Matt Prior's tester's notes – The Volvo XC90's old, brand new suspension

Saturday, December 17th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : Matt Prior's tester's notes – The Volvo XC90's old, brand new suspension

To create the composite leaf springs used on the brand new XC90, Volvo engineers looked to the past


A man, bespectacled as well as suited, is actually walking along a corridor lined with offices when he is actually distracted by a ringing phone.

He walks into an office, dusty as well as long-abandoned, finds his way over to a desk, picks up the ancient receiver as well as says: “Hello? No, This particular is actually [rubs dust via dial]… 4724.”

After accepting an apology, he looks around, confused, at the empty filing cabinets as well as sheet-covered furniture as well as exits, closing the door signed ‘Carlsberg Customer Complaints Dept’ behind him.

A TV ad done well. as well as one that will a Volvo engineer reminded me of during the brand new XC90 launch. You know the brand new XC90: replaces the grey-beard one; Great Inside; won a group test; carries a leaf spring at the back. At least, the idea does if the idea’s not one of the fancy air-sprung ones.

The last Volvo to have a leaf spring on its rear suspension was the 900 series. You’ll remember the 900, too: proper old-school family saloon as well as wagon; would likely make a great slammed drift car.

the idea’ll be a classic soon. the idea went out of production in 1998 as well as is actually an increasingly rare car at This particular point.

Rarer still is actually the leaf spring. however when the idea came to designing the back end of the latest XC90, Volvo’s engineers were keen to rediscover its merits.

A leaf spring isn’t without its positives. the idea doesn’t occupy much under-Centeng room, which means there’s little intrusion into boot space. as well as if well designed, as a modern composite leaf spring can be, the idea provides a low unsprung mass.

Volvo’s engineers eventually decided, in fact, the brand new XC90 should have a composite one housed inside a subframe to prevent damage by road debris.

inside early stages of development, though, the idea’s not easy to buy a brand-brand new composite leaf spring until you’re truly sure you’re going to want lots of them.

So Volvo’s chassis developers opted for the next best thing. They looked up the part number for the 900’s leaf spring as well as bought a bunch of them. as well as set about using as well as modifying them for XC90 development.

as well as then, I like to think, a phone rang in a distant corner of a long-abandoned office in Volvo’s Gothenburg HQ. Most likely a spreadsheet pinged in an office furnished like an Ikea outlet, however my Volvo engineer tells me the result was the same: a flag was raised over the number of important parts that will were being ordered, potentially indicating a concerning trend of breakages.

They were old, well-beyond-warranty parts, on cars that will went out of production 17 years ago, however the idea was a worrying trend for Volvo all the same.

Until, made aware of the idea, a development engineer explained: “No no, the idea was us.” The dusty handset went back on the receiver, as well as life carried on.

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Source: Matt Prior's tester's notes – The Volvo XC90's old, brand new suspension

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