Transverse leaf spring and solid axle front suspension of early Ford cars

Transverse leaf spring and solid axle front suspension of early Ford cars is a type of automotive front suspension that has been most common in early Ford Motor Company products. “Suicide front axle” is a term that has been used for it.[1]

The configuration consists of a one-piece axle (solid front axle), to the ends of which the steerable front wheels are mounted. The axle receives its vertical and transverse support from a transverse leaf spring (leaf springs were often used for support in more than one direction), and its longitudinal support from fore-aft links sometimes called “radius rods” which are attached (via pivots) to the ends of the axle at their forward end and to the sides of the chassis (again via pivots) at their aft end. The ends of the transverse leaf spring can either tie to the top of the rods, or to the top of the solid axle. The transverse leaf spring is attached at its center to the center of the chassis’s front cross member.

1919 Ford Model T

Advantages and disadvantages

In addition to simplicity lightness and compact shape, at least in some directions, since only the small end of the spring was attached to the wheel, it gave low unsprung weight. In addition to its contribution to ride and handling, this reduced wheel bearing loads and therefore allowed smaller cheaper bearings.

Apparently the control of wheel motion was inferior to that of other suspension designs, even those of the first half of the 20th century. The modern Corvette leaf spring design does not use the spring for location.