THERE’S a common misconception that lockers are a viable alternative to articulation. While both can achieve the goal of increased off-road ability, they each go about it in very different ways. In fact, neither can reach their full potential without the other. Forward progression when off-road is most often halted by a loss of traction. Tyres can be to blame for this, but an unlocked axle sending drive to a lifted wheel is often the reason – a curse of an independent design. A locker will send equal drive to both wheels, allowing the wheel firmly on the ground to drive.
A suspension system with increased articulation can get around the same problem by keeping tyres on the ground longer. With both tyres planted firmly into the track there’s twice as much grip available. Steve raised the additional point of stability: “Lockers are great, but a wheel off the ground when in a big rut or rock step has to eventually come back down. This increases the risk of damage, loss of control and potentially having to push harder than the vehicle can or was built to.”
In an ideal world a vehicle would have both axles locked and a large, equal amount of articulation at both ends to ensure maximum grip and stability in every off-road situation. For most off-roaders, the ability of twin lockers and modern traction aids may be more than enough for their use. For those pushing the capability of their vehicle, the increased articulation and physically stronger live axle can be an invaluable upgrade.
3link with long-travel coil-overs and small, hard bump-stops.