Part of our mission here at Euro4x4parts is to encourage off-road driving, which includes the tips and techniques to make the most of your 4x4.

The following article briefly describes some aspects of off-road driving but is no substitute for an off-road driving course with an approved training organization.

What is cross axle articulation?

Cross axle articulation or travel describes the situation in which two diagonally opposed wheels lose ground contact as in the front right rear left wheels in the photo. When this happens you can easily find yourself stuck.

There's no point it simply revving up, your 4x4 is not going to budge. We must backtrack and try to anticipate the moment when a cross axle situation will occur and avoid an unnecessary push on the throttle which could even damage your transmission.

In depth...

The photo above shows the rear left wheel heading to maximum travel and the front left wheel crushed up into the wheel arch.

An other example with the rear left wheel forced up into the wheel arch.

....and the front left in stretched out to its limit and off the ground.
You can imagine that the same thing is happening on the other side of the 4x4: front right wheel pushed up in the arch and rear right dropped down to maximum and spinning in thin air.

Getting out

As we said before, when you lose traction due to cross axle articulation, you need to back-up.

To reverse safely, stop your wheels, engage reverse gear and back up trying to keep the vehicle as flat as possible. You can then try again. Some cross axle situations can be overcome with a delicate use of the accelerator pedal however others can be more tricky and require a different approach.

Several techniques are possible:

- Analyze the zone in order to go round the obstacle, either to avoid it completely or to minimize the impact, by sticking to the edges of the holes or by slightly overlapping them.

- You can also get through the tricky zone by taking advantage of the load transfer of the 4x4. To do so, it is enough to give an quick, short sharp acceleration, which pushed the vehicle on its rear wheels and then release the accelerator sharply at the time of tilting so that it leans on its front axle. But this is a driving technique that requires a lot of practice and you need to really feel at one with your 4x4. 

- Before approaching the zone, you can activate the center, front and rear diff locks if your vehicle is equipped.

- Finally, the technique is slightly different for 4x4 equipped with an electronic traction control system. Head gently into the zone. As soon as the vehicle loses traction and stops, give a light but constant acceleration while keeping the engine speed between 1200 and 2000 rpm maximum until your 4x4 moves forward, taking your foot off the accelerator between each bump to avoid gaining speed.

Suspension improvements

To improve the suspension travel on your 4x4 and therefore cope with these tricky cross axle situations even better, Euro4x4parts offers range of suspension upgrade options for many 4x4 makes and models.

Check out the following links for some examples:

Euro4x4parts suspension kits

Tough Dog Suspension Kits

Raptor Suspension kits

Please note: Euro4x4Parts publishes this information to help its customers but cannot be held responsible for the advice given here and practical consequences therin.

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All the photos in our articles are taken on authorized roads or tracks, private land, or during supervised competitions. Let's all do our part to preserve the environment!

Please note: Euro4x4parts publishes this information to help its customers, but cannot be held responsible for the advice given here and their consequences when used.