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Articulation overrated?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Mastiff, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. Mastiff

    Mastiff 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    All the 4x rags are obsessed with articulation. Is it really that important? I'm thinking, if I have a locker anyway, what's the big deal about having my axle droop 3 feet down with only the weight of the axle on the low tire anyway? The non-droopy tire will have the vehicle weight on it, and with a locker, it can dig in.

    I'm sure I'm missing something, just not sure what it is yet.
     
  2. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    The whole point of articulation is to have your tires firmly planted , wherever they are , on both sides of the axle , and keep your body relatively flat as you attack obstacles .

    And it looks cool too :thumb:
     
  3. 79k20350

    79k20350 3/4 ton status

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    if you have to ask then you havent been wheeling enough... one tire just doesnt cut it
     
  4. Mastiff

    Mastiff 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Dang, found me out! :wink1:
     
  5. OffRoad

    OffRoad 1/2 ton status

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    i think for rockcrawling, articulation is important. for woods trails it isn't as important.

    look at atvs for example. most of the old ones (pre 2001) don't hardly flex at all, but because they have a locker in the rear and good tires, they go lots of places.

    IMO for a woods/trail rig, i would concentrate more on having front and rear lockers and aggressive tires then lots of flex.
     
  6. crpilot212

    crpilot212 Newbie

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    when you have the option to try and teeter on two tires across a gap in some big rocks or roll that 3rd planted tire down between and keep your rig nice and stable, I'll take as much articulation as I can get.
     
  7. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    It only matters on the rocks. Everywhere else, it's overrated.

    Since there aren't many mountains in Iowa, I would say you don't really have to worry about it.
     
  8. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    Articulation can be a double egded sword that can vary from obsticle to obsticle. The most important thing to wheeling a truck especially with lockers is that you know the truck and know how to wheel it.

    This truck has tons of flex and is very capable offroad. The suspension is soft and has tons of travel. [​IMG]

    It is great in alot of spots because it keeps tires on the ground in alot of spots that many other trucks would be lifting tires. This helps with stability. The one of the tires may barely be touching the ground and really provides very little if any forward traction but it helps keep the truck a little more stable. The downside to this truck is the suspension is soft and it can allow the body to roll more when you are trying to climb large ledges one tire at a time or doing waterfalls.

    This truck has alot less flex then the above truck but is no less capable offroad. This is due to the drivers skill and knowing there truck and how to approach obsticles.

    [​IMG]

    Even though this truck is lifting a tire it is not really an issue due to the lockers. The driver knows that he is going to lift a tire in alot more spots and he actually likes it that way. His truck is more stiff but works equally as well as the truck above. Sometimes they don't accel in the same areas but overall they are fairly equal in capability. This trucks stiffer suspension makes this truck accel at the above trucks weaker points of the large ledges and waterfalls.

    So IMHO I do believe that flex is important but not as important as many people believe it to be. My personal truck is more on the stiff side. I have more flex then the truck in the 2nd pic but nowhere near as much flex as the truck in the 1st pick. I believe that having your a$$ in the seat and getting the time behind the wheel is the biggest factor when it comes to a trucks capability. Whether you like it or not you will learn how to drive the truck and you will become much more capable offroad.

    Harley
     
  9. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    See? Both on rocks. ^^^^ :D
     
  10. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    Yes, but my opinion is that it is over empasized even on rocks. I don't think that articulation is as huge of a deal as many people believe especially in the rocks. Driver skill and knowledge of the truck is the most important thing in my mind.

    Harley
     
  11. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    No argument, here.
     
  12. wildmouse216

    wildmouse216 1/2 ton status

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    If you ever watch some four wheeling competitions you see a lot of well set up rigs but it isn't always the machine that wins the trophy. Most times it is the driver, or driver/spotter team. Case in point, I raced tough trucks for three years in a 1986 Jeep Cherokee with a 2.5 liter four banger and every race I placed over v8s, every race. I once beat a retired Baja Pro class truck. The driver had never raced on a short track with sharp turns and just didn't have the knowledge to win. So knowledge is power. As far as articulation is concerned, moderation in all things. You can have too much power, too low gears, too much wheelbase, too wide of tires, too much weight, and too much articulation.
     
  13. 85mudblazin

    85mudblazin 1/2 ton status

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    I agree that driver skill has a big role but to a point.
    If you are out crawling and you lift a tire you get unstable VERY quick, especially if that tire is going to continue to rise.
    With alot of flex you are going to be alot less likely to roll or flop, thus making your rig more capable.
     
  14. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    I am not going to disagree with that statement. It is true, but nobody can tell you where the line of enough flex, too little flex, and to much flex are. They are all relative to the driver, situation, and obsticle at hand. It is like argueing what the best wheelbase is. There is no correct answer.

    Just a side note that I find interesting. Out of all the runs I have done with the 2 guys pictured above the guy who has less flex and lifts tires all the time never flopped or rolled (until recently). I have seen the guy with the large amount of flex flop it over several times. It is not really a flex issue, it is a driving style. Rob (pic #1) didn't care if he flopped or not, but Fred (pic #2) had not done it and was more cautious about flopping over.

    Just another side note. Do everything you can to never flop your truck over. It just makes it easier to do the next time because it doesn't scare you as bad and it doesn't bother you as much. I have learned this info first hand. I used to be very affraid to flop the truck over. Now that I have done it it is not as big of a deal and I know it will happen again. :crazy: :D

    Harley
     
  15. Drey

    Drey 3/4 ton status

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    Eh we live in Iowa no need for that crap, lol. Where are you at in Iowa Mastiff?
     
  16. marv_springer

    marv_springer 1/2 ton status

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    Although on rocks is where you typically see rigs "twisted up" there's other times where increased wheel travel helps. Jumping and going fast is another. There's a reason that Trophy trucks have 30+ inches of travel..! Granted, it's not just travel - you gotta have a good handle on proper damping / spring rates also...

    Although I like to have a lotta suspension range, I'll agree that there's times where too soft of spring rate and too much articulation can actually hurt. However, I believe there are more times where it actually can help if the driver knows how to "use it". And finally, Mega travel rigs should have a winch or adjustable limit strap to reel the droop in.

    Marv
     
  17. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    Interesting comments guys.
     
  18. Mastiff

    Mastiff 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I'm in Iowa, where it's mostly mud, but I'm mostly interested in trail driving anyway. The question was mostly academic. I got to thinking abotu it because I have a Humvee calendar with lots of H1's driving on rocks. Those things look like they have almost no articulation at all. With lockers, it seems like you could keep going as long as you don't flip over.
     
  19. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    In general, I do believe that articulation is over-rated. However it is still an important part of the overall vehicle build. The most important part is not really how much you have, but rather the quality of the articulation you have. I've seen trucks with crazy looking suspensions with a ton of articulation that do real good on the RTI ramp, but really suck on the trail.

    With that said, most stock vehicles have fairly poor articulation as they came from the factory. Jeep YJ's are really bad and have almost zero articulation when stock and it really shows on the trail. A stock TJ, with more articulation from the factory, will walk circles around the YJ. Of course add lockers and the YJ will generally do better, but add lockers to the TJ and it will then do better, etc, etc.....

    As mentioned, very little articulation can cause problems on the trail because the vehicle can lift a tire way off the ground or start getting tippy, while something with even moderate articulation can walk right through the spot and keep all of the tires on the ground.
     
  20. miniwally

    miniwally 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    IMO Articualtion is a byproduct of good suspension travel.

    In my case I knew I needed good articulation but I needed more travel in the Coilovers to get the Suspension travel that I wanted to be able to go fast to the hardcore rocks and back to the trailer agian.

    I have fourteen inches of travel in front and 16 inches of travel in the rear. With this I can go fast enough for my thrills and still not get hurt by the to much travel in articulation.

    I set my shocks up in the center of the travel at normal ride height.

    Travel for go fast stuff is important, Articulation is important but it has to all be controled. I have my winch run to my front axle on every steep climb I make to keep the front end from pushing away from the climb.
    That is a down fall of Coilovers but I deal with it with the winch.
     

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