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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, here's the deal...I drive a Nissan Xterra (yeah, yeah, flame away...but I like a challenge) and have been contemplating welding the front diff shut...now before you all think I'm certifiable, I would install manual hubs before I did this (been meaning to anyway, my auto ones are shot.) That way I could run around in 2LO most of the time offroad (although I only have the factory LSD in the back) and then lock one and/or both front hubs when I needed it. (I got the idea from a guy who runs a Pathfinder like this.)

Anyway, my question is this--if your only front locker options were ARB or Lincoln, and your truck was a daily driver, what would you do? I really only use 4WD on the trail, and having the front diff closed wouldn't affect the normal 2WD driving at all...so...what would you do?

And finally, it looks like lower transfer case gears are finally available for my truck, but unfortunately it will cost me $1200 just for the gears (driving a truck no one makes parts for can suck sometimes...) The gears would take my crawl ratio from 34:1 to 60:1...so, for that much money, would you go with better gearing, or a rear ARB locker + install?

Thanks in advance, and flame if you must. <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">
 

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arb in front or it will be a real real pain in the #ss to turn on the trail. they are a waste in the rear unless you drive on ice. go spool if you can
 

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get the crawler gears for sure especally if you have a manual tranny. Assuming you do the work yourself weld up the front and see how you like it. If you like it keep it, if you can't stand it as oon as you get the money put the arb in. Everything you welded up will be replaced by the arb so you aren't out anything. If you keep the front welded buy a winch with that money.

Matt
 

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don't weld the front. I have done it, and it sucks. Plus if you can afford to wheel an xterra, cough up a little pocket change for the arb. Or even better, go sas now...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the advice guys. Still not sure which way to go, although the suggestion to go ahead and weld the front diff seems sound. I'd been viewing that as a rather permanent mod, but I guess you're right...there's always a way out.

As to the spool in the back, since the truck is my 30K mile/year daily driver, everyday driveability is kind of important to me...I'd love to lock the back right up but I've never driven a truck w/ a Lincoln locked rear, so I don't know what I'm in for on the street...caution suggests then that it's worth the money to get the ARB when I can afford one. Aaargh, if only Detroit would make a locker for my rear axle...

As to the lower t-case gears, yeah, I have a manual tranny, which is part of why I want them...my clutch takes a fair bit of abuse when I slip it offroad. <IMG SRC="smilies/frown.gif" border="0">

Thanks again...any one else care to chime in?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Originally posted by 82FB:
<STRONG>don't weld the front. I have done it, and it sucks. Or even better, go sas now...</STRONG>
I missed your reply as I was typing my last one. Where specifically does the welded front suck? i.e. apart from tight turns, where I could get out and unlock one or both front hubs, have you found situations (off-camber ruts, etc...) where having a locked front got you into real trouble (that you couldn't predict, and therefore unlock the hubs in advance) ?

Believe me, I'd love to go SAS, and already have the Excel spreadsheet listing parts, cost, and where to find them all mapped out...but it's too much $$$ and time for me to devote to it now.

Hopefully someday...living someplace with a garage, so I could own my own welder, rather than relying on generous friends, would be a definite plus in that situation.
 

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Welded up my IFS toy front diff 2 months a go, I doing SAS soon so I figured if I was going to brake something I may as well do it now,Its held up fine after countless runs.I can not turn the wheel at all on pavement and it harder in the dirt but the advantages are so big I really don't mind it.
 

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Originally posted by gothamist:
<STRONG>Where specifically does the welded front suck? i.e. apart from tight turns, where I could get out and unlock one or both front hubs, .</STRONG>
I'm not saying it won't work, but do you really want to get out and unlock the hubs all the time? That sounds like a huge PITA to me...
Unless this is a temporary thing til you go SAS, I'd go with the ARB.

[ 09-05-2001: Message edited by: Loknlod762 ]
 

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Originally posted by Loknlod762:
<STRONG>I'm not saying it won't work, but do you really want to get out and unlock the hubs all the time? That sounds like a huge PITA to me...
Unless this is a temporary thing til you go SAS, I'd go with the ARB.
</STRONG>
Exactly my thoughts. Personally, I want to spend my time wheeling, not getting in and out of the truck locking and unlocking my hubs. I consider it enough of a hassle to unlock for short pavement trips, much less everytime I hit a tough section of trail.

What about those times when you enter an easy looking mudhole and you get stuck, only to wallow out knee deep the goop to lock the hubs in? Not for me....
 

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for the money your looking to spend you could build a much more capable dedicated offroad vehicle!!! think about it it wouldnt cost squat to build a little sami or toy pickup throw a lift cheap mud tires and lock rights front and rear and it would make your exterra look like a joke. Seriously think how often you want to wheel and then think how much you want to modify your current rig. Also just for a little more leverage a stock toy pickup (85 or older) is more offroad capable in stock form then your xterra. Not trying to say your dumb just try and spend your money wisely
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Originally posted by SquirrelMaster:
<STRONG>for the money your looking to spend you could build a much more capable dedicated offroad vehicle</STRONG>
This I know. I have certainly entertained the notion of it, but honestly...I like doing something not many other people are doing. Almost every person who I meet on the trail stops to ask me about my truck (and question my sanity for taking it where I do.) It's not about ultimate offroad ability to me...it's about pushing the limits of what I have and seeing how far I can take it.

Thanks for the advice about the front diff. I probably will end up going w/ the ARB in the front I guess...still hoping another option pops up for the rear. I think the crawler gears come first, though.
 

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<IMG SRC="smilies/bounce.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/bounce2.gif" border="0"> WELD IT UP! i Run one hub locked until I need both. It is true its hard to turn but boy does it work. I say weld it up. <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">
 

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RockRanger said:
get the crawler gears for sure especally if you have a manual tranny. Assuming you do the work yourself weld up the front and see how you like it. If you like it keep it, if you can't stand it as oon as you get the money put the arb in. Everything you welded up will be replaced by the arb so you aren't out anything. If you keep the front welded buy a winch with that money.

Matt
Word! My thoughts exactly.
 
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