A vehicle’s suspension system has three primary purposes. First, it gives passengers a better ride. Second, it keeps the tires in contact with the ground. And last, it helps to maintain the stability of the vehicle. The springs act to absorb impacts. There are two spring types: leaf and coil springs. Both are excellent at what they do, but they both must have shock absorbers to minimize the impact and related vibration from hitting bumps.
Each wheel has its own shock absorber and spring, but the suspension system in the front is entirely different from that of the rear. You can read this blog to find out the differences between these systems.
4 x 4 Front Suspension Systems
A front suspension system is a feature on off-road vehicles. This type of system is most often much more complicated than other types. This is because the wheels on off-road vehicles are usually much larger and the roads they come into contact with have nastier bumps. SUVs and off-road vehicles have suspension systems that feature leaf springs on a solid axle. This type of suspension is called dependent since the wheels are connected in order to move together. Leaf springs are attached to the axle. A sway bar is connected to each side to control roll.
SUVs and 4 x 4s include the following:
Coil springs with a solid axle. This is a dependent suspension system that uses coil springs instead of leaf springs. Most off-road enthusiasts favor coil springs since they feature a more compact design and are able to deliver a smoother, quieter ride.
Independent front suspension. This design of a system allows the front wheels to move independently of each other. At the center of this type of system are control arms that attach to the wheel on one side and the frame on the other. Springing is accomplished with torsion bars. These act like straightened-out coil springs or struts, allowing a coil spring and shock absorber to function as one unit.
Twin-traction beam or a twin-I. Ford created this type of system to bring the best of dependent and independent systems together. This type of system has two beams in the front of the vehicle instead of one. Both beams in this system are mounted onto a pivot on one end and a wheel on the other. These beams overlap so that they can act as long control arms. A U-joint in the middle allows for the independent movement of both the beams.
At the rear of almost all 4×4 vehicles is a solid axle with coil or leaf springs. Off-road enthusiasts often install shock absorbers on opposite sides of the axle, one in front and one behind the axle, to reduce the axle tramp, which is the rapid up-and-down motion of the rear axle most frequently caused by rapid acceleration.
The suspension systems of most ATVs and UTVs are usually independent. Most manufacturers use a dual A-arm suspension system on the front of the vehicle. As the name implies, both lower and upper control arms are A-shaped, with the strut over the upper arm. On the rear, look for an independent system that is angled toward the rear for a smoother ride.