Diff lockers

Submitted: Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 00:33
ThreadID: 19133 Views:2422 Replies:3 FollowUps:3
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Firstly thanks for the responses to my previous (and 1st) posting # 18821 regarding "soft" 4wd's on the Border Track. We took your advice and rather than the border track spent some time exploring the tracks in the Big Desert State Forest. All seemed to have a ball. Thanks for the recommendations. No major incidents although the others sometimes needed a couple of attempts at some of the dunes. The tracks appeared not to have been travelled for some time (had to clear fallen trees from the track on numerous occassions) and the duco suffered a bit with scratches ....but we don't buy these vehicles to use on the bitumen do we?

Anyway, as I suggested, once the ice was broken I would soon be posting again. This time I hope to learn from your considerable knowledge and I figure you learn by not being afraid to ask the silly questions ...so here's mine.

My Patrol (GU Ti) has a selectable rear diff lock. Now I know in principal what this technically means (ie both rear wheels turning together) and there are lots of posts about people getting "air lockers" etc but I am interested in how and in what circumstances this option would actually be used. ie is it an option for climbing sand dunes or is it something you would engage to get out of a bog or perhaps when 1 wheel is off the ground? The book says it shouldn't be engaged above 7kpm and a warning will sound above 20kpm.

I have this option available to me and I just thought it would be handy to know how and when to use it.

Thanks in advance for your help


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Reply By: Member - muzzgit - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 01:39

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 01:39
4WD Monthly did a special on diff locks a few years ago. I just went get the issue number for you but couldn't find it.
From what I can remember, diff locks in thick sand had little, if any benefit at all over a simple limited slip diff. Obviously, a diff lock would be helpfull if you only had open diffs, but your patrol has LSD (and bloody good one too). Rocks and mud is where diff locks become priceless, especially if you get one wheel in the air (a good way to bust a front diff).

In most situations, they should be used like ANY OTHER RECOVERY EQUIPMENT. And that is only when you need to, to get yourself out of the sh....

Don't drive around all day with it locked in, cos when you get stuck, you'll be too far gone for anyone else to help you.


AnswerID: 91709

Follow Up By: GUPatrol - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 13:26

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 13:26

The GU TI which comes with a diff lock does not have a LSD (can't have both).
Have you got or have you used a diff lock before?
Diff locks are a great asset in sand, I did a whole heap of testing while I was crossing the Simpson desert and the difference with or without is considerable.
Diff locks are not just "another piece of recovery", if used well it allows you to negotiate obstacles without needing momentum and in some circumstances that can be a valuable thing, such as negotiating rocks over steep rutted terrain.
FollowupID: 350575

Follow Up By: Member - Gary W (VIC) - Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 14:38

Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 14:38
I have to agree with GUPatrol here. Lockers are more than recovery gear and should be used in certain situation regardless of their "need". Just this w/e we were up in Tallarook most time didn't "need" to use them but in doing so was able to significantly lessen the pressure on the drive train and tyres. Was able to take certain sections without requiring the usual momentum that open diffs require when you get a wheel in the air. Like all gear you need to know what it does and when to use it.

FollowupID: 350994

Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 10:39

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 10:39

Having a rear diff lock will make 4WDriving a lot easier, but to know when to use it is the trick.

The time to use the diff lock is before you get stuck not after so reading the track is very important. If the track is rutted or full of pot holes and you think that a wheel will lift off the ground then this is the time to use the diff lock. If a rock ledge is to be climbed and maxumin grip is required then this is the time to use the diff lock. Going down a rocky or rutted hill the diff lock can also be used to hold the vehicle back so that it will not skip away.

If all four wheels are on the ground then the diff lock is not requied, and because of the suspension set up on your Nissan with a lot of wheel travel the use of the diff lock will only be required when the going gets tough.

A advance driver training course should also teach you when and where to use the diff locks as well as a lot more about your vehicle and where it can go and come back safely.

AnswerID: 91745

Reply By: muzzimbidgie - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 21:46

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 21:46
Hi GU Patrol, My personal experience is very limited with diff locks, however I do have an accomplise who has one, who keeps telling me to get one. Never needed one, YET !! touch wood it stays that way.

I was simply quoting some of what I read in the magazine. They had several landrovers, one with open diffs, one with an lsd in the rear, one with one diff lock and one with 2 diff locks. ( I did say HEAVY sand)

What I meant about recovery equipment, is that some people drive as far as they can with diffs locked, get stuck, and then they're totally in the poo if no one else can reach them and if they don't have a winch. Using a diff lock properly requires general 4x4 experience. It is not something that should be used to make up for lack of skill or driver ability. (unless in an emergency) (IMHO)


AnswerID: 91853

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 23:41

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 23:41
Hi Muzz, I read that article too. I have a diff lock in the front of my GU patrol, its a lokka, so when I am in 4WD the diff lock is in, although it has a "ratchetting" arrangement that releases when turning corners, which is very handy, drive straight ahead and everythings locked up, trun a cirner and it repeatedly unlocks and locks and one can feel it happening, its not disconcerting although the noise sounds scary unless you know what it is.

I found the locker to be very helpful in mud and rocks (the high country especially) and also in the sand along the border track. So overall of you can be sure that all wheels are turning then one is better off. The steering is overall heavier but not too bad goven the benefits.

As far as getting stuck better, hahahahaha, I always said 4WD just gets you bogged further into the paddock, same argument I reckon, the locker will get you thru if thats all that you needed to get thru or gets you further in, the key is to know when to keep going and when to back off (and OUT), thats the experience of 4WDing.

As far as air lockers go, they are in or out. Air lockers in the front and rear and swiched on means that all wheels are turning the same. Steering is very difficult which is why you need to turn off the front locker at times to wrestle it around th corner. On mud steering is a real handful with the front air locker in. I weould point the vehicle at the mud drive thru and switch off the locker once you're thru. Iffits only in the back its not so bad but you'll still get an overall propensity to drive straight forward so the rear locker may also need be turned off in muddy corners.

It all comes down to driver skill and in the long run, go on a 4WD driving course, and then do lots of trial and error stuff in a safe environment, before tearing at a mudhole all locked up with a 90 degree corner on the other side and a 200m drop straight ahead.

Its only one letter to change corner to coroner.
Time is an illusion produced by the passage of history

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