Limited Slip or Locking Differential - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old December 15th, 2014, 02:06 AM
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David
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Limited Slip or Locking Differential

This weekend I was envious of those LR in my group that had locking diffs. But then it made me ponder would a limited slip be better suited for off road?

I may regret this but thought I would ask this. I look forward to any lewd posts that give me a laugh that come :-)
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  #2  
Old December 15th, 2014, 02:26 AM
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David,

Trutracs and the like are nice. I had one in the rear of my truck for a while. I took it out and swapped it for an ARB. The trutracs work well, but usually take a little bit of wheelspin to get to locked up.

I like being able to flip that switch and know that the rear is locked before heading up something, like this weekend before I headed up the Gold Mtn trail with no low range.. I just locked the center and rear and motored right up it.

I think it really matters what kind of offroading you are going to be doing in the end. Get to know your truck offroad first and foremost. Better tires would have helped you out a lot more than a rear locker would have. The main problem was you weren't getting any traction with your all season tires. Just remember, even the guys with the LR3's with the rear lockers couldn't make it up.

Jake
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Old December 15th, 2014, 02:46 AM
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Thanks. Yes tires are my next discussion topic. One of my customers is the editor of Diesel Mag. I am going to talk to him about tires.

I was left feeling very frustrated. Least I didn't slide off a cliff ;-)
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  #4  
Old December 15th, 2014, 03:33 AM
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Figure out what new truck you want to get and then go from there.. That will dictate your tire choice. You can run a larger diameter tire with more sidewall on a D2 than on a LR3/4.
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Old December 15th, 2014, 07:19 AM
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Which one works better really depends on what you want to do, what truck you have and how you plan to drive.

For light occasional off road use, a TT or Ashcroft ATB might do the trick. The thing to keep in mind on these is that they are not "Lockers" and if you lift a wheel or are in a very slick situation they will spin just one wheel. But if you can typically keep your wheels on the ground they work pretty well. I ran my truck for years with dual TT's and it was super capable. You just need to learn how they work and adapt your driving style to suit. If you're the pedal to the floor until you get through kind of guy these might not be right for you. Couple of other notes, they lose efficiency the lager your tires get, but work well with Traction Control.

Select-able lockers are in a totally different price point, but offer you the freedom of choice between fully locked and fully open. They do require you to think about when you're going to need them locked and when not. If you keep them locked at the wrong time you could slide off an edge or not be able to make a turn.

A fully locked for the rear is an option too. I ran one until a few months ago. They are nice but you do have to be careful on slick side hills and other situations where you're rear end could slide out on you.
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Old December 15th, 2014, 09:18 AM
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Another point to consider. With a Detroit Truetrac the chance of breaking drive shafts, axles, drive flanges, etc. is dramatically smaller than if running a selectable locker like an ARB. Also ask yourself if you want to install the switches, air pump and associated wiring and tubing required for the ARB. Your D looks relatively stock. With a Truetrac it would essentially continue to be stock and could be sold as stock (where the premium prices are). You will not even know the truetrac is installed. Unless you are scrambling up rock fields and enjoy breaking stuff, I don't see the reason for an ARB.
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  #7  
Old December 15th, 2014, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by JSBriggs View Post
IMO you better to stay open for a while. You'll what your vehicle is capable of, to pick your own line, and it will make you a better driver. Give it a year or two.

-Jeff
I'm with Briggs.

Just buy a good set of tires, enjoy learning the skills of picking lines/listening to spotters and lend a hand when getting unstuck.

Your truck is more than capable without lockers for now.
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  #8  
Old December 15th, 2014, 11:21 AM
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I've pondered lockers and trutracs for years. I've been running open for 16 years and never any real issues that I couldn't work out.
If I'm not mistaken, Bill Burke teaches how to drive open. I don't know his real stance on this debate though.
Think of it this way, the U.S. Military Hummers are equipped with limited slip similar to trutracs if I'm not mistaken. There must be a reason they didn't opt for lockers.
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  #9  
Old December 15th, 2014, 11:26 AM
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lockers get you more stuck
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  #10  
Old December 15th, 2014, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by rover4x4 View Post
lockers get you more stuck
Couldn't agree more. I was going to quote that phrase that I heard a few years back; "lockers will get you stuck in places even more inaccessible."

Plus with my open diffs, I do better on icy road conditions than locked diffs like the Detroit. Even limited slips can be challenging on icy roads. They can make you go sideways.
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  #11  
Old December 15th, 2014, 01:08 PM
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I'll echo the above statements.. It really depends on what truck you are going to get next. The main thing is to get your new truck, get some good off road tires and take it out and find the limits for the trails you are going to be running. They only trails in CA where you would really want lockers would be stuff like John Bull, Rubicon, Dusy-Eshrim and Fordyce Creek..

FWIW I waited about two years before I upgraded my rear open diff to a truetrac. The only real reason why I upgraded is because I got a smoking deal on it. The truck was functioning just fine for 90% of the trails I was doing. For those other 10% I was getting by just picking good lines, stacking rocks when necessary, and then going from there. Better tires were the biggest improvement and bang for the buck over stock.. I had the truetrac for about a year before i came upon another too good of a deal to pass up for a set of ARB's set up in thirds with stock gears. I swapped out the truetrac for the ARB and didn't even have the air lines run for the first 6 months. I was essentially just running an open diff for that time. The front diff is still sitting in a bucket in my garage waiting for me to get off my duff and install it.

I led a trip a few months ago up Miller Jeep Trail and a guy with a bone stock 04 Disco on stock street tires showed up. The trail we were running was difficult but we figured that even then we should be able to get him up with a little tug here and there. His truck with the CDL and traction control did better than another guy in the club who had a 2000 Disco without the CDL, better tires and a lift. There was only one spot where he had a lot of trouble, which gave all of the trucks on the trip some pause. Only damage on his truck that day (surprisingly) was a cut sidewall. We got him up to a flat spot, threw on his spare and he made the remainder of the trail with no issue. A few bumps and bangs on the undercarriage but no breakages. Had he had a small lift and better tires with beefier sidewalls that he could have aired down further he probably would have made it up with the least amount of drama of all the trucks on the trip.

I cant stress enough to get to know your truck well first before you start dropping money on big money bolt ons like lockers. Once you start down that road its a slippery slope because once you get lockers you're going to want to upgrade your axles, and once you upgrade your axles something else in the drivetrain becomes the weakest link..
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  #12  
Old December 15th, 2014, 03:07 PM
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I think lockers have one purpose: They make both tires spin at the same speed no matter what.

This has significant advantages over open diffs.

My opinion: If you can afford it, go selectable lockers. ARB, Ashcroft, etc.

I know folks have reported good results with a detroit locker. Downside is that it is not selectable.

As far as LSDs go, they are essentially open diffs when one wheel has no traction, which is precisely the time when you most need a locker. That sounds like a significant disadvantage to me.
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  #13  
Old December 15th, 2014, 03:28 PM
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If a wheel comes off the ground, a little left foot brake reengages the LSD.
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  #14  
Old December 15th, 2014, 03:47 PM
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I've got a detroit in the rear of my 109.

Biggest issue with an automatic locker is wheelbase. The more wheelbase you have, the less you notice it. However I think a good automatic locker like a detroit will be fine in a 90.

I'm against selectable lockers. People either wait too late to engage them and THEN get into trouble, or just assume that their air lines/compressor/compressor wiring works and then get into trouble and oooohhhhhh you ain't got nothing.

You could do the Toyota 8" conversion. Those selectable lockers are more reliable, but engage them BEFORE you need them.

So many times I've been wheeling and on a hill climb and people wait until the stop forward motion THEN engage their lockers...but are still stuck. When locking it up would've just gotten them through. Also I had to stop and everyone else behind me. Now everyone is stuck. Good job...

Overall, a detroit in the rear will just work. No wondering if you need to engage it now...if its on...if its working. It just is. Combine this with upgraded axle shafts and it'll just work for you. You'll notice a bit of a difference when driving but you'll get used to it.
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  #15  
Old December 15th, 2014, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LR Max View Post
I've got a detroit in the rear of my 109.

Biggest issue with an automatic locker is wheelbase. The more wheelbase you have, the less you notice it. However I think a good automatic locker like a detroit will be fine in a 90.

You could do the Toyota 8" conversion. Those selectable lockers are more reliable, but engage them BEFORE you need them.
I have a Detroit in my 90 and do not notice it is there. It does nothing strange on ice or side hills or anywhere else. IMO, people with bad experiences are using them in 2WD.

I would not say the Toy e-lockers are reliable. They are meant to use very complicated controls and IME fail quite often.

Nothing wrong with a manual locker. I would use the Ashcroft one if buying one now. It is up to the installer to make sure the air installation is bulletproof. People that have failure do not put enough work into doing that correctly.

Back to the OP question though...if you have to ask, you don't "need" it. If your wheeling gets to that level, you will know enough to be getting all question answered on the trail.

I'm not sure what your poor experience was on this last trip, but unless heavy mud was the problem, then most likely air pressure would have solved everything. If you go on a trip and people are not properly airing down, don't listen to anything that they have to say.
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  #16  
Old December 15th, 2014, 04:39 PM
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For the longest time I used a light touch of left foot braking to keep going through obstacles. Works great especially with auto boxes.
But as I got to drive tougher obstacles a locker became inevitable. ARBs are great if you want multi purpose set up and are willing to accommodate the mild extra complexity of operation. I wasn't and went Detroit.
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  #17  
Old December 15th, 2014, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Red90 View Post
I'm not sure what your poor experience was on this last trip, but unless heavy mud was the problem, then most likely air pressure would have solved everything. If you go on a trip and people are not properly airing down, don't listen to anything that they have to say.
I was there on this trip. Conditions were pretty slick, wet packed snow.. David aired down a bit at first, iirc he went down to 25 psi on his all season tires. The guy in front of him in a 95 RRC hadnt aired down started up a steep incline and then lost traction. David was directly behind him and I was behind David taking up tail of the group. That killed our momentum. The RRC got out and aired down and got off the slick stuff and took to the fresh snow and got up the hill ok. David was up next, tried to take off again and was just spinning his tires on the incline. I got out and helped him air down to 15 psi and with some gentle feathering of his clutch he was able to climb the hill. I had already aired down to 20 psi on cookie cutter AT's so was fine. Just pushed off slow and climbed right up behind him, no lockers, no low range.

Treat snow like sand, low pressures let you go all over the place as the tires flatten out length wise and give you a bigger footprint and more traction. On the harder bit of trail we had actually came to run I dropped down to 15 psi, locked the CDL and rear ARB and walked right up the slick and rocky stuff three trucks before me (including David) couldn't go up. The two LR3's before David didn't want to drop their tire pressures low enough (although I suggested it) and even with the rear locker (both were HD package trucks) they couldn't make it up. David's all seasons were already down to 15 psi and with the rocks on the trail it wasn't really safe to drop his pressures any lower lest he cut a side wall or drop a bead. Better tires with a tougher sidewall would have served him well, allowing him to get more grip. Even with a traction aid in the rear of his 90 with the tires he had on the truck I doubt he would have made it..
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  #18  
Old December 15th, 2014, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by LuisC View Post
I've pondered lockers and trutracs for years. I've been running open for 16 years and never any real issues that I couldn't work out.
If I'm not mistaken, Bill Burke teaches how to drive open. I don't know his real stance on this debate though.
Think of it this way, the U.S. Military Hummers are equipped with limited slip similar to trutracs if I'm not mistaken. There must be a reason they didn't opt for lockers.
Bill Burke seems to love winching. I'd be surprised if he's not open/open.
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Old December 15th, 2014, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by 1of40 View Post
Bill Burke seems to love winching. I'd be surprised if he's not open/open.
Very locked sir
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  #20  
Old December 15th, 2014, 05:09 PM
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Bill Burke seems to love winching. I'd be surprised if he's not open/open.
I have a winch. But the only time I've needed it was to get someone else out of trouble.
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