How does ride height affect spring rate?
From a mechanical standpoint, you would want higher spring rates as the vehicle is lowered to the ground to compensate for the loss in suspension travel. Alternatively, you can improve ride quality and grip through increased suspension travel with softer spring rates on vehicles with higher ride heights. It seems that air springs work oppositely, so how is this compensated for? The Ram 1500 has a 10% difference in spring rate from aero-mode (the lowest driven mode) and off-road two (the highest driven mode).
How does the system compensate for temperature differences?
The system attempts to maintain a certain air mass. Air mass is the product of pressure and volume of all components within the system. One scenario might be driving a truck from Mexico to Canada, but this is a fairly slow temperature change. Let’s say you start your vehicle in a Canadian winter at -20 degrees, and then your engine bay warms up as your engine heats up. This in turn will heat the air springs to a higher temperature, changing the density of the air in the spring and thus increasing its pressure and resulting in a ride height increase in the vehicle In this scenario the system detects the height change occurring and removes air from the air springs to bring the vehicle back to target ride height.
What happens if an air spring is ruptured or forms a leak?
First of all, it’s important to understand that there are gaiters in place to protect the system, and that the bags themselves are quite robust. The system is designed to handle heavy duty applications. That said, if a rupture were to occur, it would be very similar to a car losing a coil spring. Essentially one corner would lose a spring, and the other three corners would remain unaffected. There’s logic in place to address each individual scenario depending on the circumstances.
Do air springs heat up as a result of their compression cycles?
Not any major difference between an air or coil spring, the heat generation from the shocks is much more significant than any heat generated by the air springs.. Hysteresis of the air bags is very minimal (energy lost as heat).
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