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Suspension terminology

374 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  uujjj
I love cars, and racing, but there are a few terms that I dont know about suspension. What is the difference between bound and rebound other than the obvious? What do their respective rates do to the performance of the car? For spring rates, from what I understand, the bigger the number the better, but why is more spring rate better. Is it better for straight lines or turning the car? I just wanted to get a few of the terms straight.
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Bound means suspension compression, obviously, and rebound is the extension of the suspension.

Typically, rebound should be firmer than bound so that bumps are absorbed smoothly but when the spring returns the bump's energy a firmer damping control is desireable.

Take this too far, however, and the car would "ratchet" down over a series of bumps and eventually bottom.

A shock or strut (shock within a suspension locating member) is referred to as a "damper" by engineers and those-in-the-know.

More spring rate is better up to a point, because it limits body roll and reduces undesireable camber gain or rates.

Camber (jacked from Chevy High Performance, lawlz):

Too stiff a spring, and the damper valving would be severely harsh to control said spring. At this point the suspension's ability to absorb surface irregularities has been drastically reduced and any bumps in the road surface will have the tire floating above the surface resulting in a loss of traction.

More suspension and alignment termiology here
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Higher spring rates are not always better.
It entirely depends on what you're doing and what you need from the car.
Ultimately, the point of all of it is to keep as much of the tread-surface of the tires in full contact with the pavement as much as possible to aid with controlling the vehicle. Sometimes that takes stiffer, sometimes softer, depending on the surface and various other factors.
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I just wanted to add: part of what makes body roll undesirable is that it freaks out the driver, which'll slow you down as much as any loss of grip. The roll itself doesn't much affect grip unless it is extreme.
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