ARB locker or new wheels and tyres????

Submitted: Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 13:58
ThreadID: 104485 Views:2768 Replies:16 FollowUps:9
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I want to improve the traction of my '98 Triton 2.8 diesel ute when driving in sand - the sort of driving experienced all the time in our arid areas - soft sandy tracks and sand hills. I'm towing a C/T now and I need to get more traction to the track.

Although it's getting on a bit, changing to a (say) Pajero at (about) $35k for a 2010-2011 model is possible but not that pleasant a prospect...

It seems I've got 2 choices if I keep the Triton - either

1. fit a larger steel wheel and replace the current 205R16 tyres with 245/70 x 16's; or

2. have an ARB air locker fitted to the front (don't confuse me with facts - it's going on the front if I get one) diff.

Both options come with a hefty $1,500 plus price tag but which would give me the best improvement for sand driving???

NOTE: I'm not going rock hopping - I won't be driving much with one wheel in the air so that positive benefit of a locker isn't really relevant to me. It's what will improve the vehicle's ability in sand (and occasional mud) that I'm interested in.

Any thoughts/experience would be welcome

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Reply By: TTTSA - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 15:00

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 15:00
235/85X16 TYRES SHOULD FIT THE SAME RIMS AS 20516R, SORRY FOR SHOUTING. That would save buying new rims. For me, lockers wont help you a lot in sand.
AnswerID: 518758

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 15:31

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 15:31
Changing the wheel size up will do nothing or make it worse, the smaller diameter wheel will be better, allowing for more bagging if you deflate the tyres.

Sorry to say, but for towing a front diff lock will not help you anywhere as much as a rear diff lock, where is your tow weight, over the rear wheels yeah? A front diff lock will make turning harder and more difficult.... A rear diff lock will get the power from the 2 wheels witht he most available traction to the ground.

If it were me, I would get a rear diff lock. Not sure why you have decided to get only a front diff lock.

Do you let your tyres down to 16 or so PSI? That is no 1

AnswerID: 518759

Follow Up By: TTTSA - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:04

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:04
Didn't notice any mention of changing wheel size up, only wider. A taller tyre, higher profile will allow the tyre to lengthen when it deflates which is what will help most in soft sand. Definitely agree about rear diff lock over front diff lock.

Yep tyre pressures reduced makes a massive difference.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:08

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:08
Oops, my bad, thanks TTTSA.
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Reply By: splits - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 16:20

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 16:20
How heavy is your C/T? If it is one of the larger types then you may continue to have problems no matter what you do to the car. Walking in soft sand is hard enough, trying to tow something through it is about the toughest thing you can do with any car. I emailed Toyota when I bought my current 4wd ute with a few questions about off road towing capacities and they told me not to tow at all on soft dry sand.

Many years ago I spent a few months driving all day every day on a beach and up in the sand dunes as part of my job. Our cars were fitted with tyres that were not all that wide but they were very smooth with only a couple of narrow groves right around them. They had been designed for sand and not much else and worked very well. I suppose the closest thing to them would be 3/4 worn street tyres. They would help you a lot in sand but definitely not in mud.
AnswerID: 518760

Reply By: 213 - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:07

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:07
Thanks for those replies. Just to follow up:

. I thought a front locker would 'pull' me along more effectively than a rear diff lock - also, the vehicle has a LSD on the rear that is working so I'd be 'losing' one if I replace it - although your view is held by many;

. the new wheels would be the same as the current ones in diameter - 16" so no change in diameter only in the tyre width that I could legally fit;

. good point about the 235/85X16 tyre fitting my existing rims - I have emailed Bridgstone to check on that. If they can be fitted, I'd do that. 235mm is 30mm better that 205mm in my book.

.I have also been told that no/bald tread can be as good as anything on sand - when the tyres are deflated accordingly of course.

Thanks again

Any other thoughts would be appreciated.
AnswerID: 518761

Follow Up By: 213 - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:13

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:13
forgot to add: the C/T is a Cub Supamatic Regal off-road. It's heavy! over a tonne when load up and ready to go...

Thanks again

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:16

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:16
If you have a '98 Triton and not had specific recent work on your LSD to load it up, then it will probably be well worn to the point of not 'limited' at all any more, just 'slip'. It is probably as effective as an open diff.

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Follow Up By: 213 - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:27

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:27
mmm very good point. I just (this arvo) jacked up one rear wheel and attempted to turn it - in the forward direction of travel - whilst the other was firmly on the deck. I noticed considerable resistance to the turning moment I was applying to the tyre/wheel. [The handbrake and was off and it was in neutral...]

Don't know if that means anything - it's not a high tech test with a torque wrench of course...
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:43

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:43
Jacking up one wheel won't tell you much at all, unless you drive off the jack which of course would be super dangerous and stupid. Even an open diff can do what you observed.

You need to get traction under one wheel and none under the other while powering or get someone who knows diffs to check it.
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 18:36

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 18:36

16" refers to the rim size/internal diametre of tyre. It is possible to fit larger external diameter tyres to 16" rims which in theory will improve sand capabilities. Increasing the width of the tyre you use while maintaining the same external diameter will provide no measurable improvement (all other things being equal).

Fitting a tyre with a larger external diameter will help as the footprint length, by default is longer...but reducing air pressure is the key as it will lengthen footprint over threshold required even more and works on most types of tyre.

I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Reply By: Gronk - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:34

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 17:34
As you are only mainly concerned with sand, I would probably do nothing !!

If you have towed on sand , you will already know it is tough work.........let the tyres down to approx. 16psi ( all of them ).........keep away from soft sand if you can ......always have momentum up unless you are on hard sand or facing downhill......and be prepared to give it a good rev to stop the engine from bogging down.

And never think that sand is easy ( while towing ), and above all.....MOMENTUM !!
AnswerID: 518762

Reply By: mikehzz - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 18:57

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 18:57
I would vote a definate no to a front locker on sand. Momentum and floatation are king on sand and anything that grips on normal surfaces like mud tyres just dig holes quicker on sand. There is no such thing as clawing your way up a sand hill if you lose momentum, locker or not.
AnswerID: 518765

Reply By: disco driver - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 19:20

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 19:20
IMHO there's no need to do either.
Spend a few dollars on a good 12V air compressor and tyre pressure gauge.
When on sand, drop your tyre pressure down to around 16-18psi on both the tug and the trailer and reduce your speed.
The secret to sand driving is maintaining momentum and not making sudden changes of direction or speed.
Lots of practise helps to achieve good sand driving techniques.

AnswerID: 518767

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 20:40

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 20:40
I think thats always the first move to Disco - make it less hassle to lower / raise pressures and it will happen more often and if one does this properly then its worth more than a locker in sand at least.
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Reply By: exmouth1 - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 20:08

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 20:08
G, day 213
I drive on Sand on regular basis as I work in De, Entrecassteaux Nat Park. The best traction as some others have said is from lowering tyre pressure and using momentum. If the tracks in the park are dry and cut up I sometimes have to go down to 10 to 12 psi. I have only ever rolled a tyre off a rim once and that was at 8 psi and on a new vehicle (obviously not seated properly) Be aware that mud terrain or similar chunky hard ply in the sidewall tyres do not balloon out very well and struggle in soft sand.
If possible a higher profile tyre is your best bet. Keeping in mind that you may have to go wider to achieve this option.
Good luck
AnswerID: 518768

Reply By: 213 - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 21:17

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 21:17
Thanks very much to all who posted...
AnswerID: 518774

Reply By: Member - Brenton H (SA) - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 21:19

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 21:19
Tyres and intelligent 4WD techniques brainer!!

Lockers waste of money in sand.
AnswerID: 518775

Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 21:36

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 21:36
Agree 100%
I had air lockers in my Hilux, have done the Border trail,the Simpson a couple of times,Stockton beach etc and I have never used my locker.
It do get a workout in other terrains though.
Sand it all about technique and tyre pressures
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Reply By: 515 - Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 08:21

Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 08:21

As with the others, tyre width is less important than tyre length on the sand.
Lockers do little in sand except makes you go straight on.
Larger diameter tyres will decrease your power on sand.

Having driven Stockton Beach for 10 years and trained 4WDer's there for well over 3 years before moving to FNQ, I can state that tyre tread make less difference than you would imaging, tyre pressure is king.

I used to demonstrate how lockers cause more issues than they cure on sand.

I did not see anywhere that you decreased the camper trailers tyre pressures to 16 - 18 psi which is a must on sand.
Also is the camper trailer wheel track the same as your Triton? if it does not follow the vehicle track, then it will be cutting fresh tracks causing enormous drag.
AnswerID: 518787

Reply By: 213 - Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 10:05

Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 10:05

Yes I do reduce pressures on sand - did a course with David Wilson many years ago at Robe and the importance of the right tyre pressure was drummed into us - both for the vehicle and the C/T

The problem I think I've got is that the dear ol' Triton is not exactly over endowed with power - a good thing in that it's under stressed and in great shape even after 200k kilometres - but not the best it's when trying to pull a 1 tonne load through dry sand!

The track of the Cub camper is different to the vehicle - another good reason to go for an up-grade to a Pajero I suppose - the Pajero track and the Cub track are the same.

I'm trying to find a way of improving it's ability in this regard but I suppose it's just 'what it is...'
AnswerID: 518798

Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 10:18

Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 10:18

I would look at what tyres you can put on your existing rims. Save the cost of new rims.
Rear diff lock, not front. I have electronic lockers on my vehicle and they are great.
Tyre pressures are also important, including your camper trailer. Don't forget to lower the pressures on you CT as well as your Mitsi.

The other option would be to upgrade to a new vehicle as you have said. '98 is getting a bit old and I wouldn't be spending too much money on an older vehicle.

I hope this helps
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AnswerID: 518799

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 19:52

Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 19:52
In groups I travel with, the most common problem that stops forward progress is lack of clearance.
So lower pressures + standard tyres + standard suspension usually means you'll get bottomed out and stuck on dunes.

The better combination is lower pressures + taller tyres + suspension lift.
AnswerID: 518821

Reply By: The Bantam - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 00:08

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 00:08
So we've established that

the locker is pretty pointless on sand

tyre pressures are important

tyre diameter...well you can increase your tyre diameter no more than 50mm in just about every state now....that will make some differences but not a great deal

One thing that may make a significant difference is selecting the type of tyres you use.

Different tyres behave differently when deflated.

There is a small family of tyres known as "high flotation tyres" but there are only a few sizes and only practical sizes in 15 inch rim sizes.
This is the 31x10.5R15, 32x11.5R15 and so forth.

They are specificaly intended for soft surface work and have a more rounded carcase shape than standard light truck radials.
In general that also belly out more, both in length and width when deflated than standard light truck tyres.

It may not be much of a difference, but it may be all that is available to you.

Unfortunately you may have size and load rating issues, because the range is small and they do not have as goo a load rating to a similar size standard light truck radial.

AnswerID: 518840

Reply By: nickb - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 02:15

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 02:15
Also remember that increasing tyre diameter will effectively decrease the power of your Triton. The increase in diameter will effectively lower your overall gearing which may have a negative effect on your sand driving if you haven't got much power to start off with!
AnswerID: 518842

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