Automotive Suspension Design and Tuning

Years ago when I was studying Electrical Engineering at the University of Ottawa, I had the opportunity to dive into learning what makes your car go bouncy-bounce! (Or crash! and Bang!). I held a lead role for the proposal and research stages of designing a Formula SAE car for the purpose of competing against the Carleton Ravens team which by the way, is a very formidable and capable team that has both an IC powered car and an electric powered car!

One of the things I found when looking through the maths of suspension design was just how familiar all of the equations were to acoustics. When you look at a speaker and it’s physical characteristics, you look at things like Cms (suspension compliance), magnet force, surround excursion, damping factor and so on. A speaker is a really neat device btw and you should definitely look at it in detail.

I took on a personal project to develop some basic maths for the FIAT community, having noticed that there was a lot of guesswork and “try this, try that” going on. I knew from school and my acoustics design experience, that you can select a design target and direct your approach methodically without guessing.

It is without further ado, I bring you the v1.0 of the Fiat 500 Abarth suspension design spreadsheet! AbarthSuspensionForm The spreadsheet is directly inspired by the similar looking Fat Cat models on Fat Cat Motorsports’ website. The spreadsheet can be used to determine desired spring rates, target natural frequencies and oversteer/understeer characteristics. I’ll be posting a tutorial video to work through an example and posting that as soon as I can track down the time!

Enjoy!

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