For suspension components, bench testing for strength is mostly accomplished at component level. However, replicating loading and boundary conditions at the component level in order to simulate the suspension system environment may be difficult. Because of this, the component's bench test failure mode may not be similar to its real life failure mode in vehicle environment. A suspension system level bench test eliminates most of the discrepancies between simulated component level and real life vehicle level environments resulting in higher quality bench tests yielding realistic test results. Here, a suspension level bench test to estimate the strength of its trailing arm link is presented. A suspension system level nonlinear finite element model was built and analyzed using ABAQUS software. The strength loading was applied at the wheel end. The analysis results along with the hardware test correlations are presented. The reasons why a system level test is superior to a component level one are also highlighted.

Muthu, J., Ilankamban, R., Rozalski, O., and Mukherjee, J., “FEA Based Design of a System-level Durability Bench Test,” CAE Applications for Automotive Structures Symposium, SAE Automotive Headquarters, Troy, MI, Nov, 2005
Charniga, R., “Stress Pattern Analysis using Thermal Emission,” Ford Testing - Internal Report, Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI, Aug, 2005
Willis, J., “Trailing Arm Buckling Test Results Report,” Ford Testing - Internal Report, Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI, Aug 2005
ABAQUS Software Manuals, Version 6.4-4, ABAQUS Inc., Providence, RI
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