DIFF LOCKS, PRUDENT USE AND ADVANTAGES

 
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:30 pm    Post subject: DIFF LOCKS, PRUDENT USE AND ADVANTAGES Reply with quote

NOT NECESSARY FOR MOST.... DIFF LOCKS ARE MORE FOR THE ENTHUSIAST OR INTREPID EXPLORER...

This one is a hint for both Newbies and Veterans, on the prudent use of Diff-Locks. Wink

(I digress a moment for those that don't know what Diff-locks are....) This is the differential locking device that locks up both wheel evenly... Without it, most 4x4's will just transfer the power through the differential to the least loaded side (and the one that is in the bog just spins while the other on firm ground just sits there doing nothing) Ha! Now a differential is necessary to allow your drive axles to go around curves so the outside wheel can turn more than the inside.... However, it makes most 4x4's in the mud only sort of have one wheel driving in front and one in the back, if two of the wheels are slipping you have nothing and bogged again...

My second most important piece of off-road gear is the Diff-Lock. It locks up both to turn evenly... Can't run on the road obviously, this is only for in the soft stuff. All or nearly all tractors have this so they can run around in muddy paddocks ploughing... Anyway... I have one ARB Air-locker in the back of my 89 Sahara and a beefed up LSD in the front..(Limited Slip Diff)... The beef up of an LSD is the second best option, and is accomplished by a good Off-road Mechanic by shimming the springs on the LSD clutch pack. Usually they go in the rear, and the clutch packs have a limited life... You can only put one of these in the front if you have the after-market lock out hubs like I have on my Sahara, and like I added on my old Ford F-350 (Yes they still make them- Mine were from Warn- Note this was written ten years ago, that truck is long gone. The LSD would be dangerous to steering if you did not have the lock out hubs in the front...

Now on my 100 Series, I have the ultimate: Diff-Locks front and rear... On my F-250 I also had ARB Air –Lockers both front and rear… But that takes talent to drive, as in the mud with both wheels turning and biting in the front, as one wheel grabs some firm ground it will lurch and over-steer in that direction... Let me emphasize that point!!!! In off road conditions, the front Diff-Lock is the greatest, but you have to learn how to gingerly drive it or you will hit a tree.... With both wheels grabbing mud, as one gets a hold of some serious traction it will pull the front end that way and oversteer... You have to take it slow and careful...

I have to tell you that with all four locked up, my 100 Series Cruiser will darn near tow another Cruiser where it could not go by itself with standard slipping differentials.... It is a real Beast!! And the Ford F-250? It is (was, sold years ago) a real tractor with unbelievable torque, you can idle around in Low Range… And ARB Air Lockers are the King, as you can selectively turn them on or off with a flip of the paddle switch.... So, in most conditions, you would not run down a greasy track with the front Locker engaged.... OK?

Now to the general Tip: Don't use them going in..... Simple as that !!.... Off road towing means that sometimes you are lazy and don't get out to walk suspect ground.... And sometimes you are fooled by a dried crust on suspect ground... And I have been fooled for instance on the Gregory River in North Qld by dry river gravel that was smooth, mossy, and very wet little greased ball bearings underneath as I broke through the crust with my 20' Bushtracker on the back.... Now my tip is in general, save some ammo... Have some reserves, don't use the diff-locks to get in if it is that bad, because if you get in the poo too deep (and I do), then you need to have reserves to back out of a bad spot.... If you inadvertently go in to bad slick ground, and quickly stop before you make a mess of things, you can "Lock Her Up Baby" and have double the traction to gingerly back out slowly in low-range without breaking traction..... This smart move has kept my boots clean many times as I got older and smarter... This will save many of you if you stop immediately when you are in trouble before you make a mess of it, and "Lock Her Up" and back out of trouble slowly, again without breaking traction you will have twice the grab and can easily get back out.... But, not if you use the Diff-Locks to just get much further in the poo... Then you better just set up camp and make a cup of tea... Ha! Laughing Laughing

Now there is an exception to that rule: There are places where you can see that you are going to get into the Bog... But you can see the other side.. For instance I remember one occasion on the shortcut back track from William Creek on the Oodnadatta sp? anyway the short cut over to Coober Pedy is quite a nice track from William Creek... But when I was last on it there were bogs about 10-20 Metres long.... Only a half dozen in 20 kms or so of the 115km shortcut.. But... With a 20' Bushtracker on the back and no way to get around them, you just have to pull your hat down tight over your ears, and tell em to "Open up the gate" and just "let her rip" !!! (Translation): That means Yes, diff-locks in, all you’ve got, and Low Range on the Transfer Case with a powerful gear like third with good rpm (depending on your vehicle) and a gear that won't BOG down... No pun intended. Ha! Yea right… And in that case you just hit it with a little run, not to fast to throw mud and water over the bonnet onto the windscreen, just a bit firm and powerful... And you keep your boots clean with the extra pulling power of the Diff-Locks... As the secret to short runs through bogs is Diff-Locks and keeping up the momentum... And ARB Air-Lockers are the only ones that are selective, in when you want, out when you don't... I even have them in my Mack, Not ARB ones, but anyway, diff-locks and transfer case lock.
Go-anywhere security...

Happy Trails

[b]ANOTHER ARTICLE ON DIFF LOCK TYPES AND USE from years ago:
Diff-Locks, the Two Types, Advantages and Dangers….[/b]

For those of you in the “Planning Stage” there are two basic types of Diff-Locks, and that is what this Tip is about… Pros and cons of the tww… As there is a very serious danger involved.. Being and enthusiast I have owned both extensively, so here goes…

Part of this comes from how to use your Diff Locks in Extreme 4x4 - Diff locks priorities, and then I move on to practical use of them and a danger involved.... (I digress a moment for those that don't know what Diff-locks are....) This is the differential locking device that locks up both wheels evenly like a tractor... Without it, most 4x4's will just transfer the power through the differential to the least loaded side (and the one that is in the bog just spins while the other on firm ground just sits there doing nothing) Ha! Now a differential is necessary to allow your drive axles to go around curves so the outside wheel can turn more than the inside.... However, it makes most 4x4's in the mud only sort of have one wheel driving in front and one in the back, if two of the wheels are slipping you have nothing and "Bogged" again... Each differential with a diff-lock engaged increases your 4x4 ability by about 25% in the right conditions…

One style of Diff-Lock is like the “Detroit Locker”, and it is engaged all the time, to mechanically disengage itself as necessary… Now that is OK, one type drives a little funny and clicks as it disengages while you go around corners, and the Japanese one in the larger trucks, gives a funny little lurch now and then in town when it disengages, sort of a feeling like you ran over a little bump with one wheel… But that is not the problem.. The problem is that it pretty much stays on except when you go around corners, and you cannot manually disconnect it !! Believe it or not, there are some times when Diff-Locks are a disadvantage, particularly when you are slipping sideways on greasy ground, loosing traction on a steep slope side on down a hill… I first learned this in about 1973 trying to get along a steep slope to pick up a load of firewood I had cut… I could not disconnect a diff-lock, and the even traction was a disadvantage… I went sideways more than forward.

With the other type of Diff-Lock, like the one ARB makes, it is operated by air. I bought electric Diff-Locks for my 1993 Troopcarrier out of a Sahara, but they both have one thing in common, you select when you want them in, and select to disconnect them… The ARB ones have the added advantage of being run by a compressor, that you can buy a hose for, to fill your tyres. The point is that in the same situation as above, sometimes in funny circumstance you are better off not having a Diff-Lock engaged… Believe me, it happens..

Now here is a "Safety Warning"…. On my 100 Series, I have the ultimate: Diff-Locks front and rear... But that takes talent to drive, as in the mud with both wheels turning and biting in the front, if one wheel grabs some firm ground it will lurch and over-steer in that direction... Let me emphasize that point!!!! In off road conditions, the front Diff-Lock is the greatest, but you have to learn how to gingerly drive it or you will hit a tree.... With both wheels evenly grabbing mud it is fine; but as one gets a hold of some serious traction it will lurch severely and pull the front end that way and oversteer... You have to take it slow and careful... But I have to tell you that with all four locked up, my 100 Series Cruiser will darn near tow another Cruiser where it could not go by itself with standard slipping differentials.... It is a real Beast! Just know that in most conditions, you would not run down a greasy track with the front Locker engaged... And if you did you have to be really careful as the one side can catch serious tracktion and oversteer lurch to one side a metre or two.. OK?

The important thing to remember is to drive very slowly with the front locker engaged, as it will feel just fine if everything is nice and greasy, but you will tend to build speed, but when you hit a firm spot with one wheel and it will scare Hell right out of you. It can be dangerous if you have much speed on, as it really can jump sideways a couple of meters… You don’t want to get to overconfident, building speed, to have that happen; or you will find yourself having a close encounter with a tree or ditch before you know what happens..

Also when getting into the poo, and you sense “this is trouble”: Keep something in reserve, or you will find that you ran into trouble with all capabilities already running, and nothing in reserve to get you back out. One of the greatest things about Diff-Locks is to get you OUT of trouble… If you use them liberally all the time, guess what, they will get you further INTO trouble with no reserves to get out.. The one sort of exception that comes to mind is the big 20 metre bogs in the track…. For example: You can see where you are going, dry ahead through a 50-60 foot muddy bog, and it is ALL OR NOTHING. So, a little run at it and Diff-Locks engaged, and a good gear maybe third in low range (depending on the tow vehicle), and power on through it without hesitation.. But in unknown messy ground, in general, save the Lockers to get you out if you run into trouble rather than using the Lockers to get you further into the BOG…!

Additional trick: (For older Cruisers and Patrols, and some other vehicles)
I have had two of my own Cruisers in twenty years with front and rear Diff-Locks in 4x4 Clubs, and where they will go is awesome! I still have one… Plus I have the old 1989 Sahara with another trick combo that I have fully restored for my Son. It came with an LSD (Limited Slip Diff) in the rear. They do not last long as clutch pack discs LSD, but you can rebuild them with a spacer and bigger spring to get an excellent over performance LSD, and it will not wear out fast if you put it in the front on a vehicle with “Free wheeling hubs” as it is not turning on the highway. (In the older Cruisers the front and rear diffs were interchangeable). In those conditions it really gets no wear, only in 4x4 with the hubs engaged. So on my old fully restored 89 Sahara Turbo, I have an ARB Locker in the rear, and a custom built LSD in the front, that used to be the rear one. On the older 4x4’s the diffs front and rear were interchangeable. So it is now almost as good as having twin ARB Air Lockers ! What a difference it makes, you can crawl over things that lift a wheel off the ground front or rear or both and still keep going… Really almost doubles the traction over a normal 4x4 in the right Conditions…

Cheers from the Ranger, Still doin’ it in the Bush…….


Last edited by Bushtracker on Thu May 15, 2008 2:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Saraton



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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 11:29 am    Post subject: FRONT DIFF LOCKS IN IFS L/C V8 Reply with quote

Has anyone put a diff lock in the front of an ifs 100ser V8 cruiser and if so any problems such as cv's I am only interested in front diff not rear as the lsd is still working pretty good. The front diff needs to have better traction . I know the front diff housing is the size of a hilux diff and is too small for a v8 cruiser and hence is prone to problems with cv's breaking . I have had diff locks in previous vehicles and know all the limitations and driving techniques involved. I won't be going 4wd mountain goating I will need it for my travels in an emergency traversing soft muddy ground ,sand or slightly uneven ground at idle whilst towing. So any feedback would be great. To lock or not to lock Confused Question
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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My 100 Series live axle monobeam front diff, has a ARB Diff lock, and it digs better than the rear diff lock..

Mine in low range and Auto, is a TRACTOR that goes places you cannot walk upright. In a word Awesome... Shocked

But I have not heard about it in the IFS, maybe call ARB, they are the Leader and can tell you right off.. Regards, stg
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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 1:43 pm    Post subject: diff locks ifs 100ser Reply with quote

Hi Steve, I have rung ARB and they do make a diff lock for the ifs. They say it strengthens the smallish diff but the cv's are the weakest link and they tend to break and not the diff. The cv's can break even without the difflock and you have to be really really carefull you don't come down too hard with the locker on or else you break the cv. The ifs front end is not like your 100ser which is a beast and last of the mohicans. I suppose I am trying to make something out of something that it can't be and just kidding myself by putting a diff lock on front end. The 100ser with the ifs is really a city vehicle like the 200ser not really outback tough as the Toyota would let you believe. The ifs suspension setup is the baddy. Even deep ruts and potholes can do damage to it.
My vehicle would never go places yours can do with ease. Maybe with a bit more shove and push or winching . But for the peace of mind of having that traction in slippery conditions could be the difference between getting your shoes dirty or not. I would still like the diff lock option but whether its worth it or not depends on your use. Has anyone with an ifs cruiser gotten stuck towing their BT and wish they had diff locks up front or are they a waste of money. Question Ps Steve is your Silverado ifs or live axle setup regards Peter
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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Silverado is IFS.... And its' WEAKEST POINT.... For sure...

Similiar problems. Tie rod ends weak, steering mounts weak, the same sort of issues for exreme rock crawling or even hitting a washout or jump up a bit too hard on the cattle grate sort of thing.... HOWEVER, on the Silverado, there are som inexpensive upgrades to be had, Tie Rod end sleaves for about $100 and so on... Kind Regards, stg
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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 8:43 pm    Post subject: diffs ifs 100ser v8 Reply with quote

Thanks Steve, I am with you on the Silverado its an aaawesome tow vehicle but unfortunately that ifs . The ride would be great and for towing its the ultimate machine but off road it still is good .My ifs goes whereever I want to go .I don't try and go up testosterone hills or tracks anymore and you wouldn't tow your Bt there.. But with all that massive torque a diff lock may not be needed on the Silverado unless wheel travel is lost on some sections especially towing some 3.5tons. Next question can you get a difflock to fit the Silverado. and does towing with diff locks on cause more damage to front diffs. All that extra weight behind must have repercussions on the weakest point being the diffs. Are the diffs centres big on the silverado and can you get them beefed up for towing.
Now comparing it to the Fords F250 does the ford diff centre differ in any way, is it stronger or the same. But its a monobeam so it would be better offroad but ride is it the same as the Silverado onroad . Owning both vehicles which is the pick of the bunch. If you had to fit diff locks to either. I am asking this question as I wouldn't use these vehicles to go 4wding alone only as a towing point of view to get out of trouble as a combined rig. As you have pointed out before they're better vehicles for that 4wd jaunt but for towing safely the bigger usa trucks are better. I have seen the Silverado close up and would buy it over a Ford just on finish but that ifs bugs me. I am having my ifs front end rubber boot changed as it has cracked on my landcruiser and the ongoing maintenace of these ifs diffs and problems they have just turns me off ifs equipped 4x4's. So does the Silverado benefit from a front diff locker or is not needed having all that massive torque. regards Peter
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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have not looked into diff locks for the Silverado. The local Brazilian Built Fords, are really basic, terrible turning circle, and not a patch on the full import Fords that are twice the vehicle...... Read about the differences in the Silverado Thread where Maximus asks me to compare the Silverado with the full import Fords...

In a nutshell the Silverado is a Luxury Car, where the Import Fords are a truck with bigger running gear, bigger chassis, bigger tail shafts, generally a tougher vehicle if you are going to work it hard. The Silverado has the edge on luxury, the Fords the edge on "Super Duty"...
For most of us towing Bushtracker vans, we do not need that extreme tough truck, and the Silverado suits most Bushtracker Owners needs just fine. The diffs are fine, it all works off road, I have been in touch with remote mountain road building crew that runs 5 of them in America, and they hold up pretty well.

One more thing, Rubber is more important than diff-locks. Read the Topic on the Traction tyres in this Category. Extreme Off-Road Mud Terrain tyres like those, would mean more than a diff lock in the front... And the truth is, you sound like more the average needs in off-road, and are not the extreme gold fossicker or the like that needs that higher level of off-road capability.... So I might now worry about it. A winch goes a long way, mud terrains go a long way, you would be amazed where I have gotten into and out of....

Kind Regards, stg
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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 2:55 pm    Post subject: diff locks Reply with quote

Thanks Steve I am trying to find the perfect BT TOW VEHICLE . The Silverado obviously is the best allrounder even without diff locks and with the right rubber as you've stated makes it the ultimate towing big van machine and you get all the luxuries we have become accustommed to these days. Still I would be interested to see if a diff lock fits the silverado just as a peace of mind if ever needed. I've had 2 4x4's with them previously and know they make a big difference to its 4wd ability. In this case just for help in towing not as much as for 4wding . For anyone who hasn't driven a vehicle with one they don't know what they are missing out on. I like the ability to crawl over anything without damaging the vehicle or even the van if in that situation. Just keep on your R&D and keep us informed how the diff locks perform whilst towing. Thanks for all your info again. regards Peter
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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless the specifications of your vehicle are different Steve the Silverado is fitted with an auto diff lock on the rear diff.

This diff lock will automatically lock the rear wheels when single wheel spin is detected.

A diff lock in the rear will suit most outback drivers quite well.

I would have expected that you would have been aware of that feature.
I think that the Ford so called tough trucks lack this most important feature.

Regards
Mike Hunt
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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike,
It sounds like you are not familiar with the real Fords, the full Imports. They have a fairly large LSD Truck clutch pack, and this Truck Gear Limited Slip Diff is about as good as most Diff locks. The Super Duty Fords are a real work truck, larger in most specifications, where the Silverado is more a luxury CAR, that comfortable suits the needs of most Bushtracker Owners.

I have not bothered to look into the diff lock issue on my Silverado, as it is not broken in, and I am due to go back up there this month for the Break In Service, and Gull Wing canopy. Most of these actually have LSDs in the rear, not true Diff Locks; as there are not many true automatic diff locks that are not a total nuisance on the highway. Without even looking I would assume the Silverado runs like that.

A selective Diff Lock is the way to go, as there are a few rare but real times when a diff lock is a disadvantage and you really need to turn it off. That is the disadvantage of the ARB Air Locker. I do not think these Silverados have any Diff Locks, as they mentioned ARB across the street could put one in. At best they have a clutch pack LSD. I think this is a custom order issue if you wanted a selective one from new, but again I prefer the ARB, and an air hose off the compressor to do tyres as well..

Been there, done that, Just the way it is... stg
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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Most of these actually have LSDs in the rear, not true Diff Locks"

Mmmm. may not be correct there Steve.
This from the Chev web site.

Automatic Locking Rear Differential
When rear-wheel slippage is detected at lower speeds, the available GM segment exclusive automatic locking rear differential allows additional traction on snow, mud and ice, or even a wet boat ramp. If one of the rear wheels has traction while the other does not, the locking rear axle automatically sends power to the wheel with grip to move the vehicle. Locking rear differential benefits include:

Enhanced performance for on- and off-road driving and towing
FULL LOCKUP for maximum drive power to both rear wheels
Fully automatic engagement
Speed-sensitive actuation, which provides axle lockup when one wheel spins faster than the other

For accurate Chev specs readers would be well served by looking at this webpage.

http://www.chevrolet.com/silverado/

Mike Hunt
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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, there you go... Upon investigation and a call to Performax, I stand corrected... The ARB Air Locker they were talking about is optional for the front....

On Chevrolets 2500 HD like I have it is a Standard. The reason I could not feel it, and assumed it was a LSD, is somehow they allow one and one half full spins before it locks in. That is why you don't necessarily feel it going around corners. I will have to look at a part blow up out of curiosity to see how they did it. Anyway, rear full lockup is Standard and in mine, after one and a half revolutions of one side spinning it engages. And I don't have a clue how it works, but I am due up there this month for the canopy and will check it out....

5400 kms on it, and I am still learning what it can do, but all is good..

Cheers, stg
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