3 Link vs. 4 Link Suspension – Choose the Best Alternative

Driving can be a lot stressful due to potholes and other bad road conditions. The effects of these conditions can be detrimental to both the car and the driver, hence, the need for the suspension component.

This component is designed to ensure a safe and smooth driving experience. This is because the suspension system enhances the handling, road holding, and ride quality of a vehicle. The system comprises the tires, shock absorbers, springs, and linkages designed to connect the car to its wheels.

However, the driving terrain is a major factor that determines the kind of suspension link you should use on a vehicle. So, carefully read this article to find out what’s best between the 3 link Vs. 4 link suspension.

3 Link Suspension

A 3 link suspension is a type of multi-link suspension with three lateral arms and control links. The arms on the 3-link suspension are not necessarily of equal lengths. They are angled away from their direction.

The lateral arms of the 3-link suspension have a rubber bushing or spherical joint each at their end. This component enables them to work in compression and tension instead of bending.

Pros of 3 link Suspension

The 3-link suspension comes with unique advantages that you may want to consider before concluding whether it is worth it or not. Some of the pros of a 3 link suspension include the following:

  • Offers more suspension travel.
  • Easy installation around the exhaust, engine, and other components.
  • Delivers more strength in carrying sideload.
  • Provides efficient cornering function.

Cons of 3 link Suspension

Although the 3 link rear suspension and front suspension have a number of advantages, it is also important to recognize the following cons:

  • Requires a track bar to prevent the axle from moving right to left.
  • Too much stress is exerted on upper links from side loads.
  • Tracker bar failure may cause the front end to flop over to one side.

4 link Suspension

A 4 link suspension is another type of multi-link suspension with four lateral arms and control links. The four-link suspension uses 2 links on each side of the axle, with one sitting at the top and the other located at the bottom. This is a major factor that distinguishes 3 link vs. 4 link vs. 5 link.

Each of the 2 links has a specific mounting spot on the axle, and the other mounting point is on the chassis. A 4 link suspension is surely a great upgrade system for your vehicle, especially for off-road driving. It automatically improves the vehicle’s ride quality and performance.

There are basically two types of 4 link suspension systems, which are; triangulated and parallel four-link suspension.

Pros of 4 link Suspension

A 4 link suspension offers a couple of advantages. Some of the advantages of this suspension system include the following:

  • Provides a better departure angle.
  • Controls axle wrap.
  • Reduces uncontrolled variables of the axle movement.

Cons of 4 link Suspension

Besides the advantages outlined above, the 4 link suspension also comes with some cons that you may have to note before you opt for this component. The cons of 4 link suspension include:

  • Installation of the Panhard bar requires extra cost.
  • Side to side movement is induced by the Panhard bar as the suspension travels.
  • The exhaust system may be interrupted by the Panhard bar.

3 link vs. 4 link Differences 

Although both the 3 link and 4 link suspensions are wonderful components, they have some slight differences. Some of the common differences include the following.

                       3 Link Suspension                     4 Link Suspension
Provides better cornering without binding issues. Binding challenge hinders effective cornering.
Delivers high-performance on-road racing cars. Offers high performance on drag racing cars with high horsepower engines.
Installation does not affect the engine, exhaust, and other components. The installation will most likely interfere with a vehicle’s exhaust system.
Every part of the 3 link is built to be centered without possible adjustments. The flexible axle can be moved from side to side for easy adjustability.

FAQs

Q: What is better a 3 Link or 4 link suspension?

Determining which is better between a 3 link or 4 link suspension depends on the setup you desire to fix on your vehicle. However, a three-link suspension fits more around the exhaust, engine, etc.

Also, a three-link is void of binding issues when turning a corner. This is not the case with a four-link suspension. The binding issue is a major challenge.

Meanwhile, 4 link suspension is better with drag racing cars that are fitted with high horsepower engines. But this is not compatible with a 3 link suspension. So, if you drive a drag race car, using a 4 link suspension would be best.

Q: What is the point of 4 link suspension?

A 4-link suspension is designed to use links to locate a vehicle’s axle from moving from side to side, as well as front to back in the process of allowing the component to move up and down to articulate.

Running a 4-link is extremely amazing; however, doing it right requires expertise, time, and money. Auto experts assert that a 4-link that is properly designed and tested will eventually provide a top-notch power translation to the ground. It also offers a superior ride quality.

Q: Is 4 link suspension good for cornering?

A four-link suspension has a slight binding challenge when cornering; hence, it’s not nice for this purpose. However, it is a wonderful suspension for drag race cars with high horsepower engines.

If you’re contemplating 3 link Vs. 4 link in drag racing, a 4 link suspension’s performance delivers maximum satisfaction for drag racing.

Meanwhile, a 3 link suspension delivers more efficiency for cornering because it does not have the binding problem as in the case of 4 link. This type of suspension is perfectly okay for road racing and autocross. As a matter of fact, factory five racing (FFR) cars utilize the 3 link suspension.

Q: Do you need a track bar with a 4 link?

Of course not! A 4 link does not require a rear track bar for proper functioning. This is an excellent benefit for vehicles with a four-link. The absence of the track bar enables the axle to travel upward and downward without being pulled back and forth beneath the vehicle’s frame.

This occurs as the axle droops and compresses. Also, the absence of the track bar also means more axle articulation or flex for your vehicle. This is yet another advantage of the 4 link when comparing the 3 link vs. 4 link front suspension.

Q: Is 4 link better than radius arms?

Again, using a 4 link or radius arm also depends on whether you need the component for an on-road or off-road vehicle.

A 4 link suspension is better for an on-road vehicle because the component maintains a firm, constant caster angle while the suspension oscillates both up and down.

Conversely, a radius arm is stronger and it has a few moving parts that are capable of wearing out within a short time. However, the 4 link suspension seems to offer an overall better performance than the radius arm.

Q: Does a triangulated 4 link need a sway bar?

No, a triangulated 4 link does not need a sway bar. The presence of the bar will hinder the left and right movement of the triangulated rear four-link. Of course, the absence of the bar is an awesome benefit in this case.

However, the sway bar has a couple of benefits in the operations of a vehicle. It improves the vehicle’s handling, especially when turning corners.

The component controls the weight transfer of the vehicle, including the body roll. In any case, the bar hinders the proper functioning of the 4 link suspension.

Final Words

Trucks and other tough terrain vehicle enthusiasts debate a lot about 3 link Vs. 4 link. A lot of people have varying opinions about both types of suspension links. However, the vital information you need about these suspension types has been captured in this article.

However, ascertaining the best suspension type for a vehicle among these two depends on the type of vehicle and the purpose of upgrading to either 3 link or 4 link. Therefore, ensure to check out the 3 link vs. 4 link pros and cons before deciding on a particular suspension type.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a seasoned automotive technician for the past 9 years, and a technical writer. He loves writing about auto professional repair guides, DIY repair guides, and buyer’s guide. After spending six years in the automotive workshop, he decided to impact his knowledge to people aside his domain, and he has achieved this by centering his Automotive writing skills on REPAIRS.

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