oscillations. This device is the shock absorber. The most common type of shock absorber (fig. 8-8) used on modern vehicles is the double-acting, direct-action type, because it allows the use of more flexible springs.
The direct-action shock absorber consists of an inner cylinder filled with special hydraulic oil divided into an upper and lower chamber by a double-acting piston. In operation, the shock absorbers lengthen and shorten, as the wheels meet irregularities in the road. As they do this, the piston inside the shock absorber moves within the cylinder filled with oil; therefore, the fluid is put under high pressure and forced to flow through small openings. The fluid can only pass through the openings slowly. This action slows piston motion and restrains spring action.
During compression and rebound, the piston is moving. The fluid in the shock absorber is being forced through small openings which restrains spring movement. There are small valves in the shock absorber that open when internal pressure becomes excessive. When the valves are open, a slightly faster spring movement occurs; however, restraint is still imposed on the spring.
An outer metal cover protects the shock absorber from damage by stones that may be kicked up by the wheels. One end of the shock absorber connects to a suspension component, usually a control arm. The other end fastens to the frame. In this way, the shock absorber piston rod is pulled in and out and resists these movements.
The strut assembly, also called a MacPherson strut, is similar to a conventional shock absorber. However, it is longer and has provisions (brackets and connections) for mounting and holding the steering knuckle (front of vehicle) or bearing support (rear of vehicle) and spring. The strut assembly consists of a shock absorber, coil spring (in most cases), and an upper damper unit. The strut assembly replaces the upper control arm. Only the lower control arm and strut are required to support the front-wheel assembly. The
Figure 8-8. - Double-acting, direct-action type shock absorber.Continue Reading