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Old 3 May 2001, 02:51 (Ref:88204)   #1
Ray Bell
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The importance of good damping

I have had some background in the damper field, a long time ago, but background nonetheless.

It seems to me that rhetoric is the more important part of damper knowledge and information. So maybe we can look at what the damper does and what we should recognise about it.

First of all, the term 'shock absorber' is a misnomer. The spring 'absorbs' any 'shocks', the damper's job is to control the spring. And the spring can have a mind of its own (bounce a car with coil springs and no dampers... it just keeps bouncing... drive one... it can be uncontrollable), so they're an important part of the car.

My mindset on them is that manufacturers buy them purely for price. That allows a lot of room for compromise. Worse, many don't recognise their importance, so the cheapies under the average car are called upon to keep on doing their job long after their pension's due.

Another issue with dampers is the term 'heavy duty' - used as if it's all good. At least this is a term used in Australia. But it's really meaningless compared to a 'heavy duty' battery or things of that nature.

Heavier - ie. 'stiffer' - dampers may not be the way to go with a road car. Certainly, that's the way with racing, and in rallying too, though I dispute the wisdom of that.

What can happen is that, with a heavy rebound control, the damper will prevent the wheel resuming its proper place on the road for that millisecond that may well mean the difference between getting there or wondering what happened.

What experience have others out there had with dampers?

Good or bad...
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Old 3 May 2001, 11:38 (Ref:88284)   #2
woodyracing
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with soft suspension (springs and dampers) you get more body roll on the road, and since this shifts weight around unevenly, you lose grip.

i reckon the harder, the better as long as its not jumping all over the place when cornering.

but stiff suspension on the road is a pain because of pot holes and speed bumps etc.
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Old 3 May 2001, 15:49 (Ref:88362)   #3
Ray Bell
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Au contraire... it's all about control, and that comes from matching the damping with the springs, and having the whole lot set at a level that the wheels can follow the road surface.

With uneven surfaces an ever-present fact of life, you must cater for this lower common denominator. As far as roll is concerned, it's taken car of by providing plenty of travel.

The result of this philosophy is good ride, good adhesion for cornering, a nice car to be in.

Some are put off by body roll, but you get used to it.
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Old 4 May 2001, 00:19 (Ref:88559)   #4
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Well, I had some problems with my car (actually it was more the case of back problem ), with all 4 shock gonners and frot spring (aye, I know transverse leaf springs are nowdays used only in American sports-cars ) having half the leaves broken... But I can tell you that when the road was wet- the car run like on rails. Unfortunately, the spring came to the point where it was very likely to break so we (Pa Wolf and me, that is) had to replace it. I'm fairly sure that we lost a bit of front-end grip; shocks are still as they were; but one doesn't need them really. If I hit the bump, spring still hits the stopper and looses much of the impact (usually through my back ). And for cornering- it's all about gently presenting the car to the corner (if one is at war with that all shocks in the world can't help him); a hallmark of Wolf family.
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Old 4 May 2001, 01:52 (Ref:88584)   #5
Ray Bell
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Two points, Wolf, about that broken spring...

You're saying that a reduced spring rate improved adhesion, reduced via broken leaves that is, and that would be particularly true in the wet. I would expect that.

Regarding leaf springs, though, it's also true that their damping requirement is less than that of coils and torsion bars. They have some inbuilt friction as the leaves work against each other for a start.

Of course, the Corvette has a transverse leaf at the rear...

Let us know how you get on when you replace the dampers, okay?
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Old 4 May 2001, 02:14 (Ref:88588)   #6
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I don't think I will, Ray. See, it would cost me 100DM (I think it's very similar to AU$ in exchange rate), and I paid 250DM for the whole car...
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Old 4 May 2001, 02:16 (Ref:88589)   #7
Ray Bell
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No wrecks around that might have better ones?
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Old 4 May 2001, 02:48 (Ref:88599)   #8
Wolf
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Naah Ray, 'twas a steal. Only 30k on the meter, rather good condition (engine excellent, bodywork a little bit rusty)- he could've gotten 600 easily, poor sod. Not that I complain.
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