Fundamentals of Vehicle Suspension Design C1618

Topics: Chassis, Air Frame, Vehicle Dynamics

The design and development of vehicle suspensions significantly influences vehicle handling and ride comfort. Suspension system design excellence follows the basic laws of physics using design synthesis techniques, a methodical process for suspension geometry development. Suspension geometry is the foundation of vehicle performance from which high-confidence suspension components and tunings can be developed.

Suspension component design continues to move toward mass and cost efficient designs with high levels of stiffness being essential to achieving design requirements. Mass, cost and stiffness are expected to become increasingly important with higher fuel economy requirements, alternative energy sources and the move to autonomous vehicles. This course emphasizes the basic tenets of suspension design enabling strategically important product trends.

Learning Objectives

By attending this seminar, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the basic attributes of suspension design
  • Evaluate various suspension types, identifying advantages and tradeoffs
  • Convey an understanding of vehicle level boundary conditions for suspension geometry
  • Analyze suspension designs and how they affect vehicle performance
  • Assess the basics of ground lines and tire envelopes on vehicle design

Who Should Attend

This seminar is designed for automotive engineers with a need to understand the basics of suspension design as well as suspension integration into the vehicle environment. The course is intended for both OEM and Supplier Engineers working in applications, materials, product design, development, testing, simulation and/or research.


Participants should have a basic knowledge of suspension design either acquired through work experience or as a hobby. This information presented in this seminar will be helpful to individuals interested in enrolling in other SAE seminars such as Vehicle Dynamics for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (ID# 99020), or Advanced Vehicle Dynamics for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (ID# C0415).

You must complete all course contact hours and successfully pass the learning assessment to obtain CEUs.

  • Introduction
    • Suspension role in the vehicle
    • Definition of upper and lower suspension planes
    • Definition of dependent v. independent v. semi-independent suspensions
  • Front and Rear Suspension Types
    • Identify various front suspension types and their advantages v. tradeoffs; also usage and application from solid axles to high performance multi-links
    • Optimize placement of springs and shock absorbers within a front suspension
  • Vehicle Packaging
    • Execute basic elements of vehicle packaging design
    • Determine an allowable suspension envelope based on vehicle packaging
    • Identify the best choice for suspension type(s) based on compartment requirements
    • Class exercise - select the best suspension type for an autonomous vehicle
  • Suspension Geometry and Alignment
    • Terms and definitions related to suspension geometry - e.g., caster, camber, toe
    • Construct front view (FV) & side View (SV) suspension geometry e.g., front view swing arm (FVSA), roll center height, etc.
    • Execute basic elements of design synthesis in setting up a corner geometry
    • Determine various methods for achieving vehicle understeer <.li>Assess steering affects from the suspension - e.g., lateral force compliance steer
  • Tire Envelopes and Ground Lines
    • Discuss analytical and test methods for determining tire envelopes
    • Select appropriate methods for determining tire envelopes at each phase of the vehicle program
    • Interpret ground line criteria in view of vehicle usage, including break-over, approach and departure angles
  • Vehicle Dynamics and NVH
    • Discuss a vehicle coordinate system
    • Use appropriate terms and definitions including roll, pitch, yaw and others
    • Develop and/or critically review the chassis tuning process on a vehicle program timeline
    • Discuss the role of the tire in vehicle handling
    • Interpret oversteer / understeer / ackerman steer
William Pinch

Bill is currently an industry consultant for chassis and suspension systems and components. He is retired from General Motors Company where he held the position of Global Suspension Subsystem Leader in the Chassis Group. He has also held the position of Engineering Group Manager for Steering, Suspension and Structures. Bill has extensive experience with passenger cars, light trucks and off-road vehicles. Previously, he worked for AMC/Jeep/Renault as a Senior Steering and Suspension Design Engineer. Bill holds a B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering and M.S.E. in Materials, Properties and Processes from the University of Michigan.

Duration: 2 Days
CEUs: 1.3

Fees: $1299.00

Members save up to 10% off list price.
Log in to see discount.

If paying by any other method or if you have general questions, please contact SAE Customer Service.