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Old 11-22-2014, 09:25 AM   #11
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Re: limited slip front diff use in snow and ice/ throttle co

Very familiar with the linked posts. Here is my 2 cents re-posted:

"I have SMB's 4x4 package on my '09. My rear diff has 4.10 gears with the Ford OEM LSD. My front has the Detroit Truetrac LSD.

I have a fair amount of experience with lockers on my '06 Jeep Rubicon which is extensively modified and has seen duty across the Rubicon Trail in most conditions from some snow left in the spring to very dry in the fall and everything in between.

When deciding what to go with for my van, I was looking for the 99% solution with an emphasis on simplicity and reliability. I consulted many "experts" to include the folks at Dynatrac. The Detroit Truetrac came highly recommended for my front axle application.

I ordered my van with the Truetrac for both front and rear. During the build, I got a call from Heber informing me that the Truetrac was not compatible with my rear axle. I don't know if that is for all of the E-350 rear axles, or if there was something particular about my van's axle. Heber apologized for the confusion and offered to put a Ford OEM LSD in free of charge as it is a "throw-away part" for those of you that go with ARB lockers in the rear (by the way, thanks to the anonymous donor).

The advantage of the Truetrac vice a "normal" LSD is that it does not require any special oil or additives. Additionally, it does not have any parts that "wear" like the OEM does.

My experience driving with it: It works exactly as advertised. In other words, you cannot tell that it is there until the wheels start to slip. Even then, if I didn't know what to expect from an open diff, I wouldn't have noticed it was doing anything. I just didn't get stuck.

Obviously, driving with the front hubs unlocked, there is no impact as it is disconnected from the wheels.

I have done a fair amount of driving with the hubs locked while in 2wd to see if I could detect any handling anomalies. Again, I cannot detect anything up to and including highway speeds.

As far as driving with 4wd engaged at highway speeds. I personally would not do that. Period. From my perspective growing up in Minnesota winters, if the highway is slippery enough that you feel you need 4wd to make it, then slow speed is required. Again I have to emphasize - Period.

I do acknowledge that there are extreme situations where a locker would get you through and the LSD diffs might come up short. However, my Jeep experience tells me that they are EXTREMELY few and far between (and highly unlikely I will risk the van to get there). But hey, I spent a bunch of money to put winches in front and on the back - What's the point if I had lockers and never needed the winches???

Bottom line is this: It is working so well on the van that I am considering putting one in the front axle of my Jeep as my front locker is currently not working. For those that are familiar, it quit going up $1,000 hill the hard way on the Rubicon. I suspect the air hose simply came disconnected inside of the diff. However, it was that experience that got me heading in the direction I went with on the van. I couldn't be happier with it and would recommend it to anyone."

I have considerable experience driving in snow and ice (just not in my van) and am of the opinion that snowy/icey conditions are unpredictable by their very nature regardless of the traction control devices installed. More to follow in a month or so...
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Old 11-23-2014, 04:29 PM   #12
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Re: limited slip front diff use in snow and ice/ throttle co

Well, thanks for all the replys. I can honestly say I'm still a little unsure what to do. I've read all the posts and the links too. It seems everyone has a set-up that works the best for them, and they are all different. In the boating world I inhabit most of the time, the same can be said about the selection of an anchor. There are as many opinions on what works best as there are different types of anchors. After re-evaluating my priority's, I've come to the conclusion that I probably spend far less time driving on snow than I do on other types of unpaved surfaces. With a bias towards dirt rather than ice and snow, the answer seems easier. TwoVans makes a compelling argument for the Truetrac, but one interesting note is that most folks advise against 4wd when on snow covered pavement at higher speeds, even with an open diff. I usually engage 4wd in my truck (2000 GMC) when on snowy or icy surface streets and interstates too. Obviously, I moderate my speed to match the conditions and available traction, but I feel like I get better starting, steering and less slipping around when in 4wd. Why would this be any different in a van, given equal variables like tires, speed and available traction?

Anyway, I'm leaning towards a limited slip again with the thought of staying in 2wd for most snow covered roads. Should I need 4wd,I'm hoping the L/S won't cause any big issues I can't solve by slowing down even more. That leaves me with a much better diff for 95% of the other conditions I expect. Anyone care to talk me out of it with another idea?.................Thanks in advance
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Old 11-23-2014, 04:34 PM   #13
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Re: limited slip front diff use in snow and ice/ throttle co

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
I sure hope you two know each other.

Yea, Robb always seems to have a better idea, (at least most of the time). When it comes to spending money though, he's pretty liberal with expensive advice. (it's usually still good advice though) ...........A/T
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Old 11-24-2014, 12:11 PM   #14
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Re: limited slip front diff use in snow and ice/ throttle co

Do you have a limited slip rear on your GMC pickup? If so, then you probably have a good feel for what a limited slip rear/open front combo feels like in the snow.

If I had unlimited funds, I would do a limited slip / Truetrac in the rear and a switchable locker in the front. I think that combination would provide the best no-brainer driveability in snow situations and standard offroad cruising (4wd with the front unlocked) while providing the ability to lock up the front when needed at certain obstacles.

As far as lurching goes, learning to be a two footed driver can help as well. Apply the throttle with your foot on the brakes, then ease up on the brakes to control your acceleration from a start. This technique also helps get you rolling from a stop without spinning your wheels.
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Old 11-28-2014, 11:53 AM   #15
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Re: limited slip front diff use in snow and ice/ throttle co

Hmmm...

Guomundur installed selectable air lockers in both the rear and front axles:

http://sportsmobileforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=15039

Do they have much snow or ice in Reykjavik?

Edit, daveb below: Cool! I would love to actually see how the ARB works in the front differential sometime. I know it would be helpful in drifts and in and out of driveway berms, and as I said I really do like driving with an open differential in the front with the hubs locked in 4x4 when at speed.

And, Yup. Gone are the days of flashing 4 fingers or saying you have "AWD" and rolling through chain control, the Caltrans workers specifically look at my hubs and at whether the front tires are throwing snow when driving up to chain control inspection.

Then you get to NV, UT, and ID where they don't have chain control and don't have a 25 mph speed limit in what would be considered chain control areas in CA. Rather, they expect you to know what you are doing or to suffer the consequences.
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Old 11-28-2014, 02:15 PM   #16
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Re: limited slip front diff use in snow and ice/ throttle co

Quote:
Originally Posted by E350
Hmmm...

Guomundur installed selectable air lockers in both the rear and front axles:

http://sportsmobileforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=15039

Do they have much snow or ice in Reykjavik?

Well, it probably depends on the type of snow driving. I have a front air locker and it is something when you lock it up in snow... expect to go straight. I've never had an issue with the stock LSD in the rear diff but maybe it's because of the weight. My pickup is a different story and being off camber on an icy road in a tight turn with the LSD sucks. Cost was the only reason I never went with a rear locker on my van. The setup works well but you can feel it going around a tight corner as the LSD grabs on hard pavement. It's got to be doing something weird in snow but I've never had it break loose.
Driving in 2wd w/o chains when 4wd is accepted can get you a ticket if you're not locked in. I've only been checked once inside but I've been asked a few times and it's common for them to look at the hubs to make sure they are locked in. Happens a lot in Yosemite.
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Old 11-29-2014, 11:08 PM   #17
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Re: limited slip front diff use in snow and ice/ throttle co

I would definitely go with an air or e-locker in the front. If you do have a 44, the Eaton e-locker is an option. I have one in the rear of my XJ.
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:45 AM   #18
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Re: limited slip front diff use in snow and ice/ throttle co

There are some Canucks and some Albertans on this forum who could probably supply some invaluable information on this topic if they desire to post.

FYI Albertans are Canucks
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Old 12-03-2014, 10:30 PM   #19
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Re: limited slip front diff use in snow and ice/ throttle co

Ok, I promised I would report back once I decided what to do. I went with the DuraTrack in the front, and 411 gears. While the rear diff was apart, I found out the factory track-lock probably hasn't been working for some time as the clutches were shot. I then thought about replacing it with a selectable locker, but after adding up how much money I have put into this project in the last month, I decided to just rebuild it. I won't have any idea how it all works out for some time though. The first test will probably be after Xmas when we get to Southern Cal, unless we run into snow on the way down. After we get back, I'm sure I'll have a lot more to report. Thanks for all the reply's..........................
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Old 12-07-2014, 10:04 AM   #20
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Re: limited slip front diff use in snow and ice/ throttle co

The new gear ratio seems to be spot on. The van no longer downshifts at the slightest hint of a hill. On one of my normal freeway routes, it might have shifted 10 to 15 times, but on the way home with the new set-up, it only down shifted once or twice. Each time it downshifts, according to my Scangauge, the mileage drops about 30% in the lower gear. Since we now can climb the hills in top gear, I suspect my mileage may even go up a little on the freeway. Another bonus is that the speedometer is now within 1mph of what the GPS says, so I guess I got the ratio just about back to stock.

Prior to installing the gears, I was unaware of the strict break-in requirements. After leaving the shop, I was told to only drive for about 20 minutes, and then park for an hour to cool it off, then do the same thing again. 500 miles later, I will need to change the oil. Trouble is, I don't think I have put much more than 500 miles on the front Dana 44 since I bought the van last year. I'll have to wait until we get to the desert to even begin the break in process, so I guess I'll be changing the oil on the road somewhere. By then I should have a report on the Truetrac in the front too.............
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