ARB vs. Detroit's - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old February 5th, 2004, 06:11 PM
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Dave Souza
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ARB vs. Detroit's

Hey Folks,

I'm looking for some advice here. I'm considering putting lockers in my Defender (going to change gears to 4:10 too) and I'm trying to decide between an ARB or a Detroit Locker/True-Trac solution. I can see how the ARB could be a slightly 'better' solution, in that you have more control off road in how you want the truck to be, and then no change in driving on road, but of course the ARB also brings added cost and complexity, and the increased breakdown possibilities that occur with any complex system. In other words, I do like the simplicity of the Detroit's. Also, in both instances, I'm upgrading the rear axles.

I'm trying to decide if the additional cost / system complexity is worth it for the ARB. Without getting into to many $$ specifics, I think the the ARB will cost at least about $800 more than the Detroit solution, which includes the added cost of having the ARB plumbing installed at a shop (for either option I'm going to get a set-up 3rd member replacement, and install that myself). In reality, that difference could increase a bit, because if I'm going to have a shop do the plumbing, I'll probably just have them do the whole swap. But for comparison sake, we'll say it's $800.

I've heard of occasions when its recommended to tackle certain obstacles unlocked, and even know of at least one person who didn't heed that warning and blew his ARB... Now that was out West, and I live in New England now and don't know when I'll make a trip west, but we do have plenty of rocks and climbs on the east coast too, so I'd like to hear opinions from anyone with the two options that could offer some insight. I'm particularly interested in how often anyone with Detroits encounter situations where they believe an ARB would have mattered, etc.

Bottom line is this: I'm spending a good chunk of change here, and I don't want to cheap out on another 8 bills if the ARB is really a superior solution that I will be glad I have. However, at about a 30% increase in cost, I don't want to go ARB if it'll only matter 2% of the time.

One more note, although the truck isn't driven daily, it does see a good bit of the street. From what I've heard, I'm under the impression that the Detroit's occasional clicking and banging won't bother or really effect me on the road. If anyone disagrees, I'd like to hear that too.

Any input on this is very much appreciated.

thanks,
Dave Souza
1995 Defender 90 SW
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  #2  
Old February 5th, 2004, 06:30 PM
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Mike Hammond
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Two friends had detroit lockers in the rear and have since swapped to ARB's.
Handling on the road can be a little strange with the detroit locker in the rear particularly if you lift off the power when cornering. You need to keep the power on to keep the diff unlocked to corner on the road and the truck tends to leap about a bit if you have to lift off the power.
They also say that the controlability is an advantage with the ARB.
Just my 2p worth from someone who runs standard open diffs.
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  #3  
Old February 5th, 2004, 06:42 PM
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ARB rear TT up from, thats what i dream about at night.. amoung other things
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  #4  
Old February 5th, 2004, 06:43 PM
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i think i heard if you break a half shaft you will break the detroit, this isnt true with an ARB?
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  #5  
Old February 5th, 2004, 06:45 PM
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Dave Souza
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I've been told by Bill at GBR that 80% of the time a broken shaft will ruin the Detroit. With the ARB, he says 20% of the time it happens.

Why a TT up front and not another ARB?
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  #6  
Old February 5th, 2004, 06:46 PM
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Dave I'm at the same point as you, trying to decide Detroit or ARB. It's my understanding that if you break an axle, the Detroit has a very good chance of being trashed.
Will be watching this thread with great interest.
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  #7  
Old February 5th, 2004, 06:49 PM
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simplicity I guess plus it brings back the self centering of the steering that is lost with a lift. Also i personally with my intentions of wheelin wouldnt feel obligated to upgrade CV's and all with the TT. I think its a bit easier if I may on said drivetrain componets. Just thoughts, my diff's are open. so FWIW

I like the user imput with the ARB.

The ARB plumbing isnt very hard, i helped with it on a TJ and a FJ
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  #8  
Old February 5th, 2004, 07:01 PM
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Randy, I've also posted this question to the D90 yahoo list and the BSROA club list... I've received two good replies from BSROA that encourge an ARB solution, for various reasons. Both actually quite critical on the True up front, suggesting ARB front no matter what.

Not yet hearing much support for the Detroit option...
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  #9  
Old February 5th, 2004, 07:16 PM
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Wow,

There is a good amount of mis-information out there. We all know that you should not put a detroit up front in a truck that gets any road time. IMHO I would not put one up front in a truck that is trail only as well because sometimes you need that thing to turn off for steering. A shaft breaking CAN break a detroit in the rover carrier, I am not going to try to throw a percentage out there because that is impossible to tell but it CAN break an ARB as well.

So front ARB, they are darn tough and you really get what you pay for.

For the rear, the ARB would be great as well, but worth the extra money?? Thats the tough part. Start ranking how important things are to you. Will it affect handling, no. With full time 4wd you will forget it is back there aside from the occasional click. A good set of tires will drown that noise out anyway. You do not have selectablity but that gets offset by a very headache free system, no air line, no trouble.

In my opinion The best set up is Detroit for the rear, stick it in and forget about it. If money is not a factor at ALL, go ARB....in a rockready D60.....

The only other peace of advise I would consider is if you have 35in tires or larger, just leave the diffs open. No need to spend money just to break stuff, unless you wheel easy terrain, then you don't need lockers anyway.

P.S. keep in mind that if you ask a vendor what is the best set-up, he will say the most expensive option, because for him, it is the best set up
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  #10  
Old February 5th, 2004, 07:28 PM
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Randy Black
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Thanks, I'll watch Yahoo also.
The thought of a broken axle...blown diff...walking home...?

I guess you could pull both axles and drive in front wheel drive.
But lets see...if the trail is bad enough to break an axle on, what are the chances of getting back out with 1/2 as many wheel drive.
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  #11  
Old February 5th, 2004, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Buckon37s
...We all know that you should not put a Detroit up front in a truck that gets any road time. IMHO I would not put one up front in a truck that is trail only as well because sometimes you need that thing to turn off for steering.
My own opinion is opposite just from my experiences. I have had TT up front of the Disco for 3+ years without issue. It locks when I need it and the TT does unlock when you turn the wheel back and forth real quick.

I agree about the Detroit in the rear as well. I have enjoyed the Detroit in the rear for almost 4 years. With the front and rear setup, I don't ever have to worry stopping clicking buttons and clicking again when out of the nasty spot. The go when I need them and stop when I don't. Simple and it works for me.

The Disco also has been my daily driver and you do need to adjust your driving habits just a bit to accommodate for the ever so faint pull wit them but other than that and a few clicks from the rear on tight right turns, all has been fine.
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Originally Posted by Lriwater: As you know, most wives don't like Series trucks due to the ride and lack of creature comforts. Girlfriends seem to like those, but some sort of magic happens during the wedding ceremony.
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  #12  
Old February 5th, 2004, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by snuffer
I guess you could pull both axles and drive in front wheel drive.
But lets see...if the trail is bad enough to break an axle on, what are the chances of getting back out with 1/2 as many wheel drive.
And the drive shaft to that diff if you have blown the diff.

As long as you are with a good group, you can get off the trail in 2wd. Might take some creative tow strapping and winching on tougher trails but it can definatly be done. The guys from Discoweb pulled a rangie in their group out of Pritchett Canyon in '01.
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Originally Posted by Lriwater: As you know, most wives don't like Series trucks due to the ride and lack of creature comforts. Girlfriends seem to like those, but some sort of magic happens during the wedding ceremony.
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  #13  
Old February 5th, 2004, 07:58 PM
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Forgot about the drive shaft, it would still be a blender wouldn't it.
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  #14  
Old February 5th, 2004, 09:17 PM
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I don't want to go ARB if it'll only matter 2% of the time.
What if that 2% was the one time you ended up rolling your truck or having to buy another locker & have everything setup again?

I am heavily biased towards ARBs based on my experience .... and here's why....

If you break a heavy duty axle with a Detroit, the chances are very high you'll be replacing the locker. The chance is there with an ARB, as well, but I've seen enough axle breaks on trucks to know the ARBs fair much better.

In fact, every HD axle break i've seen with a detroit has taken out the detroit. I've never seen that happen with an ARB .. though, i have heard of 1 instance.

Also, being as though you live out east, being from NC myself & having wheeled up and down the east coast, ... there are times when you don't want the rear locked. Wheelers that just rockcrawl & never run some place like Tellico don't quite get this point.

If you almost always have traction like we do out here, its probably a mute point, a Detroit is a good option....there just aren't the slicked up trails out here like there is back east.

However, everywhere on the east coasts gets slicked up on a pretty regular basis & slippery side slopes with a Detroit will often throw/walk you sideways .... with an ARB, just unlock the rear and the non-driven rear wheel will act as an actor & keep you from 'walking' sideways.

Go with the ARBs ... front and rear. You'll be glad you did.
T
ps- &, FWIW, RT Designs (www.rovertracks.com) has no affiliation with ARB & does not sell any of their products
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  #15  
Old February 5th, 2004, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
The only other peace of advise I would consider is if you have 35in tires or larger, just leave the diffs open. No need to spend money just to break stuff, unless you wheel easy terrain, then you don't need lockers anyway.
My thoughts exactly, I run 35" MTRs and NO lockers, with a little creativeness you can fallow the 33" locked guys without a hitch.
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Old February 5th, 2004, 09:38 PM
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Originally posted by Mike Hippert
My thoughts exactly, I run 35" MTRs and NO lockers, with a little creativeness you can fallow the 33" locked guys without a hitch.
"fallow"? Mike, what button did you forget to push? I installed the spell checker just for you! lol
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Originally Posted by Lriwater: As you know, most wives don't like Series trucks due to the ride and lack of creature comforts. Girlfriends seem to like those, but some sort of magic happens during the wedding ceremony.
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  #17  
Old February 5th, 2004, 10:01 PM
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LMAO at myself

You know I have word open too and I have been chekin my spelin for everything else I can't see how I forgot to hit that nice spelchek button.
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  #18  
Old February 5th, 2004, 10:20 PM
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Guys,

Having just blown a driveshaft on the trail with two locked trucks, I finally had the realization. Having a locked axle is e-a-s-i-e-r on the rig than being open. The locked trucks were able to carefully pick their climbs, backing and filling as needed.

The only way for me to even consider making the trail on the other hand, was by using momentum -- thus I could not take my time, stop and analyze my position, back off, or change routes. I almost made it, the way I usually have in the past -- even to others amazement that my open rig could run with the locked rigs. But I came up short on this one. I know now that having at least a locked rear diff will save my rig from a lot of brutal punishment in the future. Now just need to get it done. Thinking about going Detroit in the rear....


Doug W.
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  #19  
Old February 5th, 2004, 10:28 PM
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If you are looking for a real bomb proof set-up and cash is no object, talk to great basin rovers about Jack MacNamara Difs. They use either a cable or vacuum to lock. The downside is that they do not come cheap at all.

EwS
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  #20  
Old February 5th, 2004, 11:53 PM
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I agree complelely Doug... I've had to work pretty hard to get through some things that locked trucks are able to creep right up gently. I think I'm smart enough as a driver to to know when to ease up and save the axles (I've seen enough break when the driver didn't know when to say when) Not to say the axles won't just eventually go, as I understand it is a weakening process over time due to the locker that causes the failure.

And I'd love the Mac's, but $$$ is certainly an issue in this case!
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