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Driver-selectable differential purchase #725702
July 14th 2017 12:30 pm
July 14th 2017 12:30 pm
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 97
Alexandria Safe Zone, VA
V
VanSolo Offline OP
journeyman
VanSolo  Offline OP
journeyman
V
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 97
Alexandria Safe Zone, VA
I've been considering purchasing some sort of locker or rear differential. I have a 1986 Chevy Beauville G20. 3/4 ton.

Here's what I want to be able to do: drive the occasional (somewhat) steep gravel road in the Shenandoah Mountains, take non-paved country roads with no hesitation, comfortably drive camping areas, fire roads, and down to the river's edge. Move through light mud and (very) light snow. Nothing extreme that would require a 4x4. I just can't afford the conversion.

My research points me towards a driver-selectable locking differential. Drive with it open on paved roads, and flip a switch when I need max traction.

Thoughts? Am I on the right track with a driver-selectable? Any particular brands I should look at? Any brands that suck? At this point, I'm not sure what's compatible with my van, but I'll be looking into this. If anyone has bought one, I'd love to hear from you. I think this is a worthwhile investment.

Re: Driver-selectable differential purchase [Re: VanSolo] #725720
July 15th 2017 1:40 pm
July 15th 2017 1:40 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,427
Fircrest, WA
Reed Offline
Maniac
Reed  Offline
Maniac
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,427
Fircrest, WA
ARB air locker. Expensive, but worth it. On-demand locking differential. I think you have a good plan. A locking rear axle will get you most places you want to go, unless you want to go WAY off the beaten track.


Windows- they're what make a van worth owning!
Re: Driver-selectable differential purchase [Re: Reed] #725743
July 16th 2017 4:30 pm
July 16th 2017 4:30 pm
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 97
Alexandria Safe Zone, VA
V
VanSolo Offline OP
journeyman
VanSolo  Offline OP
journeyman
V
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 97
Alexandria Safe Zone, VA
Reed, thanks for the ARB air locker recommendation. I actually have heard that elsewhere as a favorite of many. I'm about to read up on them...

I think also adding high quality snow tires in the winter will be give me a sense that I can handle most of what I'll encounter, with A/T tires during the other 3 seasons.

Re: Driver-selectable differential purchase [Re: VanSolo] #725745
July 16th 2017 5:13 pm
July 16th 2017 5:13 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,427
Fircrest, WA
Reed Offline
Maniac
Reed  Offline
Maniac
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,427
Fircrest, WA
A good set of snow tires is a good idea in areas where you actually need them. Just be sure you get true snow tires with the softer winter rubber compound.


Windows- they're what make a van worth owning!

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