Category Archives: Uncategorized

Michael’s 2012 Mazda3 i Touring Hatchback

RNR Automotive Blog

This post is written by Michael ( about his 2012 Mazda3. You might remember him from his previous post about his Jeep Cherokee.  IMG_0040 (2)

2012 Mazda Mazda3 iTouring Hatchback Automatic (22,000mi/41,000mi) 

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Michael’s 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4X4

Fellow blogger RNR Automotive Blog published a story about me and my Jeep, check it out

RNR Automotive Blog

This story is written by Michael ( about his 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4X4.

IMG_0062 (2)

This is my 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4×4. This was the first car I purchased when I was 16 and still own to this day. This Jeep is responsible for really igniting my passion for cars. Many weekends were spent driving forest service roads with the windows down and the country music up, or navigating Broken Arrow trail in Sedona, AZ, or wrenching on it. I installed 4 KC HiLites on the roof, totaling 200 watts of American-made electric sunshine. A set of black Cragar steel wheels and a coat of bedliner on the fender flares helped set my Jeep apart from others in my Cherokee-popular hometown. My family actually owns two Jeep Cherokees, combined have traveled over half-a-million miles. The AMC 4.0 Inline 6 engine is bulletproof and was spawned back when men were…

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Solid Axles vs Independent Suspension Systems

This topic comes up very frequently in the 4×4 community for good reason. Both systems have pros and cons, and when you break it down to the basics you may find yourself in a debate wherein there may not be a definitive answer. We will be dissecting the components of each suspension system, discussing variations of each system and compare pros and cons of each as they pertain to different consumers’ needs and wants.

Lets begin by describing both suspension types. Solid axle suspensions support the weight of the vehicle using coil or leaf springs mounted on an axle tube, and shock absorbers to dampen suspension oscillations. These systems use trailing arms,  which control the vertical movement of the axle assembly.  If it is a driven axle, a differential housing separates two axle tubes. When suspension movement occurs on one side of the vehicle, the motion is transferred to the other side of the vehicle because both sides are connected via the sold axle. Solid axles are heavy, but are known to be very strong.

Independent suspension systems also use coil springs and shock absorbers, in conjunction with control arms, but different variations exist. Each wheel is independent from the others. When suspension movement occurs on one side of the vehicle, the motion is contained to only one side. If the wheels on an independent system are driven, a differential is mounted to the subframe of the vehicle and CV (constant velocity) axle shafts transfer the torque to the wheels.

On your average passenger car (ex: Altima, Camry, Accord) all 4 wheels are independently sprung because independent systems provide a smoother ride.

However for the purpose of this discussion we will be comparing these suspension systems when being used for offroad purposes. General offroad goodness can be achieved in many ways, but a few simple things are necessary to avoid breaking your ride unintentionally. Today we will discuss one of the necessities for offroad credibility and the others will come later on this week.

1- Ground Clearance                                                                                                             Whether you are trying to crawl over rocky terrain or ford a river, the distance between the working bits of your vehicle and the obstacle is of the utmost importance. From this standpoint, you can immediately see the pros of the independent system, the differential is mounted high and close to the body of the vehicle and the control arms are far out on the vehicles track.

Independent Suspension

In the solid axle suspension system, the differential dips below the axle tubes and lowers your available ground clearance at that point.

Solid Axle Suspension

Solid axle systems are arguably easier to lift and can handle larger tires due to their inherent strength.

I will dive more into what your vehicle needs to be an offroad machine later on this week. Until then, feel free to comment and provide your input on this topic.