Live axles do have their uses.
One of the big selling points of the all-new Bronco is that it doesn't have a solid front axle. Come to think of it, neither does the Land Rover Defender. Basically, manufacturers have proved that you no longer need solid axles at the front to do hardcore off-roading. An independent front suspension is just so much better. It improves high-speed handling on dirt, sand, and on-road. For proof of the latter, look no further than the Jeep Wrangler's infamous death wobble.
From our side, we were pretty happy to wave goodbye to the live axle, but one Bronco owner does not agree, which is why he's fitted his all-new Bronco with live axles front and rear. We can't deny that its simplistic nature makes it exceptionally good at rock crawling. The increased articulation is epic, not to mention the fundamental physics at play. One wheel goes up, the other is forced down. It's as basic as suspension gets.
Kyle is a modifier currently swapping his new Bronco's independent front suspension for live axles at the front and rear. He chose the front and rear axles from a Ford Super Duty, but hasn't been specific on exactly which parts are being used where.
For improved control, an old-school hydraulic steering system will be used. The more straightforward steering system will provide valuable feedback to the driver, which he will need. Live axles can be pretty lively on-road, and hydraulic steering is the best way to get some semblance of feedback. The rear axle has air lockers and a 5.38 axle ratio to help enhance control further.
The live axles are paired with 2.5-inch Fox coilovers, and the claimed suspension travel is 9.5 inches. Kyle posted a photo of the modified Bronco's articulation compared to the standard model to show the difference this modification has made.
This vehicle was obviously built for rock crawling, as it's the only application where this kind of articulation is necessary. Kyle states on Instagram that he lives in northern Washington near the base of the North Cascades mountains. According to Kyle, the most common off-road obstacles are big jagged rocks, deep ruts, and slippery muddy surfaces. All of the areas in which a live axle gets the job done. The chunky Mickey Thompson tires also seem to be up to the task, but a set of 40-inch tires are waiting to be fitted.
Kyle also owns the white Bronco featured in the articulation comparison shots, and that's his daily commuter.