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Can Anybody Think of a Car with Swing-Axle Front Suspension?

Discussion in 'Automotive' started by YellowRusty, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. YellowRusty

    YellowRusty
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    Pretty much what it says in the title, although it may be something of a dumb question.



    I was thinking about the Chevrolet Corvair yesterday while I was wondering what sort of suspension types Beamng hasn't covered yet.



    Then I wondered: The Corvair was a car with a Rear/Rear layout, and I know that other cars with swing axles (certain years of Volkswagen Beetle, Triumph Spitfire, Porsche 356, Renault Dauphine, etc.) always seemed to have them on the rear only.



    Is there something that makes swing axle suspension inherently unsuitable for the front end of a car? Can it not be adapted to a steering axle?


    I strongly suspect that this isn't the case though. Ford's longrunning Twin-I-Beam suspension didn't seem to particularly compromise steering ability, but I'm going to be a little picky about this. Because the pivot points are not located in the centre of the vehicle, I'm going to count it as an entirely different type of independent suspension.

    So, can anybody think of a passenger car that featured swing axles on the front end?
     
  2. enjoyinorc6742

    enjoyinorc6742
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    i think the main reason has to do with space. cars are lower to the ground than pickups, this is why you see the wishbone/double wishbone suspension on cars from the 50s. before then, cars were higher off the ground and had a sold front axle. ford was the first to do IFS on their truck if i am correct.
     
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  3. speednsnake

    speednsnake
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    The problem with using swing axles in the front is that it doesn't actually offer any advantage in a normal car.

    The whole point of it was to provide an independent suspension setup for driven wheels that used less vertical room than a live axle, left free space for a transmission in between axle shafts, and used as few moving parts as possible. VW bugs and karmann ghias used the same system from their onset until 1967, when they ditched it in favor of using cv axles and more conventional travel geometry.

    In order to use it on the front you would need to provide a swivel (kingpin would be the easiest) on the end to allow the wheels to turn, and all of the parts neccissary to a standard dead axle PLUS a ridgid pivot to mount the inside end of the arms. A regular I beam dead axle is more practical in pretty much every way.

    As for the Fords, the I beam suspension did have a reputation for causing rollovers. If you ever drive one take note of the fact that when you turn the wheel the whole truck leans toward the outside of the turn.
     
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  4. atv_123

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    Having owned one of those Fords (94 F150) I can tell you while it wasn't the most brilliant setup, it definitely was focused more for offroad use than on road use. It provided a relatively smooth ride over uneven surfaces and the way the steering geometry was set up, you didn't get many forces surging back through the steering wheel to break your hand off when you hit a ditch. They were also VERY strong which is why I suspect they were used more than anything.

    All that being said, when translated to on road use... they had some rather odd characteristics... most notably being the "Ford wander". My truck was a champion in its class at this. You could be driving down the road without turning the steering wheel at all and every slight bump would make the truck change its steering angle and "wander" in a different direction. If you ever watch an old movie where they are looking at the driver of the car as they are driving down the road and the actor doesn't know what to do to animate themselves so they just kinda saw back and forth on the wheel for a while... that is what it was like to drive that truck at anything above 20mph. you had to saw the wheel back and forth constantly. Luckily the powersteering pump was so strong in those things that you could literally do this with your tongue if you wanted so it wasn't to bad to drive... you get used to it.

    That all being said... the only car I can think of would be the Hillman Imp... I think it had front end Swing Axle suspension... I think.

    If you follow your definition of swing axle through (axle pivot is at the center of the car) then we can find why they are not (usually ever) used on the front end of cars. On the rear ends they had the potential to be dangerous due to the huge swings in camber angles. I mean... just look at that one picture you uploaded. Look at the insane camber in the rear of that car while it slides... can you even imagine what would happen if the front of a car did that? Bad days sir... bad days.
     
    #4 atv_123, Nov 20, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
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  5. DriftinCovet1987

    DriftinCovet1987
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    Correct. The Hillman Imp was probably the only car in history to use swing axles at the front. Its front suspension setup looks like this:
     
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  6. YellowRusty

    YellowRusty
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    I figured we'd arrive at a small European car sooner or later, and I'd like to mention as an aside that "Singer Chamois" is officially the most ridiculous car name I've ever come across.



    Hmmm... Take a look at this handling information taken from an enthusiast's website, specifically the pages concerning the suspension.
    So apparently the ideal way to take a corner in a car with front swing axles is to pop half of a wheelie during tight corners. Good to know.

    That's quite the list of interesting handling characteristics, including the "jacking" effect seen on the Sunbeam tiger up above, just on the front axle, While cornering! Of course, that's only under certain driving conditions, but still...:eek:

    So it wanders like the F-150, and the wandering gets worse as parts in the front end wear down.

    Come to think of it, would anti-roll bars greatly improve the stability of a swing-axle suspension. What would have happened if say, the Corvair, Porsche 356, and Hillman Imp had all been fitted with them straight from the factory?

    Heck, apparently the handling of the Imp was considered excellent, (mostly owing to its double-wishbone rear suspension):

    In another odd connection to the Corvair, it apparently inspired that famous double-wishbone rear end (emphasis mine):

    So apparently the Corvair kept the Hillman Imp/Singer Chamois from having swing axles at both the front and rear.
     
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  7. atv_123

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    My guess is that the sway bars at both the front and rear would be a good thing to keep the tires from rolling under... that and a minimized amount of articulation for each axle... these are road cars after all... we don't need a foot of suspension travel. The only thing I ever think about when I see road cars with swing axles is that when they get the tires airborne is how much suspension travel they have. For whatever reason, manufacturers saw it necessary to give them enough travel to make the tires folding under a real threat.

    Can you even imagine swing axles at both the front and rear? It would be both epic and terrifying at the same time. We should make one in Beam and find out.
     
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  8. YellowRusty

    YellowRusty
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    Right. A pair of anti-roll bars at each end ought to do it.

    I don't know about how terrifying it would be ... my impression is that swing axles are controllable if the driver is experienced with them and knows what to expect (see Joie Chitwood below - he performed an awful lot of high-speed maneuvers in that Corvair), and the effect might not be much worse than trying to drive any other independent-suspension car devoid of sway bars (take them off of the Grand Marshal and experiment for a while - see what turns up)

    I'm all for swing axles in Beamng though - we need at least one!

     
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  9. atv_123

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    Very true... the more you drive it... the better and more used to it you get. That's probably why most americans wrecked the Corvair because they were used to front engined solid axle cars. They do handle quite a bit differently.

    As for independent suspension cars with no sway bars... I actually drove my Subaru Impreza like that all year last year. It had amazing turn in (because the sway bar was a front sway bar designed to induce understeer) to the point that you could get the rear end to slide around at as little as 20mph on dry pavement. Now this would have been awesome if it wasn't accompanied by the fact that it also meant that there was tons of body roll. It would lean over so far that it was absolutely terrifying to go around a corner at any real speed (35mph plus), and if you did (I did... as high as 70 at times) you had to be ready to catch snap oversteer at any moment.

    I now drove it like that for a year (mostly because I bought it and didn't know it was missing... just thought the original owner did something dumb... well, technically, I guess he did) and by the end of that year I pretty much had the rear sliding around every half sharp corner I went around, not because I was having fun, but because I got confident in my ability to handle the car and predict how it was going to react... that and I got tired of being late to everything.
     
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  10. Slammington

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    How the hell did your car pass any kind of inspection? That would be an instant fail for just about any standard in most of the world...
     
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  11. atv_123

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    You would be correct... I bought the car "pre-inspected" which means I can only assume it was removed after it was inspected and before it was sold to me. It had almost a year left on the inspection, was $500, and I needed a car really bad at the time because my current vehicle had just blown its transmission right after I got a new job. It was kinda a spur of the moment "gotta do what ya gotta do" purchase. I eventually replaced all the shocks (thinking that's what was causing the terrible handling because they were all shot) on the thing and that's when I noticed the missing swaybar... I then got one on ebay and popped that into it... holy hell it's so much more manageable.
     
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  12. Slammington

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    Holy crap, good to know you managed to fix it within the year. It takes a special kind of cunt to sell someone a car like that without letting them know, that's a potentially life-threatening "mod". One wrong move and the missing swaybar could have you missing the rest of your life.

    However, keeping in mind all it took was some shocks and a swaybar, you got a pretty decent deal on that subie, right? ;)
     
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  13. DriftinCovet1987

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    Let me try that out with the '88 Pessima...what version of the Impreza was this, by the way? I assume it was a base model or a lower-tier version, considering how soft the suspension seems to have been.
     
  14. atv_123

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    It is a 1995 Subaru Impreza LX Coupe. It has a 5spd with a 1.8L engine (magically AWD also) that has spun for 270,000 miles and probably is running the crappiest set of tires that can be bought this side of the planet. They are oversized and very narrow whitewalls (no joke). Honestly, that's probably the only thing that kept me from rolling it over. Some of the reason I went to replace the shocks was because they had nothing in them... I was basically just driving on straight springs with no swaybar :p

    I even took a video of just how bad they were if no one believes me ;)
     
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