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Is a Detroit really that bad in snow?!

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Nitrodrip350, Mar 3, 2002.

  1. Nitrodrip350

    Nitrodrip350 1/2 ton status

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    I'm really starting to get nervous the more I read about this. I understand that it will change the driving characteristics in snow and even on dry pavement, but since I live in Colorado I basically use it for bad snow days. I currently have a stock rear and front axle but will this summer be changing to a 14 bolt w/Detroit locker and hopefully a Dana 44 w/4.10 limited slip with 35's. Is it more of a fishtail type of driving in the snow or what? Any additional info would be great ...

    Also really wanted to thank everyone that is one this website, I don't really post much but have been reading posts for a couple years and any problems I have had I have found tons of info here.

    Thanks Again - Shane
     
  2. i_4x4

    i_4x4 1/2 ton status

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    I also live here in Colorado. Brighton. I installed my Detroit in April of last year. There is some driving or handling issues to get use to. You do get under steer , over steer when cornering depending if your on or off the throtle. Or some times you will get a weave if your hard on the throtle in the straights. This is why I waited till the end of winter to install mine. To get use to it before winter. To me it doesn't snow enough to be much of a concern or here long enough. I run in 2wd when it snows minimium w/ problem, only if i'm some what hard on the throtle. Having the tires sipe makes a big difference. I'm running 35x14.5 SSR's they handle well in the snow. As of now i'm locked in both ends (thanks Tim), So definatly i'll stay in 2wd as it is less likely to swap ends. I like the set up. it is in a 14FF if that makes any differance. I would say run it this summer to get USE to it. I don't even notice it is there now, except for the occasionally load pop. And that only happens in sertian minuvers. Hope this helps, even thou this is long winded.
    Later Ed
     
  3. Sparky87k5

    Sparky87k5 1/2 ton status

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    I've run a detroit locker in an 88 4x4 Suburban and it was great. No problems of any kind. Run one in my 87K5 and only notice some steering problems in snow when under power. Seems the short wheelbase K5 tries to pull to one side under power but lets up when you shift the manual trans to the next gear. Appears the locker is unlocking and then locking up again. Not bad, just noticeable. I'm told this isn't as bad with automatics as it is with manuals.
     
  4. denver75k5

    denver75k5 1/2 ton status

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    Ya, but you didnt build it to cruise federal blvd. rite? :-)
     
  5. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Shane,

    Welcome to the party! /forums/images/icons/laugh.gif There are a few of us struggling with the same issue on our "open" 14BFF axles. The Detroit is an unstoppable solution on the rocks and dirt, but is NOT good on snow and ice. When one wheels slips....they BOTH slip, and that tends to pull your rearend off the road, and into the nearest ditch!! /forums/images/icons/shocked.gif

    The new Eaton "e-Locker" looks like an awesome solution for the 14-Bolt crowd. It's great offroad (locked) but can be driven (open) on the street, in snow, and on ice. Best of both worlds.....

    BUT.....you gotta wait ALL summer for it, because the latest release date given is sometime this fall. Bummer.
     
  6. twenty_below0

    twenty_below0 1/2 ton status

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    As for snow....I have LOTS of it (Alaska) and the first week with my locker in the rear was a little intimidating at times but let me tell you first hand,I wouldn't have it any other way, after the first week I now have grown to love it in the snow! But if you dont like to slide a little or fish tail you shouldn't run one! As long as your not afraid of it, it is utterly awsome!!!!!!! The ice isn't that bad either, just have to use the power toi correct yourself and not panic, I drive 50 to 60 miles a day in this condition, everyday and enjoy every minute of it ! I run 35's and 12 bolt rear 44 front, go for it you'll love it!
     
  7. CaptCrunch

    CaptCrunch 1/2 ton status

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    Well being in MN, I have struggled with the same decision. I have driven lockers and hard posi's in the snow and in 2wd it is difinetly an experience. With an open frt in 4wd I would imagine it would be better but still you have the locker kicking locked/unlocked. That cycling is what causes the twister like effect. Numerous members have comented that a welded rear works ok in the snow. It has it's down sides on pavement and with tire wear, but it makes sense and should be great with an open frt diff for 4wd in the snow. I think Rene called it "just point and shoot". I also agree sipped tires really make a difference. I figure it is cheap and that way can go e-locker or ARB up front thanks to the saved cost in the rear.

    Ideally a Detriot would be a bit better for tire wear on pavement, but life is full of compromises. A little more tire wear for a super cheap locker and decent snow driving.
     
  8. Silver84k5

    Silver84k5 1/2 ton status

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    Could you possibly put up a link to this Eaton locker? i want to read about it Thank you
     
  9. wayne

    wayne 3/4 ton status

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    I have a detroit and drove in the snow with it a couple of times. It is not that bad to get used to. It can be really fun in an open snow covered parking lot./forums/images/icons/smile.gif The big thing to remember with a detroit is not to be on the gas hard in turns and if it is that slick just through it in 4 hi. Just slow down and drive carefully and you will be fine.
     
  10. Nitrodrip350

    Nitrodrip350 1/2 ton status

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    Well it sounds like I could handle it, as for the fishtailing I have owned two Camaros and run both of them through bad snow and I really don't think it would be anything that major!! I might check out the Eaton website and get a link posted, thanks for all the replies, and "Denver75k5" once I put on my 13" Daytons I'll call ya to cruise Federal!! LOL!

    Thanks Again, Shane

    Here's the Link I found:
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.automotive.eaton.com/product/traction_stability/limitedslip.html>http://www.automotive.eaton.com/product/traction_stability/limitedslip.html</a>
     
  11. solowookie

    solowookie 1/2 ton status

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    here in WY where I live there are times where we'll have ice on the roads for 2+ weeks. I've decided that I'm not going to do lockes until I get a D-60 up front, and then have lockers that I can engage and disengage.

    my offroad k5 will be my trail rig, but it will also used for my winter daily driver (for my personally not my family) so I don't have to run my 1950 truck when I get it done. I'm not willing to have lockers year around.
     
  12. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    I've had a detroit in my 14B in all kinds of driving conditions and I'm another "wouldn't have it any other way" type. With proper tires I think you have a pretty big ADVANTAGE in that you can use traction that only exists under one tire. I've had it kick around a little in a couple situations I would prefer it didn't, but if I let off the gas and correct a bit it's right back in line. No biggie. We use a 2wd toyota with a lockrite in it for a commuter and parts truck here and the reason for the locker IS winter driving. It makes it possible to get around in a 2wd and still get 25-27 mpg in a pickup.
    Hints to make it better:

    Leave the hardtop on or put a good bit of weight in the back. That's a huge factor that I've proven to myself many times.

    Run good snow tires if you're concerned. TSL's are not good snow tires. SSR's are a step in the right direction but a narrower AT type tire would be optimum.

    Run in 4wd with the open front if you're in doubt. They handle great with a locked rear and open front. And as long as you're in mixed conditions, snow, sanded roads, etc, you can drive fine, the tires will slip enough on sanded/icy pavement roads to keep the ujoints all happy.
    Practice. Driving it all summer is a good way to get to know how it works. Drive in some mud, that'll help get you used to it.
     
  13. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    it is much HARDER to spin the tires when fully locked up.
    you have to break all 4 loose or none
    open is the worst in snow ice
     
  14. solowookie

    solowookie 1/2 ton status

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    right, but if your in 4 wheel drive with 2 open axles then you are already applying power to 2 tires, and it still hard to break loose... /forums/images/icons/wink.gif
     

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