- Height adjustable suspension
Height adjustable suspension is a feature of certain
automobile suspension (vehicle)systems that allow the motorist to vary the ride heightor ground clearance. Such a feature requires fairly sophisticated engineering.
Height adjustment is most often achieved by air or oil compression used for the "springs" of the vehicle - when the pressure is varied - the vehicle body rises or lowers.
The first instance of a production vehicle with adjustable suspension was on the 1954 Citroën 15CVH. This vehicled featured a self-leveling, height adjustable
hydropneumatic suspension. Since this time, these systems have appeared continuously on Citroënmodels, including the DS and CX.
SUVs use height-adjustability as part of active suspensionsystems to improve the vehicle's versatility on and off road. The Range Rover offered this feature from 1993. New models of the Ford Expeditionhave a computer-controlled system designed for convenience, which lowers automatically when the doors are unlocked by remote, returns to normal height when the vehicle is started, and (on 4-wheel-drive models), raises when the 4x4 system is engaged.
Some sports cars use these systems to improve the vehicle's handling by lowering the vehicle's height during higher speeds - a current example being the
Mercedes-Benz Active Body Controlsystem.
air suspensions are also equipped "Low-floor" city buses mainly. This mechanism uses for barrier-free:lowering floor at bus stop, to allow handicap passengers to board easily. Iron ring can be used for increase rear height.
Adjustable suspensions have become intrinsically associated with
lowridervehicles. The popular image of these vehicles is of one "hopping" on its suspension, or sitting with one wheel completely off the ground.
These systems were initially adapted from the
hydraulicpistons, valves and pumps used to adjust the flaps on aircraft. Today however, many aftermarket companies produce parts and equipment specifically designed for lowriders
In recent years "air bag" systems (not to be confused with the
air bagsafety device) have been rapidly gaining popularity among car customizers. These air suspensionsystems use heavy duty custom rubber "bags" to replace the stock shocks and springs, with either a compressor or tank of compressed gas used to raise and lower the vehicle at will.
History of aftermarket systems
Ron Aguirre is commonly accepted as the first person to create a custom car with hydraulically adjustable suspension. In 1959 he scavenged the Pesco pumps and valves from a
B-52 Bomberand adapted them to the front suspension of his X-Sonic bubble-topped custom Corvette, allowing him to change the height of the car with a switch on the dashboard.
Traditional height adjustable suspension is controlled by the driver manually.Certain modern layouts allow electronics alone to make this decision without the driver's control, especially if the car lowers at high speed.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.