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E-Locker or Bust!
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Just catching up on this thread, here to offer far more than my 2 cents. :flipoff2:

To your tire question, I just did my first wheeling trip on Nitto Trail Grapplers and am beyond impressed. So big vote there from me.

I'm a huge fan of KISSS for differentials. Keep it simple and strong stupid! I run a Detroit style front and rear. Factory 14B gov-lock rear and Yukon Grizzly front. No BS to go wrong, super predictable. The selectable fan-boys can suck it :flipoff2: And before the selectable group get on my case... Yes I drove my junk on the street. A lot.

As for hubs I'm a huge fan of the Yukon hardcore hubs. I've taken some detailed pictures of them against the Warn's and the strength difference is so obvious its not even funny. That said there's something said for having a weak link that's real easy to swap out on the trail.
What, an inner axle shaft isn't easy to swap out on the trail? :flipoff2:
 

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Discussion Starter #342
So we made out it out there and back in one piece.


The Merc did fine which is to say that the worn out things on it were still worn out by the time we got back :laughing:. So that is to say it is due for a refresh here soon. The good news is that the front locker is working correctly again, and there wasn't any major (or minor) failures during the trip. Heck, it even picked up a couple of MPG's with the new tune (still crappy though!). The biggest area that needs attention is the suspension, particularly the front end. Bushings are shot, and I think both front leafs have bent (hard to say). I'll likely hack another pack together for the front for the time being as I would like to save some pennies for a coil setup in the future.

Work went full retard while I was playing in the mountains and I am currently dealing with things as they sit now. In my free time, I am getting photos uploaded so I hope to have a report written up in the next few weeks.
 

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The Merc did fine which is to say that the worn out things on it were still worn out by the time we got back :laughing:. So that is to say it is due for a refresh here soon.
I know the feeling here man. the explorer is wore out for sure.
 

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/Could you do me a favor and measure the coopers on the merc at trail pressure some time. Just curious what they end of being.
 

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Discussion Starter #347
/Could you do me a favor and measure the coopers on the merc at trail pressure some time. Just curious what they end of being.
No problem! I need to re-adjust my tire deflators anyway so it wouldn't be a big deal to get a measurement for you. I'll see if I can't get it done this weekend.
 

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I'm a huge fan of KISSS for differentials. Keep it simple and strong stupid! I run a Detroit style front and rear. Factory 14B gov-lock rear and Yukon Grizzly front. No BS to go wrong, super predictable. The selectable fan-boys can suck it :flipoff2: And before the selectable group get on my case... Yes I drove my junk on the street. A lot.

As for hubs I'm a huge fan of the Yukon hardcore hubs. I've taken some detailed pictures of them against the Warn's and the strength difference is so obvious its not even funny. That said there's something said for having a weak link that's real easy to swap out on the trail.
I’m with Dan, I started my wheeling life off with open diffs, then believed I NEEDED selectables and had them F/R. Then made the switch to a Detroit rear and love it!!! I’m still selectable front and I am considering an auto.

I’ve dealt with enough selectable issues and seen enough issues with every selectable known to man.

I was nervous of the horror stories of a Detroit on the road. I barely feel it! I drive to and from the trail and it’s never given me an oh crap moment.

Can you turn tighter on grippy granite? Sure, probably can with a selectable but I love knowing that the auto locker will always work.

And X2 on the hubs...I had broken a hub first trip out with non Yukon’s. Switched over and never had a problem again
 

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E-Locker or Bust!
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I think the main sell for a selectable up front is driving in snow. I've seen you take trips up into the mountains in the winter, Chris, but not sure how often.

With an auto locker in the rear, it's pretty predictable how it performs in the snow. I've heard horror stories of the auto lockers up front locking mid turn as the trans downshifts (probably less of an issue in a manual since you can coast a turn with the clutch depressed) and the vehicle understeering like crazy.

I think the reasons above are why front selectables are so popular. From a reliability off-road standpoint, the auto is a great choice. And if you are rarely in 4wd on the road in the snow, I'd really think that's the way to go, a la Dan.

@Dan90FSB I'm surprised to hear that the 14b gov-lock is reliable! Coming from forums like FullsizeChevy and GMFullSize, most of my experience with those lockers are on 10b axles and they're junk. Obviously you beat on your stuff pretty good and it's held up. In theory this type of locker is the best of both worlds since there are actual spider gears - it helps save tire scrub and has zero unpredictable street driving. Ever any issues getting it to engage offroad? I know it's supposed to engage at like ~100rpm differential between left and right tires.
 

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I think the main sell for a selectable up front is driving in snow. I've seen you take trips up into the mountains in the winter, Chris, but not sure how often.

With an auto locker in the rear, it's pretty predictable how it performs in the snow. I've heard horror stories of the auto lockers up front locking mid turn as the trans downshifts (probably less of an issue in a manual since you can coast a turn with the clutch depressed) and the vehicle understeering like crazy.

I think the reasons above are why front selectables are so popular. From a reliability off-road standpoint, the auto is a great choice. And if you are rarely in 4wd on the road in the snow, I'd really think that's the way to go, a la Dan.

@Dan90FSB I'm surprised to hear that the 14b gov-lock is reliable! Coming from forums like FullsizeChevy and GMFullSize, most of my experience with those lockers are on 10b axles and they're junk. Obviously you beat on your stuff pretty good and it's held up. In theory this type of locker is the best of both worlds since there are actual spider gears - it helps save tire scrub and has zero unpredictable street driving. Ever any issues getting it to engage offroad? I know it's supposed to engage at like ~100rpm differential between left and right tires.
I’m in the same boat selectables because of snow. Yes auto lockers can work on ice. But I’ll never run an auto locker again unless it was in a dedicated rock rig. The scariest experience I’ve ever had behind the wheel was an auto locker in my Cj on ice. Only problem with my selectable has been the air lines. But I switched them to stainless and eliminated the problems.
 

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Good points on snow. It's something I don't think about since the only time I drive in snow is when we intentionally go four wheeling in it, and then it's deep and we're going slow so I'd still want a Detroit style.

My govlok has kicked ass for me. Predictable and unobtrusive on the street, always locked when I need it on the trail. I have read some people have strength concerns but I'm guessing guys blowing these up are really beating on them.
 

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I think the main sell for a selectable up front is driving in snow. I've seen you take trips up into the mountains in the winter, Chris, but not sure how often.

With an auto locker in the rear, it's pretty predictable how it performs in the snow. I've heard horror stories of the auto lockers up front locking mid turn as the trans downshifts (probably less of an issue in a manual since you can coast a turn with the clutch depressed) and the vehicle understeering like crazy.

I think the reasons above are why front selectables are so popular. From a reliability off-road standpoint, the auto is a great choice. And if you are rarely in 4wd on the road in the snow, I'd really think that's the way to go, a la Dan.
Great point, I understand snow with an auto locker front would suck! I don't drive in the snow often so I didn't really think of that. The rear didn't seem too bad this last time around. What has your guys experience been in snow with a rear auto locker? Your experience is worth way more then my one experience...Before this last season I had selectables f/r in the snow.
 

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P.B.A.
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Great point, I understand snow with an auto locker front would suck! I don't drive in the snow often so I didn't really think of that. The rear didn't seem too bad this last time around. What has your guys experience been in snow with a rear auto locker? Your experience is worth way more then my one experience...Before this last season I had selectables f/r in the snow.
I ran lock rites front and rear in my Cj in the snow a lot. In the deep stuff no problem. The problem for me is going up or coming down from the snow on the hard pack snow aka ice. On a down hill or when the road was banked a little it would walk down hill. Granted this was in a short wheelbase with manual tranny and wide tires.

My rig now I usually lock the front in leave rear open and if I get stuck I’ll lock the rear in and usually back right out. And on the hard pack or ice I’m open front and rear. We do have deep snow here 5+ feet usually.
 

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Discussion Starter #354
I'm still a little thrown off by all of this auto locker concern in the snow/ice :confused: Granted location probably plays a huge part of my not understanding it, but I have only run auto lockers in my rigs (in both automatics and manual transmissions) and have never had an issue with odd handling in the snow/ice.

Guess I'm just lucky?

I can make the rear Yukon do some dancing when I'm being dumb with it on purpose, but I've never had it surprise me.

Sure, the front end wants to go straight around corners, but I just pop it in 2wd to make a turn and kick it back in 4wd as needed.

The work supernova is starting to cool off a bit, so I hope to actually get a chance to post some trip photos this coming week. :FingersCrossed:
 

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Sure, the front end wants to go straight around corners, but I just pop it in 2wd to make a turn and kick it back in 4wd as needed.
I think this is the main point. Steering can be unpredictable and lean towards severe understeer in 4wd in the snow or ice. Clearly this only matter at speed. If you're crawling though powder at 5 mph it doesn't matter. If you're on a city street or highway at speed I could see it being problematic. I've never driven at speed in 4wd with Detroit style lockers so can't comment.

Very much to your point though, I usually wheel in low range rear drive only, front hubs locked, and then shift in and out of front drive as needed. One could use this strategy in the snow or ice at speed with an auto locker to perhaps address the steering issues discussed here.
 

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I think this is the main point. Steering can be unpredictable and lean towards severe understeer in 4wd in the snow or ice. Clearly this only matter at speed. If you're crawling though powder at 5 mph it doesn't matter. If you're on a city street or highway at speed I could see it being problematic. I've never driven at speed in 4wd with Detroit style lockers so can't comment.

Very much to your point though, I usually wheel in low range rear drive only, front hubs locked, and then shift in and out of front drive as needed. One could use this strategy in the snow or ice at speed with an auto locker to perhaps address the steering issues discussed here.
On a short wheelbase rig when the rear comes unlocked on ice it is violent and can cause you to lose the ass end. I’ve found spoils actually better and more predictable in the ice. Your definitely going to get understeer.

The group I used to wheel with was several Toyota’s with Detroit’s or lunch box lockers. Then my cj7 and my buddy in a samurai both with lockrites. We were always in the rear going slow and “looping” it out on most corners on the way up to the deep snow. It seems wheelbase and weight seem to help them have a much more enjoyable time. The Samuari on one occasion going over a cliff.

If your not running in the snow and ice only concern would be tire wear and excessive stress on axle shafts. Both mute points when you have one tons.

Here’s a thread that’s a good read on what I’m talking about.

https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/snow-wheelin/2421770-locker-spool.html
 

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I'm still a little thrown off by all of this auto locker concern in the snow/ice :confused: Granted location probably plays a huge part of my not understanding it, but I have only run auto lockers in my rigs (in both automatics and manual transmissions) and have never had an issue with odd handling in the snow/ice.

Guess I'm just lucky?

I can make the rear Yukon do some dancing when I'm being dumb with it on purpose, but I've never had it surprise me.

Sure, the front end wants to go straight around corners, but I just pop it in 2wd to make a turn and kick it back in 4wd as needed.

The work supernova is starting to cool off a bit, so I hope to actually get a chance to post some trip photos this coming week. :FingersCrossed:
Up here, in a short wheelbase I hated auto lockers in snow/ice. They can be unpredictable, and lock/unlock at innoportune times.

Build thread is awesome man, and I'm a big fan of the color :grinpimp:
 

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select-able is preferred for me.

with low power i can get away with the autos....but sparty comes out and open front on the road for ice/slush season.

theres guys here that say lockers make no difference in winter. not sure how or what speeds and traffic they drive in.....

my ranger is 128ish wb..so it should be pretty stable....and fuk that. shitty turning up hill under load with a locker front and rear.


the bronco otoh is better spooled in the rear in the winter, makes it predictable compared to open or posi...but you have to pay attention/work.
 

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E-Locker or Bust!
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For the record, I agree that in 2wd with front hubs engaged, the auto locker should never cause issue in snow. Up here, however, its sometimes hard to disengage the front output quickly if driving on the highway in the deep(ish) stuff and going around corners/onramps/offramps. Especially with all the dummies to keep an eye out for.

I'll give my 1.5 cents on the rear auto lockers. With a longer wheelbase, heavy rig and auto transmission, the rear end is SUPER predictable and never has caused me any (unexpected/unintentional) squirrely moments.
 

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Discussion Starter #360
Colorado 2018 - Granby area in the Mighty Merc. – Day 1

So life has been kicking my ass hard here lately (All mostly good things, just busy as hell). I did manage to sort through a chunk of our photos and tried to put a halfway readable vacation post put together. I hope to get all the posts up in the next day or so :FingersCrossed:

Not much wheeling this trip out, just a much needed leisure time goofing around the Granby area. While my kids travel pretty dang well, I can't really expect them to spend a week in the back seat as I slowly crawl over rocks as they would much rather get out and run around the rocks themselves (which we did alot!).

So here we go:....

Colorado 2018 - Granby area in the Mighty Merc. – Day 1

In the midst of building a house we were gifted with some free lodging in Granby Colorado from my fantastic in-laws. So we got to have an impromptu vacation out west this year when we weren’t expecting to have one at all. Awesome.

The Merc got a quick once over (bath and fluid change) and I ignored all the wore out things that I was hoping to get around to fixing prior to heading west again:


While it seemed like we were taking less stuff than we usually do, the Merc was packed to the gills once again. Every time I do this exercise, I give some very serious thought to moving the spare tire outside to gain some more interior room. It’s not like I can see out of the back of it when it’s loaded down anyway!


After a brief nap when I got home from work, we rolled out of the St. Louis area headed to points west as darkness began to fall:


The trip through the night was pretty uneventful. I did have a slight scare at the first fuel stop when I discovered gear oil everywhere underneath the truck. Apparently running 80 mph in 90°F heat loaded down was enough to cause the transfer case fluid to find a new level. It only puked once during the whole trip and was fine after that.

My back however was very done by the time we hit rush hour in Denver the following morning. I need to rework the suspension a bit so that I have some more up travel when loaded down as riding on the bump stops for hours at a time was less than pleasant.

As mentioned, daybreak brought us mountain views and the beautiful scenery of morning Denver Rush hour:



We made a detour through Boulder (which was everything we thought Boulder would be) on our way to do a quick walk to Boulder Falls outside of town. The kids had some energy to burn, and we all just need to get out and stretch our legs for a bit:


After leaving the falls, we headed towards our first “theme” stop for this trip. My boy is very into trains right now, so a large portion of this vacation was visiting train things. Our first stop was to hit the Moffat Tunnel. That trek started out on some gravel roads that followed the rail lines to the Tunnel:




The boy was excited to see the tunnel, but we didn’t get to see any trains run through it while we were there:



After leaving the Tunnel, we took the scenic route to Granby taking in the sights:
 
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