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Spool...Poor Man’s ARB?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by konajoe, Feb 1, 2001.

  1. konajoe

    konajoe 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I asked this question on the offroad.com/chevybbs and was also wondering what you guys think?

    *************************************************************************

    I’ve been looking at some front differential solutions for my truck. (60 with 205)

    Power-Lok---Trak-Lok---Detroit---ARB

    Why not use a spool, its 100% locked at all times except for when you unlock the hub or hubs?

    There is nothing to fail mechanically or any air compressors or lines to worry about.

    The ARB is really nothing more than an air actuated spool, you just turn it off and on from the drivers seat. If I ran a spool in front I'd have use the hubs to lock/unlock it. Obviously it could only be run in 2wd while on the street. Plus a 35spline spool is 1/4 the cost of an ARB, lets me save more money for the Tireloc system that I just have to get for my truck.

    Anyone have any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions?

    KonaJoe
     
  2. ken

    ken 1/2 ton status

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    I would advise against the temptation to install a spool in the front. Other than not being able to turn worth a dang, the increased stresses on the axle shafts and their u-joints might be too great. I have a Powr-Lok in one of my front 60s, and a Detroit in the other. The detroit will barely turn in the sand, but it's in a huge dually crewcab with a cabover camper, so I wanted max traction while still being able to steer. Stay away from the Trac-Lok, their anemic at best! Powr-Loks can actually clamp their clutches together harder/tighter due to their ramping spider pins, thus making it almost like a Detroit. Powr-Lok is the best, by far, of the clutch type limited slips. Good luck in your decision.

    ken
     
  3. kpanza

    kpanza 1/2 ton status

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    Just like Ken said, you won't be able to trun worth a crap with a spool or any locker for that matter - except for a slectable locker like the ARB! I was just in the snow last weekend, and with the ARB locked it was hard to make any turns, and impossible to turn tightly! It's just the facts of life...but as soon as I hit the magic button, all was fine, and I could turn just like before. And like Ken said again, you will put a lot of stress on your ujoints, axles, etc...I know, I gave the spool some consideration because of the cost, but in the long run you are better off going another route, unless you only 4 wheel in a straight line! To me, the ARB is the best of all worlds! Just my two cents...time will tell if it stands up as good as my rear Detroit locker, but from all the people I know with ARBs they say they are stout...I sure hope so.
     
  4. 4GUNZ4X4Z

    4GUNZ4X4Z 1/2 ton status

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    "Why not use a spool, its 100% locked at all times except for when you unlock the hub or hubs? "

    Thats exactly what I keep thinking, I'm going for it as soon as I have the chance and the equipment. I like seeing input from both angles, but for some reason this subject has a strong lean away from the spool idea.



    <font color=blue>Professional <font color=red>JEEP EATER</font color=red> it's a population control thing.</font color=blue>[​IMG]
     
  5. EDdaTREE

    EDdaTREE 1/2 ton status

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    You might see if you can dig up some info on the new OX-LOCKER..they work just like an ARB except they are cable-operated. No air lines or compressors to worry about..they started out making them for the smaller jeep axles-(44's) and are supposed to do the bigger stuff ASAP. Saw a BUNCH of road-tests and their said to work flawlessly!

    "I'm not stuck...I'm just exploring the depth and texture of this mudhole for a while"
     
  6. konajoe

    konajoe 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Ken,
    "the increased stresses on the axle shafts and their u-joints might be too great
    I understand what you are saying, but isn't that what a ARB does to your axles & ujoints also?
    How has your Powr-Lok held up in a heavy truck(in your Suburban?)like that? Does it get overwhelmed by the size of your tires & truck?


    kpanza,
    "but as soon as I hit the magic button, all was fine"
    Do you turn the ARB off/on allot while wheeling? I thought that using the locking hubs as my magic dial would compensate, but not if I have to get in & out of the truck every 5 minutes.

    I'm leaning towards going with a Powr-Lok but just wanted to check out this spool idea.

    Thanks guys for your input its greatly appreciated [​IMG]
    Joe

    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by konajoe on 02/02/01 06:30 AM (server time).</FONT></P>
     
  7. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    I'm not really against a spool, but I do think they are better suited for use in the rear. As for unlocking one hub, and maybe running that way until you need the other one locked in, I wouldn't think it would be quite the same as an open diff. With one side solidly locked in there might be an issue with it pulling to that side in some situation. I've seen a couple of guys on the trail running this way due to a broke axle (with lockers in the front) and they had trouble keeping it going straight any time the tires started spinning.
    For stress on the front axle, I don't think a spool would be any harder than a locked ARB. But there might be an issue when running with only one hub locked, for example if the right side hub only was locked and then the right side tire was jammed into a rut. When powering out of the rut all of the torque is being sent to this one axle which has all of the resistance, and snap. In comparison, with both sides locked the torque would be split evenly, with an open diff all the power goes to the other side.
     
  8. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    konajoe, the difference is that with a spool, the axles are locked together 100% of the time. Most folks that have ARB's only have them locked about .01% of the time. They run open up front until they need to be locked up. Then they turn on the ARB, get past the obstacle, then turn off the ARB. It's too hard to steer with the ARB engaged.

    With a spool up front, if you like to play on the rocks or in Moab, you'll wear yourself out getting in and out of the truck to unlock the front hubs. [​IMG] Many of the folks that run in those places even modify their transfer cases so that they can run in 2WD, low range so that they can steer a little easier with a Detroit Locker up front and not bind up their drivetrains on the slickrock.

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://ThunderTruck.ColoradoK5.com>http://ThunderTruck.ColoradoK5.com</A>
     
  9. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    I was planning on running a full spool in the front and a mini in the rear. I know the rear will hold up because my friend was the guinea pig for that.
    Now instead of running a full spool, I am going to weld the fornt and see how I like it. The front is trash anyhow i am just running it until it break and I "HAVE" to get a new front.

    I am hoing to do that soon. I will let you know how it works once I do.

    Mike [​IMG]
    See <font color=green>EMMETT</font color=green> -&gt; <A target="_blank" HREF=http://emmett.coloradok5.com>http://emmett.coloradok5.com</A>
     

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