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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an 04 Dakota with the 3.7L engine. It's 2wd and I live in West Virginia and we get a good bit of snow each year so I'm wondering if it's worth it to put a diff lock on it to at least give it some edge against the snow. And also if I do this would it be better to get a manual locking type or a limited slip diff? Opinions would be appreciated.
 

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Manual locking type.

They've been Toyota's with really large tires fitted, but I've driven through the Chicago winter several times, two different trucks, with lockers. One was an ARB and the other was a lincoln locker (welded the diff gears solid, so effectively a spool).

When you break traction with an auto locker or spool, you do so with BOTH back tires at once, instead of one of them sitting still, giving you lateral traction while the other spins. The spinning tire is the inside, too, which had less traction to start with because your weight is planted on the stationary outside tire in a turn.

Simple version: With an auto locker the slightest blip of the throttle will cause your rearend to try very, very hard to pass you. And driving on a steeply banked icy road is less than fun - you end up crabbing sideways.

A locker only really comes into its own when you are in deep snow offroad and would otherwise be stuck. Both vehicles were locked F &R, and nearly impossible to get stuck. Sure, you had to fight very hard to stay on the road and out of the snowbanks... but getting stuck in them wasn't a concern.

An ARB or Ox or similar manual locker is the ticket - lock it when plowing through deep snow or the like, open the diffs when driving on hard-packed snowy, icy surfaces.

For use as a commuter and not on the trail, I'd prefer a good gear-type limited slip like an Auburn to an auto locker. The Auburn and a few other LSDs don't have clutch packs to wear out over time.
 
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