Suspension 101 for Newby (1 Viewer)

Mar 18, 2007
So I've been into sportscars all my life. Always liked trucks starting when I was a kid watching The Fall Guy! Anyhow, now that I'm about to get a real rig I have some basic questions I've always wondered... Firgured you 80'ers can help me:

1. Why is live axle always designed with one shock going each direction? On old school RC cars the live rear axle shocks go one direction for example. Does this act as some sort of stabilizer?

2. What is that cross brace looking thing I often see on a beefed up suspension like many of you have? It seems to attach to the live axle in some way.

3. What is the horizontal shock I sometimes see also somewhere near that brace on a live axle? Some sort of bump steer tamper? Do axles have mounting brackets or is it some sort of self contained stabilizer bar?

4. Those super heavy duty looking bumpers that wenches are often mounted on... They look like thery're made of iron. Have they even outlasted the car its anchored to because the chassis is weaker link? Also, do they actually help reduce crumple in a crash?

Any diagrams or links you can point me would be great too. Thanks in advance!
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....back in the saddle again....
Sep 29, 2004
Truckee, CA
the search button is sure to be your new friend

I'll pitch in on the horizontal "shock"- that's a steering stabilizer and is installed to mask suspension geometry failures. As you get bigger/taller, it is easy to create "bump steer" in which vertical movement of the axle translates to the steering wheel sawing left/right, sometimes violently. The stabilizer helps prevent that effect. Most 4x4 and all toyotas have bracketry installed from the factory for a stabilizer.

the heavy duty bumpers help, but if you search for ARB Crash you'll see several stories of what happens in a a serious collision.
Mar 27, 2003
Somewhere in the foothills...
1. 80 shocks are on the same side of the axle. Not sure what you are getting at here.

2. Probably an adjustable panhard bar. The panhard centers the body over the axle. Maybe if you would annotate a picture we could be sure that we are talking about the same thing. There is a front and a rear panhard.

3. Steering stabilizer.

4. (3b?) Heavy duty front and rear bumpers are usually made of steel or steel tube. Some are made of aluminum. They are HD to take abuse from hitting obstacles off-road, using them to slide up a ledge, survive a chance meeting with a 'roo or a deer, and they are designed to help brace the frame when using a winch or a hard recovery.

There is probably a "How things work" wiki that will help you understand solid axle geometry. I'll see if I can find something...


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