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Front diff advice and center diff question

pgrey

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Hi all,

I have a '92 Explorer XLT with an automatic. We'd like to use it for some off roading so I'd like to improve its traction capabilities. The truck has the stock LS and 3.73s and I'd like to install a better diff in the front. The vehicle will also be used for ski trips so I'm concerned about something too "tight" in the front.

I've thought about using an ARB locker in the front and only locking one hub when we're on a snow covered road. Has anyone done this? Assuming this is a stupid idea (or one that's too expensive), what recommendations would you folks have for something that would offer decent off road capabilities and still be driveable in the snow?

Also, does the center diff lock when in low range?

Thanks,

Peter
 



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Alec

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Yes, I believe the center diff locks in both hi and lo.

As for the front, I do recommend a selectable locker such as ARB. With an ARB, you'd lock both hubs when you want 4x4, and turn on and off the locker as needed. I don't see why you'd want to leave one side open with a selectable locker. Members have experienced problems with auto lockers and LS's in the front due to them not slipping enough and causing stress on the drivetrain, but that is solved with a selectable locker because you only turn it on when you need it.
 






pgrey

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I'm concerned that a fully locked front end will cause major understeer problems on snowy roads. I may be wrong about this.

I know a locked rear diff can cause a car to be a hand full in low traction situations. Wouldn't a fully locked front diff be similar? With no differential action, the car would want to go straight, yes?

I thought that by only locking one hub you'd get traction at the front equal to what I'm getting now with an open diff, but wouldn't have to worry about losing the front end as easily.

Peter
 






MrShorty

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You are forgetting that with selectable locker it isn't locked all the time. On snowy roads you could run in 4x4 with the front diff acting as an open differential (limited slip in the case of some selectable lockers). Locking only one hub would be particularly useful with an automatic locker (powertrax, Detroit, etc) or a spool. With a selectable locker, you decide when to lock the front differential and when to leave it open.
 






Alec

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Exactly my point. You'd want to leave one hub open for an automatic unit; but a selectable locker is selectable for this reason: it's not there when you don't want it. ARBs can be switch on and off frequently as long as you have the onboard compressor.
 






Robb

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Is an ARB even available for the D35?

What kind of axle are you looking to replace yours with?
 






Alec

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Yes, they're available for 91-94s.
 






pgrey

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But if I lock both front hubs on either a selectable locker or a spool, when I have the front diff engaged and locked, I'm going to get high levels of understeer on snowy roads, yes?

Off road, I don't care that much about the understeer. I can deal with it a low speeds I'm thinking.

So do you guys not recommend a LS for the front at all?

Peter
 






SteveVB

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First off you have no center differential - your front and rear drive shafts are locked together when in 4wd- high or low. You have a "pure" transfer case.

A l/S in the front will cause more understeer with power applied in the snow and would be a poor choice for any snow use.

The ARB is perfect for what you want because when its engaged you have the front axle locked for off road travel and extra traction. BUT.. for driving around on snowy roads with it disengauged you have the stock open front differential and stock handling characteristics. Just lock the hubs and drive- lock the diff when and if you need it.


RD 39 is the front ARB # for the Dana 35 in the 91-94s

Good Luck.
 






Alec

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What we're trying to say is that if you have a selectable locker and experience steering difficulties, you just hit the switch and turn it off.

I would not get an LS, auto locker, or spool for the front end.
 






pgrey

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OK! I finally got it! It didn't hit me that with a selectable locker when it wasn't locked I'd have what I do now which is an open diff. Somehow my mind wasn't working properly.

Is there a selectable locker that doesn't require the air compressor and such. Anything less complicated and cheaper?

Peter
 






Alec

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I believe at this point the ARB is the only one available for your TTB D35 front diff.
 






pgrey

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Thanks for your help, folks.

Peter
 






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