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front diff limited slip

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by dyeager535, Oct 2, 2001.

  1. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I know this was just gone over, but it got kinda far off track. I'm thinking about doing an LS in the front diff of my truck. Torsen sounded kind of cool, but with that one wheel off the ground you spin the tire (more so than an LS I'd have to think) I don't like that either. My "wheeling" is easy for the most part, but I really like to just put her in low, and crawl up muddy hills and snowy roads.

    It also may sound like overkill for most on this board, then again so is 4wd for likely half of the people on this board, that drive their 4wd on the street more than off. (which there is nothing wrong with BTW) BUT when you need it, you need it. I wouldn't want to drive around in winter HOPING it didn't snow because I didn't have 4wd, nor do I want to just HOPE that I don't get into a place where an LS front diff would help.

    I think that in my situation, with actually very little off road use, an LS diff would be best. I don't think a locker would be quite what I'm looking for. I like the idea of "give" with the LS, and if I go, say, Eaton, I could even go with less spring, to make sure I wasn't stressing anything. You see my "don't want to fix more than I have to" bias showing through here, but its true, I don't NEED to stress it, so why would I?

    My question though concerns on the road, and perhaps on hard packed dirt....when getting in and out of say, snowy or muddy areas, with manual hubs, I don't like to keep crawling out. Leave them locked in, and put it in 2wd. Then of course, next trouble spot, 4wd, and off you go. But in that situation, I';d have to assume that I would have to be real careful of turning and what not, and how much traction I have? I definitely want give before break : )

    I talked to a guy that was running an LS front diff with a non-converted 203, and was looking for his 3rd front axle in 1 year. I definitely don't want to be going there.

    I guess if I have to keep getting out of the truck to unlock, I COULD, but I really don't want to. Some assurance that an LS will be fine would be nice, or honest, "don't do it" responses would be fine too, but I'm hoping for real life experiences...I don't mind the steering aspect, but I do the front diff life.

    Dorian
    My tech/links page: <a target="_blank" href=http://www.dorianyeager.com/index2.html>http://www.dorianyeager.com/index2.html</a>
    No anti-theft measures on your truck? No pity when its stolen
     
  2. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    The ARB or Ox lockers are the no-compromise solution. Locked when you need it, open when you don't! [​IMG]

    I had a '79 F-150 many years ago that came from the factory with front and rear limited slip. On snowy sidehills it was downright scary. The whole truck would start towards the downhill side as soon as I applied power. [​IMG] One time it was so bad that I shifted to 2WD and crabbed across a hillside trail in the snow. Luckily it wasn't so steep that it couldn't get through in 2WD or I would have had to turn back. Selectable lockers would have been perfect for that situation.

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck>www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck</a>
    It's a great day to be alive...
     
  3. JST12

    JST12 1/2 ton status

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    dyeager, I think it really depends on your planned usage for the truck. I had a front locker in my j**p. Off road, going up steep inclines it was unstoppable. On icy roads in Chicago, it scared me to death. Any slight camber on the road and the truck would drift sideways down hill. I almost took out parked cars several times. An open diff or loose LS is much better for driving in the rain, or on ice because one wheel can "hold" on and keep you straight while the other wheel "drives". I use an open front end on my road truck F350 4x4, and a locker on my soon to be pure off-road K5. Hope this helps. JT
     
  4. TXsizeK5

    TXsizeK5 1/2 ton status

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    What do you mean when you mention the manual hubs? Do you unlock them everytime your not using 4wd when your off road? why dont you just keep em locked when your offroad and put it in 2 when you dont need 4 and put it in 4 when you need it?

    6in 87' K5 w/ 35" BFG muds.
    305/Sm465/ NP208, 4.11's coming soon.
    Kn filter
     
  5. Executioner

    Executioner 1/2 ton status

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    I know you looking for more, but just go with the Eaton with the Carbon Fiber Clucht packs, IMHO
     
  6. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Nah, when I know I'm going to need them, I leave them locked. But other than that, they are out. No way I'm jumping in and out every little snow patch I come across! But I have enough problems with one axle, I don't need to wear out the other one too : )

    Dorian
    My tech/links page: <a target="_blank" href=http://www.dorianyeager.com/index2.html>http://www.dorianyeager.com/index2.html</a>
    No anti-theft measures on your truck? No pity when its stolen
     
  7. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Thats exactly what I'm talking about. We've got lots of hills on this side of the mountain, and in the winter, if I need 4wd, its because the hills are covered in snow. This is street. If I start having problems keeping the vehicle going straight, well, that would just suck.

    I knew that most folks "locked" the front for extreme duty, but I didn't even think about the sidehill issue. Straight uphill no problem, but even coming down nose first, compression braking, could lead to issues. Maybe I best leave that one alone. But the thought of all 4 wheels turning when you need them is so tempting!

    ARB/Ox locker is out though, so I guess I'll just leave it as is now. :( But thats why I asked, i wanted some opinions/experiences.

    How exactly did Ford get away with LS front diffs if they were so bad? (besides it being Ford)


    Dorian
    My tech/links page: <a target="_blank" href=http://www.dorianyeager.com/index2.html>http://www.dorianyeager.com/index2.html</a>
    No anti-theft measures on your truck? No pity when its stolen
     
  8. DieselDan

    DieselDan 1/2 ton status

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    What an honor, to be giving DY advice:&gt; LOL Don't let the TruTrac "wheel spin" concern ya'. It only would be noticable with a front tire hanging in the air. Even then just drag a little brake ("modulate" in army parlance) and power heads to the other wheel. If you were local, I'ld take you take you for a spin in a HMMWV so you could see what I mean. By the way, HMWMVs run a NV242HD (I think) that is full time differentiating transfercase (similar to a NP203). Torsens front and rear, and I haven't seen a wear problem yet.

    Real trucks don't have spark plugs!
     
  9. michaelm

    michaelm 1/2 ton status

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    i run a powerlock in the front. the stiffest LS available. would never go back to open front. would go ARB or OX. i lived in extreme cold winter area and in the deep stuff no open front dif will go where a locked up vehicle will. i had 16" wide swampers they were the fun part. with a locker in the rear and a stiff LS or locker up front you cant spin A tire unless you break all 4 loose. ultimate in stability. you cant break the back loose because it is solidly connected to the front
     
  10. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    The same holds true for having a welded rear dif...I had people telling me I'd be all sideways whenever it rained. The truth is I need to put down twice the power now to get the rear tires to spin on wet pavement. As for locked front and rear my concern is ice. We get snow here but not a lot and almost never with extreme low temps. The snow we get is almost always wet and almost never deep. It turns to ice quite easily. Last winter I went on a run to clear Creek in December...two feet of fresh snow but the temps started to climb as the day wore on and as we got to the nastier part of the trail the snow was compressing and turning to ice making some spots extremely difficult. It was also the maiden voyage with the welded rear diff. On an off camber hill I almost made the top by avoiding the previous tracks left for me. I kept steady light pressure on the ghas and crawled up in low gear low range and about 1500 RPM. I was doing fine until I ended up in someone else's tracks. At that point it was all downhill and sideways...slowly but surely until I was wedged against a rock wall and a small tree. As a point of interest...my front diff is open, and it did nothing to help me hold my line. For me the bottom line is open or locked up front is not much of an argument, if it's slick enough the only thing that will help will be chains.

    Rene

    <font color=green>Dyslexics of the world...UNTIE!</font color=green>
     
  11. michaelm

    michaelm 1/2 ton status

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    yup, i have aggressive chains that i carry for my Swampers
     
  12. DesertDueler

    DesertDueler 1/2 ton status

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    Put a lockrite in the front and you will be happy. I had a lockrite in the front and open rear. It worked awsome this way. I could climb a hill anyway I wanted to. Never had a problem with no being able to control it because of the locker. I am now going lockrite in the front and mini spool in the rear.

    86Jimmy 4"&35"MTRs,87 burb 4"&35"MT,69Firebird w/525 hp,and 70GTO live in PHX,AZ<a target="_blank" href=http://www.geocities.com/modifierperformance>My vehicles</a>
     
  13. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    When was the last time that ice and/or snow were a problem in Phoenix? [​IMG]

    Dyeager, back in '79 if you wanted a front limited slip on a Ford truck, all you had to do was check that box on the order sheet. [​IMG] I don't that GM has ever offered a from posi of any type from the factory.

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck>www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck</a>
    It's a great day to be alive...
     

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