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Thread: Rear Diff Lock???

  1. #1
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    Rear Diff Lock???

    I rarely need to use 4WD because the Maxxis tires are gods of grip but occasionally I lock in the rear diff while pulling a loose rock hill trail or blowing through a mudpit. Is this harmful to the reardiff? Does it hurt it to run in lock for a period of time at higher speeds (20-25mph)????
    825i Camo, 3500lb Warn, Big Horns, Poly cab

  2. #2
    Senior Member Dane's Avatar
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    In general I don't use differential locks on any machine unless it's necessary but I am much more free in my use of four wheel drive. I don't think speed has much to do with it other than you can get control problems if you get on solid ground and try turning. At low speed, what I call the differential hop or shimmy, is not too bad but at higher speeds I'd hate to go for a wild ride.

    Whether it's a tractor, truck or Gator locking the diff puts a strain on it when you turn. I don't think it's too bad on loose ground where one wheel can break free but if both tires have good grip I imagine it can be a heavy load. In a perfect world the diff would be strong enough to take any abuse but on a machine designed to be as lightweight as possible I worry about it more than I do on a farm tractor.
    XUV 550: all LED lighting, roof mounted Rigid LED lights, split no scratch wind screen, roof, home made rear panel & window and 1/2 doors, Super Winch 4500, set of CST Ancla tires & set of Carlisle All Trail tires

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    Using the rear differential lock should be you last resort IMO. Use 4 wheel drive instead as having the front wheels pulling take a lot of strain of the rear axle. I would not use the rear differential except at low speed low traction situations.

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    Isn't it the same as a posi-trac rear end when you lock it? What would cause the stress on the gears simply being locked to turn both wheels? I guess I don't understand the JD setup enough...

    Thanks for the info...
    825i Camo, 3500lb Warn, Big Horns, Poly cab

  5. #5
    Senior Member CaptDan's Avatar
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    it is not like posi trac - that just distributes the power to the wheel that is not spinning, rather than the wheel that is spinning freely.

    When you engage the differential lock, you actually lock the two rear wheels together as one, so something has to give. In theory and in hope, the both wheels will turn together in order to give you better traction, however, and most of my experience is with 4wd vehicles such as jeeps and power wagons - if one wheel is turning at a different speed than the other when the differential is "locked" something has to give. Either the both tires turn or slip at the same ratio or speed, otherwise if one tire turns and the other does not - something is going to break. In the jeeps and trucks it's usually one of the axles.

    With these belt driven Gators, I am not sure what will give first, belt, clutch or axle or differential.

    If you have the rear locked in on soft surface, such as a lawn, it will tear up the lawn as you turn because the inside wheel will have to "slip" on the lawn as you turn to keep turning at the same speed as the wheel on the outside of the turn.

    hope this helps, I know what i was trying to explain.


    edit to correct typo djm

    Dan

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    Senior Member DIXIEDOG's Avatar
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    As long as you aren't on pavement or concrete I really don't see what you will hurt using your diff lock. Some of their competitors are locked rear all the time like the Razor and Rhino....I'd like to think the Gator is at least in the same caliber of build quality as those models.

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    Senior Member CaptDan's Avatar
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    Dixiedog ...are those other actually locked or have full time limited slip ?

    Where it really hurts is when the rear is completely locked, as we do with the gator, if obe wheel is truly stuck somewhere like between a rock and a tree stump and cannot turn, as we give it gas the unstuck wheel will turn and the locked driver shaft will start to twist until something gives. Happens to jeeps all the time.

    Dan

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    posi-trac is a GM term used to denote a limited slip differential (Positraction) used in performance cars.

    Locking differentials do have some disadvantages.

    Because they do not operate as smoothly as standard differentials, they are often responsible for increased tire wear. They are also capable of subjecting the axle shafts to much higher torque loads than would be possible with an open differential because they allow 100% of the available torque to be carried by a single axle shaft as opposed to being divided up between the two. Under extreme conditions, this can cause an axle shaft failure. Locking differentials can affect the ability of a vehicle to steer in some situations or cause the vehicle to spin out on slippery surfaces, especially while turning, as the high traction wheel pulls the vehicle in the opposite direction of the turn; e.g. spin a donut or roll over.
    Last edited by Z15; 07-09-2013 at 10:38 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Dane's Avatar
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    If I forget to disengage the differential on my truck you know it instantly when you try to turn on pavement. It starts shaking and gets a bit of a hop as the wheels argue over which one is going to slip.
    XUV 550: all LED lighting, roof mounted Rigid LED lights, split no scratch wind screen, roof, home made rear panel & window and 1/2 doors, Super Winch 4500, set of CST Ancla tires & set of Carlisle All Trail tires

  10. #10
    Senior Member DIXIEDOG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptDan View Post
    Dixiedog ...are those other actually locked or have full time limited slip ?

    They are locked.

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