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Old 07-26-2011, 02:39 PM   #34
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grambles423's Avatar
Drives: 2008.5 BMP GTI
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Originally Posted by RacingManiac View Post
Ah, but thats not ride work. Ride engineer although speaking of rattling and sound, is mostly concerned with ride. Its hard to talk to them sometimes, as you build your shock, you hand it to them and have it installed on the car. They go out and drive around some ride loop, come back and they tell you what is wrong with it. A lot of it is just a feel thing. It can be how the sharpness in a bump is tuned out or not, or how the body settles after a whoop or a dip. The car at this point usually will be fully instrumented with string pots, accelerometers to try to find some data to correlate to the event they describe but at the end of the day their butts are the key....

OEMs keep these guys around for a long time....and I often hear when some OEs changed their ride engineer that the next batch of products don't ride the same as before because of it...

IMO unlike objective handling and balance, which coming from a racing background is easier to fathom and deduce as the data are easily correlate-able, ride work is an art in itself....
Actually, it is. Its more so the post production evaluation, but when we develop a vehicle, at our various build events we test drive the vehicle and verify build characteristics and design impementations that have been revised or have been completely changed from model to model. Literally, I hop in a vehicle, drive it into the ground and evaluate what needs to be changed, whether it be suspension components or exterior functions. I guess I should accurately say my post is an afterthought to the whole Vehicle design process.

All of this is during the prototyping phase (which is directed toward what you were talking about) and later on the pre production build phases. Normally by the latter, we have fully hashed out all design issues and are focusing more so on production related occurances and supplier part maturation. But, as you described above, the EXACT process when we develop suspension characteristics always happens before our protyping phases, normally with current production models. That is why you see test mules look like shit because they are carrying new technology with an older body style and to mimick tests that would be seen in a new platform is quite difficult. But luckily we can quantify using our various test benchmarks that we've collected from part prototyping.

Maybe it would be easier to mention that I DO work for an OEM as a Vehicle design quality engineer and we DO part testing exactly as you named above. Actually I know a buddy of mine that was responsible for a design change for Ford's revoknuckle system that saved them a lot of money and actually quelled torque steer by a factor of 5%. Not bad......
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