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Old 01-22-2012, 02:36 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by rp709 View Post
I'm liking the idea of a 2wd with locker. I just am not familiar with the hardware.
Rear lockers are helpful when you are really stuck or when going back up steep grades like this one. I have only needed to use my rear locker on occasion when off road. They're only good if you are going in a straight line for a short distance or you are on sand, dirt, mud or snow. Turning can do damage to the axle.
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:20 PM   #58
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We chose an 07 Tacoma 2WD but it has a locking differential, which has come in handy ... on steep grades on dirt roads pulling the trailer...and this was in a campground! For the way we use our truck, this works well for us.
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:46 PM   #59
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You only need it when you need it,
but I wouldn't own a vehicle without it.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:27 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by mojo View Post
Rear lockers are helpful when you are really stuck or when going back up steep grades like this one. I have only needed to use my rear locker on occasion when off road. They're only good if you are going in a straight line for a short distance or you are on sand, dirt, mud or snow. Turning can do damage to the axle.

The Eaton locker is the only one I'm intimately familiar with, but with it, your concerns are unnecessary. They won't snap an axle. They do have a very high force clutch in them, designed to slip at a point a little below axle shaft strength.

True, a locker, engaged wouldn't be good at high speeds, for obvious reasons. The Eaton has a flyweight which will disengage above 20mph with a little (very little) steering input.

I gotta believe the others are similarly "protected", either mechanically or electronically. (Ford?).
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:46 AM   #61
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  • Locking differentials (or diff locks) are the only cure for the shortcoming of differentials sometimes sending torque to the "wrong" wheel. Diff locks disable the differential's ability to distribute torque equally and its ability to allow the wheels to rotate at different speeds. In some ways a diff lock is the ultimate traction device. Since, all wheels rotate at the same speed when engaged, a vehicle with locks on all axles has traction if just one wheel does.
  • By disabling (or locking) the differential, steering becomes very difficult and the wheel with the most traction will get the most torque, as much as 100%. This guarantees that any wheel with traction will receive enough torque to move the car. In sum, diff locks will keep you going and keep you from getting stuck.
  • Locking (disabling) the differential makes it impossible for wheels to roll at different speeds. Therefore, with lockers engaged, on high traction surfaces it becomes very difficult to make turns, and on low traction surfaces the turning radius gets very wide. You will experience wheel hop and binding.
  • Unfortunately a diff' lock is on or off; there is no in-between. This can make the vehicle understeer (tend to go straight ahead in corners) or veer suddenly sideways if one side looses traction, like on ice.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:09 AM   #62
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I just got rid of a 4x4 pickup in favor of a 4x2 Ford Excursion. The 4x4 was so high off the ground you just about needed a ladder to put anything in the bed or get in and out of the truck. I wanted something low maintenance which ment to me a gas engine and no 4x4. Then there are the issues of the tires. Most yahoos put the big crappy noisy low miliage mud tires on 4x4's which really messes them up for road use. It is most likely the reason for higher maintenance because the mud tires are really hard on bearing etc. My Excursion has a locking rear end and it is heavy enough that there is plenty of traction. I have not had any problems with getting stuck in it but I am sure I could get it stuck if I tried. The crappy tires and height make them less stable and more of a pain for trailering because the bumper is so much higher than the trailer. I don't understand the trend toward making trucks so high off the ground which makes them less useful as a truck that works instead of a redneck toy. In most trucks you take a miliage hit my going 4x4 and that gets worse as tires get more redneck.

Perry
I too suffer with these ever higher trucks. As my salesman told me, GM doesn't want you to pull up to a Ford at a stop light and be lower than they are. Ford fels the same. So the race the sky has begun. And to make matters worse, they all have increased the bed body height to hold more stuff, maing it impossible to reach in there to grab anything. Height has everything to do with marketing and nothing to do with practicality. The minute someone , anyone makes a decent pick-up lower to the ground by 4 or 5 inches I'll buy it.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:03 AM   #63
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34,523 miles of towing, all with 2wd and never got stuck. I have gotten stuck on grass without the trailer. I also struggled once hitching up in my back yard...mud with snow over it.

Need 4wd while towing? I haven't...Need 4wd at ther times? probably. Would 4wd be handy when towing? maybe.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:16 AM   #64
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I haven't read all of this thread so no doubt my comments may be a repetion of what some folks have already said.

In our case, we use our tow vehicle also as a daily driver and living where we do in Southern Ontario have to contend with snow and ice in the winters.

Over the years, through many vehicles we have owned, we have found that large rear wheel drive vehicles with light rear ends have at times been quite a challenge on snow covered roads.

So when we moved to a truck, we felt that for us, it really needed to have a 4 wheel drive option in order to cope with whatever winter throws at us - and we do quite often use the 4wd option in the winter when around town with the truck.

In our situation, that was the main factor in deciding to go with 4wd.

Having said that, there have certainly also been times during the summer when we have been glad of it when towing our trailer.

Pulling up steep campground gravel roads is one such situation where we have found that when in 2wd, the back wheels can spin, throwing rocks back onto teh trailer even though we do have rubber mud flaps on the truck.

Another situation we have encountered at times is getting on and out of campsites if they are grassy and wet. There have been times when I'm not sure how we would have managed without 4wd - allthough no doubt we would have found a way.

Is it necessary or cost effective? Probably not, depending upin your circumstances.

But if you don't mind spending the extra $, it is one other thing that can make life easier and gives you more of a feeling of confidence that you can handle many situations with ease that may otherwise be a lot more challenging.

You need to be aware though - as I think some folks seem not to be - that on snowy & icy roads, you must still modify your driving to suit conditions - the 4wd will not stop any faster!

These are my thoughts.


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Old 01-23-2012, 09:54 AM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
~~
You need to be aware though - as I think some folks seem not to be - that on snowy & icy roads, you must still modify your driving to suit conditions - the 4wd will not stop any faster!

~~
Hehehe... this is one that I've seen demonstrated over and over again in Texas. Many of my fellow Texans seem to lose their minds when encountering water in its solid state outside a glass of iced tea. Some strip the grocery stores bare and cower in their homes when the weather forecasters mention sub-freezing temperatures, and others go out in 4WD vehicles and proceed to slide off roads everywhere!

I went at it backwards I guess... I have an AWD car and a 2WD truck, though I was careful to get a limited-slip diff so I'd have at least some usable traction in adverse conditions.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:41 AM   #66
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I Should Clarify

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumaholic View Post
You only need it when you need it,
but I wouldn't own a vehicle without it.
I can't recall ever needing 4WD while towing an Airstream down the open road in Mississppi or Texas.
Were I designing a tow vehicle for those states it would be 2WD with a limited slip differential ( I have had lockers in Jeeps, but that would be overkill in a 2WD TV)
I live in NM.
We have mountains here.
I go hunting and camping where I couldn't possibly tow an Airstream, so I tow a tandem utility trailer with outfitter tents and camping gear into some very rugged country.
There have been times when the weather is lovely on the way in, and we wake up to 3 to 6 inches of snow.
There are times when we are on two-track, BLM roads for days at a time.
So, my TV must handle off-road towing as well as highway.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:48 AM   #67
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I use the 4WD frequently - our yard is frequently a sloppy mess (they should've just put in a lake instead of our house), so I start spinning in the mud on 2WD when I'm backing the trailer in. Good thing we got 4WD. We wanted it for snow issues, but we never considered that we'd need it most of the time we get home from camping.

Though I think the automatic hubs do not engage if you're just going backwards - I have to get out and manually lock them to get 4WD. I think if I planned ahead and hit 4WD before backing up, it'd be fine - it's just that I'm usually trying to hit it while I'm backing the camper in.
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:52 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo View Post
  • Locking differentials (or diff locks) are the only cure for the shortcoming of differentials sometimes sending torque to the "wrong" wheel. Diff locks disable the differential's ability to distribute torque equally and its ability to allow the wheels to rotate at different speeds. In some ways a diff lock is the ultimate traction device. Since, all wheels rotate at the same speed when engaged, a vehicle with locks on all axles has traction if just one wheel does.
  • By disabling (or locking) the differential, steering becomes very difficult and the wheel with the most traction will get the most torque, as much as 100%. This guarantees that any wheel with traction will receive enough torque to move the car. In sum, diff locks will keep you going and keep you from getting stuck.
  • Locking (disabling) the differential makes it impossible for wheels to roll at different speeds. Therefore, with lockers engaged, on high traction surfaces it becomes very difficult to make turns, and on low traction surfaces the turning radius gets very wide. You will experience wheel hop and binding.
  • Unfortunately a diff' lock is on or off; there is no in-between. This can make the vehicle understeer (tend to go straight ahead in corners) or veer suddenly sideways if one side looses traction, like on ice.
That's all true, but they won't break the axle shafts. The slick surface control issue is why they unlock at lower speeds.

Now, back in the day, for dedicated "mudders" we used to create a poor man's locker with a welder. Those you could never use on the road.
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:01 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by Alumaholic View Post
I can't recall ever needing 4WD while towing an Airstream down the open road in Mississppi or Texas.
Were I designing a tow vehicle for those states it would be 2WD with a limited slip differential ( I have had lockers in Jeeps, but that would be overkill in a 2WD TV)
I live in NM.
We have mountains here.
I go hunting and camping where I couldn't possibly tow an Airstream, so I tow a tandem utility trailer with outfitter tents and camping gear into some very rugged country.
There have been times when the weather is lovely on the way in, and we wake up to 3 to 6 inches of snow.
There are times when we are on two-track, BLM roads for days at a time.
So, my TV must handle off-road towing as well as highway.
Lockers aren't overkill at all. GM has used them for 25 years or so, in everything from Astro vans through the pick up line in 2wds. I noticed that Ford has gone from limited slip to an electronic locker recently...not sure when 2011? 2012?

Higher speed traction is now provided by traction control. That provides a "simulated locker or limited slip", as the previous poster noted.

Your ultimate ON ROAD traction vehicle would be all-wheel drive (not 4wd), with a rear locker and traction/stability control. However. generally speaking AWD vehicles may not have the tow capacity of a 4wd, but that has been changing in recent years.

But for getting a loaded truck with an AS on back into off road or poor road situations I would choose 4wd (with low range TC), rear locker, and traction/stability control. (note: most trucks will automatically disengage the TC/SC when low range is selected.

You're right, on the open road, I have never used 4wd while towing. BUT, getting out of sandy beach sites, I have used it. As well, I have used 2wd with a locker. They work equally well.

I actually use 4wd, in the low set to get my 30'er out of its parking spot now. It sits on a concrete pig lot (retired farm! thank goodness) where the barn is two story in the front and 3 story in the back. The pigs used to live in the barn basement and on the concrete lot attached. I back my AS down a rather steep gravel drive onto the lot alongside the barn. It is pretty steep and in the low set it is no strain on the truck. A 2wd w/o a locker is a real challenge...it spins one wheel a lot. 2wd with a locker it pulls out fine, but alot of torque applied through the trans.


I think a 4wd tow vehicle is pretty much for low speed applications. An awd would be better for on road traction needs in snowy higher speed applications. (or a 4wd with an "auto" setting)
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:16 PM   #70
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I have owned my Chevy since new. In 110k miles I have replaced an axle seal at the wheel on the rear end once and have never touched the front end at all, save replacing the lubricant a time or two. Thatís not really ďaddedĒ maintenance cost to me.

The independent wheel style front end found on the GMs provides a great ride and drive as compared to the other two. It is designed much the same as the front wheel drive systems found on cars. From my point of view, this design is mature and has few problems.

I have always had 4 WD vehicles, and find them worth the cost.
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