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First drive on slippery roads with locker.

 
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Old 01-19-2019, 01:36 PM
Mo8414
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First drive on slippery roads with locker.

Purchased my 94 f250 extended cab 2wd a lil over a month ago and the previous owner installed a lock rite locker in the rear end. I have been kind of worried about how it would handle when it was slick out.

Today in michigan we got our first big snow and the roads are still pretty bad so I had to drive home from work in it. For the most part it handled and drove just like it would without being locked except it was easier to get going since both tires would spin and push thru. Only time I ran into a problem was on the freeway where it banked up on a curve and my rear wanted to gradually go to the bottom of the slope, since I was in the middle lane I slowed way down and eventually switched into the lower left lane. That was not very fun but now that I know how it is I will be better prepaired for next time.
 
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Old 01-19-2019, 02:35 PM
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I prefer a lower, front wheel drive vehicle on icy highways. General perception is that four wheel drive is ideal with slippery roads, but having power at the rear wheels creates a better chance of the vehicle spinning. Front wheel drive cars usually just spin their tires when they hit ice, and they are also much less likely to roll over.

I drove my lifted Bronco II for a couple years with a mini-spool in the rear end before I bit the bullet and bought a Detroit/Eaton TruTrac for it. It was miserable turning or pulling into parking spots. I knew every chirp was tearing up my expensive over-sized mud tires!

Just my thoughts.

I try to put realistic safety first. By that I mean take precautions that are actually going to keep you safe. (I have been on plenty of jobsites that require tard-hats while children and/or building staff are walking around without protection!)

Take care.
- Joe
 
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Old 01-20-2019, 05:16 AM
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I had a Olds cutlass with a welded diff, best thing in the winter, backing up felt like a chore but overall slick roads were never an issue. But, I do prefer the LSD in my Bronco.
 
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:13 PM
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Biggest dangers occur when going around a curve, when the outer tire wants to turn faster than the inner tire. The locker, doing what it does, will force them to spin equally, so usually the inner tire will break traction, which can cause the rear to spin out. I don't like driving my truck in the rain for this reason, and avoid it if I can.

I try to ease through any curves or turns, and use the gas pedal as little as possible while turning in slick conditions. This allows the locker to unlock and let the outside tire spin faster through the turn, and then lock back up when I'm going straight again.
 
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Old 01-20-2019, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by animator View Post
Biggest dangers occur when going around a curve, when the outer tire wants to turn faster than the inner tire. The locker, doing what it does, will force them to spin equally, so usually the inner tire will break traction, which can cause the rear to spin out. I don't like driving my truck in the rain for this reason, and avoid it if I can.

I try to ease through any curves or turns, and use the gas pedal as little as possible while turning in slick conditions. This allows the locker to unlock and let the outside tire spin faster through the turn, and then lock back up when I'm going straight again.
Not true but true.

The locker, doing what it does, actually unlocks and lets the outside wheel freely rotate faster than the inside wheel, completely eliminating any tendency of the diff to break the tires loose.

However, since the diff is unlocked, now all of the power you send to it will go to the inside tire. That makes it very easy for you to break that tire loose. If that tire spins it will quickly catch up to the outside tire. Only then will the locker reengage. When it reengages, frequently the inertia of the inside tire hammering into it will break the outside tire loose as well, which can cause a spin-out if you don't catch it in time.

So your correction, to stay off the gas (or at least only be on it lightly) is the right reaction. However it's not to allow the locker to unlock. It will always unlock, any time the outside tire wants to go faster than the inside tire, no matter how much power you are giving it. BUT, if you give too much power for the inside tire to handle, then the inside tire wants to go faster than the outsider tire so you lock it back up again.

This may seem like semantics, but correctly understanding how something works makes it a lot easier to use it correctly.
 
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Old 01-20-2019, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by animator View Post
Biggest dangers occur when going around a curve
It's gonna get you when you least expect it.

Equal and opposite reaction, physics. Don't matter where you are or what you are doing.

 
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Nothing Special View Post
Not true but true.

The locker, doing what it does, actually unlocks and lets the outside wheel freely rotate faster than the inside wheel, completely eliminating any tendency of the diff to break the tires loose.

However, since the diff is unlocked, now all of the power you send to it will go to the inside tire. That makes it very easy for you to break that tire loose. If that tire spins it will quickly catch up to the outside tire. Only then will the locker reengage. When it reengages, frequently the inertia of the inside tire hammering into it will break the outside tire loose as well, which can cause a spin-out if you don't catch it in time.

So your correction, to stay off the gas (or at least only be on it lightly) is the right reaction. However it's not to allow the locker to unlock. It will always unlock, any time the outside tire wants to go faster than the inside tire, no matter how much power you are giving it. BUT, if you give too much power for the inside tire to handle, then the inside tire wants to go faster than the outsider tire so you lock it back up again.

This may seem like semantics, but correctly understanding how something works makes it a lot easier to use it correctly.
This post right here says everything you need to know
 
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by westcoasting View Post
This post right here says everything you need to know
You need to qualify this one. Everything you need to know about what?

Seriously, I've seen people slide off the road going 15mph straight up the Interstate. They weren't really doing anything wrong but looking back you can say they were going too fast for the conditions.

What you need to know is that sometime, somewhere, there's a patch of ice out there with your name on it. And if you find it, you are going off the road. Period. If you have a locker you are a lot more likely to find that patch of ice.

Sometimes letting off the gas is the worst thing you can do, guaranteed to put you in the ditch.
 
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by HardScrabble View Post
You need to qualify this one. Everything you need to know about what?

Seriously, I've seen people slide off the road going 15mph straight up the Interstate. They weren't really doing anything wrong but looking back you can say they were going too fast for the conditions.
If they were going too fast for the conditions then they were doing something wrong. Did it seem wrong at the time? Maybe not. But it was still wrong it it put them in the ditch.

Originally Posted by HardScrabble View Post
What you need to know is that sometime, somewhere, there's a patch of ice out there with your name on it. And if you find it, you are going off the road. Period.
I'll take a little issue with this statement. Per the first part of your post, if you weren't going "too fast for the conditions" (which maybe meant you had to be under 5 mph on the interstate) then that patch of ice didn't have your name on it. Yes, if you drive on ice enough you will very likely slide off the road. But your job as a driver is to take into consideration all of the conditions you can't manage, and then correctly manage the conditions you can manage. So every time you slide off the road, you did something wrong.

Originally Posted by HardScrabble View Post
If you have a locker you are a lot more likely to find that patch of ice.
A lot more likely that what? In my experience a factory limited slip is a lot more likely to put you in the ditch than an automatic locker. But yes, an automatic locker is definitely less stable on ice than an open diff. So much so that it's "a lot more likely" to put you in the ditch? Yes if you don't drive smart, but I don't think it's "a lot more likely" if you do drive smart. But you definitely need to be more careful on ice with a locker than an open diff (and even more careful with a factory limited slip).

Originally Posted by HardScrabble View Post
Sometimes letting off the gas is the worst thing you can do, guaranteed to put you in the ditch.
I think about the only time letting off the gas will get you in trouble is if the compression braking causes the tires to skid. So don't let all the way off, or push in the clutch (or shift to neutral). It gets back to needing to drive smart, and not overdrive the conditions. And see above for where I believe a locker fits there.
 
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Old 01-21-2019, 01:18 PM
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I was wondering if maybe shifting to neutral and riding it thru the sloped curve would help since it would keep the wheels from pushing/spinning. From my experience I know when stopping on a slippery surface with no abs neutral helps quit a bit. I would assume though, the trouble would come from having to shift back into gear if you didn't have enough momentum to carry you thru the sloped curve back onto flat ground. All I know for sure is I need to be at the bottom of the slope when curves come up like that.

On flat ground my truck drives pretty much like any other two wheel drive truck I have had. Except for my old 84 suburban, that thing would easily walk thru snow compaired to this pickup.
 
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Old 01-21-2019, 01:35 PM
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I have an Aussie locker in the rear of my pickup. I end up driving a fair bit of ice. Recently (December) came across SD and eastern WY on frozen rain. It was probably the slickest road conditions I've experienced, for several hundred miles. Walking was difficult. In WY was slickest, I had it in 4x4 by then, and if I moderately stepped into the throttle up a hill it would spin the tires. I drove to the conditions and didn't have a problem, thanks to understanding how the locker effects the vehicle. I did have to be on my toes and pay attention. The truck was empty then and easier to force to slip. This weekend I had 1200lbs over the rear axle, again crap roads, and it was a bit better.

Some on here try really hard to scare everyone away from a locker. I say pay attention, know you're truck and how the locker works, it can be done safely. But if there's no mental connection between what your foot does and the consequences, maybe don't. As an example, my sister flutters the throttle (step into it, let off, step into, let off) just driving down an open road, and doesn't know it. I was in the passenger seat of her car one day and asked what she was doing, she had no idea what I was talking about even when I explained what I was watching her do. She's be in the ditch in 5 miles with an auto locker on ice.

Hard Scrabble, which region do you live in?
 
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Old 01-21-2019, 02:34 PM
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I've lived too many places to mention. WY was three of them. ME was several more. Now I live near the gulf coast.

Talk to some old cops or paramedics who have worked car wrecks all their lives. I know you can't believe it unless you see it.

They'll tell you that a motorcycle helmet isn't to save your life, it's so they can identify your corpse. Passenger busses have crash ratings but motorhomes don't. The passenger bus won't save your life in a wreck but it's easier to identify the dead.

Highway deaths have dropped in recent years but you're still more likely to die young in a vehicle than just about anything else.

Nothinspecial: denial is a powerful thing. You can justify anything until you're bleeding and broken. That 15mph thing on the Interstate was decades ago. They're a lot quicker to close roads these days but you are still on your own.
 
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Nothing Special View Post
Not true but true.

The locker, doing what it does, actually unlocks and lets the outside wheel freely rotate faster than the inside wheel, completely eliminating any tendency of the diff to break the tires loose.

However, since the diff is unlocked, now all of the power you send to it will go to the inside tire. That makes it very easy for you to break that tire loose. If that tire spins it will quickly catch up to the outside tire. Only then will the locker reengage. When it reengages, frequently the inertia of the inside tire hammering into it will break the outside tire loose as well, which can cause a spin-out if you don't catch it in time.

So your correction, to stay off the gas (or at least only be on it lightly) is the right reaction. However it's not to allow the locker to unlock. It will always unlock, any time the outside tire wants to go faster than the inside tire, no matter how much power you are giving it. BUT, if you give too much power for the inside tire to handle, then the inside tire wants to go faster than the outsider tire so you lock it back up again.

This may seem like semantics, but correctly understanding how something works makes it a lot easier to use it correctly.


Trust me, I get how my locker works. Under power, the rear is locked. Yes there is some slack between sides, but not a whole lot. I'll chirp a tire turning from a stoplight or even backing out of my driveway.


Another thing that doesn't always get mentioned when discussing lockers is the torque-steer that is created by a locker, and the vehicle's tendency to continue in a straight line when the rear is locked. Basically, when you get on the gas, the truck will tend to steer itself in one direction, and when you let off the gas, it will tend to steer in the opposite direction. If you're not expecting this, it can be quite a surprise and lead to over-correcting of the steering, which can cause a spin in slick conditions. A locked rear will also tend to want to push the vehicle in a straight line, so you might see some scrubbing of the front tires when turning sharply. It's usually not a problem, but is something to be aware of.

 
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Old 01-21-2019, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by animator View Post
Trust me, I get how my locker works. Under power, the rear is locked. Yes there is some slack between sides, but not a whole lot. I'll chirp a tire turning from a stoplight or even backing out of my driveway.
But you are proving that you don't. Lockers do not lock under power. They lock when neither tire is trying to overrun the ring gear. When you get into the power too much and spin the inside tire it (and the ring gear) catches up with the outside tire and the locker locks. But it's not locking because you are on the power. It's locking because you are spinning the inside tire. Yes the difference there is subtle, but if you don't get that difference then you might understand how to safely drive your truck, but you don't really understand how your locker works.

And yes, you will chirp a tire pretty easily starting in a turn. But that's because it's UNlocked. When it's unlocked you are only driving the inside tire and it's really easy to break it free, so you will chirp it. But not because it was locked.

Originally Posted by animator View Post
Another thing that doesn't always get mentioned when discussing lockers is the torque-steer that is created by a locker, and the vehicle's tendency to continue in a straight line when the rear is locked. Basically, when you get on the gas, the truck will tend to steer itself in one direction, and when you let off the gas, it will tend to steer in the opposite direction. If you're not expecting this, it can be quite a surprise and lead to over-correcting of the steering, which can cause a spin in slick conditions. A locked rear will also tend to want to push the vehicle in a straight line, so you might see some scrubbing of the front tires when turning sharply. It's usually not a problem, but is something to be aware of.
I agree with this. The torque steer can be really annoying in a short wheelbase vehicle with a manual trans (my CJ5 was pretty annoying, my early Bronco is a lot better but still pretty noticeable). Longer wheelbase and / or an automatic trans both tend to minimize the effect and I could hardly tell it was there in my F-150 SCSB.

Although the scrubbing of the front tires you are talking about is really just a symptom of the torque steer you already mentioned, because as noted above, the locker will unlock if the traction is good enough to keep the insider rear tire from spinning. But yes, that torque steer can make you push out the front end if it's slippery enough. Still, I can't say that I really notice this because if it's that slippery I'm probably in 4WD and then the front tires are pulling themselves in the right direction. Sure, the locker in the rear will cause a little larger turning radius, but as you said, it's usually not a problem.
 
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Old 01-21-2019, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by HardScrabble View Post
.... Nothinspecial: denial is a powerful thing. You can justify anything until you're bleeding and broken. That 15mph thing on the Interstate was decades ago. They're a lot quicker to close roads these days but you are still on your own.
What am I denying? I agree that overdriving the conditions is dangerous. I agree that sometimes even 15 mph on the interstate can be overdriving the conditions. And I agree that a locker is less stable on ice than an open diff. I'm not denying any of that.

With quite a bit of experience driving a rear locker in the winter I don't think it's that much worse than an open diff if you understand how it works and drive the vehicle accordingly. I still agree that the locker is less stable, I just might think it's not as much worse as you think it is.
 

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