How Is a Front Suspension Laid Out?


Quick Answer

A front suspension is laid out by incorporating either a non-driven "dead" axle or a driven "live" axle. A live axle suspension consists of a lower wishbone, coil spring and a McPherson strut, while a dead axle suspension layout has upper and lower wishbones and coil springs.

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Full Answer

A car's front suspension typically includes springs, dampers and anti-sway bars. Coil springs, leaf springs or torsion bars compress and expand to absorb the wheels' motion and transfer it to the wishbone. Dampers dissipate energy absorbed by the springs for a smooth ride. McPherson struts are included in many vehicles, and they provide a kingpin or steering pivot as well as suspension mountings for wheels. The lower inner portion of some McPherson struts also have built-in steering arms.

Contrary to dependent front suspensions, independent suspensions use different spring combinations for each wheel. The wheels are suspended individually and a frame with a fixed differential drives the wheels with jointed drive shafts. Double wishbones are often used at the front and keep the wheel upright as it rises and falls. A torsion bar is an optional component of the suspension. This bar goes through two pivots on opposite sides of the car's frame and help keep the car level.

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