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Old 03-03-2012, 10:26 AM   #1
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Front diff upgrade help

I need some help making up my mind. I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on a gearing change to help my trans issues. I'll be swapping out the 3.54's for 4.10's and since the pumpkins are going to be open I thought I'd upgrade carriers at the same time. I've decided to go with an Detroit Truetrac in the rear but I can't make up my mind about the front.

John down at NW Quadvan had me convinced to use a truetrac for both front and back. A wheeling buddie with lots of experience is telling me to go with a Detroit E-locker instead.

I spent some time on the Eaton website and there are a few things I don't like about the E-locker. You can't engage it at speeds over 3MPH or when the tires are spinning. To unlock it they want you to take all the stress off the drivetrain. To me those requirements pretty much mean stop, loose all your momentum, make the change and then try and keep going. If you are in a slick mud or snow situation and need to stop on a climb to unlock to make a turn it seems to me you would be done.

The Truetrac on the other hand is just a keep going forward and let the diff do it's thing set up with no wires to break or internal magnetic solenoid's to fail.

My hesitation on having the Truetrac in the front is how it will treat me in 4-high heading up the mountain at 45-50mph. I've heard you can have control issues when you're in a corner and the LSD type diff starts to shift power from side to side.

Does anyone on the forum have any real life experiences with having a limited slip type of diff in the front. John at NW Quadvan runs a truetrac front and rear on his personal van and says the setup has never given him any grief.

Thoughts.....Comments.....Suggestions?

If someone would make the decision for my I'd appreciate. The difference in cost isn't a factor. The e-locker is only about $100 more expensive.
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Gnarvan 1992 E350 Clubwagon
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Sotar Legend 12.5' X 22" Cataraft
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Old 03-03-2012, 05:42 PM   #2
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Re: Front diff upgrade help

I would go with with Tru-Trac, and stick with 2wd going up the mountain. Even at 70+ on snow I've never felt the slightest lack of traction. Just keep the hubs locked in, and you can slam it into 4wd as needed.
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:01 PM   #3
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Re: Front diff upgrade help

The only way my van would do 70mph up 26 to Mt. Hood would be if you were behind me pushing with your V10.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:21 PM   #4
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Re: Front diff upgrade help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarvan
The only way my van would do 70mph up 26 to Mt. Hood would be if you were behind me pushing with your V10.
On that note..... How would you feel about partnering up and building a tow bar for your van? The combo would make a pretty ideal shuttle setup. I put a 15-ton pintle-hitch on the van with the intent of shuttling the bus with trailer together. We were hoping to get the big black bus up and running for rafting season, but I think the 6.2 is a lost cause, and the guys are now thinking about upgrading to a E450-based bus. But the big black bus may continue to live on as a "Trailer-bus" (which is legal in OR).

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Old 03-03-2012, 09:01 PM   #5
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Re: Front diff upgrade help

Towing that much weight with my van would be a death sentence for the eng/trans. I'll stick with my cat trailer.

Are you talking about towing both the bus and then a raft trailer behind the bus? If you are don't you have to have trailer brakes on both? At what point are you going to need a double/triple endorsement on a CDL to drive it down the road?

Can the trailer bus carry passengers? I though to have a passenger in a trailer it had to be a 5th-wheel setup.

That's just crazy enough to make sense for the ORT folks.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:40 PM   #6
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Re: Front diff upgrade help

HA HA. I was thinking your van could be the toad behind my van, since you have a T-case (granted, the Ford auto tolerates towing well enough, within limits).

But yes, at one point the plan for the bus was to tow it with the van, and have a long double-stack trailer behind the bus. The van tows the bus better than the bus drove itself, when it ran. (Bus = 35 MPH tops on a 7% grade, compared to 70 up the same slope when its being towed by the van). Yes, it would require a multiples endorsement, and I would need to either change the van's registration or buy a trip permit every weekend.

In OR, a trailer bus is intended for carrying passengers, and unlike an RV-trailer, it does not have to be a 5th-wheel to ride in it. I actually started looking into it after seeing the Park Service does it:
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Old 03-04-2012, 04:14 AM   #7
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Re: Front diff upgrade help

Not sure I like the concept of Gnarvan bein a Toad. It just sounds all wrong. Kinda like putting my GS on a trailer and towing it somewhere to ride.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:04 PM   #8
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Re: Front diff upgrade help

I have TrueTrac in front and ARB air lockers in back and am very happy with my choice. I did a lot of reading and asking before I decided.

Angel
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:29 PM   #9
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Re: Front diff upgrade help

Angel

Has the front end ever gotten squirrely on you driving in 4Hi on slick stuff?

I was just checking out your gallery and saw the melted lights. Whats the story on those? I'm taking a break right now from finishing the wiring on my lights. Maybe I could learn something from you on how not to destroy my lights. If you are willing to share the story of course.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:57 PM   #10
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Re: Front diff upgrade help

The front end has always worked fine for me. I switched from 3rd to 2nd to go down hill and My van spun around in a circle when I had it in 2WD. Did not know the road had ice. As soon as it (luckly) stopped, I put it in 4W hi and the SMB performed well.

I got My passenger side wheels off the road in deep mud. I stopped, put it in 4W hi, turned on the lockers, applied some break and gas and got back on the road.

The melted lights I put black sox behind the lenses so I would not get a ticket for not having them covered. The switch to turn them on was a "toggle". I bumped it "on" when I exited the SMB. My neighbor knocked on my door and said my lights were smoking. I now have yellow lenses and a "pull to turn on" switch.

Angel
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2008 SMB E350 EB V10 White with Cruiser Top; EB-17 modified floor plan; Salem Kroger 4X4;
285/75/17E tires; Named: "The Lighthouse"
2000 Isuzu Rodeo V6 4WD
2006 Chalet LTW 15ft. Folding Travel Trailer with flipped axle & 14 in. tires
2001 Kia Rio
1971 Super Beetle VW Bug "Restored by Papa and Me"

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