The stability, steering and suspension systems are the mechanisms, which helps to keep the vehicle driving smoothly & safely. The various stability systems provide stability control to the vehicle and add to the comfort of driver ensuring a pleasant drive. The traction control system as well as ESC technology adds amazing features to the vehicles.
The steering system incorporates the compound machinery that permits the vehicle to move in the desired direction. Power steering through its various systems have made it easier to turn the steering wheel very easily even at a low speed by mitigating the steering force which is very much responsive to the weight of the vehicle.
The suspension system focuses on road holding and provides on better braking for safety. It ensures to keep the vehicle's wheel in contact with the ground surface as the many forces acts through the contact of tires with the road.
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With the technology changing dynamically & with the increased expectations of automation and comfort, effective methods and equipments that could add to the efficiency & performance of the existing machineries & vehicles are becoming more viable.
The engineering processes along with electrical & electronic contribution to it are leading forward with better designs & its implementation for accurate & quick action. However, a small gap may lead to the generation of faults as the integrated processes may affect the overall performance.
The report discusses various stability control methods along with steering & suspension methods in the context of light vehicles. These systems lead to the performance enhancement along with safety features implied to match the desired level of excellence.
The report also discusses very issues, which may occur with the steering & suspension systems along with the remedial action to resolve the problem at an early stage.
Both the sources i.e. primary & secondary methods are used and these sources include personal interaction with experts, which is the primary source of information, and information collected from websites, articles, and theoretical studies and different books is the secondary one.
In order to provide stability and safety to the vehicles, the vehicles now days have been equipped with stability systems. These systems help to provide better stability control to the vehicle in different situations. They emphasize handling comfort along with steadiness & safety.
An advanced antilock traction control system that uses the brakes to support steering exercises which helps to get better vehicle handling & firmness as driving conditions changes. Various sensors are included in the control system that monitors the driver's steering inputs & the position of the body with respect to the roads.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC):
A computerized technology integrating safety features that detects and helps to recover from skids. As soon as ESC detects the loss of steering control, it automatically applies the brakes to help "steer" the vehicle in the intended direction. It helps driver to hold the control of the car at risky sharp turns or when driving on slippery roads.
ESC may do the same job as Traction control but vice versa is not true.
BTEC National, Light Vehicle Suspension, Steering & Braking Systems, Unit 14
It provides a mechanism, which allows vehicles to follow the desired course. Steering aims is to ensure that the wheels are pointing in the desired directions and achieves it by a series of linkages, rods, pivots and gears.Â
The steering system must connect the hand steering wheels to the road wheels with the appropriate ratio meeting certain geometric constraints. Precision is of great importance in steering system.
Â It illustrates a system that provides mechanicalÂ steeringÂ support to the driver of a land vehicle. Steering force is very responsive to the weight of the vehicle and hence, in a vehicle equipped with power steering, the driver requires a slight retarding force even while driving at a slow speed because the power steering system supplies most of the energy required turning the steered wheels of the car. The main components of power-assisted steering in general are rack & pinion, hydraulic pump, steering gear, power cylinder, control valve, pressure relief valve etc.
Commonly used power steering systems now a day are,
Hydraulic power steering system:
It uses hydraulic system to turn the vehicle's wheels. Here, the hydraulic pressure generated by rotary vane pump driven by engine.
Electro- hydraulic power steering system (EHPS):
It uses same hydraulic system; however, a pump driven by electric motor generates the pressure.
Electric power steering system (EPS):
The steering system uses an electric motor to reduce efforts by providing steering assistance.
A field guide to : Automotive Technology By E D Sobey
Basic construction and operation of steering system and its components:
Power Steering: It is a hydraulic power steering system (as shown in figure below)
As the steering wheel turns, its movement activates valves that admit hydraulic fluid under pressure. From the power steering pump beneath the pressurized fluid travels in two hoses to the steering box. As well as, the shaft from the wheel turns a torsion bar inside the steering box that further turns the pinion gear and opens the port that let in hydraulic pressurized fluid to assist making the turn.
A field guide to : Automotive Technology, p. 137 By E D Sobey,
Steering gear box:
A field guide to : Automotive Technology By E D Sobey
The suspension system consists of springs, shock absorbers and linkages that connect a vehicle to its wheels. Suspension system achieves two major goals. First, it contributes to better road handling and secondly, it provides good braking for safety.
Categorization of suspension system into two subgroups:
The movement of one wheel depends on the movement of the other wheel as the beam live axle holds the wheel parallel to each other and perpendicular to the axle.
This suspension allows the wheels to move on their own without affecting the opposite wheel.
Basic construction and operation of suspension system and its components:
It is made-up of special spring steel rods wound into the spiral shape. Coil springs store energy & releases it to make a smoother ride.
A field guide to : Automotive Technology, p. 91 By E D Sobey,
These are sealed cylinders filled with oil with a piston inside. It reduces the vertical oscillation of springs as it takes some of the spring's energy & dissipates it.
A field guide to : Automotive Technology, p. 103 By E D Sobey,
Electrical & Electronic faults in the steering & suspension system:
Let us analyze it in the practical context:
Issue with power steering system of Holden Commodore:
There have been leakage complains with the rack and pinion steering system as it is more likely prone to leakage.
Rack and pinion steering is power-assisted in Holden Commodore, which combines the steering box and center link into one unit. The steering wheel through the steering column makes direct connection to the rack. Hence, the leakage problem requires replacement of steering rack assembly
Power issues with Holden Barina:
Problem with Starter Motor
Traction control & check engine lights staying on
Battery light staying on
It may require replacement of the ECU & the battery.
Issue with coil spring system of Holden Barina:
The vehicle bounce & wave while cornering
The possible reason could be the leaking of shock absorbers. However, in worst case coil spring may need replacement if it disobeys Hooke's law.
With the association of steering & suspension systems, the light vehicles are more sustainable & superior in performance. The electrical & Electronic appliances have automated the system to an extent where human activities are more relaxed. The process of modern engineering has helped a lot to analyze and evaluate the various steering & suspension designs. However, a minor mistake in the execution of these designs involving electrical & electronic aspects may lead to various faults in the machinery.
Several possible situations that we need to identify & rectified at earlier stage.
We need to check if the vehicle seems to bounce too much.
Is the steering wheel is hard to turn?
Power steering is not functioning.
It produces noise while turning a corner.
Regular and timely remedial action will help to keep away from serious and expensive equipment crash.