive vehicles. This system uses two control arms that are connected to parallel leaf springs for extra stability and handling capability.
Two main disadvantages include extra understeer and excess weight.
X-arm rear suspension
The XR4i was designed by the Ford Motor Company for use in some of their cars. It’s also known as an X-link system, and it provides better handling capability while decreasing body roll and understeer by using two A-arms instead of one.
The system is also known for being quite effective at reducing unsprung weight and providing a stable platform, both of which are useful on the race track or during fast cornering. The main disadvantage is that this design puts more stress on control arms over time, causing premature wear and tear due to extra stress on the car’s components.
Upside-down rear suspension
The upside-down suspension system is one of the oldest designs, and it’s also known as a semi-independent rear suspension. It uses two links which are connected to the control arms, usually with a Panhard rod in between them for stability. This system was mostly used on older cars due to its less-than-ideal handling capability and performance. Its main advantage is that it provides more room for an independent suspension in the front of the car, which might be useful for vehicles in need of increased maneuverability.
Rear link rear suspension
The rear link system is a four-wheel drive configuration where the axle assembly rotates freely from left to right, providing extra stability and sport performance.
This system has the disadvantage of being more complex mechanically, but it may be useful in rear wheel drive vehicles with a lot of power.
Parallel-link rear suspension
The parallel link design is used for vehicles that need high stability at high speeds and excellent handling characteristics. This system consists of an upper control arm and a lower control arm attached with a parallel linkage to the wheels and brakes.
This design is simple in theory but can be difficult to implement, so it may not be the best choice for newer vehicles.
Torsion bar rear suspension
The torsion bar suspension system is used on some Jeeps as well as a few other four-wheel drive vehicles. It consists of a solid torsion bar attached to the chassis and axle assembly, then connected with control arms.
This system is generally cheap to manufacture but can be complex to repair if one component breaks. It also provides great stability at all speeds, and it has fewer unsprung weight issues than other systems do, which may make this a good choice for some vehicles.
Some newer vehicles use an air suspension system, which usually uses a pneumatic spring that helps to maintain proper handling and comfort levels no matter the road conditions or where your vehicle may be going. This can be useful if you drive over rough terrain often or need extra handling capability on a race course.
The main disadvantage is the cost associated with this system, which might be too expensive for some drivers.
Some newer vehicles come equipped with hydraulic suspensions as a way to improve stability while offering more comfort and handling capability at all speeds. This design uses a damper that’s filled with pressurized fluid and controlled by a computer.
The disadvantage of this design is that it may be more prone to leaks and pressure issues over time, but newer models have gotten around these issues by increasing the quality of hydraulic components.
X-link rear suspension
The X-link system is similar to the XR4i in that it uses two A-arms instead of one, along with a Panhard rod in the middle. Its main advantage is that it’s easy to repair; if you’re replacing one component, you only need to replace another.
This system also has a very simple design mechanically, so it may be ideal for older vehicles that don’t have much power.
Double wishbone rear suspension
The double wishbone suspension system is most commonly used on sports cars and high-end vehicles. This design uses two control arms to support the wheel with an upper and lower A-arm, along with a Panhard rod mounted in between them for stability.
The main disadvantages to this design are that it’s difficult to repair and requires high-strength materials. It also can be complex, which is why this isn’t usually seen on mid-range vehicles.
It’s usually more expensive to repair than other options, but it provides a better driving experience for more demanding drivers.
Y-link rear suspension
The Y-link system also consists of a solid torsion bar just like the LT4, but it uses one A-arm instead of two. The advantage to this is that it’s easier to manufacture and repair if necessary.
This design is generally used on late models where it may be difficult to find the parts necessary for a more complex setup; it also provides decent stability at all speeds and is cheaper to repair when something goes wrong.
This system has less deformity than others do, so it may be ideal for everyday vehicles that need better performance on the road.
XR4i rear suspension
The XR4i system uses a combination of an upper and lower A-arm, along with a Panhard rod in the middle. The main advantage is that it provides decent stability at all speeds while still maintaining comfort for passengers.
Its disadvantage is that it’s difficult to repair, as you might need to replace the whole system if one component breaks.
It’s also difficult to manufacture, but this design is a good option for everyday use or situations where you need better stability than other systems offer.
M-link rear suspension
The M-link system is another parallelogram design, but it uses four links to connect the axle and the suspension. Its advantage is that it provides better performance over other systems because it distributes force evenly through all parts of the suspension.
It’s also simple and easy to repair when necessary; you should just replace one component at a time if you need to do any maintenance.
This system is similar to others, but it does have some disadvantages; it can be difficult to manufacture and the parts are expensive. It’s also complex to install, so you’ll need a professional if you want the best results.
Cox rear suspension
Cox can help you with your rear suspension setup. It might be the best choice for you if you aren’t sure what system to use; this design provides decent stability at all speeds while still being comfortable, though it’s harsher on bumps. The advantage is that it provides better comfort for passengers and more control in turns, particularly if the stabilizer bars are made correctly. You can also replace individual components if they break down so you won’t have to replace the entire system.
The disadvantage is that it’s difficult to repair, particularly if there are any issues with the stabilizer bars; you’ll need a professional for installation and maintenance.
MacPherson rear suspension
The MacPherson rear suspension is one of the simplest types available; it consists of an upper A-arm and a lower A-arm, with a stabilizer bar connecting them both. It has fewer components than other setups, so it’s easier to install and repair when necessary. This design provides decent comfort for passengers while still being durable for everyday use.
The MacPherson design has been used more often in recent years, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a replacement part or learning how to repair this kind of system if necessary. It’s also cheaper than other options since it requires less material and is easier to install so you won’t need a professional unless you want to use this for a professional racing vehicle.
This system is similar to other MacPherson designs, but it does have some disadvantages; the parts are expensive and difficult to repair if something goes wrong. It can also be uncomfortable for passengers and doesn’t provide much stability at high speeds.
Leaf rear suspension
The leaf rear suspension is similar to the double wishbone, in that it uses two main components to support the axle. The difference is that a leaf spring replaces the upper A-arm and a bushing connects the lower A-arm to the frame of the vehicle. This design has less drag than other systems do because there’s only one moving part instead of two. It’s also simple to install, so it works well in situations where you might need to do some work on your own.
The disadvantage is that it’s difficult to repair if anything goes wrong, as you’ll only have one part to replace — and a whole new system won’t be cheap. The leaf spring can also rattle inside the vehicle, particularly if it’s not made correctly — and there are usually gaps between the frame and where the bushing connects.
De Dion rear suspension
The De Dion rear suspension is a rare design that’s similar to the transverse leaf; it uses two lower A-arms with a differential located behind them. The only difference is that it uses a transverse leaf spring instead of a beam. It’s also difficult to repair since there are so many parts and it requires some specific tools; you’ll have to replace an entire system if something goes wrong, which can get expensive quickly.
This design is best for racing applications because the bushings are primarily made from aluminum or copper and they won’t wear as quickly as other parts might. The system also provides plenty of stability at high speeds, but it’s very heavy and can be difficult to repair when something breaks down.
The biggest disadvantage is that the leaf spring is likely to wear out more quickly than other designs, particularly if you’re using your car for racing applications or performance driving; plus, they’re extremely expensive to replace.
Which rear suspension design is best for my car?
That depends on your needs and how you plan to use it. If you’re concerned with comfort, particularly if you have passengers frequently, the MacPherson design will be ideal — it’s comfortable but not as expensive as other options might be. The leaf spring does provide good support in high-speed situations, so it’s a good choice if you’ll be using your car for racing or performance driving. The De Dion is best if you need to have some control over the handling of the vehicle — just make sure that you can repair it quickly and easily when something goes wrong.
So consider how often you’ll need to replace them and whether that’s worth it for the type of driving you do — or whether another style would work better for your vehicle.
What can I do about rattling leaf springs?
Make sure that the bushing is installed correctly, as this will help to reduce rattling or other noise. Try changing the type of oil you use if you’re worried about wearing out more quickly than normal — synthetic oils last longer and have better resistance against breakdown from heat. Be aware that you won’t be able to replace the leaf spring completely, so you’ll need to find another solution if that’s what goes wrong.
What types of vehicles are rear suspension used?
Most rear suspensions are found in vehicles that have at least four wheels and a driver. Some are used by motorcycles, bicycles, buses, and trucks; others will be designed for use under the bed of a pickup truck or on a trailer attached to the back of a larger vehicle. You may also find rear suspension parts installed on other vehicles that have a bed or trunk.
If you have a problem with your rear suspension, make sure that you’re aware of the design and how it operates before you start ordering replacement parts. Make sure that you’re choosing the best system for your needs and taking care that it’s installed correctly from the start — that will reduce the chances of failure or breakdown later on. Hope this article will be helpful to you.