iletric
Posts: 172
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:50 am

Bumpy Ride - Stiff Suspension

Sat May 13, 2017 8:40 pm

Has anyone considered or figured out how to soften that jumpy/bumpy Bolt ride? I drove our Bolt after a month or two break (my family drives it mostly) and I just can't believe how awful it is. It's so bad I actually feel unsafe in this vehicle.

I am specifically referring to 580 east or west through south Oakland and San Leandro. It is a bad piece of freeway. I keep the tires at 38 psi as I do with all my 44 psi max tires on all vehicles, so I know it may contribute somewhat to the poor performance. But the real story here is that the drum-tight suspension does nothing to contribute anything positive to this ride except shaking over uneven surface features. I almost feel like I'm in a boat in choppy waters.

I have fixed my seats. If I can't fix this rabbit suspension, I will ditch this Bolt experiment in 32 months and never look back. I never liked American cars to begin with, they leave much to be desired as compared to the Japanese, so, this just confirms my fahrvergnügen gestalt of them.

Any solid ideas anyone?

boltage
Posts: 451
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:50 am

Re: Bumpy Ride - Stiff Suspension

Sun May 14, 2017 4:53 am

For comparison, what cars do you consider to be good riding?

EldRick
Posts: 363
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:36 pm

Re: Bumpy Ride - Stiff Suspension

Sun May 14, 2017 3:20 pm

The only way you can soften the bumps at this time, is to get some lightweight wheels to reduce unsprung mass. This can make the car feel like it is tippy-toeing over the bumps, instead of slamming into them.
If the aftermarket comes out with some shock absorber alternatives, that could help, but it will be months to years before such products become available.
BTW, some of us like the ride, as being sporty.

jostafew
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:20 am

Re: Bumpy Ride - Stiff Suspension

Sun May 14, 2017 6:55 pm

Higher profile tires? That would soften things up and reduce unsprung weight. If you do a little googling through the forums I think you'll find the Bolt pattern matches the cruze and volt IIRC. Grab some smaller diameter rims and mount some comfy tires, should improve ride comfort. I'm quite happy with the balance of ride comfort and suspension firmness but there is no one size that fits all. Just be ware you will likely lose 5% of your range by making the above change (losing the LRR tires)

ScooterCT
Posts: 199
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2016 2:14 am

Re: Bumpy Ride - Stiff Suspension

Sun May 14, 2017 9:45 pm

Every wheelbase/suspension/wheel setup has a natural resonance frequency. You might be unlucky enough to travel just right speed, across perfectly spaced road heaves, to hit that resonance frequency. You might try changing your speed a few trips to see if that's the case. The Bolt has a wheelbase of 102.4". My Kia Soul has a similar 101.2" wheelbase, but it glides over nasty pavement like it's not there. I'm sure a suspension guru could chime in here. It gets complicated fast. Damping rates. unsprung mass. Suspension travel and geometry.

As a last resort, you could take your Bolt to a tuning shop and have them drive that bit of road. They could swap out shocks for something better suited to your drive. I'd wager GM didn't put world class shocks in that car, just based on what I've seen to date. They spent all their budget on the EV drive train. You can do magic stuff with world-class shocks.

I had a 2 door RAV4 back in the 90s. Very short wheelbase. That thing bucked like a rodeo bronco on choppy road.

iletric
Posts: 172
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:50 am

Re: Bumpy Ride - Stiff Suspension

Sun May 14, 2017 10:01 pm

Shocks of course was my best guess as well. Can anyone look into it?

I drive through this street with speed bumps. My 92 Accord can roll over them at 30 mph with barely a jar. I keep left wheels in the pause between the bumps and the right over them.

Bolt is a disaster. I tried fast and slow, and ultimately I'm down to 5 mph to get over them without jumping the whole car. Bolt has 17" wheels, the Accord is 15". It's just crazy.

DaveInAvl
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:51 am
Location: Asheville NC

Re: Bumpy Ride - Stiff Suspension

Sun May 14, 2017 10:11 pm

Do you happen to know anyone with a GoPro who could get slow-mo closeup video of each car going over the bump?

LeftieBiker
Posts: 793
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:13 am

Re: Bumpy Ride - Stiff Suspension

Mon May 15, 2017 12:35 am

iletric wrote:Shocks of course was my best guess as well. Can anyone look into it?

I drive through this street with speed bumps. My 92 Accord can roll over them at 30 mph with barely a jar. I keep left wheels in the pause between the bumps and the right over them.

Bolt is a disaster. I tried fast and slow, and ultimately I'm down to 5 mph to get over them without jumping the whole car. Bolt has 17" wheels, the Accord is 15". It's just crazy.



Speed bumps are generally intended to get cars to slow to at most 10-15MPH for safety reasons, like lots of pedestrians. Are you saying that these speed bumps are unneeded, or just that you don't want to slow down?
2018 Nissan Leaf SL with Pro Pilot

2009 Vectrix VX-1 with 18 Leaf modules.

boltage
Posts: 451
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:50 am

Re: Bumpy Ride - Stiff Suspension

Mon May 15, 2017 3:50 am

ScooterCT wrote:I'd wager GM didn't put world class shocks in that car, just based on what I've seen to date. They spent all their budget on the EV drive train. You can do magic stuff with world-class shocks.


Josh Tavel reportedly likes sporty driving. So perhaps it is not a surprise that the Bolt's suspension is tuned to be on the firmer and sportier side of the normal range, more like what you might expect from smaller Fords, Mazdas, and Hondas, as opposed to smaller Toyotas and Nissans which are less sporty.

The Bolt handles the larger speed bumps well in my experience. The worst car for those speed bumps was a really softly suspended Lexus ES that was easy to bottom out the suspension on those speed bumps.

EldRick
Posts: 363
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:36 pm

Re: Bumpy Ride - Stiff Suspension

Mon May 15, 2017 3:01 pm

Have a look at the front wheels on the car - there is next to no room for a taller tire, because the shock mount arches over the inside of the tire about a half-inch above it.

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