How Do Lowered Cars Go Over Bumps – For many enthusiasts, lowering their car is the first and most important change they make to their vehicles. There’s no doubt that lowering the ride height a bit will change the look of your ride, as well as the handling. Heck, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a car on the used market that hasn’t fallen on a nice set of wheels! For me, as for anyone else, it’s a mandatory requirement for all our vehicles. So all you have to do is put on a set of coilovers, lower them and keep the frame right? Wrong, lowering your car will throw out all suspension geometry and alignment, as well as create excessive drivetrain angles which can place unnecessary stress on components. Don’t worry though, all of these things can be easily fixed.
The changes you need to make to compensate for the sag vary from vehicle to vehicle. For simplicity I will only cover what to look for in the most common suspension designs, including independent front and rear suspensions and solid axle rear suspensions.
How Do Lowered Cars Go Over Bumps
Almost every car on the road today, with the exception of trucks and some SUVs, all have some form of independent suspension, using at least one control arm on each side and rack-and-pinion steering. This style of suspension allows both wheels on the axle to travel their travel independently of each other, using separate control arms for each side for position. These controls control each hinge from its own individual position, thus altering the camber of the wheels throughout the suspension travel, known as camber advantage. Through this suspension system, power is sent to the wheels via a differential rigidly mounted to the rear subframe between the control arms with the axles using constant velocity (CV) or U-joints so the axles can move up and down . compresses and extends. ,
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Depending on the vehicle and how low you decide to go, you may have enough factory adjustment to be able to correct for more negative camber. For most people lowering their vehicle 1.5 inches or more, it may be necessary to consider going with coilovers with existing camber plates, ordering camber plates, or using aftermarket camber bolts or Adjustable control arms to achieve alignment.
In many ways the rear independent suspension suffers from the same problems as the front. You will encounter an increase in camber, but in some cases you may run into toe problems and it may be more difficult or expensive to fix the alignment specs than usual. Since most cars typically use a McPherson strut front suspension, with the steering attached, toe adjustments are usually more than enough to alleviate any problems, while camber is usually done using camber plates. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, the rear doesn’t line up all that well.
Some vehicles such as the BRZ/FRS/GT86 also have an issue with the ride height tending to sit closer to the rear bumper when lowered which can cause rubbing issues. To correct this I used an adjustable pulling arm, also known as a rear trailing arm, to help pull the wheel back over the center of the wheel.
Likewise, as you descend, you also lower your center of gravity. As your COG decreases, it gets closer to your roll center, or the theoretical point where your chassis rolls, which will reduce the vehicle’s tendency to roll. Indeed, if the roll center and the center of gravity are in the same place, there will be no body roll in the vehicle and no anti-roll bars will be needed. So where does it go south?
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Your suspension and steering angle aren’t the only things to worry about if you really want to go downhill. If your vehicle has independent suspension with constant velocity joint (CV) axles, it will be incredibly important to make sure the angle of the CV axle isn’t too extreme. Many vehicles such as the early Mitsubishi Evos encounter a problem that once the CV axle is underpowered it limits suspension travel and wears out the CV joints prematurely. Another great example of my 2013 Subaru BRZ lost an axle and left me stranded with only 75,000 miles on it because it’s sagged on coilovers with the knuckles down in the rear. Other ZN6 frame owners have experienced premature axle failure in as little as 1.5 seconds. To make sure I never break a CV joint again by being too low, I installed parts store Max diff and subframe struts that help raise the subframe and diff so the CV angle isn’t as extreme . This is a common modification for Nissan S, Z and R chassis models, as well as some BMWs, while vehicles such as the Honda S2000 often use axle spacers to help solve this problem.
Constant velocity or CV joints can usually only handle articulation angles between 22 and 31 degrees, so it’s imperative to make sure the axles are grounded at your chosen ride height to reduce any chance of drivetrain binding. or failure.
Just because solid axes are an older technology, doesn’t mean they can’t perform well. In fact, it’s much easier to fine-tune the geometry of solid axles, as well as troubleshoot any downforce issues. The venerable solid axle, anchored by a four-link and Panhard rod, was at home in countless muscle cars including the Mustang through 2014, as well as cars that have become known for their handling like the AE86. Plus, it’s the number one rear suspension and drive train favorite among drag racers.
So what happens when you downsize your solid axle car? Well, your axle will no longer be centered under the car to begin with. As the suspension travels through its travel, the Panhard bar causes some lateral axle movement. Also, the Panhard bar would no longer be parallel to the axis, reducing its effectiveness. To fix this, you’ll use an adjustable panhard bar and drop bracket to mount the panhard bar at a more effective angle.
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Another characteristic of solid axle suspension is that the angle of the pinion or drive shaft changes throughout the suspension, meaning that once you downshift, the angle of the drivetrain will no longer be ideal at the new ground clearance. Improper drive angle can lead to binding, axle binding and wheel hop, as well as increased drive train vibration and wear. To correct this, most people install adjustable upper and lower control arms to set the pinion angle correctly. To correct for roll center and effectively optimize the vehicle’s tendency to squat or jackknife under load, you would use a drawbar or actually the control arm height axis. To raise, lower the lower control arm mount . It will also serve to help correct some of the drivetrain angle and take away a lot of the wheel hop. We’ve all been there, driving without paying too much attention, and then all of a sudden you feel the fear of your life because your car was hit by a speed bump. Speed bumps are designed to discourage motorists from driving too fast, but speed bumps can sometimes cause damage to your vehicle. If you see an impending speed bump or speed bump, it is advisable to slow down and navigate safely accordingly.
However, sometimes slowing down isn’t an option, and hitting a speed bump at high speed or at the wrong angle can cause significant damage to the car. Hitting a speed bump can cause your car’s suspension to compress as it tries to absorb the bump too much. Even if the suspension doesn’t sag, you’re still wearing and further fatiguing the suspension components when you hit a speed bump.
Drivers found that nearly half of the repairs counted for tire damage, while 33% were suspension repairs. If you hit a speed bump at high speed, other parts of the vehicle could be damaged. If your vehicle’s exhaust hangs, it runs the risk of contacting a speed bump and potentially rupturing.
Hitting a speed bump can also affect the steering of your vehicle. This can cause the steering to go out of line, so if you hit a speed bump and see your car drifting in a particular direction, it’s time to have your car checked out as it needs realigning.
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Unfortunately, speed bumps are an integral part of driving on the road, so the best advice is to keep an eye out for speed bumps when driving and drive slowly. Extra care should be taken if the vehicle you are driving has very low ground clearance and if your car has existing damage, hitting a speed bump at high speed can cause further damage to your vehicle.
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