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Old 02-12-2020, 01:41 PM   #1
slonomo
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Default Double Wishbone LT Front Suspensions

I have a particular interest in the double wishbone suspension system and I believe that they are the best handling suspension system for an off road vehicle. There have been many occasions where people have questions about them so I figured I'd start a thread for easy reference. This would include the Jakes LT kits, and some others.

Please contribute your knowledge and experiences with this type of suspension system.

DISCLAIMER:
I am not an expert on suspension design, nor do I claim to be. The information in this thread is for illustration and educational purposes only. I do not recommend anyone to build one of these suspensions based on any info in this thread. The information in this thread has been acquired from various sources on the internet and is in no way meant to be a professional reference.


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Old 02-12-2020, 02:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Double Wishbone LT Front Suspensions

Here is a great video showing how the double wishbone/dual a arm design works.

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Old 02-12-2020, 02:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: Double Wishbone LT Front Suspensions

There are different Long Travel front lift kits available for golf carts including Jakes LT and Rhox. Here are some photos of each.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Jakes G29.jpg (38.3 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Jakes Club Car 02.jpg (152.6 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Jakes Club Car.jpg (108.6 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg cart01 front.jpg (37.7 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg rhox ezgo.jpg (188.1 KB, 0 views)
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Double Wishbone LT Front Suspensions

Now lets look at some ATV and UTV suspensions and compare them with the golf cart suspensions.

As you can see, the basic components and design are about the same. So we can conclude that the golf cart long travel kits are designed after the ATV and UTV suspension systems.

With that said, ATV and UTV suspensions are tried and true and battle tested. They work very well off road and don't leave a ton of room for improvement for basic off road driving.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg atv02 front.jpg (259.6 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg atv01 front.jpg (193.2 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg utv01 front.jpg (249.6 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg utv02 front.jpg (35.2 KB, 0 views)
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: Double Wishbone LT Front Suspensions

Let's address why someone would want a long travel front suspension systems on their golf cart?

1. Golf Course & Lawn:
Golf carts were designed to be used on the golf course where max speed is maybe 15mph or so. The suspension is designed to handle those conditions only. The stock designs work well for golf course, campground, and neighborhood cruising, as well as basic lawn and garden use. Stock design is ok.

2. On Road:
Some communities allow low speed vehicles, including golf carts, to be used on the road. More speed is needed to keep up with traffic, as much as 25 mph. Most stock golf cart suspensions can handle this use.

3. Off Road:
Here is where the stock suspensions are inadequate. The suspension travel for most stock golf carts is around 4-5". Tire size is around 18"-20". Ground clearance is in the 5" range. Negotiating off road obstacles can bottom out stock suspensions. Rocks, stumps, holes can also cause issues with ground clearance. Larger tires and raised suspensions are the cure for these situations. Enter "the lift kit and tire modification". LT kits are designed for off road use, so they will perform better than a stander spindle lift, single a arm lift, or drop axle lift. The difference will be very noticable. So an LT lift kit is what you would want off road.

4. Long Travel vs. Standard Suspension:
Most standard golf cart suspensions are meant for 4-5" of travel. At low speeds off road, this may be adequate. However, at higher speeds, the small amount of travel can cause bottoming out, harsh ride, and steering issues. A long travel kit will correct these issues. A long travel kit will have 7-8" of suspension travel, as well as a double a arm design that keeps the tires camber from changing too much during the suspension cycle. This combination results in a better controlled vehicle and softer ride. It also will allow the vehicle to go more places off road.

5. Higher Speeds:
Golf cart suspensions are designed for low speeds at or near 15mph. You can push the limits up to 25mph with skilled driving and good maintained suspension and steering components, and possibly better DOT rated tires. If speeds are increased past 25mph, stock carts often become more difficult to control and fell uneasy at speed. A long travel suspension kit will steer better due to the camber consistency and sometimes the wider width. The feel is more stable and controlled. The upgraded shocks help with high speed dampening. If the kit includes a rack and pinion unit, the steering control is better. Hitting potholes or obstacles at speed are also safer and easier to negotiate. Emergency handling is also improved.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:33 AM   #6
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Default Re: Double Wishbone LT Front Suspensions

Benefits of a long travel double wishbone/a arm suspension:

1. Softer Ride. The long movement of the suspension allows the vehicle to travel faster over that terrain because the bumps are able to be soaked up with 6"-8" of wheel travel.

2. Better steering control. The camber on this type of suspension will be more stable, contributing to less bump steer. As the wheel travels up and down through it's arc, the wheel will stay perpendicular to the ground with very little change in camber angle. In contrast, a single a arm design and straigh axle design, the camber is fixed at the king pin on the spindle, and will drastically change throughout the swing of the suspension. The more travel, the more camber change. At low speeds this is not too much of a concern, but at high speeds the camber change can cause "bump steer" which makes the vehicle feel out of control.

3. Better steering feel. Since the camber stays close to neutral, the feel of the steering stays more consistent, boosting driver confidence during turning maneuvers at speed. If a rack and pinion unit is used, steering feel will be dramatically improved due to the equal input of the rack, and the side load on steering. The rack converts a vertical rotational input load from the steering column, to a horizontal/linear output from the rack. This gives a more controlled feeling to the driver and a more accurate mechanism to control the spindle swing.

4. Better suspension articulation. In slow off road situations, the wheel travel of an LT setup allows the vehicle to climb over obstacles much easier, with less vehicle side roll. Side roll, especially on an incline, can cause roll over. During the articulation, the wheel camber stays near neutral giving better control over the vehicle.

5. Less tire scrub. Not only do tires move up and down during articulation, but they also have a side to side movement. It comes from the arc of travel and the geometry of the design. This side to side movement is called "tire scrub". When compared to single a arm and solid axle designs, the double wishbone/a arm will have less tire scrub when properly setup.

6. Adjustability. A LT double wishbone suspension can be designed with adjustable pivot points, most of them called "Heim Joints". Heim joints are not only adjustable, but they also allow for more free movement than standard ball joint type connections. With adjustable pivot points, the suspension can be dialed in to suit the terrain and the driver. Not all LT setups are adjustable, but it is recommended if it's possible.

These are not ALL of the benefits, I'm sure I missed a few, but they are a representation of the biggest and most common.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: Double Wishbone LT Front Suspensions

On/Off Road

Not only are double wishbone suspensions good for off road, but they are also the preferred suspension on race cars on road.

Here are some photos of an on road race car front suspension.

Design elements:
*adjustable pivot points with heim joints on upper a arm
*upper a arm is parallel to lower a arm
*tie rods are parallel to a arms
*inner tie rod end located between a arm pivot points
*coil spring over shock aka "coil over"
*strong angle on coil over offers more leverage/softer ride
Attached Images
File Type: jpg LT04.jpg (272.7 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg LT01.jpg (87.4 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg LT02.jpg (277.4 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg LT03.jpg (417.2 KB, 0 views)
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: Double Wishbone LT Front Suspensions

Hey Slonomo - thanks for posting this! Lots of valuable information and insight
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:56 AM   #9
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Default Re: Double Wishbone LT Front Suspensions

Let's look at an aftermarket atv type LT setup to compare.
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File Type: jpg roll designs 1.jpg (143.1 KB, 0 views)
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:58 AM   #10
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Default Re: Double Wishbone LT Front Suspensions

Now let's compare the atv suspension with the Jakes LT.
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File Type: png Jakes yamaha.png (159.2 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Jakes LT close.jpg (107.8 KB, 0 views)
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