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Weight Transfer In wheeled vehicles, weight (load) transfer is the measurable change of load borne by different wheels during acceleration (both longitudinal and lateral). This includes braking, and deceleration (which is an acceleration at a negative rate). No motion of the center of gravity (CoG) relative to the wheels is necessary, and so load transfer may be experienced by vehicles with no suspension at all.
Wheel Rate Wheel rate is the effective spring rate when measured at the wheel. This is as opposed to simply measuring the spring rate alone. Wheel rate is usually equal to or considerably less than the spring rate. Commonly, springs are mounted on control arms, swing arms or some other pivoting suspension member. Consider the example above where the spring rate was calculated to be 500 lbs/inch, if you were to move the wheel 1 in (2.5 cm) (without moving the car), the spring more than likely compresses a smaller amount. Lets assume the spring moved 0.75 in (19 mm), the lever arm ratio would be 0.75:1. The wheel rate is calculated by taking the square of the ratio (0.5625) times the spring rate. Squaring the ratio is because the ratio has two effects on the wheel rate. The ratio applies to both the force and distance traveled. Wheel rate on independent suspension is fairly straight-forward. However, special consideration must be taken with some non-independent suspension designs. Take the case of the straight axle. When viewed from the front or rear, the wheel rate can be measured by the means above. Yet because the wheels are not independent, when viewed from the side under acceleration or braking the pivot point is at infinity (because both wheels have moved) and the spring is directly inline with the wheel contact patch. The result is often that the effective wheel rate under cornering is different from what it is under acceleration and braking. This variation in wheel rate may be minimized by locating the spring as close to the wheel as possible.