Design by Creative Element IFS is more agile and maneuverable than the alternative by offering improved handling most of the time and freer movement of the individual front wheels and tires under those front truck bumpers.

It really does depend on your individual off-road truck, as some offer better axle setups than others. There’s good news in the form of bolt-on long-travel 4WD IFS suspension systems from a number of companies. Suspension lifts also become more complicated. Myth one: The axle housing can only travel so far upward before it hits the frame rails or oil pan. A solid axle setup can improve traction over big bumps and hills as well as gain more torque from the differential as there are fewer parts that power must transfer through. IFS is more agile and maneuverable than the alternative by offering improved handling most of the time and freer movement of the individual front wheels and tires under those front truck bumpers. Solid-Axle Strengths There are more moving parts needed to allow each wheel its ownaxis of movement. The Nissley Racing XJ Cherokee enjoyed several seasons of Jeepspeed racing before recently going to a new owner. Cloudflare Ray ID: 5ed4d330dac22e83 If you’re looking for a clear-cut winner, this story’s subheading should be a giveaway. A speedy solid axle rig doesn’t have to be completely custom built, but it still has to use the right combination of aftermarket parts. For this story, we’re sticking with 4WD solid front axles and A-arm-style IFS. The front suspension cycles 20 inches of Fox-controlled suspension travel. Both 2WD and 4WD frontends are used by Jeepspeed racers. All in all, IFS systems are considerably more complexthan solid axles.

It’s true that the differential hangs down on a solid axle. Bolt-on IFS long-travel kits typically bolt to stock A-arm mounting points. Your IP: 4WD 24-7 397,640 views

There is, however, a fundamental difference in the type of ground clearance you get with a solid-axle versus A-arm frontend.

Are bigger suspension lifts better? The Currie F9 IFS center section measures a mere 14.5 inches wide from axle face to axle face. Each wheel is connected to a series of control arms. Solid axles go straight across from one wheel to the other, while IFS axles angle upward to connect to a separate control arm. © Copyright 2019 Fab Fours. • Bump Travel

Solid axles are also more durable than most IFS axles and can be easily changed in comparison, making axle repairs on off-road trucks no problem . If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. While IFS weaknesses are usually factory-installed, the same can be said about solid-axle strengths. A solid axle inherently can’t achieve as much bump travel as an A-arm system. Everything on the front of Mark McMillin’s 2003 F-150 Supercrew 4x4 was designed and built for no-compromise performance. A housing that flexes often allows the ring and pinion to become misaligned and possibly break while the flexing is going on. Long-travel IFS suspensions replace the stock control arms with longer, stronger ’arms. Many IFS differentials have aluminum housings. These control a custom “swingset.” The burly centerlink manipulates a pair of equally-strong tie rods. There isn’t one. All of this IFS trickery hangs from custom tube work.

A much-argued debate in the off-road community by truck owners is which type of axle is better - solid or independent? Getting significant suspension travel out of a 4x4 A-arm system has historically been challenging because the stock front differential was so wide that the A-arms and CV shafts couldn’t be built to a significant length without incurring a silly-wide track width in the process. If there’s no long-travel suspension kit for your solid axle rig, builder parts are readily available to help you create your own. Completing the CAPTCHA proves you are a human and gives you temporary access to the web property. A solid front axle wins this one. An incomplete list includes All-Pro Off Road, Brenthel Industries, Camburg, Dixon Bros. We’re showing custom aftermarket tie rods here, but most solid front axles come with tie rods much, much thicker and stronger than their IFS equivalents. Portal axles (think Unimog or H1 Hummer) are the exception to this, but that’s another story. How’s this for going fast and flying high? The narrow IFS differential means longer CV shafts and longer A-arms are possible while maintaining a reasonable track width, all with rock-and-whoop gobbling wheel travel. As such, you can count on the same amount of ground clearance as your suspension cycles. No go-fast party, solid axle or A-arm, is truly complete without a set of bypass shocks. Of course, you do have to be careful that your frame doesn’t hit the ground at full bump! By and large, solid front axles have a lot of built-in strength right from the dealer lot. Shannon Campbell answered that question with a convincing win at 2011’s King of the Hammers. Resources | Sitemap, A Reputation For The Highest Quality And Design. The biggest draw for IFS is that it offers a more comfortable ride than solid axles and in a lighter package. In this case, a factory Toyota sway bar end link failed at the ball joint.

This custom 2WD frontend was built by Tony Sato at Currie Enterprises, and is found under the neon-green XJ seen flying in the following photo.

As might be expected, there are no factory Ford parts involved. Solid Axle Versus IFS: Which One's Better. You’ll find IFS long-travel kits to be quite a bit more expensive than drop bracket lift kits. Two of our four favorite trucks from last year (see “Looking Back,” January 2012) were also high-flying solid axle trucks, 4WD no less. You Can’t Go Fast With a Solid Front Axle Extended CV shafts span the new distance and retain full 4x4 function. Bottom Line The biggest draw for IFS is that it offers a more comfortable ride than solid axles and in a lighter package. The loose end of the broken link swung down and mangled the CV boot. When the Jeepspeed racing series began, many thought the term “Jeepspeed” was nothing short of an oxymoron. That seems to be it and the jury is still out and will probably remain out as to which is actually better for trail riding, climbing, and similar activities. • And unlike solid front axles, steering inputsare transmitted to the wheels through a series of tie rods. The steering system uses a custom-built Saginaw steering box with a ram assist. The other IFS problem in the photo is the dinky diameter of the factory tie rod. Solid front axles start with a housing that’s got either a cast-iron centersection (Dana style) or a stamped steel housing with a dropout third member (Toyota style). IFS may offer a smoother ride, and any other differences can be either slight or significant depending on your off-road use. Some IFS also have less durable steering setups and use torsion bars that get in the way. If you can’t build a fully custom IFS system, what do you do?

In contrast, the differential is mounted to the frame with an A-arm system. “A hit to one side can pull the whole front end to that side.”. Campbell’s KOH buggy uses a Currie F9 IFS differential. This leads to a higher chance of needing to repair the axles and it is a more complicated job to do such repairs. “Solid front axles are for rock donkeys!” “IFS stands for ‘inferior front suspension.” We’ve heard these standby beliefs bantered back and forth more times than we can count, so we thought we’d spend some time exposing some myths and sharing some truths. Wheels, tires, brakes, and solid axle housings are all examples of un-sprung weight. They are considerably heavier than IFS due to those cast iron differential housings. It can provide more front end clearance in some instances as the front wheels have greater articulation. Each style of front suspension has strengths and weaknesses, and it’s up to you to decide what to go with. EXPOSED! On the other hand, those in favor of solid axles find that even with a bit bumpier ride, there are plenty of trucks or Jeeps with solid axles that offer almost as smooth a ride as IFS.

The factory frame is long gone in front of the firewall. Some off-road trucks may have less front ground clearance due to the axle design. IFS systems have more joints that need lubricating and protecting, so the axle boots on your off-road truck can wear out or be easily damaged. Un-sprung weight is vehicle weight which is not supported by springs. Either of these two styles is decently flex and rock resistant. The A-arms are built from scratch, the lowers created from TIG-welded 4130 plate and the uppers from CNC-machined aluminum. The biggest downside to IFS is its considerably more complicated setup, which means there are more things that can go wrong. However, the differential also goes up and down with the suspension. As the suspension cycles up and down, the ground clearance changes. A solid front axle wins this, too. Remember the part about most IFS weaknesses resulting from factory designs? Bypass shocks offer a level of control that other shocks can’t touch. Long-arm suspension kits, such as Off-Road Evolution’s Double Throw-Down system seen on this ATX Wheels JK Wrangler, offer greater strength and increased wheel travel thanks to re-configured suspension mounts, and longer, stronger suspension links. A Word about Un-Sprung Weight Want more strength for less coin? This is the higher-tech suspension option for sure. That puts the choice right back into your lap - so any choice you make between solid axles and independent front suspensions should be researched first and then a decision made based on what is best for your off-road truck! First and foremost, we can address something that historically seemed to always limit IFS rigs, and became a favorite arguing point for the solid axle crowd. At the knuckle, U-joints don’t have fragile factory boots so they’re stronger in the face of trail debris and flailing sway bar link ends. Other than complaints about a rough ride, the only real problem with solid axles is their weight and slightly less front ground clearance. Overall, it seems to be a more preferred and comfortable option for off-roading, especially when driving your outfitted truck or Jeep at higher speeds. © 2020 Four Wheeler | MOTOR TREND GROUP, LLC.

Ball joints can also be a weak point for 4WD IFS vehicles. Bolt-On IFS Performance There are many supporters out there on both sides, each claiming their axle is superior to the other in many ways. For rock and hill climbing, solid axles are more durable and have slightly better traction; however, IFS may offer just a bit more ground clearance.