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Types of Independent Rear Suspension

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Exploring the Different Types of Independent Rear Suspension

Independent rear suspension (IRS) offers superior ride quality and handling over traditional solid axles, while being easier to work on when opening up your classic or muscle car's hood for maintenance or repairs.

However, an IRS system can suffer from wheel hop - a stuttering sensation where one tire regains and loses traction repeatedly - but there are solutions for this problem.

Rear Trailing Arm Suspension

Rear trailing arm suspension (or semi-trailing arm suspension) is an independent rear suspension method which employs sturdy metal links to connect the axle to the vehicle frame and allow it to move up and down without altering its center of gravity or increasing cost. Trailing arms also eliminate leaf springs altogether making this suspension quite cost-effective; hence its popularity among aftermarket truck suspension kits.

These suspension components feature bushings at their ends that connect steering knuckle or wheel flange to frame via bushings, while one end of an arm attaching to wheel flange pivots to allow axle movement up and down; another arm connects directly to axle housing or wheel knuckle to provide support against front-to-rear movement of assembly.

Trailing arms tend to be easier to maintain than control arm suspensions and can provide similar levels of ride quality. They're also more durable, handling rough terrain better than their counterparts can.

If the rear axle of your vehicle seems unstable and hard to control, this could be a telltale sign that the trailing arms have worn down over time. Address this problem immediately so it doesn't skew your weight distribution and cause serious issues later on.

Signs that your trailing arms are becoming worn is when they produce clunking noises when driving over bumps. These noises could occur at any point during your drive and are likely caused by worn rubber bushings at the ends of suspension components that have worn down over time, rubbing together to cause this noise. It's recommended that these bushings are replaced immediately once any signs of wear have been noticed - replacement sets typically come complete with all necessary hardware for installation.

Short-Arm/Long-Arm Suspension

Short arm lift kits are popular due to their affordability and ease of installation. They attach directly to factory control arms, often including shocks, sway bar links and coils - making them suitable for uneven terrain such as rocks. When selecting one of these lift kits, make sure drop brackets are also installed to lower where suspension arms connect with axle - this will improve performance while permitting larger tires.

Long-arm kits are an excellent choice for Jeep owners planning on raising their Jeep over 3.5", seeking smoother ride quality and improved suspension geometry. Long arm lifts may also be more easily removed and returned back to stock should they decide they want their original setup back again in the future. While more costly than short arm lifts, long arm kits make returning to your original setup much simpler.

Misperception has it that installing longer control arms will result in increased wheel travel. But in reality, suspension geometry determines wheel travel - even with longer arms on your car, shock absorbers still limit how far they travel.

Short-arm suspension systems may be great for daily driving, but they can cause irreparable damage to the Jeep frame in the form of broken frame mounts. As components switch operating angles more frequently than intended, stress on factory control arm mounts is put onto them which leads to cracking or peeling away from their chassis - this is why many 4x4 suspension specialists provide reinforcing braces as a preventative measure against this possibility.

A radius arm suspension system is more straightforward than its 4-link counterpart, as it utilises two single joints rather than ball joints at either end for suspension knuckle ends and wishbone off-line ends. While this style doesn't provide quite the same balance of handling and comfort as its 4-link counterparts, building it costs less and takes less time; hence its popularity on highway-only trucks.

Coil Spring Suspension with Independent Differential

This type of suspension uses one lower control arm and either one or two upper control arms to manage wheelbase and axle rotation. These upper control arms connect directly to the axle and vehicle frame via track bars, helping prevent twisting when encountering bumps or other road conditions.

Rubber bushings connect the track bar to the lower control arms and provide flexibility during suspension jounce and rebound, as well as absorb vibration. Rear coil springs are mounted between frame rails and axle and come in various sizes, widths, and thicknesses to meet specific load-bearing or ride control requirements.

Sway bars are another form of independent suspension; they're composed of large metal straps which connect front and rear axles. Their main function is to control body roll during cornering by decreasing force applied to each wheel individually allowing them to respond more independently.

Independent rear suspension is an ideal solution for cars designed for both road and off-road use, offering uncompromised comfort, control and handling. It eliminates issues caused by solid axles such as when one wheel hits a bump it raises up and lifts off of its suspension bearing resulting in losing contact with the ground and thus significantly diminishing roadholding and traction.

Modern automotive designers have recognized the benefits of independent rear suspension, with most vehicles now employing it. If your classic or muscle car still uses live axles, converting it to independent rear suspension could significantly enhance ride quality, handling, traction and braking performance - Heidts Hot Rod and Muscle Car parts kits can convert yours into an independent system such as MacPherson strut suspension which offers excellent levels of comfort while being easily customized according to strength spring selections for optimal results.

Solid Axle Suspension

Though they might appear counterintuitive, solid axle suspensions actually offer several distinct advantages. First of all, they're cheaper to produce since fewer components are involved in manufacturing them. Furthermore, solid axles can withstand more abuse than independent rear suspensions because an impact transference happens across both tires simultaneously; solid axles therefore can withstand conditions which would damage an independent suspension set-up more readily.

Though these systems offer many advantages, they also come with their share of drawbacks. Most notably, they lack the flexibility that an independent system would have; when one wheel hits an imperfection it cannot independently move up or down in response - instead it must coordinate with another wheel on its opposite side in order to adjust. As a result, driving vehicles with solid rear axles may be less comfortable for their drivers.

As vehicles accelerate, weight shift is slower due to having to pass through an independent rear suspension before reaching its way onto front wheels - this delay has an adverse impact on performance for high-powered vehicles.

Solid axle suspension systems don't offer as much ground clearance than independent rear suspension setups due to being attached directly to the axle itself; when hit by something such as rocks, their components could grind against them and cause significant damage.

Solid axles tend to be heavier than independent suspension vehicles, adding excess weight that can have an adverse impact on fuel economy when driving on highways.

When looking for used cars in Calumet City or Homewood, independent rear suspension can ensure a comfortable ride over any road surface. But it's important to remember that complex suspension systems come at a price; be sure to take your time comparing all your options until you find one suitable to your needs. Stay up-to-date with automotive topics via the dubizzle blog!

Independent rear suspension, often shortened as IRS, comes in a variety of types. Each type has unique characteristics designed to improve the quality of the ride, handling capabilities, and with performance vehicles in mind, to improve high-speed stability. This guide will help you understand the concept behind Independent Rear Suspension and their different types.


Generally, the most common types of IRS include the multi-link suspension, double wishbone suspension, and trailing arm suspension. This does not leave out the less common types such as the semi-trailing arm suspension, swing axle suspension, and De Dion tube suspension.


The multi-link suspension is one of the more complex systems, providing a better ride quality and handling. With its separate links that control the motion of the wheel, it delightfully balances comfort and performance. The double wishbone suspension, on the other hand, is largely favoured for its geometric advantages with reduced tire wear and increased cornering force.


Comparatively, the trailing arm suspension is much simpler and typically performs well for off-road vehicles where wheel articulation and durability are highly desired. Other types like the semi-trailing arm suspension, swing axle suspension, and De Dion tube offer specific advantages that enhance particular aspects of driving comfort and handling.


Ultimately, the type of independent rear suspension in a vehicle plays a crucial role in determining the ride experience. Knowing the types and how they function can give you an edge in making an informed choice when purchasing a vehicle or engaging in automobile technical discussions.