Independent vs. Axle Suspension for On/Off Road Vehicles 921662
The conflicting suspension requirements of vehicles which are designed for both on and off-road operation are examined. The example vehicle used throughout the calculations is a six-wheel truck of 24 tonne GVW and is based on an existing crash tender design. Using the Vehicle Dynamics Analysis Software (VDAS) package, the ride and handling behaviour of the truck is analysed for two versions of the vehicle; one with three axles suspended on leaf springs with a bogie arrangement at the rear, and another with independent wheel suspension throughout.
The overall conclusion drawn is that axle designs have significant advantages for off-road vehicle applications; they maintain good ground clearance, they are based on inexpensive, well proven technology and, with attention to detail design, offer vehicle dynamic performance comparable with independent designs. On the other hand, if the optimum ride and handling compromise for on-road conditions is a priority, then the independent suspension may be worth the additional investment.