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Part 2: Suspension
New Features
  • Enhanced suspension geometry
  • Hydraulic lower suspension arm bushings
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Front brakes have 2-piston calipers (first application on a Honda)

Front Suspension
Redesigned for 2009, the MacPherson strut front suspension with an aluminum lower control arm (new) provides a generous 7.3 inches of wheel travel (4.3-inches in compression, 3.0-inches in rebound). Separate load paths to the unit body are provided for the coil spring and the shock absorber to reduce road noise. A solid 23mm (0.9-inch) stabilizer bar is linked directly to the strut via ball-joint connections to reduce body roll during cornering maneuvers, a critical factor in minimizing the "head toss" tendency that is associated with many taller vehicles and SUVs. A new hydraulic bushing, often referred to as a hydrobushing, replaces one of the conventional rubber bushings on each of the geometrically-optimized lower control arms. The hydrobushing uses fluid to damp vibrations for improved resistance to shimmy and brake judder. Additionally, the L-shaped lower arm allows a very tight steering angle resulting in good low-speed maneuverability.

Front Subframe
A welded-steel subframe secured to the unit body's longitudinal rails supports the Pilot's engine, transaxle, transfer case, steering gear and front suspension. The front of the subframe assembly is constructed of tubular steel for maximum stiffness with minimal weight penalties and uses four tuned rubber mounts to isolate the subframe from the main body structure. A stiffener located under each subframe attachment fastener helps stabilize the assembly, thereby sharpening handling and braking performance. A stiffener plate bolted across the subframe under the transfer case (if 4WD) greatly increases the assembly's rigidity. The subframe houses two Active Control Engine Mounts (ACM) that counteract the inherent vibration created by the Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system, plus one lightweight urethane transmission mounts. (See the Powertrain section for more details on ACM). The mounts are strategically positioned to counteract noise and vibration while reducing the transmission of engine noise and vibration to the passenger compartment.

Rear Suspension
The Pilot's rear suspension is a compact, multi-link trailing arm layout for excellent ride and handling, minimum weight and optimum packaging. Wheel travel is a generous 4.9 inches in compression and 3.3-inches in rebound. The three links that position each rear wheel laterally run between the knuckle assembly and the subframe. A trailing arm also runs from the unit body to each rear knuckle. Coil springs seat on the lowermost lateral link and anchor against the unit body directly behind each axle shaft. Shock absorbers positioned ahead of the drive shafts run from a low point on each knuckle to a secure attachment point on the unit body. Steering knuckles are an "in-wheel" design to optimize suspension geometry and packaging efficiency. Bushing compliance provides a modest toe-in effect in response to substantial cornering and braking loads to enhance overall stability.

For 2009, the rear knuckles are made from aluminum and are 54 percent lighter compared to the previous steel units, helping to reduce unsprung weight for improved response. Optimized trailing-arm mounting points have been moved up higher to increase mechanical compliance for ride and comfort improvements. Coil springs, dampers and an anti-roll bar are tuned for the best combination of ride and handling. On 4WD models, a tubular 25.4x3.5t rear stabilizer bar (mm) helps reduce body motion during cornering. On 2WD models, a 26.0x4.5t rear stabilizer bar (mm) is used. Rear subframe mounts and lateral control link bushing rates were adjusted to create a discrete level of lateral force steer at the rear axle. Since the Variable Torque Management® 4-wheel drive system constantly varies drive torque at the rear axle, the longitudinal and lateral force steer properties were carefully developed for optimum response, stability and consistency.

Rear Subframe
The rear subframe, which supports most of the rear suspension and the rear axle drive unit, is made of high-strength steel for high stiffness and minimal weight. The shape of the rear subframe is equally important – it must accommodate the drivetrain components for the available VTM-4 four-wheel drive system and the multi-link rear suspension, and still allow for the versatility of the third-row seat and flat cargo floor. For excellent ride and handling characteristics, the subframe attaches to the unit body at four widely spaced, rubber-isolated, mounting points. Rear-suspension components, especially the springs and shock absorbers, are as compact as possible to facilitate a wide, flat, load floor and to leave room for both a spare tire and a full-size fuel tank. The rear axle drive unit is mounted to the subframe by means of rubber isolators to block road and powertrain noise and vibration from the passenger compartment. .



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