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Powerlok advantages, front vs. rear

Discussion in 'Early CJ5 and CJ6 Tech' started by GeoffreyL, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Feb 24, 2013
    GeoffreyL

    GeoffreyL Well-Known Member

    moorestown, nj
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    What are the advantages of having on in the front vs. the rear and vise versa? dont you get the same performance in 4wd no matter where it is? Teach me..... Geoffrey
     
  2. Feb 24, 2013
    chuck123wapati

    chuck123wapati Member

    wyoming
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    If your only going to have one I think its better in the front
    1. it doesnt effect everyday driving and is not used with the transfer case in 2wd
    2. there is more weight in the front so it pulls alot better than it pushes the light rear end
    only down side to the front is its a little harder to steer when in 4 wheel drive
     
  3. Feb 24, 2013
    04sd2

    04sd2 Member

    Lehigh Valley, PA
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    I think it somewhat depends on your intended use. Having the limited slip or locker in the rear means you don't even need four wheel drive in a lot of situations, which also means easier steering. I had lockers front and rear in my '47 and the interlock removed in the transfer case (means 2WD low range). I could run a lot of tight trails without 4WD because of that rear locker.
     
  4. Feb 24, 2013
    chuck123wapati

    chuck123wapati Member

    wyoming
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    mine is setup this way also it works good in 2 wd but tends to side slip easily with the lockers on side hills especially.
     
  5. Feb 24, 2013
    colojeepguy

    colojeepguy Colorado Springs 2019 Sponsor

    At the foot of...
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    I have a front powerlok, and it works good, but with manual steering, it's hard to steer in 4WD.
    It wants to go straight ahead with the hubs locked in. As posted above, I do a lot of trails in 2 low
    for this reason, and lock in the hubs only when absolutely needed.
    If you plan on driving the Jeep in winter, the addition of powerlok, or any other locking type diff,
    can cause some scary handling on slick roads in a short wheelbase vehicle like a Jeep.
     
  6. Feb 24, 2013
    chuck123wapati

    chuck123wapati Member

    wyoming
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    very scary on slick roads:)
     
  7. Feb 24, 2013
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    Conventional wisdom says that a single limited slip differential goes on the rear. When you go uphill (or accelerate), weight transfers to the back wheels. That's where you will need and can use the most traction.

    In the rocks it can be different, because you may not be climbing. But in the desert or in the hills, I would definitely want the LSD in the back for better climbing. In the rocks, on the front may be better, but I think the uphill help is more useful. And having the rear LSD in the rocks is still very helpful, and you won't have the steering and tracking issues.

    A PowerLock is a LSD, and is pretty well behaved when installed in a rear axle. The more aggressive you set it up, the more vectoring and understeer you'll feel in slick conditions. A TracLock is even better behaved.
     
  8. Feb 24, 2013
    oldtime

    oldtime oldtime

    St. Charles,...
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    Good question...
    I run Powr Loks at both front and at rear.
    But if I only had a single unit I certainly would install the rear unit.
    That is the only way that the factory installed them and there is good reason to back it up.
    Primarily the D44 rear axle is a much stronger axle than the front axle..
    The rear axle can much more readily handle any excess stress without breakage.
    What typical off road driving situation generally requires the greatest traction increase ?
    Probably steep grade climbing.
    Realize that when the jeep climbs a steep grade the jeep almost always climbs when headed foreward.
    Driving foreward uphill increases vehicle weight over onto the rear axle.
    Therefore rear wheel traction becomes paramount to the successful steep hill climb.
    Steep uphill operation in reverse (driving backwards) puts too much weight onto the front axle and vastly increases potentail breakage of the weaker front axle assembly.
     
  9. Feb 24, 2013
    Posimoto

    Posimoto Hopeless JEEP Addict

    Minden, Nevada
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    My setup for a lot of years was a locked rear and LS front. I really liked the fact that when things got bound up the LS would allow some slippage and thus reduce the stress on the axles. I ran this setup with a D27 and then with a D30. If you think a LS makes steering difficult in 4wd you need to start doing some push ups or something. Even when our Jeep had manual steering my 5' 2" 120lb wife didn't have any real trouble steering the Jeep. Now that I have a selectable locker in the front I'm realizing that for 99% of the trail driving I do I don't even need the LS in the front. I run it open most all the time. For the areas I need the locker in the front a LS just isn't enough. This winter I'm ditching the spool in the rear for another selectable locker so I can run the rear open most of the time too. Of course the biggest factor on what to run is the type of trails you expect to be on. Here we have trails that have big rocky climbs and while you may be able to drive them with open diff's you are going to have to use a lot more inertia to get up on the rocks and that's when things start to break. After saying all that, I agree with the posts above. Rear traction is the most needed traction. Whatever you decide to put in, do the rear first.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  10. Feb 24, 2013
    chuck123wapati

    chuck123wapati Member

    wyoming
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    Thats why rear wheel drive cars do so much better in the snow than front wheel drive cars...... not. i agree its a matter of what your using it for, my setup is for hunting in Wyoming in the winter much more mud an snow than steep grades so the weight i need is over the front, and i havent broken anything yet. Of course thats why i have both I dont need the front as much as i used to due to the better traction in back. Best and most costly is always selectable lockers on both ends but we dont always have the cash for that :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  11. Feb 24, 2013
    scott milliner

    scott milliner Master Fabricator

    Seattle Wa.
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    I have mine fully locked. In my option I would put it in the rear. I installed my Detroit locker in the rear, first. Made a big improvement. And I would definitely put a selectable locker in the front.
     
  12. Feb 24, 2013
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    My FWD car does fine in the snow ... until I go uphill. Weight transfer is very noticable, even on mild grades in my neighborhood.
     
  13. Feb 24, 2013
    GeoffreyL

    GeoffreyL Well-Known Member

    moorestown, nj
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    I'll also be driving mostly on muddy, snowy trails, i found a front powerlok, when i find a rear i'll add that too. i have a locker in the rear of my 74 and its scary, never again will i have a locker, only reason its in there is it was there when i bought the jeep, its good cause it has a plow on it and is a good snow pusher but its not very comfortable for much else.
     
  14. Feb 24, 2013
    aallison

    aallison 74 cj6, 76 cj5. Has anyone seen my screwdriver?

    Green Cove...
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    Locker in the rear if only one. I have on in my sammurai. I go in 2wd where some people can't go in 4wd. It is predictable and I know what it is going to do and when it is going to do it. I never felt unsafe but you have to be aware of it and what it will do and when it will do it. I would not want to compromise my steering with a locker in the front unless I really needed it or had a way to turn it off or disconnect it.
     
  15. Feb 25, 2013
    Warloch

    Warloch Did you say Flattie??? Staff Member

    Falcon, CO
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    A LS vs Locker are 2 different things. I have OX in front and rear and think that is the best of both worlds. Having done the rock wheeling and the type of stuff Chuck does in WY they both have their advantages. We usually chained the fronts in mud and snow to help with steering (damn ruts can be real bad with a jeep) and many folks prefer the LS in the front for that reason - steering. Summer wheeling is just the opposite as folks have said - I usually run trails with just the rear locked unless it gets bad.

    There is no substitute for experience with what you attempting to do, and you may not know the right answer till you do it :)
     
  16. Feb 25, 2013
    Corveeper

    Corveeper Member

    Chanute, Kansas
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    When I bought this Jeep it already had a PowerLok in the rear and drove great in the snow. I added one to the front and while I love the added traction off road it made my Jeep a bear to drive in the snow. It’s not just that the steering effort got heavier, it’s that as long as you’re on the throttle it won’t steer. Turn the steering wheel and it just plows the front and keeps going in the same direction. I have to let off the throttle and give the PowerLok a chance to unlock then it will turn. The next problem is when I give it throttle and go around a turn the steering won’t self-center, it will continue going around until I let off the throttle again and let it unlock, so driving round in snow is a jerky ride of getting on and off the throttle to get it to steer.
    For the sake of full disclosure my rear PowerLok has a very aggressive setup while the front is rebuilt to factory setup, though that ended up being fairly stiff itself.
     
  17. Feb 25, 2013
    oldtime

    oldtime oldtime

    St. Charles,...
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    Bottom line IMHO.....

    If in mud or on steep slopes use limited slip or else use selectable lockers in both front and rear axles.

    If driving on snow then an open front differential and a limited slip rear differential are the optimum choice.

    I prefer Powr Lok units at both front and rear and leave the front axle disengaged while on snowy roads.
     
  18. Feb 25, 2013
    scott milliner

    scott milliner Master Fabricator

    Seattle Wa.
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    I've switched my ARB on while in snow. Still drivable. I would recommend having it on in snow. Ice is a different story.
     
  19. Feb 26, 2013
    duffer

    duffer Rodent Power 2019 Sponsor

    Bozeman, MT
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    The only times I have ever locked either axle in snow has been at low speeds in DEEP snow. At higher speeds on any hard surface, locked on either end is a ticket for a trip straight to the ditch, hopefully on the right side of the road. I run both ends open on the highway.

    Back to the orginal question, put it in the rear for both Ken's and Tim's reasons. A PowrLoc does ok in the rear on snow and ice but you have to be aware it's there and adjust the throttle accordingly. No way do I want one on the front in the same situation. Either a selectable or open.
     

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