GERMANY/USA: DaimlerChrysler 'Torture Track' Test Simulates Lifetime of Wear and Tear
DaimlerChrysler engineers can put a test vehicle through a lifetime of wear and tear in just 70 hours, using a special body test rig at the company's passenger car plant in nearby Sindelfingen. The $2.3 million (five million Deutschmarks) body testing unit, which has been in operation since August 1998, can recreate vibrations and convulsions comparable to driving the vehicle over a series of potholes at high speed. Each individual wheel is pulled and jolted by an intricate system of hydraulic cylinders, struts and clamps that mimic the maltreatment otherwise suffered over years of hard driving. Engineers can assess five wear and tear factors: wheel load, longitudinal and lateral forces, and braking and drive moments.
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