Video: Erik Miller Talks Straight Axles Vs. A-Arms In KOH

The terrain of Johnson Valley, site of the annual Ultra4 King of the Hammers race, is one of wild and vast variety. Straight, flat lake beds offer speedy passes with little in the way of difficulty, but they quickly give in to twisty, rock-filled canyons that constitute mean and unforgiving passages from point to point.

KOH_2It’s as good a scenario as any to bring the discussion around to talk of live versus independent axles. That’s just what happened while we were out at the race, catching up with driver Erik Miller during some downtime.

“There’s this battle that’s been raging since King of the Hammers started: ‘what is a better setup?'” said Miller. “It’s an unlimited class, so the playing field’s wide open for whatever you want to build. As of recently, the trend has been going toward A-arms, but I’m a firm believer in solid axle cars.”

KOH_3The debate boils down to a couple of things: articulation versus traction. On the one hand, a live axle can’t be beat for offering supreme traction by virtue of having the wheels longitudinally in sync with each other at all times, and the ability to use a locking differential that comes with this feature. On the other hand, independent suspension presents far better flex and stability, something that’s all too important when faced with sheer rock walls on either side and large boulder to the front and rear.

For his part, Miller lies firmly in the camp of good ole straight axles. “I think that the advantages that you gain in the rocks far outweigh the disadvantage of full hydraulic steering. Our straight-axle car has been touted as one of the fastest there is. We spend hours and hours and days upon days tuning the suspension to make sure that it’s properly set up for Johnson Valley, and we haven’t given up anything [for the rocky sections of the race].”

“Honestly, at the end of the day, this race comes down to who can survive,” commented Miller. “If you have issues out here, somebody’s going to beat you.”

KOH_1

About the author

David Chick

David Chick comes to us ready for adventure. With passions that span clean and fast Corvettes all the way to down and dirty off-road vehicles (just ask him about his dream Jurassic Park Explorer), David's eclectic tastes lend well to his multiple automotive writing passions.
Read My Articles

Everything Off Road in your inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Off Road Xtreme, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
Off Road Xtreme NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Off Road Xtreme - The Off Road Magazine

We'll send you the most exciting Off Road articles, news, truck features, and videos every week.

Off Road Xtreme - The Off Road Magazine

Off Road Xtreme NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Off Road Xtreme - The Off Road Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Diesel Army

Hot Rods & Muscle Cars

Engine Tech

Off Road Xtreme - The Off Road Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Diesel Army
  • Hot Rods & Muscle Cars
  • Engine Tech

Off Road Xtreme - The Off Road Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Off Road Xtreme - The Off Road Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading