The SpeedGirls Magazine


Gravity in Suspension?

How Magnetic Ride Control Really Works
How Magnetic Ride Works

Recently chatting with a car enthusiast, the topic of magnetic ride control arose . . . and I quote; “Yeah — that’s when the car senses the earths gravity and adapts, right?”  In that moment, I about choked on my coffee. Needless to say, that concept is wrong.  So therefore, here’s a basic breakdown of the new magnetic ride technology and how it basically works.

Holding nearly all of the patents, the Delphi Automotive Company, based in the UK, released the original concept named MagneRide.  Now I can tell you that after reading how this system works, that you’ll probably agree this is not UK technology. I actually think it is developed by decedents from Egyptian aliens. But I digress. The MagneRide is an adaptive suspension.  Meaning it can adapt to the road conditions and create a smooth driving experience, or aggressive, if programed by the ECU to do so.

To break this down very simply, think about it this way.  Shocks are normally filled with oil fluid to create dampening.  When a vehicle hits bumps, one lower tube pushes or slides up into another tube that is filled with this fluid.  Since the fluid has to be pushed out of the way by the lower tube sliding up, this slows down the lower tube and creates the dampening experience.

Over the years the dampening experience has been speed up or slowed down by changing variables such as adding an external spring, changing fluid oil weight, switching different internal piston channels for fluid to flow — I can go on.

But now Delphi has integrated electrical current.  How this works is the fluid is magnetic.  The “magnetorheological fluid” is a mixture of magnetized iron particles in synthetic hydrocarbon oil. ”  When an electrical current is touch to the fluid, it can be electrically charged and then becomes solid.  Depending on the amount of electrical charge, changes how vicious or “thick” the fluid becomes.

Now you can see how this is a game changer.  Just add the new magnetorhelogical fluid, or what I call “cold lava,” to a shock.  Put an electric coil on top, send a charge voltage command from the ECU and voila!  A stiffy! Or softy. Well — it’s the roads choice.

So then there is the next question.  How does the ECU know when to send the electrical charge command to stiffen up the shock? That my friends is where sensors come into play.  There is a sensor mounted on the shock to give the ECU input and let it know the shock is rapidly changing.  Within milliseconds, the ECU can decide how to charge the fluid, along with predictive road conditions that are pre-programmed by research development teams. Or aliens.

Either way.  This technology is now incorporated into vehicles such as, the Corvette C7, the Ferrari 599, the Mustang GT350 and many more.  In fact, we’re going begin seeing some serious shit come into play over the next five years.  Ford Motor Company is already developing a predictive pothole technology that will eliminate your tire from dropping into a pothole.  How cool is that?

Regardless. If you’re a coil-over suspension type, McPherson strut fan don’t worry.  This technology is very expensive, and for blue-collar enthusiasts such as ourselves.  We’ll still have good ol’ oil filled shocks to hold our cars into the corners, and away from gravity.