Influence of Passenger and Cargo Load on the At Limit Handling of a Mini Van 1999-01-0449
Using analysis of a mini-van test vehicle’s static load conditions as a guide, four different vehicle loading situation were constructed. The loading situations represent the corners of the vehicle’s center of gravity position envelope. For the testing described in this paper a single vehicle under conditions of varied load was subjected to a series of test maneuvers designed to elicit objective measure and comparison of vehicle steady-state and transient response. The purpose of this paper is to describe the test method and present the results of handling testing and limit stability testing of a 1991 Ford Aerostar mini-van/extended van under four different loading conditions. Differences observed in the plotted results of vehicle steady state response for different load condition are detectable, but small. The test results demonstrate differences in vehicle transient response for different loading configuration. Test results indicate increase propensity for wheel lift during step steer maneuvers for increase loading of the vehicle. Test results demonstrate increased occupant and/or increased cargo changes the vehicle’s steer behavior. Overall, vehicle limit handling performance and required driver performance for varying passenger and cargo loading was objectively documented and shown measurably changed.