History of shock absorbers in vehicles

shock absorber
Contents:
  1. Shock absorber
  2. KONI | Products
  3. Symptoms of Defective Shock Absorbers
  4. BOGE Ensures OE Quality for Safety

Soon, Brisk Blast was producing over 5, tire pumps a week. And Meyer saw bigger things ahead. So did a local Dodge dealer named Charles S. McIntyre knew the auto industry. And Meyer knew a fellow visionary when he saw one. The Monroe spirit of innovation was already hard at work when the company perfected the first self-oiled, single-barreled tire pump.

Sales climbed to over two million a year. Across the country, service stations started offering free air. And, in Detroit, they started manufacturing cars with spare tires as standard equipment.

Shock absorber

In , the first Monroe Shock Eliminator was introduced. Over the years, one Monroe innovation followed another. Monroe developed a reputation for making shocks for specialty vehicles. In , Monroe built its first shock absorber for railroad passenger cars. In , the Monro-Matic became the best known shock absorber in the word. In fact, it remained the standard of the aftermarket industry and the shock used by most American carmakers through the s. Meanwhile, Monroe began demonstrating the quality and importance of its products in other ways.

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In , Bill Vukovich won the Indianapolis on Monroe shocks. That win was followed by a long and rich history of Monroe racing victories, each one making Monroe shocks better known to drivers all over the words. All over the country, drivers started asking their gas station mechanic if it was time for new shocks. Truiden, Belgium, manufacturing plant. Monroe became renowned as the world leader in both original equipment and aftermarket ride control.

The company developed a reputation for making shocks for specialty vehicles. From golf carts to high-speed railroad cars. In , Monroe became part of Tenneco Inc. In , Monroe began manufacturing its first struts.


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It is important to put the things in that plain and simple manner because, before at least, the term "shock-absorber" did not mean quite the same thing as it does today. Strictly, to fulfil his first need our hypothetical motorist wanted shock-absorbers, and for his second need, dampers.

Taking shock-absorbers first, in spite of the lurid claims advertised by the various manufacturers, the problem was somewhat complicated. If you possessed a good car in the days before the first war which already had good, flexible springs, then you might well "do it a mischief" by fitting, say, a pair of "J. If, on the other hand, your fancy alighted upon a car with a stiff and poorly engineered springing system, then, purely from the comfort point of view, you might easily revolutionise it by the self-same purchase.

Equally, it could happen that if your auxiliaries had a natural frequency that counteracted that of the main road springs, you achieved a real measure of damping, but that would probably have been pure chance.

KONI | Products

It all depended, too, on what state the main springs were in, as they themselves could show widely differing characteristics when greased or rusty, and it is perhaps typical of the somewhat confused thinking that existed in some quarters, that one can still see on practically adjacent pages of the old motoring journals devices advertised for forcing spring leaves apart to grease them and gaiters to encase them in when greased , and devices to increase the friction between the individual leaves of the springs, both, needless to add, claiming to better the riding qualities of the motor car.

The clue, of course, lies -in the vastly different requirements of the pure tourist and the"speedman" of the day, and in order to better comprehend the problem, it is instructive to motor a modern car without shock-absorbers. If the speed is kept below 30 speeding, of course, in those days, and highly illegal , and the trip is taken when there is little traffic about, an extremely comfortable ride results, as Austin Seven owners will no doubt be aware.

Space will not permit of a detailed description of the many shock-absorbers marketed in those far-off days, like the Parsons, which had pneumatic rebound damping. It was, perhaps, typical of many others that fitted snugly between dumb iron and main leaf, and are now but picturesque relics of a past age, and who will forget the "Neverjahs" and other auxiliaries for Model "T" and "Baby" Austin? Some were hydraulically damped, but there were difficulties here, viscosity of the operating fluids available at the time rose rapidly with temperature, glycerine and the castor and mineral oils, the fluids most commonly used, all suffered this disadvantage, and of course the amount of work absorption on the rough roads of the time tended to be high in the shock-absorber cylinder.

Symptoms of Defective Shock Absorbers

Eventually suitable fluids were produced, but their absence in the early days certainly caused the demise of many a promising hydraulic device. The "Gabriel" snubber, already mentioned, was another approach to the problem, consisting of a coil of webbed strapping, rolled round a spring-loaded "dumbell," but although it offered great advantages in that it offered no resistance to the upward bump of the axle, it equally failed to allow the axle to fall freely into a pothole, and if not potholes, at least road depressions were still very common in the 'twenties.

The "Classic" friction damper, even in some of its later forms, although foolproof and everlasting and always easily adjustable, could not escape the consequences of the fundamental law that the coefficient of static friction exceeds that of moving friction, and therefore the static friction had to be "broken" on encountering a spring deflection, an obviously wrong characteristic fundamentally.

In spite of this apparently serious disadvantage, however, it is proper to recall that during the vintage period, and indeed right up to the coming of the X-braced chassis and the pressed-steel motor car, it was the combination of the chassis, the springs and shock-absorbers that produced "the ride," the apparent technical error of the combination of leaf spring and the full friction damper often being countered by the natural flexing of the chassis itself, and only when both wheels hit a transverse obstruction squarely did a real "crash" take place.

As soon as the "all in one piece" motor car appeared in the 'thirties, independent front suspension quickly became a necessity, and no longer could the friction device hope to hold its own, even in a form that was adjustable while the car was going along. True, taking motor racing as a guide, Bugatti tried to extend the life of such devices by pioneering the "de Ram," an exceedingly clever instrument that combined the friction and the hydraulic shock-absorber in one unit, and most of us can recall how the roadholding of Bira's "Romulus" was enhanced by the fitment of the same auxiliaries, but the writing was all too obviously on the wall before Hydraulic shock-absorbers, in the sense that we now know them, were by no means new at that time, as anyone may see by looking closely at Anthony Heal's Hutton car at a V.

Double-acting versions, of course, applied the same measures to the descending axle. Constructionally there were several interesting varieties, but basically, as has been said, they were based either on pistons sliding in cylinders, or on vanes displacing the oil in an annular "cylinder" with a "reaction block" inside. The operating fluid was practically unaffected by temperature change, and it and spares for the shock-absorbers themselves became commonly available at all local garages.

BOGE Ensures OE Quality for Safety

Here again, the specialist manufacturer came into his own, and still continues to monopolise the field, few manufacturers today making their own shock-absorbers. Space will not permit of going into further details, but as motorists we should certainly be appreciative of the contribution that these fitments make to safe and speedy motoring, and if we are sometimes tempted to feel that the modern ones cease to function properly after very short periods on the road, we must remember that they are cheap and mass-produced, very good value for money, and in many cases, just don't get the attention that they should have.

And surely that is the real trouble behind a lot of the complaints about modern motor cars! Tell Us About It. Registration to or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our user agreement and privacy policy.