The Skoda Fabia - Chassis Design | Part Four

Chassis

The Fabia, thanks to its long wheelbase and broad track is strong on in car comfort and on road manners. Refined for this design, the suspension encompasses McPherson struts with an anti-roll bar at the front and a compound-link crank axle with torsion stabiliser at the rear. Every Fabia features ventilated front disc brakes with sliding calliper design. The 2.0 litre and vRS models have rear disc brakes, while the rest of the range has rear drums.

Increased torsional rigidity has been achieved via the rear cross member’s V-shaped profile and the separation of the coil springs and shock absorbers. This has also allowed for an increase in load width in the rear between the wheels and also a much neater suspension set-up altogether.

Impact protection is an essential part of any car’s structure and with Fabia, the three-part subframe at the front has been designed to increase resistance in the event of a crash. The principle in the case of a head-on collision is to divert the energy away from the cabin and around the subframe to prevent the engine being forced into the passenger compartment.

Throughout the model range, power-assisted rack and pinion steering features and is aided by an advanced electro-hydraulic system with an electric pump used to initiate hydraulic pressure on demand. Steering is therefore managed in accordance with the car’s road speed and thus aids manoeuvrability at lower speeds. Conversely, at higher speeds, this benefits by a heightened sense of feedback through the steering wheel and helps decrease fuel consumption.

ABS is now standard across the Fabia range. ASR traction control further helps ABS by way of stabilising the car. When ABS detects a lack of grip, ASR moderates engine torque until the wheels obtain enough grip. The vehicle maintains steering control, no matter how considerable the brake force. ASR functions automatically, but can be switched off in situations requiring more manual control, such as deep snow or loose gravel. ASR is standard on Elegance and Fabia vRS models.

Complimenting ASR on elegance models is Electronic Differential Lock (EDL). This is a system that continually correlates individual wheel speed. If a difference in rotating speed between wheels is detected, brakes are applied to that wheel, bringing it in line with the driven wheels and to that end, equable motion returns.

The Fabia vRS has been modified to provide sportier handling. The suspension has been lowered by 15mm; shorter and more robust springs have been utilised to increase stability; and the dampers modified for an altogether firmer ride. In comparison to the standard Fabia, there is a new anti-roll bar at the front and rear axle cross bar; a sturdier build at 3.2mm thick.

MSR, standard on the Fabia vRS, stands for engine torque control. It is a function that is shared between the brake system and the engine management systems. Is task is to prevent the driving wheels from locking up during engine braking. This could occur when the foot is quickly removed from the accelerator or when suddenly changing down gears. MSR prevents loss of steering control, due to slippage of the driving wheels, by increasing engine rpm, thus ensuring that the driving wheels do not spin and steering control is maintained. This sort of slipping is quite frequent when descending roads that are icy or snow-covered. In these conditions, the Fabia vRS’s MSR system will prevent the sudden application of engine braking and the tendency of the driving wheels to lock up.

continues... | Part Five
Published 31 May 2004 Melanie Carter

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