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Selectable Lockers, Which One??

Discussion in '1969-1972 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by vtblazer, Sep 12, 2006.

  1. vtblazer

    vtblazer 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Decided I want to change out my front limited slip and put in a locker.
    Looking for help/info or even stories about usage, the good and the bad.

    I'm running a high pinion Dana 60 out of a 79 furd.

    Choices as I know them would be:
    1) spool - (okay not selectable but still an option on the cheap)
    2) Detroit - (I've head about issues in the front)
    3) OX - (mechanical)
    4) ARB - (air)
    5) Auburn - (electric)
    6) Eaton - (electric)
     
  2. CDA 455

    CDA 455 3/4 ton status

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    For a FRONT axle, a high quality spool with selectable hubs is the only way to go. Because it's a VERY SIMPLE device and you can have the front locked or unlocked via the selectable hubs. There are no moving parts; just ONE piece!! As long as everything else is in good shape (high quality axles tubes and u-joints, properly greased and torqued bearings, proper ring/pinion alignment, etc...) a spool will never let you down. With a spool, if there is ever a failure, it's because of a lead-foot. Meaning the driver is applying way too much torque for what is needed. Anything will break if improperly used. When I ordered my diesel truck from the factory I ordered it with manual locking hubs because I didn't like the automatic one because I like to: Keep It Simple Stupid!! Sure enough; they had recalls on the automatic locking hubs!!

    As a bi-product a spool is dirt cheap in price.:D
     
  3. 1977k5

    1977k5 3/4 ton status Vendor

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    I would go with the Eaton E-locker. I don't know what issues you are talking about with a detroit in the front, but that is a good option as well, IMO.
     
  4. 2Dogs

    2Dogs 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I love my ARB :D
     
  5. gaspass

    gaspass 1/2 ton status

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    Eaton E-locker is the best option IMO.
     
  6. vtblazer

    vtblazer 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Going with a spool first round.

    Did alot of research/talking with people/companies and here's what I found out.
    A full spool actually 'helps' strengthen the front diff and is way cheap in comparison.

    Eaton elec. locker was my first choice but after finding out that with that set up there's a box that has to mount on the exterior of the diff cover I wasn't real interested any more, not to mention the one month back order thing.

    ARB was up in the running too but it's right up there in cost and complexity as well.

    OX had my attention for awhile even after seeing the pics of the cable coming out of the diff cover @ the 3 o-clock position all out in the open.
    Cost thing again...

    There was one on the market I wasn't aware of though, that's a Truetrac 'Electrac' locker made by the same folk that make the Detroit locker.
    It's a limited slip until engaged unlike the others that are open until engaged.

    Turns out that to get a selectable locker up front your looking at a grand or better all said and done, not to mention the added 'stuff' in and around the truck. A spool just makes sense.

    So right now, I'm putting my money into a spool and better short shaft's w/full circle clips in them.
     
  7. CDA 455

    CDA 455 3/4 ton status

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    Since my '72 K5 will be a 'daily driver' I'll have an ARB in the rear diff., as well as a spool up front. If it was a 'trail-only' rig, then I'd have spools front and rear. ARB is a good compromise for a daily driver: fully locked or fully open. No slipping or popping in and out of lock.
    I've owned a Detroit Locker. Damn thing is as bullet-proof as you can get!! BUT, loud and nasty-sounding (like a gear or u-joint letting go!!:eek1: ). It gets old after awhile, even if it is an awesome locker.
     
  8. Roland_Jenkins

    Roland_Jenkins Registered Member

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    Had a Detroit in the front of my ol 70 chebby peekup. Never again. Couldn't keep U joints in the steering and or the yokes would stretch out or break. Not to mention you couldn't steer it. Wanted to keep going straight.

    Took it out and replaced it with an ARB. Been running that for over 14 years without a hitch. Works everytime I throw the switch.

    Had a 72 K5 with a powerlock limited slip in the front. That also worked pretty good and gave me no grief.

    I looked into the ox locker but like another posted said. I didn't like the cable hanging out where it could be snagged. Price wasn't much less than an ARB

    My current trail rig *the one in my sig* has an open diff for now. When the time comes it will be getting an ARB
     
  9. vtblazer

    vtblazer 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I currently have a Detroit in the rear and all I ever hear is the tire squall going slow around a corner, never anything more but I know what your sayin'.

    This is a total trail ride, no pleasure trips on pavement, believe me.
    I do try and keep it inspected and insured for those 'occasional' ventures though.

    Here's a pics from last week @ Paragon, where I decided I wanted the front locked up. Would of made Death Spike had it been.

    Paragon Oct 2006 106.jpg
     
  10. 1977k5

    1977k5 3/4 ton status Vendor

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    I'm pretty sure that the Eaton E-locker does not have a box on the outside of the diff. That is the Electrac.
     
  11. vtblazer

    vtblazer 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Yep, my bad, your correct.
    I got them mixed up, thanks for clearing it up.

    Still enough reason for me not to want the Electrac.
     
  12. MNorby

    MNorby 3/4 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    ask MTMike about welded/ spool fronts, even with hydro steering they are hard... w/o hydro you CAN'T turn. He wishes he woulda left it open vs welded. a frined has a detroit electraks and he loves it, somewhat pricy but comparable. The OX is very expensive last I knew. I have a locright in my 60 front and have never had a prob, just blirp the throttle to unlock it to turn
     
  13. vtblazer

    vtblazer 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I wheel with guys that have welded front diff's and 44's and never heard them complain about turning. :dunno:

    The whole group @ Paragon on this last trip were all either locked or welded but no one was having any issue's there either, don't know what to say about it other than I'll find out soon enough cause all the parts have been ordered already.

    Thanks for the heads up though.
     
  14. MNorby

    MNorby 3/4 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I never drove his truck, I just welded it for him. He was having hell with it in the snow before hydro. He said after hydro he could turn but it still wanted to dive straight. I love my LokRight, Cheap and has never failed. Sometimes hard to turn under power before hydro
     
  15. vtblazer

    vtblazer 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Who makes the LokRight?
     
  16. cbbr

    cbbr 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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  17. CDA 455

    CDA 455 3/4 ton status

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    That's one of the drawbacks about a truly locked front diff.; no matter what you have it is somewhat hard to steer in a turn. However, just remember, the closer you are to steering-lock the harder it is to steer.

    When I'm at a tight corner on a trail I use a technique I use in road racing: So I won't understeer going into a corner I BEGIN the turn by steering straight, then turn the wheel in the direction you want to go with the top of the steering wheel at approx. (in a left-hand turn) 11:00 or 10:00 0'clock position. Then steer straight again (or 12:00o'clock position), and then repeat. So you're doing a straight-turn-straight-turn-straight kind of thing to minimize the SHOCK on the front outer-axles and greatly increases steering ability. That's why reduction gears are so awesome; the outer-axles are turning sloooow (although the torque level is high:D ).
    Next time you're at a stop light or sign and you want to turn left from a stop; observe if you turn your steering wheel immediately when you accelerate, or do you steer straight for approx. one car-length THEN begin to turn.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2006
  18. Greg72

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

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    Kurt,

    You may end up hating life with a spool....

    Even with hydro-assist to help with the hard turning, you are probably going to find that your turning radius becomes a lot larger than with other solutions.

    I am going to ultimately end up putting the Eaton eLocker in my D60 (drop in installation, no cover mods or other nonsense). Sometimes you are going to want to turn on a climb, and having the option to push a button to unlock that diff (vs. climbing out to unlock a hub) is going to be hard to ignore.....especially after a few times locking and unlocking on the same trail...

    It will be a fun experiment. By next summer I should FINALLY have the K5 running with some nice updates to it (STaK, eLocker, etc) so we can hit a few trails and do a simple side-by-side comparison. :D

    Damn, I miss wheeling.... (11 days 'til Moab and counting) :usaflag:
     
  19. vtblazer

    vtblazer 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    That's when you unlock the rear axle, turn the tires, step on the brake and give it the gas!! Front dig brother. :D :p:

    Okay, every option has it's pro's and con's no question but other than having a selectable locker, I can't see any difference with a spool.
    A spool will also help strengthen thing's up front unlike a locking diff.

    For the $140.00 bucks vs. $1000.00, I'll give the spool a shot first. ;)
    My parts will be here soon, I'll let ya know how it works out.

    Come down to PA next year and we'll give 'em and true side by each test, it would be interesting to see the real time comparison.
     
  20. 76zimmer

    76zimmer Flyin Rat Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Anyone know how His spool set up worked out?
     

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