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Limited slip, Detroit, or ARB???

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by txbartman, Jul 9, 2001.

  1. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    I need to install a locker on my truck and believe in doing things right the first time. I read an article this weekend (don't remember if it was in 4 wheeler, 4wor, or off-road) that talked about all the different ways to lock your axle. I don't think the limited slip "lockers" sound worth the money or the effort to install. The Detroits sound good, but my truck is driven more on the highway than off. I don't want to cause problems with my tires chirping or the weave they described on the highway. The ARB sounds the best, but I am not made of gold!

    If the ARB is the way to go, I would rather save my money and do it right versus putting in something I am not happy with and throwing it away later to install and ARB air locker.

    What do you guys think? I need y'all's experience here. Oh yeah, I don't do much rock crawling. Mostly just mud and trails. But no rock crawling.

    85 GMC Jimmy, 305 w/TH700-NP208, 4" lift, 35X12.5 BFG MTs, 15x10 Hellcats, Smittybuilt tube nerf bars and bumbers
     
  2. RaisedK5

    RaisedK5 1/2 ton status

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    I have a detroit, i love it, my truck spends most of the time on the street, and there were some new characteristics to get used to but its not too bad, So i would say detroit, but im a bit partial,

    RaisedK5

    "Of all the things I've lost, I think I miss my mind the most!"
     
  3. kpanza

    kpanza 1/2 ton status

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    Brian,

    Well, I am just going to assume that you are talking about the rear axle. If you don't want any tire chirping, abrupt "clunks" or lane weaving, you are best off saving up for the ARB. Now the next question, is what rear end do you have? Because the ARB is not made for the 14bff yet, but if you have a 10 bolt or 14bsf you can get an ARB for it. I have the ARB up front and love it, it is probably the best investment (that's the word I use when I spend big bucks! ha,ha) on the truck yet. I do have the Detroit in my rear 14bff, and the little irregularities of the Detroit don't bother me anymore, in fact I hardly ever notice them at all.

    From what it sounds like, you are probably better off with the ARB if you want a totally docile highway truck, and then when you get in the rough stuff you have the locker to kick *ss!! [​IMG]
     
  4. FRIZZLEFRY

    FRIZZLEFRY 1/2 ton status

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    I have a Detroit in my 12 bolt. I was also worried about tire wear and popping and banging.If you coast around corners or are easy on the gas around corners you never know its there.Gass it through a corner and it will chirp the tires.I havent had any popping or banging.The part I like best is that both wheels get power no matter what.

    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://community.webshots.com/user/beaterwhang>http://community.webshots.com/user/beaterwhang</A>
     
  5. BurbinOR

    BurbinOR 3/4 ton status

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    Had a posi and its OK for a street truck...........go Detroit. What 'idiosyncracies' it has are so minor you don't notice them after a week or so of driving. Mine does very little banging........in fact I hardly ever hear it. ARB's are spendy and I don't trust them...........just my paranoia I guess.

    <font color=blue>'79 ONE TON TPI K5 - See it at---&gt;<A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.blazzinor.alloffroad.com>http://www.blazzinor.alloffroad.com</A>
     
  6. solowookie

    solowookie 1/2 ton status

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    after debating the same issues I came up with the following; if I didn't live in Wyoming with the road conditions I gotta put up with I would have went with an eaton in the front, and a detroit in the rear.

    I call ARB today, and they said they should have an arb for the 14b ff within the next year. I'm gonna wait and go arb all the way around.

    I think the other nice option to arb is you learn to drive the thing open, and you only activate it when you need it. this means no turning problems associated with the lockers in front etc. plus I don't think you'd go through as many broken parts. it is a LOT harder to break an open axled then a lockerd axle.

    [​IMG] <font color=blue> Jeff </font color=blue> [​IMG]
     
  7. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Everybody I wheel with that has an ARB has had one problem or another including realy bad ones that includ bolts backing out because the ARB housing is aluminum. The worst was a bud with a 76 K5 had 3 ring bolts come out and ended up one wedged against the housing and cracked the 12 bolt pumpkin. Another back out of the case halves ruined a ring and pinion on a front axle in a fiends jeep, Countless compressor failures, (btw you need to add some cash to the ARB if you got a price without the compressor and controller).
    For the rear the best and most reliable would be a Detroit. The down side is where you live. If you got bad long winters with lots of ice conditions then you might hate a Detroit. For the front a ARB might be the way to go but me, I leave 1/2 ton front ends open...drops the breakage factor 10fold I'd rather winch or stap then have to fix an axle on the trail. I have seen to many locked 10/s and 44's bust parts when locked. I have never seen an open front break parts. Sometimes 3wheel drive is much safer on the old wallet.


    It's not my damn planet monkey boy!
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://communities.msn.com/OffroadK5s>http://communities.msn.com/OffroadK5s</A>

    Grim-Reaper
     
  8. solowookie

    solowookie 1/2 ton status

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    WOW Grim, that was a great post!!!

    nothing like getting information like that from somebody who's got the background with that stuff like you do. man everytime I think I got everything figured out somebody like you comes a long and blows all my plans out of the water?!?

    and how in the heck do I turn around and ignore a post like that??? well that kinda shoots the arb in the butt doesn't it???

    now I gotta turn around and re-think all this. I may just end up leaving the thing open, or getting something that I can pull out during winter like a lock-right or something.

    [​IMG] <font color=blue> Jeff </font color=blue> [​IMG]
     
  9. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Just relating what I have seen. I run with the largest club in GA and you name it somebody in our club has it and probably broke it (we just had a prospect show up with a Pinzigar but he hasn't trailed it yet...like I said you name it).. Hopefully relating what I have seen will save somebody some greif down the road. That's the whole point of a forum like this.
    Remember I wheel in the southeast. (tellico) We got some nasty stuff here and plenty of rain to add mud into the mix. Around here we often have to get the tires smoking on the rocks to get them dried out. That blows up any weak stuff real quick. Detroits are one of the few that can handle abuse like that. I have as yet to see a Detroit fail. I have seen everything else go but not the Detroit. Becides I was Born in Detroit so it's got to be good.
    Don't get the EZ for the rear. They are junk also. Seen those blow and send the locating pins through the ring and pinion. BigJBear blew one of those out and another friend blew one and another blew 2.
    Haven't heard of the lockrights failing like that but everybody that blew up the EZ replaced it with a Detroit. I think that lockrights also limit the size tire. EZ says nothing above 32's, ARB's say 33's tops (at least for the D35 that my buddy was running 35's on and blew the ARB twice)
    If you don't lift the tire you don't need the locker [​IMG] make it flex like mad! We got a guy on Warn coils and he still runs open and not much he won't try. Not many can follow him either and it really chaps peoples butt when they find out he's open both ends. I have more than once made my bud with the 72 mad. He has some stiff Black Dimonds, 36's and ARB's front and rear. He had all sorts of problems on one spot and had to lock both axles to get over it. Figures I'm going to need to be dragged through it since I'm open both ends and on 32's...Walked it, never lifted a tire so never lost traction [​IMG] I guess I need to go help him make his truck flex like mine. Right after that he started picking my brain and did the shackle flip to loose the blocks, still needs to loose the stiff springs.

    ARB's are just tempermental. Parts fail, If the darn thing was made out of steel it would fix the bolt backing out problem but that may get them into an issue with the piston that makes it work. COndisation in the housing would cause a rust issue and still whipe out the seals.
    Any time you have 2 different metals in an enviorment where there are heat cycles that cause them to expand and contract you run into issues like this. Aluminum and steel don't contract and expand at the same rate so you get into a problem where the bolts have a potential to loose torq. The aluminum is too soft to torq any higher but the steel contrats about 10th of what the aluminum does. So even the bolts that hold the halves together have issues. Aluminum used as a carrier is just asking for problems.
    The one I like now is the OX Locker. Nice and simple, no compressor to deal with. Very stout parts. The only thing that concerns me with it is snagging the cable on under brush. Now if they could get them out that would fit 12 bolts we might have a heavy duty locker that is as dependable as the Detroit but versitile like the ARB.


    It's not my damn planet monkey boy!
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://communities.msn.com/OffroadK5s>http://communities.msn.com/OffroadK5s</A>

    Grim-Reaper
     
  10. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks for the info. Y'all's input has been much more valuable than the article. I am only planning on locking the rear. I have a stock axle with 3.73s in it. It sounds like I would be best to go with the Detroit if I even go with anything at all. Thanks for the advice.

    85 GMC Jimmy, 305 w/TH700-NP208, 4" lift, 35X12.5 BFG MTs, 15x10 Hellcats, Smittybuilt tube nerf bars and bumbers
     
  11. solowookie

    solowookie 1/2 ton status

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    wow Grim, again thanks for the school session... I just can't tell ya how incredibly valuable your insite has been on this. it definately makes me rethink how I want to do a lot of stuff.

    I really liked your comments about making the vehicle flex. it all makes sense which mean you must have explained it pretty d*mn well, and you must be right.

    I really like the looks of that ox locker. I have looked at it a couple of times. the fact that the arb has non-metal parts in it really makes me nervous. that right there would really make me quesiton the arb. I'm assuming ox is going to take quite awhile to come out with a 14b ff.

    man I really hate to try and put a detroit in the rear. we spends weeks at a time where the roads here in my town are straight ice of up to a week at a time. it is not like it is a little bit here and there, it's all winter.

    I think I'm stuck with going with something I can pull out for winter time or waiting for somebody to come up with something that that I can trust.

    [​IMG] <font color=blue> Jeff </font color=blue> [​IMG]
     
  12. morphed86k10

    morphed86k10 1/2 ton status

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    What about a Detroit TruTrac in the front? I've read several reviews and they were all good. They said there were no steering problems, the only drawback was that there needed to be some resistance on both tires, so lifting a tire would defeat the trutrac, but you could just add a little brake and it locks up if a tire is in the air. This wouldn't really be a problem for me, I rarely lift a front tire. Anyone run one of these?
     
  13. JoeAngelicchio

    JoeAngelicchio 1/2 ton status

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    Trac-Tech is coming out with a locker that is normally a trutrac until you lock it into a locker, I think electrically. It was in the mags not too long ago. I'd like to see this when it comes out.


    <font color=green>Joe Angelicchio
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://community.webshots.com/user/jangelicchio>http://community.webshots.com/user/jangelicchio</A>

    Lisle, Ontario, CANADA</font color=green>
     
  14. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    Okay, need a little more help here. I just checked the 4WPW website to get some pricing on a Detroit. There are 4 different kinds listed: C, EZ, Soft and TrueTrac. The Soft and TrueTrac seem comparably priced while the C is quite a bit more expensive and the EZ is the cheapest. I saw you said "no" to the EZ. What about the others? What's the difference? Which is the best for mostly highway, some off-road including mud and trail roads, no rocks?

    85 GMC Jimmy, 305 w/TH700-NP208, 4" lift, 35X12.5 BFG MTs, 15x10 Hellcats, Smittybuilt tube nerf bars and bumbers
     
  15. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    If you are still talking about the rear you will need the "C". It means it is made for a c-clip axle and has a window to insert the clips. What ever you do stay as far away from the EZ as possible. Trust me, I have a list of guys who have broken them. I'm on it, unfortunatly. The Lock-Rite is much more dependable. I think Keith still has one in his rear and he is up to 38s now. Trust me he is not afraid to stomp on it. If you want something you can remove for the winter, the L-R is probably your best bet. Other than that I would say look for a D60 rear from one of the other makes and use the OX.

    Jim '80 GMC & '73 Blazer
    Tread Lightly!
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.gmck5.rockcrawler.com>http://www.gmck5.rockcrawler.com</A>
     
  16. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Yeah a true locking diff on ice is no fun. The rear just walks. Now everybody says the Gov Lock is a POS but the old GM posi's are pretty tough. My 79 has a build code for a Gov lockers. It sure doesn't look like a gov compairing it to the pictures I have seen. It looks almost like a stock carrier but it has a clutch pack behind both side gears so I'm not really sure what it is. I wish I knew. I think it's a Eaton of some kind. That booger locks like you would not believe. That is one good working LS. It locks almost as well as the one in my 70 Pontiac. My Pontiac locks up so tight that if you turn the wheels and try to push it foward it locks in about 4 feet and you have to jack the rear up to get it to roll again. When its on the street you even think about touching the gas in a corner you are smoking the tires. It appears to be the same housing in both I wish I knew what it was. I trailed the heck out of it and it always held it's ground.
    Now I am not a heavy foot kind of guy and I really try not to abuse the truck by spinning the tires. They spin I usualy back off and try a different line or do the old ride the brake trick. There are some place I go that you do have to spin to dry off the rocks and heat the tires but I don't run over 2,000 rpm at those spots. Let them take their time cleaning. A lot of breakage is dirrectly related to right foot and nothing else. I don't like fixing my truck in the mud, it really pisses me off. So far I have never had a trail break that was bad enough that I couldn't go home to do the repair. The guys that break and I end up helping or waiting on are the same guys that are on the rev limiter. You red line a truck and it catches traction something is going to break...that I can garantee. I am usualy the guy that get's asked by the guy with the 300lb right ft "can you follow me home to make sure I make it?" after they have trashed their truck with "Just one more try" mentality.
    I'm not afraid of asking for a pull. If I can't get over something for some reason I am not at all embarassed.
    I would be embarassed if I Beat the hell out of my truck and busted it and need to take 2 hours blocking a trail to fix it.
    Now the only lunch box locker I haven't heard a ton of bad stuff about in the 12 bolt is the lockright. Watson even ran one for a while. But if your going to run big tires save the cash and get a detroit. If the locker fails and ruins the gears you have spent more than the good locker would have cost you in the first place. If you live where you got a lot of ice problems then a LS or the ARB may be ther better choice. Both I recomend that you not be super hard on it and with the ARB I would yank the cover every 6 months and check torq on the bolts. The ARB is a great concept but remember the trucks it was originaly designed for were Toyota's and light trucks. Our trucks are pigs with big engines and lot of torq. Drive line stuff takes one hell of a beating due to that weight and engine.
    Now a EZ and a Lockright are the same concept. It is a locker but it installs in your stock carrier. What fails on the EZ is this. There are 4 locating pins around the edge of the locker. These keep it from spinning. Lock right is the same way but were the issue is the pins are very close to the edge. on the EZ. maybe a 1/16 of metal at the thinest point. You put a lot of torq on the locker from big tires or heavy foot and the pins try to go sideways and they blow out the thin area and fall out. The lock right the pins are not so close to the edge and they use a larger diameter pin. So the designe is stronger. It does have limitations but if your a infrequent wheeler and running nothing bigger that 33's it will probably do fine. In the winter you can pull it out pretty quick.
    The winter is where a LS shines. It will ease in and keep the crabing down. still get both wheels pulling but they are not locked. If you got a lot of ice to deal with I would look at the Aurburn. It's fairly strong and it does lock well The down side is it is not rebuildable from what I hear.

    It's not my damn planet monkey boy!
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://communities.msn.com/OffroadK5s>http://communities.msn.com/OffroadK5s</A>

    Grim-Reaper
     
  17. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    Regarding the Lock-Right... I blew up two of them in a 10 bolt, and then finally split the carrier in half with that thing! The only good thing about Lock-Right is the two year warranty! [​IMG]

    Save your money and get the Detroit, because the Lock-Right isn't very inexpensive either!

    <font color=red> Check out my truck @ </font color=red>
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://24.10.209.54/bigolk5.htm>http://24.10.209.54/bigolk5.htm</A> [​IMG]
     
  18. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    For the rear, I would recommend a Detroit.......simple, effective, strong. On the road, they can cause some slightly odd handling but they seem to be pretty reasonable on heavy fullsize trucks (they can cause some pretty good jerks on the lighter Jeeps when shifting gears and such).

    Within the guys in our club, the ARB's kind of have an "iffy" reputation, not to mention the added cost. I have never seen one actually break, but I have seen several compressor failures or leaks that render them useless. Though just about everybody admits that having the ability to choose between locked or unlocked is nice, whether it is more steering or so you can try stuff unlocked first for a little bit more challenge. Because of this a popular combination is a Detroit in the rear and an ARB in the front.
     
  19. kpanza

    kpanza 1/2 ton status

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    First off, I have the ARB in front and Detroit in back. Just a few points: I HAVE seen Detroits break (just proves that you can break anything!) They are not invincible, but ARE probably the toughest around. The ARB is my favorite. I beat on mine (in a 10 bolt no less) up front and have never had a problem. I also know Jeep guys in my club that have never had a problem with the ARBs - in fact, you will see his Red Jeep in an upcoming issue of 4 Wheel & Off Road on the Ultimate Challenge Trip - he was invited to join the group with his awesome CJ7! He runs dual ARBs and has never had a problem even though he does some of the most extreme trails anywhere!

    For you guys weighing your options, I guess you can read posts like this til you are blue in the face. I mean you are gonna see one that says "Yes, they kick *ss" and one that says "No, they suck, don't do it" post after post after post. I say live and learn, that's the only way to really gain knowledge about these things. I agree, we are all here to help each other and share experiences, but it's like the old saying - "Opinions are like *ssholes, everyone's got one!" - I think the number one factor in making parts last is driving style (which I and others here state over and over). If you abuse your truck every time you go out, you are going to break things, simple as that. Can you limit breakage? Sure. Detroits, ARBs, 14bff axles, Dana 60s - these will greatly increase your odds of getting home and not having to fix something major. It's been my observation that those who haven't actually had an ARB always have something to say about them (usually negative). Well, having owned both (ARB and Detroit), I can say both work well for me. The Detroit is kind of the clumsy but effective locker, and the ARB is the skilled and effective locker. For front axles, I will never own anything but the ARB!

    Enough ranting and raving, that's just my .02!!
     
  20. Highlander

    Highlander 1/2 ton status

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    I've got ARB's in my 83 k5 44 in front and 12b in the rear.
    Now bear in mind I bought this truck as is so far I haven't wheeld it to much (hell the last time I did I lost the sidewall in my BFG's lol) But so far the rear has blown the seal the front is fine sofar I did have to replace the compesser. Who know's
    how long it's been there and how it was run. Yes you have the added cost of the compesser but it does come in handy when you need to air up your tires. As for the Air lines I have braided steel lines that have yet to fail. I've seen some parts breakage from the ARB as well as some bad driving too.
    When I had my Landcruiser Witch will weigh in at 4500lbs stock with a hard top I ran a Lockrite in the rear with no problums.
    Bottom line I think is it will come down to how you drive your ride as to what prob. that you'll have
    I did agree with Grim and enjoy reading the stuff about the lockers. Good luck

    Lost? i'm not lost i'm just disorienated
    AMSOIL Dealer # 529948
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