Generally speaking, chassis ride height is the height the car as it sits after you have the suspension at its best possible location. There are many different variables that will factor into this, including whether or not the car is a tube chassis build, a back-half conversion, the type of suspension the car has, and the driveline. The factor that trumps all of those, however, is the wheel and tire choice, which will dictate exactly where your chassis ride height will or should be.
When the wheels and tires have been chosen and diameter established, the radius of that tire diameter can be used to find the distance needed from the ground for chassis ride height. By establishing the correct ride height, things like driveline angle and height, along with the rear suspension mounting points, can be mapped out.
The shocks and springs on a car are important because they will help it maintain the desired ride height of the chassis and make sure everything is working correctly in the suspension for the track conditions.
Chassis Engineering - drag racing parts, drag race components & chassis builders, suspension
Curt Perry from Chassis Engineering has been in the shock and chassis business since with different manufacturers, and offers some insight into spring rates for drag racing shocks. Most springs for drag racing are working at a linear rate. Having the correct shocks and springs plays a key role in maintaining the correct ride height.
Jerry Bickel has decades of experience building race cars and adds to the concept of the correct spring rate for ride height. So, the heavier the car, the stiffer the spring you will need to hold that shock in its designed position. Racers really need to look at the spring that will hold the shock in the correct position.
Shock Ride Height The spring rate is part of the dampening equation when it comes to chassis ride height. The shock itself plays a role. First, the ride height you want your car and body to sit at; second, the ride height the shock is supposed to be sitting it; and third, the ride height the spring is supposed to be working in. The rear suspension of a racecar plays an important role in how the car is setup and in its final chassis ride height. The 4-link also provides these cars with the ability to control the amount of rotation the rear end housing has inside the car, and adjust the amount of traction based on the track conditions.
Making sure the 4-link is placed in the chassis properly helps ensure the correct ride height will be maintained. When it comes to the chassis ride height, that part of the calculation is already baked into the car, and the racer should not look to the 4-link as a way to adjust this. Bickel explains how the way the 4-link plays into how you adjust the car.
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Sometimes you have to adjust the ride height of the car to get the intersect points where you want them. Selecting the ride height for the rear still goes back to the wheel and tire choice and how it ties in to where you mount the 4-link. Perry goes into some detail on how the choice of ride height is made for the rear. You have the ride height of the car set before you start building a chassis car, or doing a back-half job.
As the concept of a car moves along, it becomes important to understand how ride height will play into the final product. Everything you do after that needs to make sure and match that from the shocks to the position of the rearend and new frame rails. So you must have everything within spec of the designed ride height for the car or there will be problems getting the chassis to work correctly — Jerry Bickel.
Here's what it looks like at Chassis Engineering as the chassis ride height is set in the jig. Being able to get the ride height correct requires the chassis builder to be very precise in what they do.
Perry goes over the process at Chassis Engineering that they use to make sure everything is perfect, and the ride height is correct. Then, the framerails and everything else are built around that. Left The adjusted body ride height that matches the chassis ride height, and the customer's requirements. The sail panel had to be modified to get the body low enough to achieve the desired look, and the function needed.
Space Frame Race Car Chassis Analysis
Right The body ride height for a customer at Chassis Engineering when modifications first began. What really drives the point home about the importance of chassis ride height, is what the car will do at the track when power is applied. Through his documentation, Bagnall demonstrates how active he was in testing the F1 after MSO servicing — weighing in on topics such as tire and brake system setups, exhaust flow, and engine response.
Documentation shows several replacements of the fuel cell in accordance with its month schedule.
On each occasion the vehicle was sent to MSO for preparation and servicing, both before and after, as well as for delivery to and from the rally locations. Currently showing less than 21, km 13, miles , it has been modestly driven but thoroughly enjoyed. This particular example has always been my favorite and one that is widely regarded as the most desirable of all specifications. No other car stirs more emotions and evokes more excitement.
Being the most highly evolved specification at a fraction of the price of an unobtanium LM, this is the one to buy and hold for many years of enjoyment to come. It truly is an opportunity not to be missed. The McLaren F1 is certain to be lauded as the perfect supercar for generations to come, and the unique configuration of Chassis makes it possibly the best imaginable iteration of the most awe-inspiring machine ever created.
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