Auto Service World
  May 18, 2020   by Allan Janssen

Electronic dampers

With around 28 million units produced, the CDC system is one of the most widely used electronic chassis systems for passenger cars. In order to provide workshops with the best possible support for maintenance work on vehicles with CDC dampers, ZF Aftermarket is expanding its offering in this area. The extended product range includes Sachs CDC spare parts for mid-size and compact cars, in conjunction with many new additions from the luxury class. These high-tech shock absorbers offer an attractive opportunity for workshops as there are currently no low-quality replacement parts available.

Electronically controlled dampers such as the CDC system by ZF have a great advantage over conventional chassis systems: Using CDC dampers, drivers can select and drive different driving settings dynamically according to their personal preference. In contrast, conventional chassis systems dictate the setting (standard or sport) once the vehicle has been configured. In such a case a change is only possible with the installation of new parts. On the other hand, the Sachs CDC is electronically controlled by solenoid valves which adjust the optimum damping force within fractions of a second. This allows the driver to enjoy outstanding driving comfort without loss of driving stability during an evasive maneuver or emergency braking. In such a case, the CDC sets the damper characteristic curve to a ‘hard’ setting in a lightning-fast manner.

Since the market launch in 1997, ZF has produced and equipped an enormous range of vehicles with approximately 28 million CDC dampers. Previously only present in the luxury class, car manufacturers have gradually also equipped mid-size or compact cars with CDC dampers on customers’ request. Even small cars such can be equipped with CDC.

Under its Sachs brand, ZF Aftermarket provides automotive companies with a comprehensive range of CDC dampers. The CDC spare parts are available for but not limited to:

Audi A4 (2007 to 2015)

Audi Q5 (2008 to 2016)

Volkswagen Touareg (2002 to 2010 and 2010 to 2018)

Throughout 2020 the range will be expanded by up to 30 additional part numbers.

The large number of vehicles equipped with CDC technology since the initial launch over twenty years ago means that more and more of these vehicles will be serviced in independent workshops. The dampers as such are very durable thanks to an electronic control system which can compensate for wear and tear of the damping performance to a certain degree. Nevertheless, it is necessary to replace this component under certain circumstances – for example, after particularly heavy loads, permanent usage under strenuous road conditions or due to high mileage.

Other sources of failure of CDC dampers include wear of solenoid valves, cables and connectors or damages caused by rodent bites or corrosion.

Attractive sales potential for workshops

Vehicles with electronic dampers also offer attractive sales potential for workshops for the following reasons.

A malfunction of the electronic damper system is communicated to the driver by an indicator lamp. In contrast to hydraulic dampers with their gradual loss of performance, which the driver often doesn’t notice, the indicator light is a clear signal to visit the workshop. More importantly, this visual alarm increases road safety by making drivers aware of necessary repairs of safety critical parts.

Electronic dampers must be replaced by identical parts. Retrofitting to hydraulic components would invalidate the vehicle’s type approval. Replacing the dampers with original parts will preserve the safety and value of the vehicle.

By repairing a complex electronic suspension system, the workshop can prove its competence to the customer and set itself apart from competitors.

Workshops need not fear that the replacement of CDC dampers will involve unexpectedly large technical challenges. The damper is replaced in the same way as its hydraulic counterpart, but some versions require additional electronic pairing.

In these challenging times, ZF Aftermarket is a reliable partner for independent workshops. The business continues to ensure a secure and stable supply: Sachs CDC dampers as well as all the other parts of the broad ZF Aftermarket product portfolio are available as usual.



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