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fishinJohn

Thought I have a 4x4

Question

fishinJohn

I went fishing at a small pond yesterday and parked with two tires on the dead end street and two in a few inches of ice crusted snow. When I went to leave my tire spun so I put it in 4x4 and tried again and to my supreme disappointment both tires in the snow spun while the tires on dry pavement seemed no help. Is a two wheel drive truck with a locking differential better than 4x4? I have a 98 k1500; is this something that would still happen in a 2008? The 4x4 has been nice in the snow otherwise. A rocking motion got me out. Thanks.

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Jeremy airjer W

my initial thought is your front diff is not locking in. There is a fairly common problem with the front acuators not working on these year vehicles. I would have it checked out for sure. If it is the actuator than it is a fairley inexpensive repair.

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Macgyver55

If the two tires on snow were 1 front and 1 rear then unfortuately, yes you can do that with open style differentials. A limited slip or locking differtial will help some by spinning both rears. Few manufacturers put limited slip or locking differentials in the front anymore because of the use of auto 4wd rather than manual hubs.

A unit with manual hubs can use limited slip fronts because they are totally disengaged when the hubs are unlocked.

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Jeremy airjer W

oops! I guess I was thinking that the fronts where on the pavement and the rears where in the snow. If thats the case then macgyver is on the money as usuall!!! ;\)

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hanson

Unfortunately, thats what we get in our modern 4x4s. \:\(

A guy needs lockers in order to get traction in that situation.

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BobT

Sometimes the strangest things can happen. I was driving down my driveway in about 8" of wind-blown hard snow. When the wind blows the stuff this way it takes the air out of the snow and it gets very compacted but in this case it was fresh enough that I was still breaking through the top and digging in. Anyway, at one point my truck got stuck. I tried everything, reverse, cranking the front wheels, you name it. When I got out to see if I had got hung up on a drift, to my surprise I was not bottomed out underneath. All four wheels by this time had iced up and lost traction and because the snow was so compacted it wouldn't roll down. Basically, I had four iced up cups in the snow with my tires inside spinning. I couldn't get those tires to bite enough to even rock the vehicle. Had to walk to the house, get the tractor, and tow it loose. Once it came loose I was able to drive it the rest of the way without problem. Weird!

Bob

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Scott K

One time I went fishing on a lake with no snow on it, I drove out to my house, fished most of the day, and I went to go home, the rear tires just spun, so I put it in 4x4 all 4 tires just spun, no snow, just glare ice. I had to have some one in a car pull up next to me and he helped and pushed me. By the way, my truck was a big 4x4 truck, with big tires and a lift kit! It seems when I parked the tires were warm and melted cups in the ice, I couldnt get out!

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BobT

whistle.gif

That's even worse than me, man! 4-wheel drive doesn't necessarily mean unstoppable. It's sometimes more appropriate to figure it just means you'll get further before you get stuck. When it comes to ice and hardpack snow, you can't beat a set of chains. In these conditions I'll take a 2x4 with chains anyday over a 4x4 without.

Bob

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Kyle Sandberg

4wandering, thats must've stunk. I can totally see that happening to myself tho. LOL.

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Powerstroke

You've got open diffs (or a worn limited slip in the rear), either way only one of your front tires is ever gonna be of help because no one puts a front lockers in because of steering issues.

Power in the drivetrain is gonna take the path of least resistance. That means if it can spin a tire it will. It is easier to spin a tire on a loose surface than grip and push your truck.

If you have open diffs in 2wd, then you have a truck that will spin one tire.....The dreaded one-wheel wonder.

WIth a limited-slip (posi) you're gonna get help to both rear wheels by way of clutches or springs, but they are not a solid grip and can wear out. They will however try to distribute the power evenly hopefully giving you enough power to both wheels to propel you out of a sticky (or slippery) situation.

Locking diffs are locked in and share power 50-50. You can have a tire in the air and the other tire will get power. This is best for traction, but it also is difficult on tires and drivetrain parts during turns on dry pavement. SOme models release or ratchet during turns, but usually they will still chirp the tires.

On the reference to having auto-4wd......it sounds like you're referring to having locking hubs on the front axle. This does not have anything to do with the locking of the differential. It does however lock in your front tires to the driveshafts. FOr on-road driving your wheels free-spin and don't spin the front gears or front driveshaft. Some vehicles have full-time 4wd or AWD in which case they depend on the locking hubs, whether you have to turn the dial or the actuate mechanically or by vacuum. When the hubs are locked in it does add weight and friction resulting in less MPG, thats why most vehicles have gone to auto hubs or selectable hubs.

Adding a locker or limited slip is not that expensive, but its not that cheap either. Usually between $500-1000 with parts and labor depending on model.

Front Lockers aren't recommended for daily drivers because they lock the steering wheels to the drivetrain and its very dangerous for steering and would be hard on drivetrain components. OFF_ROAD ONLY!

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Macgyver55

 Quote:
On the reference to having auto-4wd......it sounds like you're referring to having locking hubs on the front axle. This does not have anything to do with the locking of the differential. It does however lock in your front tires to the driveshafts.

That was probably me that mentioned that. I have never not had a 4wd vehicle since I bought my first new one in 1975 so I've run just about every system out there. What I was referring to is that on older 4wd vehicles with manual hubs, you could have a limited slip differential in the front end without the ill handling effects because once the hubs were unlocked they were totally free wheeling just like a 2wd. That went away with many of the newer vehicles without hubs because even when disengaged from 4wd the CV axles and other parts are still turning, they're just not engaged to the transfer case.

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anyfishwilldo

If you have got the bucks, ARB air lockers are a fantastic option. You can get a full locking posi front and rear with just the push of a button. Push the button again, and they are open. Great product, but quite spendy.

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Powerstroke

You are right macgyver. I was trying to be as general as possible for the info, not really talking about yours.

There are so many systems out there and keeping them staight is difficult. The basic idea is all the same though.

I do agree that a selectable locker such as the Eaton E-locker or the ARB air locker is the best of both worlds. There are some other great options depending on your vehicle types.

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fishinJohn

Thanks for all replies. A selectable locker sounds great, though I pretty much only use four wheel drive in winter after a significant snow fall. I will just be more careful where I park and carry some coarse sand.

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Shack

I just read threw this thread and I did not see anyone mention this.

I have also found my self in this situation and have found shifting truck/SUV into Low range, try to put/cram something under tire (sand or cardboard) and lightly apply gas. I have always gotten unstuck that way (locker or not).

I have buried my plow truck (86 Dodge 1/2) in a road ditch. Shifted into 4 high and gave up. As I am going to get out and walk for help, I think of throwing it in 4x4 low. Sure enough the transfer case clunks in, truck bounces up and down. A little Rev., Forward, Rev. then forward action and I was out and on my way.

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Powerstroke

Another technique than can be of help with spinning tires is to feather the brake. Sometimes this can slow the spinning wheel down enough that the truck tries to distribute the power as if it was on solid gorund. It doesn't always work, but sometimes it is all that is needed.

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nater

I just happened to be reading this topic and I haven't had any problems with my 4 wheel drive, but it made me think of a question I thought about and then never checked into. I have a 97 Tacoma SR5 and it has the push button rear locking diff. I have tested it on snow and ice in two wheel drive and one tire will begin spinning, but they won't work together. Is that something that applies only when 4 wheel is engaged?

Nate

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Powerstroke

I'm not familiar with the TOyota system (someone find Airjer!!) but typically a locking diff in late model vehicles will only engage in 4wd and sometimes 4LO only. ALso they usually only stay engaged under 10mph.

Chevy has this option as does the Jeep Rubicon.

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