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Thread: Limited Slip Faceoff: Detroit TrueTrac vs. ARB Air Locker

  1. #1
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    Default Limited Slip Faceoff: Detroit TrueTrac vs. ARB Air Locker

    Trying to decide whether I should put an Eaton Detroit TrueTrac limited slip differential on my 2003 Ford F250 diesel, or an ARB locking differential.

    I plan on putting a pop-up camper in the bed of the truck and hitting some trails; probably at a max difficulty rating of 5 or 6. No crazy offroading, but want to be able to get in & out of remote beach locations in foreign countries, etc.

    I'd start with the rear diff; possibly doing both front and rear at the same time.

    Here are the pro's & con's as I see them -- anyone have any other suggestions?

    TrueTrac:
    • Passive limited slip, nothing to maintain or engage/disengage
    • Brakes may need to be applied to engage differential in some situations
    • Does not fully lock axle... possibly easier on the drivetrain
    • Costs around $500


    ARB Air Locker:
    • Fully locks the axle so power is always transferred to both wheels, even if one is off the ground
    • Has to be manually locked/unlocked
    • Requires on-board air compressor
    • Costs around $1k


    I'm leaning towards the TrueTrac as it seems to be more passive w/ less that could go wrong. I am, however, planning on installing an on-board compressor regardless, and I like the idea of having fully locked axles for the most challenging situations... but at half the price and apparently able to handle 90% to 95% of the situations I might find myself in, I'm thinking TrueTrac is the way to go. Anyone have an opinion on this assessment?

    Here are notes from my research about the TrueTrac

    =================


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uwpNpvsshQ (it looks fromt this one like you sometimes may have to apply the brakes a bit to get both tires to turn)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZFVKFyOgqY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fTYlGayCbk


    "The Truetrac is useless in the rocks and if you have one tire off the ground forget it. With an ARB you get the beefy case and the choice of an open diff for street driving and a full locker when you need it." from http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/52...dya-think.html ... also from that thread "I've had True Tracs and a light tap of the brake or couple clicks on the e-brake are usually enough to get both tires turning, even with one off the ground. The True Trac also beefs up the differential (case). I've run most Southern California trails with True Tracs front and rear (in a Jeep) and made all but the top 5% or so of the trails with relative ease. I did have to tap the brakes from time to time, so it's pretty nice for all but the most extreme situations. You also can't tell it's in the front diff because there are no clutch packs "grabbing", it's much smoother than most other "clutch" based limited slips." ... as well as ... "If I'm heading down a dry waterfall with one front tire hanging 4 feet in the air the last thing I want to be doing is tapping my brakes to "fool" the Truetrac into giving me power to the opposing wheel. Sounds like a recipe for a nose over. Now this is my rock crawler I'm refering to here, not the tow rig. I think LS and the like are good for street trucks if I'm crawling through 4-5 foot rocks I want lockers. But now that I've been using the ARB I can't see using anything else."




    "the feedback that I have received from customers indicates that the unit works very well for mud and snow, while going unnoticed during every day driving. When used in situations like rocky trails where one wheel gets off the ground, the unit will not lock up 100%. Light application of the brakes will help the differential engage more transferring power to the tire that is still on the ground. For extreme situations where the vehicle will have one wheel in the air often a locking differential provides better power transfer to the wheel on the ground. " from http://www.offroaders.com/reviewbox/showproduct.php?product=252


    "Traction is so good fellow club members don't believe I'm running LSDs and not lockers." from http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f249/...uetrac-771841/ also "I have True-trac's front (D44) and rear (D60) in my TJ. Great traction. I thought I might regret not putting a locker in the rear but the True-trac has proven me wrong."



    DROdio -- someday world traveler & technology entrepreneur in SF
    My truck: "Panda," a 2008 Dodge Ram 3500 Dually Cummins. XP Camper V1 on order!

  2. #2
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    I went with the ARB in both ends. My primary concern came down to winter driving. Having a selectable locker is more predictable when roads glaze over. An open diff will allow one wheen to roll if the other loses traction. When the need for both wheel to spin, it is just a flip of a switch away. I have been scared to the point I needed to stop and check my underwear when the limited slip locked up mid corner while driving in the snow.
    2004 F350, ZF6, ARPs, SCT, EGR delete, MBRP turbo-back duals, Strictly coolant filter, SBC dual disc 3250.
    7" Icon lift, 37" Toyo MT on 18x9.5 ATX rims, OUO traction bars, ARB lockers F&R w/ 4.10s, Road Armor F&R w/ Warn M12000, OBA (AirZenith OB2, 3gal tank), AHoT Traffic Warning System (Train Horns)
    Retro 55W HIDs in the headlights, 2 set of PIAA 510ATP (w/ 100W Hella bulbs) in the bumper, 2 set PIAA 520 (SMR Driving w/ Retro 35W HIDs, & 55W Ion Crystal Driving) on the bumper

  3. #3
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    Depends on your budget. If the high cost of admission for the ARB is not a problem, by all means go for it. It doesn’t get any better than an ARB selectable locker. On the other hand, if you are more on a budget, the TruTrac is the best bang for the buck. While it is no ARB airlocker, it is plenty strong and durable and beats the heck out of clutch type limited slips.

    I run a TruTrac in the front of my truck while my buddy runs an ARB in the front of his. On dry trails I never even notice the TT is there but once you get it in the snow, you know it is alive! It seems the TT requires about ¾ to a full rotation of one tire before it locks up the other, which is why it is such a great limited slip for a steer axle. On the other hand, that can also be a problem when you need traction on dry ground. I mean, who wants to spin one tire almost a full rotation on boulders before the other side kicks in? Tire spin is bad especially on heavy truck like ours, that is when things start to break. That said, my buddy’s ARB can easily be turned on and off at any moment, any terrain and would be much more useful if added traction would be needed on dry ground. Like I say, it doesn’t get any better than an ARB but TT are pretty darn good for the money. I definitely want to upgrade to an ARB but yet I do not regret purchasing a TT. It is just time for an upgrade.
    1978 Chevrolet K10, Vortec 8.1L, NV4500, NP205
    2011 Phoenix Camper
    1992 Toyota 4Runner
    1989 Chevrolet Suburban, V2500, 5.7L, NV4500
    2001 Chevrolet 2500HD 4x4, 8.1L, ZF S6-650 6-speed manual trans. Owned since new

  4. #4
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    @larry and @betarocker -- you both make great points about the pro's of the ARB full locking approach. I'd really appreciate hearing more about how the TrueTrac performs in snow -- especially around corners. I can imagine what you mean, where it causes instability around corners in the snow. But what if I only put the TrueTrac on the rear differential? And maybe keep the front open?

    @larry re: budget -- I want to make the decision that's best for the truck and our use of it vs. saving a few hundred bucks.

    Looks like I'll have to keep thinking this one over. Any other feedback is appreciated.


    DROdio -- someday world traveler & technology entrepreneur in SF
    My truck: "Panda," a 2008 Dodge Ram 3500 Dually Cummins. XP Camper V1 on order!

  5. #5
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    @betarocker, how do you feel having an ARB in the front? How often do you engage it vs. the rear? Was it worth putting on the front, or would rear have been enough for most situations?


    DROdio -- someday world traveler & technology entrepreneur in SF
    My truck: "Panda," a 2008 Dodge Ram 3500 Dually Cummins. XP Camper V1 on order!

  6. #6
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    I have two ARBs in my rig.
    Unless I'm on a real technical trail such as Rubicon or Dusy/Ershim, I almost never engage my front locker, and even the rear gets locked pretty rarely (I just spent 9 days out in the Panamint Mountains and not once did I use either locker). I s'pose my rig's supple suspension is helping too though.

    I would say the TrueTrac probably would suit your needs fine, however like was said, if you got the budget, a selectable locker is extremely hard to beat.
    1990 Ford Bronco II, dual t-case, locked up on 35s

  7. #7
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    I don't use the front locker much, but there have been a few times it would have meant using the winch had I not had it.
    2004 F350, ZF6, ARPs, SCT, EGR delete, MBRP turbo-back duals, Strictly coolant filter, SBC dual disc 3250.
    7" Icon lift, 37" Toyo MT on 18x9.5 ATX rims, OUO traction bars, ARB lockers F&R w/ 4.10s, Road Armor F&R w/ Warn M12000, OBA (AirZenith OB2, 3gal tank), AHoT Traffic Warning System (Train Horns)
    Retro 55W HIDs in the headlights, 2 set of PIAA 510ATP (w/ 100W Hella bulbs) in the bumper, 2 set PIAA 520 (SMR Driving w/ Retro 35W HIDs, & 55W Ion Crystal Driving) on the bumper

  8. #8
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    Default Third idea

    Before making a decision either way, make sure you really need one. If you are doing 5,6 trails (on a 10 scale) then you may not even need either one. Good driving skills can do a lot towards getting a fellow through some rough stuff. If you do find that you need something extra to get you through, then go with a rear first and again see how you do.
    Airing down and skillful choice in choosing a line makes a big difference. My philosophy has always been not to add anything until I have a proven need. Of course I would not have had to fix my door if I had put on sliders before getting into rough stuff. But usually the wait and see method works well. I have followed some folks with open dif's, 31 inch tires and no lift and been very impressed with where they go. Good luck on your choice.
    Mikey
    PAVEMENT Another example of needless government spending.

  9. #9
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    I suppose I am biased (I have ARB air lockers in two of my 4WD trucks), but the air lockers are hard to beat if you can afford them. Fully locked when you need them and completely open diffs when you don't, the best of all worlds in my opinion but YMMV. Never driven anything with a TrueTrac on it so I have no opinion there.
    '80 FJ40, '86 FJ60, '07 FJC
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  10. #10
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    I went from dual ARBs to a single Aussie Locker in the rear in my truck about a year ago now. I used the front locker 3 days out of the 6 years I had them and even then it was only a few minutes at a time.

    Snow and slick roads have not been nearly as much trouble as I expected, but I have a fairly long wheel base and next to no power. I can get the truck to fishtail but I have to try. Honestly they are more annoying on dry pavement with the ratcheting, banging and driveline wind-up.

    If I was to start at square one, it would have been with a good limited slip.
    Last edited by DaveInDenver; 11-26-2012 at 01:43 PM.

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