Imagine Bolt-On Long-Travel 4WD A-Arm Front Suspension

Amanda Products constructs a very unique IFS design on a Jeep Wranlger

Dec. 30, 2015 By Rick Sieman with technical data from Wes Holmes
Amanda IFS Suspension

I've known Wes Holmes for many years. In fact, we raced for Ford, running the Big Oly Bronco together for almost a decade. At that time, we could only manage to squeeze 12 inches of travel out of the four-wheel-drive Bronco front end.  We spent a lot of time trying to get more travel, but eventually we gave up on the project.

Recently, I was at Wes' shop and I noticed a project that was tightly wrapped up in a tarp. I didn't ask any questions, but I now know I should have!

What was hidden under the tarp blew the minds of a lot of people at the 2015 SEMA Show. It was a patented floating differential, independent front suspension (IFS) design that was displayed at the Amanda Products booth.

I asked, “How in the 'blank' did you think of this?!”

He just smiled and gave me some history. “We’ve seen some amazing developments in off-road racing tech that’s found its way into many stock applications,” he said.

“There are all different kinds of off-road vehicles, ranging from slow moving rock crawlers to the speed demon Trophy Trucks flying through the desert at 100 mph. Our goal with this build was to design a front end that could be used for that broad range of vehicles. We wanted to create a product for the everyday guy who wants to hit the trail and just have some fun, as well as the competitive off-roader who's looking for a serious pre-runner."


Axle Length vs. Track Width

Not too many years ago, all four-wheel drives had a straight axle. As time passed, they have all tried to reap the benefits of IFS but have failed to hit the mark due to axle length vs. track width.

Amanda IFS Floating Differential

Ford jumped out of the box many years ago with their IFS. It was a success, regarding wheel travel, and they won many races with it. A few years later, Ford went with an A-Arm suspension system. Racing engineers then moved motors into the cab or the rear of the vehicle in order to allow for the differential to be mounted into the center of the A-arms with the goal of gaining as much axle length as possible. So, this is where Amanda Products, working with Wes Holmes, solved the complex issue of axle length and track width. But you must first understand the benefits of IFS and A-arm suspension. Below is the technical description of what is exactly happening.

Amanda IFS Jeep Wrangler

A typical four-wheel-drive A-arm suspension has a differential that is rigidly mounted to the frame (the A-Arms move up and down while the differential stays permanently fixed). Because of the way the differential is mounted in a typical A-arm system, the distance from flange to flange at the differential causes a shorter-length axle for a given track width. This results in a greater u-joint angle for a given wheel travel.

Amanda IFS CV Installed

The Amanda Products system utilizes the best of both worlds. It moves the differential from the center, to one side of the vehicle, while pivoting the differential in the center of the vehicle, center of the in-board-mounted CV on the passenger side. This allows for the correct alignment of the transfer case for front-mounted engines, with very little drive shaft movement up and down, resulting in minimal plunge at the drive shaft slip yoke. The shackle system keeps everything in line with the outer CV (knuckle), making all of the components on the driver’s side move in unison, effectively acting as one long axle. This system gains 6" to 12" of axle length per side (depending upon the application). This equates to longer axles equaling more travel for any given track width.

Amanda IFS Axles


Using this system means off-road drivers can enjoy 16" of wheel travel while maintaining relatively stock track width and ride height, depending on the pre-load of the shocks and the off set of the rims.  Amanda managed to do all of this while running 38-inch tires.

Amanda IFS Wheel Travel

I asked Wes about running stock fenders, or more specifically, what kind of travel is available with stock? "You have to limit it to 12”-13” if you want to run stock, but heck, that's OK. Some race trucks only have that much,” he said. Not bad considering that 12 inches of travel is what some race vehicles still have. Wes also shared with me that - with some adjustments per vehicle platform - this concept could be adapted to other SUVs.

Amanda IFS Project

Thanks to Amanda Products for thinking outside of the box and giving the off road community something to look forward to!

Amanda Products
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