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Old 04-02-2013, 10:50 AM   #1
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Express van rear locker

hey all, I know this has been talked about some, but I couldn't find a real answer.

I am looking for a locker/posi type setup for my '06 Express 3500. It is not really for offroad use, mostly just for snow, rain, etc., just better all around drive-ability. I picked it up last fall and found out it is completely worthless on any kind of wet/snowy roads. And that is with brand new tires and fully loaded. (tools)

I have looked for a complete used axle with the factory G80 option, but either they are too expensive, too high of miles, or way too far away. So I am hoping someone has a good idea on an economical option for a daily driver.

Thanks

Brew
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:58 PM   #2
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Re: Express van rear locker

I'm considering the Eaton Trutrack for my 04 2wd Express 3500 SMB. In the research mode myself so can't give experienced opinions. I just don't want to deal with clutches and friction modifier gear oil used in the usual LSD.


http://www.eaton.com/Eaton/ProductsServ ... PCT_338418
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:36 PM   #3
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Re: Express van rear locker

Thanks, I just want something easy, similar to an oem type setup that you really don't even know it's there. I have the factory version in my 2k silverado and it makes a huge difference in driving in snow compared to my van.

Brew
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:59 PM   #4
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Re: Express van rear locker

The problem with the Eaton is it's non-selectable, which means it's on all the time, which means you're always locked [Edit: turn out no, you're not locked see Gnarvan below].

Being locked is not something you want on wet, ice, nor snow as you will have no lateral traction (comes from the free wheel in an open or LSD) if the wheels break- in other words, if you spin a tire even the tiniest bit, your rear will just go sideways.

I also feel like having the locker on all the time wears other components as you drive around town, because it's constantly under stress an open diff doesn't produce.

Go with LSD and put some additive in or spring for a selectable locker.

[Edit: Well all that stuff is true except the Eaton is not a locker apparently, so everything I said does not apply. Sorry!]
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:08 AM   #5
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Express van rear locker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miykl
I just don't want to deal with clutches and friction modifier gear oil used in the usual LSD.
You put the oil in, you put the modifier in, you put the filler plug back on. That's really all there is to it.
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Old 04-04-2013, 03:25 AM   #6
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Re: Express van rear locker

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
The problem with the Eaton is it's non-selectable, which means it's on all the time, which means you're always locked. Being locked is not something you want on wet, ice, nor snow as you will have no lateral traction (comes from the free wheel in an open or LSD) if the wheels break- in other words, if you spin a tire even the tiniest bit, your rear will just go sideways.

I also feel like having the locker on all the time wears other components as you drive around town, because it's constantly under stress an open diff doesn't produce.

Go with LSD and put some additive in or spring for a selectable locker.
I beg to differ here. A TrueTrac is not a locker. It's closer to a LSD in the way it functions. It shifts power from side to side. The gear setup shifts the power differently than the standard clutch disc LSD. When a locker locks up you end up with 50% of the power at each wheel. A TrueTrac shifts the power away from the side with less traction. You do get traction on each wheel up to the point where 100% shifts to one side. Once that happens you can tap your brakes and take it back to 50/50 and then it starts shifting the power to the side that has the most traction. The TrueTrac will give you a certain amount of lateral slide but it won't be as bad as a true locker.

I have TrueTracs front and back on my van. If I were planning on doing any hard wheeling I would have put a Detroit locker in the rear and a Detroit E-locker in the front. I wanted something that provided better traction than a standard LSD front and back. I also didn't want to deal with the clunking and lurching in turns that you get from a Detroit locker when you drive them on pavement. I did put a Detroit locker in my FJ40. It's more of a serious wheeling machine. The noise and lurching that thing does on pavement would drive me crazy if I did as many road miles in it as I do in my van.
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:39 AM   #7
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Re: Express van rear locker

So how do all these compare to a factory setup? The "G80" option? I am not totally against picking up a junk yard axle, but from what I can find (car-part.com) anything under 100k miles is well over $500 in my area.

If I were to look for a used rear axle with the factory locker setup, what style/size axle is considered the most bulletproof?

I *think* I have a Dana 12 bolt 70s rear end on mine right now.

Brew
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:01 AM   #8
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Re: Express van rear locker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarvan
A TrueTrac is not a locker.
Ah! I was thinking it was a drop in lunchbox locker.
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:13 AM   #9
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Re: Express van rear locker

I have a 2002 GMC Envoy that lists a locker for the rear diff. It acts a lot more like a LSD than a true locker. Before you buy something that the marketing folks at GM are calling a locker I'd suggest you talk to a good GM mechanic and find out exactly what a G80 option rear diff really is.
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:32 AM   #10
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Re: Express van rear locker

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarvan
A TrueTrac is not a locker.
Ah! I was thinking it was a drop in lunchbox locker.
"Lunch box locker"?

The Truetracs do have a few handling quirks of their own. Especially when installed in the front. The more positive (than a LSD) way it shifts the traction back and forth can create lateral slide issues when driving in 4hi at highway speeds on snow and ice. At least in theory. Several people on the list have them setup as front diffs and have had no issues with slide outs.

Being a lazy type I wanted something without switches and the failure modes of an air or E locker. The Truetracs provide better overall traction than an LSD, drive more civilized on pavement and don't have the turning issues a locker in the front has. Best of all.....you push the gas pedal and they do their thing.
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