4 x 4 Australia - - Gear -


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.

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