Is Multimatic Revolutionizing Suspensions, Again?

Photo By: Multimatic
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For the majority of modern automotive history suspension technology has only improved in terms of bigger equals better. This has been especially true in the off-road realm. Of course, different niches within the off-road market have their preferences and opinions, but the technology has remained essentially the same. That all changed when Chevrolet tasked Multimatic with designing the damper technology for the award-winning 2016 Colorado ZR2. Chevrolet had used similar Multimatic dampers in the 2014 Camaro Z/28, but their application in an off-road platform was an industry first. This bold move was a huge departure from other factory off-road suspension options, and it was widely received as successful and innovative.

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The current Multimatic’s DSSV dampers have integrated piston-mounted spool valves on each shock. The valves feature laser-cut control windows and a masking sleeve. As the damper moves, the masking sleeve opens and closes the control windows allowing for precise modulation of the fluid within the shock.

Image by Multimatic

The newly announced Adaptive Spool Valve Dampers are essentially the same design, but with the addition of stepper motors on each damper. As these motors rotate, it opens and closes specific windows inside the masking tube and changes the force-velocity curve of the damper. The previous design included three selectable curves, while the new system features 16 curves. The system is capable of switching between these force-velocity curves in a matter of milliseconds to provide optimal modulation.

While this description is full of jargon, it boils down to the Adaptive Spool Valve Dampers are more responsive than any suspension technology currently available on a production car. The combination of the passive spool dampers and the pre-sets will allow one vehicle to perform exceptionally well across various terrains and driving conditions.

This technology is most likely to find its way into sports cars soon, and we can only hope that it will trickle down to the off-road world. A suspension system that can instantly adapt to variable conditions, without sacrificing on-road performance is an overland dream worth holding onto.

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Photo by Brett Willhelm

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