Traction Control

From travelling through the rugged 4000m+ mountains of the Pamir ranges in Central Asia during spring while the snow melts. To equatorial Eastern Africa during the wet season. You can pretty much guarantee the possibility of getting bogged at some stage. Hell I manage to get bogged nearly every time we go offroad even on just a weekend bush bash. But that’s all part of the fun, plus I’ve got the winch and Jess to grovel through the mud for me.
It always pays to be as prepared as possible. So I’ll be starting with
the most fundamental aspect of four-wheel-driving. Traction.
Tires are probably one of the most important aids when it comes to traction but I’ll be going over that in another post.
I’ve been reading a bit about the Toyota differentials. Apparently the rear LSD is only good for about 50,000 km, unlike the patrol which was still going strong at 200,000km. That and the front diff is a conventional open wheel type. Meaning, worst case scenario, while traction is really bad you could be down to the equivalent of two wheel drive, with only one wheel on each axel spinning. And in this case it’s always the wheel with least traction. Anyone that’s been properly bogged in a standard 4×4 will have experienced this.
 So we had to look at our options, we were limited to the fact that the car is constant four-wheel-drive Because it has an automatic transmission from 80 Series land cruiser.
ARB airlockers are a very popular Choice but I don’t like the idea of how complicated the system is. You need air compressors, tanks, airlines all the electrics plus they very expensive compared to your other options.
I fit a Detroit ‘no spin’ diff locker to the front of my patrol years back. It transformed the car. Once you selected 4×4, (the patrols being only part time 4×4) the front diff lock was automatically engaged and your guaranteed to have drive going to both front wheels. The beauty is that it automatically unlocks when turning so as to not affect your turning circle or steering effort. Unfortunately this is not really an option for the front of the troopy being constant 4×4, so we decided to fit a Detroit locker to the rear. They are also reasonably priced, simple and durable not to mention virtually maintenance free.
Apparently with the troopys if you fit a locker to the rear it puts excess strain on the front diff causing it to fail. Previous to ’89 they use to use the same large diff that’s in the rear, in the front as well. However after ’89 they changed to a smaller hilux rear diff in the front.
After a bit of research I found the best option to be a Detroit ‘trutrack’ LSD. It operates the same as a conventional LSD but has a series of worm gears that don’t wear unlike conventional clutch plate or cone type LSD. Because it doesn’t rely on friction to lock the two axels you can run normal gear oil without the special friction additives in LSD gear oil.
They are meant to be pretty good for normal on road drivability too, some people mention they felt a slight pull to one side when taking off hard from stationary. But nothing you cant get use to.
With the trutrack in the front and the locker in the back, I think it should perform pretty well off road. Your at least guaranteed to have 3 wheels spinning in the very worst case scenerio. I’m very keen to get out there and find a big bog hole to test her out.
It’s was a relatively easy job to fit them, I got it done over the weekend. Had to pull the axels out first followed by the driveshafts then the final drive assembly just unbolts and you bench press them out. They weigh a ton, especially when you lying on you back under the car. I dropped them off at Langs differentials in Asquith to swap the bearings over (to big for my press) onto the new centres and had him mesh all the gears correctly. Much easier for a pro to get right and he only charges me $50 a diff so I’m not fussed.
To refit them its just the reverse procedure.
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