The How & Why Of Trailing Arms

Your Linked Suspension's Foundation

Kevin BlumerPhotographer, Writer

Trailing arms are the most visually striking component of a linked rear suspension. In addition to connecting the chassis, rear axle, and shocks, they provide fabricators with an opportunity for artistic expression. We’ve seen some intricate designs, along with some simpler stuff, and have been positively impressed with it all.

A trailing arm has a big job to do. First, it’s got to provide an unyielding link between the chassis and the rear axle. Next, because the shocks are mounted to it, it must support the weight of the vehicle as well as the tension and compression forces generated between the rear wheels and the chassis. Finally, trailing arms need to be strong enough to withstand random hits from terra firma: rocks, roots, and plain old dirt.

With the duties of a trailing arm in mind, it’s obvious that function has to come first. If a trailing arm can look nice, too, then that’s an added bonus. Function first, and then form.

Follow along as we explain the how and why of trailing arms.