I have a Detroit Locker in my ford 9" on my suburban. Works great but on the street its gets kind of tricky around corners. You have to coast around corners or else the locker will engage and your tires will start chirping.
I don't know what you know about lockers, so I'll be basic. A locker will lock both axles in the differential, and keep them locked, except around corners where the centrifical force pulls them out. The force of the outer wheel pulls it out. I prefer a posi, which is based on clutches. When it senses a load, it hooks up, otherwise it stays open. I have a Eaton Posi in my GM 14 bolt SF on my Z71, and I love it. I would think the offroad racing guys would all like lockers, for street use, and some dirt, stick with a posi, less noise, less hassle, less CLANK, CLANK, CLANK. I think Eaton makes one for a Ford 9", I would also look into Auburn. For a locker, Detroit is my fav.
In my humble opinion... a POSI is worthless in many off-road scenarios. It's better than nothing and has excellent street manners, I'll give the POSI that. I've put over 100,000 miles on locker equipped 2wd trucks and wouldn't trade a locker for a posi in any condition, including snow and ice. A posi doesn't do any good when one tire has traction and the other doesn't - it'll still let the tire with the least amount of traction spin... a locker will always (unless it grenades) distribute torque to both wheels when you need it. You'll never have to worry about clutches, friction modifiers, or the quirkiness of a POSI. I say the POSI is quirky because you never know just how it's going to react when the wheels start to spin or slip, with a locker you can bet your butt it'll behave the same way every time. If you plan on driving the vehicle off-road at all, even once a year, I'd say go with a locker. I've decided my Bronco project needs a full-spool in the rear - it's cheaper than a Detroit and stupid reliable. I'd even argue that spools make fine additions to street driven vehicles - if you like that "I don't wanna turn" feeling.
Go for the locker, it'll let a 2wd vehicle keep up with most wussy 4wd guys. I agree, the Detroit is the way to go. ARB lockers leak and are expensive, the new OX Trax cable activated dealy-whomper is a great idea but hasn't really been proven yet - and I don't think they have a 9" version yet.
For street manners you can not beat the Tru-Trac. It is a gear based, as opposed to clutch based posi. It works on the principle that a worm gear can easily drive a spur gear, but a spur gear can not easily turn a worm gear. The gear arrangment is such that it actually senses which tire has more traction (up to a point anyway) and gives that tire more power. This was all worked out by a very smart fellow by the name of Weisman in the late 60's. He built Can-Am transaxles that lived when all of the other so-called experts couldn't build a part to take the 1000 HP they were making even back then. The closest diff to his design out there is the Quaiffe. Bring cubic dollars for one of those. The Tru-Trac gives up some of the inate ability to make it economic to produce.
They will spin a tire if you get one totally in the air. The simple cure is to tap the brakes, that will lock the unit up. They are not as strong as a spool or a Detroit so if you're talking a lot of HP or weight, I wouldn't consider it.
My Xcab Yota (112" WB) came to me with a Detroit in the rear. It does take some getting used to it to drive, but it's not intolerable or spooky. The biggest thing about Detroits is that they do not like to have different tire diameters on each end. I can tell when rear tire pressures differ by 2-3 pounds. I put air chucks on each end of a self coiling hose to equalize air pressure. A Detroit's bad manners will really show up in a short WB like a CJ. Yuck.
"Teach you all I know and you're still stupid"
-- Howdy Lee
I, too, am considering a locker on my 2wd, daily driven, prerunner wannabe. However, I've heard rumours that driving on ice or snow with a rear locker can be dangerous. Is this true? I live in the Dallas, Texas area where it doesn't snow much at all. However, we get ice storms on occasion during the winter, which leave the roads dangerously icy at times. I would like the simplicity and affordability of a full-time locker like a Detroit, but am wondering whether a part-time locker like an ARB would be more prudent for the winter driving. Any advice?
I lived in South Lake Tahoe for almost two years. The first week I moved up there all the "locals" laughed when they saw my SO CAL S-10. They laughed that I lifted my 2wd truck, ahahahahah they said. When I told the local parts house guy that I had a locker he laughed, "you put a Ford 9" in a Chevy? ahahahaha he said, "you'll never be able to go ANYWHERE in 2wd, and a locker'll just make it worse... ahahahhahah - I tried to explain that I grew up in Arrowhead in Southern California, a mini-Tahoe in my mind, and that I had driven in snow before... I kept getting the same reaction - ahahahah a 2wd lifted truck and the owners from SO CAL... ahahahah --- Even people at the grocery store laughed at me.
Well I chained up twice in Tahoe in two years, once because I had to, the other because CHP said he'd ticket me if I didn't. I drove through all sorts of chain checkpoints, the CHP dudes thought my S-10 was 4wd... cuz it looked like a 4wd. I plowed through feet of snow in my locked up 2wd truck. I'd shovel a pickup beds worth of snow for weight and be done with it. I ran 31" BFG muds, another thing people laughed at, "BFG MUD TIRES ARE TERRIBLE IN SNOW AND ICE" Well I hauled ass around Tahoe and motored up and down the mountains without fuss. Yeah, if you want to do doughnuts or pitch the truck around the locker will definitely make that easier. Sure, if you don't know what your doing behind the wheel it'll make you more likely to park it in the berm. Once you "learn the ways of the locker" you'll be fine. I pulled taxi cabs out of the snow, all of them amazed that my truck was 2wd. The parts house guys? I showed up there one day getting parts for my girlfriends car in two feet of snow... no chains, studs, cables, spike spiders... just some weight and a locker. The look on their faces made the trip worth it.
Everyone knocks lockers and spools in snow and ice - few have ever tried it for themselves. Screw them. Oh yeah, when it's time to chain up - you only have to chain one wheel if you're lazy.
I'll add this for the 4wd guys... yes, 4wd is better in the snow than 2wd.
Thanks for sharing that story. Sounds like you've had plenty of experience driving in snow and ice with a locked up 2wd. Unfortunately, I have very little experience driving in those conditions. Would you say that driving in snow with a locked 2wd is different from driving on ice with one? Do you think practicing in slick mud or wet grass would help me learn how to drive on icy roads with a locked up 2wd? Any tips on driving on ice with a locked up 2wd?
Thanks for the info, Jack. I've considered an ARB, which recently became available for the non-TRD Tacomas. Unfortunately, it's a little out of my price range right now. But it would sure help on the street and especially when the roads become icy in the winter. By the way, I've read posts on the other forums claiming that some ARB units have problems with leaking air lines. Have you experienced anything like that? If so, would upgrading the lines to steel braided ones help any?
i was just wondering if anyone has any experience with a spool on their daily driver? how does it handle, do the tires where bad, is it worth it once you hit the dirt? anything would be helpful, i am puting a 9 inch in the back of my toyota so i can 4-link it, and i bought a spool for it. i do as much off-roading as i do street driving, but i dont want the street to be too much of a pain, it already bothers me enough. anyway, thanks for the help.
I have driven a 7s truck with a spool on the street quite a bit and never knew it was back there. It was a regular cab longbed ranger with 35" baja's. But I have driven a regular cab shortbed ranger with a locker, 33 AT's and you knew about it everytime you took a sharp corner. As stated earlier on this thread I think wheel base has a lot to do with it. I think the reg. cab/ longbed is 114" WB and the short bed is 102". Those numbers are off the top of my head so I could be wrong. I have a factory limited slip on my ranger and it has never let me down. Got 100k on it and still going.
Does anyone think the tire compond has an effect? Baja's may be a little more forgiving on the street since they are so hard..
No diference in mileage. And you did not feel the spool because in a race truck the chasie and suspention piviot points are solid so the is no chance to bind, besides Baja tires have no problem spining on the road because they are so hard, and or the dirt all tires do the same. With my ARB out on the street, (cherokee with BFG AT's) if you try to turn (at idle) you will get about half way (45 degrees) they chasie will lift about 3" and stop. you have to gas it to go it will try to go straight they bark a tire and turn.
It's hard to beat the simple reliability and good street maners of a Detroit Locker. They get a little
twitchy on short wheelbases like rock crawlers but it's easy to get used to. On my crew cab I run
Detroil Lockers front and rear. You can't even tell the rear is there except for the lack of wheelspin.
And the front is not too noticable on the street with the hubs locked and the transfer case in 2wd.
With hubs unlocked, the front drivetrain is not turning so no effect at all.
I'd avoid the LockRight design if you have more than about 150hp or more than about 31" tires.
On my 4wd class 8 legal, street legal prerunner/racer I run a rear spool and a front Torsen.
Works like a rally car in 4wd or like a normal class 8 race truck in 2wd - I always run with the
hubs locked so I can change the behaviour on the fly. I'd avoid a spool on the street since
the Detroit Locker is nearly bullitproof but still corners well on pavement. For a big hp race
application or very serious prerunner, a Detroit Locker can break - only then do you need a
spool for the street. Of course the spool is cheap so I guess that's a good reason to run one!
Posi's are for sports cars, not desert trucks. Just my very biased opinion.