Air Locker for a Diesel MT45 Panel Van Camper?

long4trails

New member
Inspired by posts from John906 in 2015, in 2018 I sold my 2007 RAM 3500 4x4 and bought a 2002 Freightliner MT45 with Cummins 5.9l and Allison 1000. Out of necessity, I started my build with tires, windows and doors, insulation, followed by benches and cabinets. I recently installed a new roof, and completed water and electrical systems, except for a backordered Xantrex XC Pro 3000. I need to save for new leaf springs, and solar. I'm getting good use out of my rig, but, as winter comes, I am concerned about gaining access to (or returning from) the backcountry. Did a little slip-n-slide on my way out of the Carrizo Plains National Monument during a rainstorm last week, hit snow heading south to Ventura, CA on Hwy 33, and found myself missing the 4x4 (though not needed on this trip). Exciting with my new 11,500lb curb weight! I love the turning radius on this 2WD van and am hoping that something like the ARB air locker for Dana 70 will help me get in and out of moderate sand and light mud, though I may have to swap tires in the winter to put a little more rubber on the sand/dirt - because it's hard to air-down 14-ply load range G tires. Appreciate any thoughts on air lockers and load range G+ tires for for a 2WD 14,000lb gvwr van.

Thanks - Joe
20201106_153631 (2).jpg20200719_141046 (2).jpg
 

john61ct

Adventurer
Nice van, great pics!

But that oneDrive service really sucks frome here.

Imgur is much less commercial / proprietary, and more accessible across all platforms
 

BBD

New member
Great build
re: tires - I wonder if someone could make a custom rim or adapter plate to accommodate your desired tire choice? How are those tires working out compared to the stock tires?
re: departure angle - How does the rear overhang work out for the roads you've taken so-far? I'm wondering if you'll need to modify the departure angle.
I don't have any experience with locking differentials, but it sounds like a good idea for more capability.
 

long4trails

New member
Tires have been good so far, no complaints at all. Mostly traveling roads, so departure angles haven't been a problem. No issues at Carrizo Plain NM or the Alabama Hills area in the Owens Valley. The chuckwagon set-up and generator pull off pretty easy, so if I had to trim the length for a particular trip I could do that. My main concern is winter travelling on soft roads, but best option might be getting duelly rims for back and running extra set of same Goodyear tires. But I haven't been stuck yet, so I perhaps I am too quick to part with my cash.

Sent from my SM-T813 using Tapatalk
 

BBD

New member
I’ve been looking at lockers / limited slip differentials as well - This thread. I have the same mt45, and believe it’s a Dana 80 in the back. Maybe consider a Detroit true trac. Article by Mundo4x4Casa
With the stiffness of the frame / suspension in the mt45, this seems like a potentially good option.
 
If it’s a Dana 80 there’s a Detroit Locker for it. Just saw a great demonstration of the desirability of locking rear axle in my front yard. A 2wd International with highway tires belonging to a tree cutting service deposited about 2.5 cords of logs that came from a neighbor’s yard (spruce bark beetle killed). The thing got stuck on about 2” of wet snow on top of dead leaves at 33F. I had to use my rear hydraulic winch with a pulley attached to one of my (live) trees. If it had a locker he could have driven out.
 

javajoe79

Fabricator
There would be downsides to a locker in a truck like that. I'd run a true trac. You mentioned snow and if you were locked up in snow and went around a turn that could cause oversteer when the rear slides or understeer when the front pushes.
 
There would be downsides to a locker in a truck like that. I'd run a true trac. You mentioned snow and if you were locked up in snow and went around a turn that could cause oversteer when the rear slides or understeer when the front pushes.
Even in a SWB BJ40, having a rear Detroit wasn’t a problem in snow and ice (for 5 months in my area) as long as it was in 4wd. I often see what I must call imbeciles driving 4wd pickups in Anchorage in the winter fishtailing all over the place because they think it’s being a sissy to use 4wd in city snow/ice conditions. You know they’re not using 4wd when the vehicle isn’t moving and neither front tire is spinning, just a rear.
Detroits are safe even on ice as long as the vehicle is IN 4wd. In my experience.
There is an ARB for 35 and 37 spline Dana 80s apparently.
 

John906

New member
I used the axles from a Ford F550; DANA 60 upfront, DANA-SPICER 135 in the rear. There was only one locker option for the DS-135. I went with a full-time mechanical locker for the Dana 60 upfront. The logic being you can lock only one of the hubs for better performance on slippery pavement.

The Dana 70 appears to be a much better front axle option for the Freightliner MT-45 conversion.
 

javajoe79

Fabricator
Even in a SWB BJ40, having a rear Detroit wasn’t a problem in snow and ice (for 5 months in my area) as long as it was in 4wd. I often see what I must call imbeciles driving 4wd pickups in Anchorage in the winter fishtailing all over the place because they think it’s being a sissy to use 4wd in city snow/ice conditions. You know they’re not using 4wd when the vehicle isn’t moving and neither front tire is spinning, just a rear.
Detroits are safe even on ice as long as the vehicle is IN 4wd. In my experience.
There is an ARB for 35 and 37 spline Dana 80s apparently.
Aren’t we talking about a 2wd truck though?
 

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