The 1998 Opel Astra will have all aluminium suspension struts dropping the weight per vehicle by 3.2kg. Weight savings – even small ones – are becoming increasingly important in car design where fuel economy is a big issue.
The strut, developed by Delphi Chassis Systems is an extruded aluminium tube with a spun closure, a press-fit aluminium clevis bracket and a press-fit aluminium spring seat with a conventional hollow steel piston rod. ‘An important design goal was that form and function should not be compromised by the material or by our desire to simplify construction,’ said Delphi’s chief engineer in Paris, Daniel Warrell. ‘Development required tight integration of product design and production engineering teams to ensure that cost and quality targets could be met.’
The strut is interchangeable with a conventional steel unit.