Depending on how long you've been into off-roading, you might remember a time when things like coilovers shocks, bolt-in LS swaps, and custom-forged knuckles were barely known to the enthusiast off-road world, much less available with the click of a web link.
Technology, mass-production, and a demand for better parts made all this and more accessible to us, and also added much heftier price tags to the average 4x4 build. And like everything else, the technology under our off-road toys is continuing to evolve.
At this moment, we are starting to see a turning point where some 4WD trail vehicles are making the switch to independent suspension from solid live axles—even for rockcrawling. Take a look at how many competitors at the 2013 King of the Hammers were using custom independent front suspension (IFS) or fully independent (IFS and IRS) suspensions. Enthusiasts are starting to follow suit. Brenthel Industries even offers a kit to put long-travel A-arms onto a new JK Wrangler. All half-ton or midsize trucks currently produced come stock with IFS, and aftermarket companies are stepping up with beefier parts.
Take for example the bolt-in Dynatrac Dana 60 IRS centersection for Challengers and Chargers. While it's not meant for a truck, it's a perfect case in point of newer and more advanced parts finding their way into enthusiasts' vehicles. And while bolt-in Challenger diffs may not interest you, the possibilities it opens up will.
The Dynatrac Pro60-IRS is really the first of its kind. While Dynatrac, Currie, and other aftermarket axle specialists have been making custom independent suspension centersections for a few years, this is the first mass-produced, readily available drop-in independent suspension centersection. We see it as the first of many to come.
How soon until we see bolt-in upgrades for Chevys, Toyotas, or Ram half-tons? Who is to say? One thing is for sure: Demand (and money) drive innovation. When enthusiasts are ready to pay for it, we guarantee that aftermarket manufacturers will find a way to give you a bolt-in Dana 60 IFS centersection for your Ford-150 or other truck.
In the meantime, fabrication allows us to achieve goals not possible with readily available products. And this Pro60-IRS may be the perfect heart to build your independent front (or rear) suspension around. Judge for yourself.