Locking diff or not locking diff on a dually - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
Power Strokes 1994-1997 General Technical discussion of topics related to vehicles powered by the Power Stroke engine in 1994 through 1997 models.

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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Question Locking diff or not locking diff on a dually

Hey guys, new member here. I am on my second diesel truck. My first one is a 1996 F350 cc lb 4x4 that originally a manual, then converted to automatic before I bought it. It has 250,000+ miles on it. I then converted it back manual and rebuild the front end. Got into a crash and bent the frame. I spent 2 years looking for a new truck and bought a 1997 F350 cc lb dually which I converted it to 4x4 manual. I want to put lockers into my truck. The reason is explained in the following story.

In my first diesel (my parts truck for the 4x4 manual conversion) I was offered an antique truck (1947 Chevy 1.5 ton sheep hauler) and I needed to put it onto the bumper tow trailer I had purchased. My wench broke on the trailer (wire snapped), so I used the one on my truck which also broke (it seized up), so I had to un hook the trailer (put logs and rocks and such around the trailer so it won't move). I then tied one side of the winch cable to the trailer and wrapped the cable around the axle of the chevy truck (using it as a kinda make shift snatch block) and then tied it to my truck. This worked very well till the rear axle got onto the ramps on the trailer. My truck was in reverse and 4x4 low (I started off high then went to low when that didn't work). Only 2 of the 4 tires were spinning so I was kinda making ruts. I then had to do a running start and that eventually got it onto the trailer that way. The f350 + Trailer + the 1947 Chevy weighed about 18,500 lb combined with all the tools and equipment I had.

I believe that lockers would have helped putting that truck onto the trailer. Would it help? I was thinking the OX-Air lockers because they also offer a "permanent locker" adapter tool just in case the air line brakes off.

I will be working at a vineyard/ranch here in California (Napa valley, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Temecula are just a few places). The hills will be some what steep and somewhat slick because I have to harvest before the rains come in. I will be towing 10 tons of harvest grapes or equipment from place to place. So I may need a locker in order not to get stuck.

This is what my truck looks like right now. Im going to put 315/75r16 AT tires on it (I know Im going to need to add a 2" spacer in the rear)

This is how it sits now.

Whats y'alls input?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 12:57 AM
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Sounds more like you need to invest in WINCH MAINTENANCE, &/or buy better winches. I prefer Ramsey worm-drives (RE series).

A locking diff can be helpful in some situations, but they're expensive to buy, expensive to install, and still require some maintenance. They also make it easier for you to break truck parts. Some are noisy.

How have you been doing your job up till now? It seems like a locking diff isn't really necessary for you. In your example story, you'd have been MUCH better-off with tires that provide traction, rather than a locking diff. The diff can't help with traction - it can only send torque to the tire(s) with the most. But it can't increase that tire's traction, so you'd have simply made 2 sets of ruts instead of 1.

Based on your description, I recommend you put your money into tires, and your time into fixing/replacing your winches.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 12:59 PM
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If you are worried about traction on wet slippery roads I would not get wide tires!! They will just make it easier to hydroplane, especially DRW when empty. One of my trucks has open diffs front and rear. It does OK on the tar pulling heavy loads but once I get on the dirt it is not a truck I would want to count on making money even in 4 wheel drive. So save the money on wide tires and spacer crap and get some kind of LS or controllable locker for the rear. If you are pulling 4 wheel trailers that put no load on the rear axle I would consider putting some weight in the bed also.
This is not to say Steve83 is wrong about getting a good set of tries, especially tread type. Just don't throw on a big fat tire for looks.

1999 F350 AUTO 4x4 CC LB DRW 4.10
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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The dually isn't what I used to get the 1947 chevy. I had a 1997 f350 CC LB SRW 7.3L with new tires. The location of the 1947 Chevy was Coalinga California. It was hard dry dirt so I felt like that was one of the issues. The white dually should be better to do that sort of stuff.
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