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Old 10-23-2013, 11:16 AM   #1
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Trac-Lok (Anti-spin) Differential

Hi, all.

My apologies if this topic was already discussed. I thought I've already tried to search for this topic and didn't find too much.

Question: Is the Trac-Lok Differential an essential option or will the vehicle do well enough without it?

Thanks!

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Old 10-23-2013, 11:20 AM   #2
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people claim its good on paved roads with snow or rain... then i also hear alot of people claim its not good at all off road.... now is that concrete info ?? really don't know. however i do know that i ordered it on mine, and i can't see it not being a plus for having it.

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Old 10-23-2013, 11:21 AM   #3
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I am actually looking for the same feedback. Looking at buying very soon so any feedback would be very much appreciated.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:34 AM   #4
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Some may call me a fool . . .but

I ordered my new '14 JKU without. 99% of my driving is on road with some planned beach driving. My reasons for skipping it:

1) It's a clutch system and the clutches DO wear out . . . . eventually. I didn't want to deal with the maintenance/ repair at some point down the road.

2) Based on my experience with the same in Nissan Pick-ups, it is essentially useless in a 4WD vehicle in my opinion. I had a Nissan Frontier with LSD in it that really was little benefit in bad weather. I was either in 2WD or 4WD when the 2WD didn't cut it.

3) I now have Nissan Titan with an open rear diff and it is light in the rear. I only have problems with the rear stepping out of line when I drive too aggressively for the road conditions. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes not.

4) The Jeep has a brake lock differential standard which is a computerized version that uses braking on the slipping wheel to simulate an LSD. This is standard on ALL Jeeps. Therefore I didn't feel the additional $295 for the Trac-Lok was worth it.

Bear in mind this decision was made based on MY experience with both LSD and open Differentials in various pickups. It was also based on MY willingness to spend MY money. So YMMV, but for me, I didn't see the need or value in it - even at only $295 which I admit is a good deal for what it is.

But that same $295 could be used to offset the cost of 3.73 gears,or a premium top, or upgraded audio, or . . . .whatever.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:46 AM   #5
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I have the "anti-spin" rear diff. in my 09, and I can say that it does work off-road better than the BLD in the open diff.s in that it comes in way faster and does not create the initial wag the tail feeling of the BLD. in bad weather it works really well, pulling straight under power. btw, it's not my first LSD, I have had several over my 50+ years of driving. best 295$ spent. IMO
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:48 AM   #6
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I didn't order it on mine. The stock system honestly isn't that good (although you will find some on here that will state otherwise). I'm going with a Trutrac in the rear, locker up front. No clutches to wear out, and a locker for tough situations off road. Best all around option. Save the 295 and put it towards a Trutrac if you want a limited slip that is actually worth it's weight.
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmshay6 View Post
I ordered my new '14 JKU without. 99% of my driving is on road with some planned beach driving. My reasons for skipping it:

1) It's a clutch system and the clutches DO wear out . . . . eventually. I didn't want to deal with the maintenance/ repair at some point down the road.

2) Based on my experience with the same in Nissan Pick-ups, it is essentially useless in a 4WD vehicle in my opinion. I had a Nissan Frontier with LSD in it that really was little benefit in bad weather. I was either in 2WD or 4WD when the 2WD didn't cut it.

3) I now have Nissan Titan with an open rear diff and it is light in the rear. I only have problems with the rear stepping out of line when I drive too aggressively for the road conditions. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes not.

4) The Jeep has a brake lock differential standard which is a computerized version that uses braking on the slipping wheel to simulate an LSD. This is standard on ALL Jeeps. Therefore I didn't feel the additional $295 for the Trac-Lok was worth it.

Bear in mind this decision was made based on MY experience with both LSD and open Differentials in various pickups. It was also based on MY willingness to spend MY money. So YMMV, but for me, I didn't see the need or value in it - even at only $295 which I admit is a good deal for what it is.

But that same $295 could be used to offset the cost of 3.73 gears,or a premium top, or upgraded audio, or . . . .whatever.

i don't believe all that BS that is " wears out " so quickly..... my last vehicle had ACD active center differential. i owned it for 8 years never did i have a problem with it wearing out. plenty of cars have LSD and never once did i hear it fails or goes out after a long period of time.

You will however after every im sure 30K , 60K and so fourth amount of miles will have to change the fluid or have the dealer change it out. other then that with normal maintenance, there should be no problem.
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by donmeca2020 View Post
i don't believe all that BS that is " wears out " so quickly..... my last vehicle had ACD active center differential. i owned it for 8 years never did i have a problem with it wearing out. plenty of cars have LSD and never once did i hear it fails or goes out after a long period of time.

You will however after every im sure 30K , 60K and so fourth amount of miles will have to change the fluid or have the dealer change it out. other then that with normal maintenance, there should be no problem.
I wouldn't call it "BS", they are clutches- they wear. How quickly is the sticking point. That's why I qualified my response with "eventually". The thing is, I am sure they wear slowly until ultimately, they quit working all together. But they aren't like a transmission clutch. Once they're gone, the diff will still function, just with no LSD. When that occurs? Who knows?

Like I said, I didn't want to be bothered with the maintenance (additives etc) or repair (which isn't very expensive). And in my personal experience and use, an open diff in a 4WD vehicle hasn't proved to be a disadvantage.
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:12 PM   #9
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I had the Trac-Lok in my last TJ and it worked just as well 9 years and almost 100k miles later as it did the winter I bought it.

That Jeep was also 4wheeled regularly. It had 31's on it for the lifetime of the vehicle. On stock or near stock size tires, it will probably last you the life of the vehicle without a rebuild of the clutches.

It makes a noticeable difference in snow. My very first TJ had an open diff in the rear. I rolled that one off the road into a culvert in a snowstorm, and 2 years later it met its demise on an icy interstate overpass.

I was way more confident in the snow in my next TJ with the Trac-Lok. It greatly eliminates any fishtailing in snow under acceleration. I never had any accident, near-accident, or any traction problems in the snow and ice with that Jeep with the LSD.

IMO I think its an essential traction aid especially in snow and ice. I would not order another Jeep without it, and infact didn't... have an Unlimited Sport on order with the Trac-Lok.
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:25 PM   #10
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Thanks for the inputs thus far. Also, please...no need to start any back-and-forth arguments.

Not sure of Original Nerd's planned use, but mine will mainly be used for normal drives in inclement weather. For my purposes and requirements, the Sahara Unlimited is probably the best choice. However, the reason I was asking was because some Sahara Unlimited configurations do not offer Trac-Lok as an option. Either way, I will most likely go with the 3.73 ratio.

Please keep your honest feedback coming.

Thanks!
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:56 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by wmshay6 View Post
I wouldn't call it "BS", they are clutches- they wear. How quickly is the sticking point. That's why I qualified my response with "eventually". The thing is, I am sure they wear slowly until ultimately, they quit working all together. But they aren't like a transmission clutch. Once they're gone, the diff will still function, just with no LSD. When that occurs? Who knows?

Like I said, I didn't want to be bothered with the maintenance (additives etc) or repair (which isn't very expensive). And in my personal experience and use, an open diff in a 4WD vehicle hasn't proved to be a disadvantage.
i stand by what i said.... im sure they might wear maybe 10 YEARS from purchasing a wrangler, but not within a year of ownership. im sure with it being used and abused regularly say off roading and what not of course it'll break down quicker then normal. but im sure with NORMAL use and some off roading i doubt it'll succumb to breaking down.
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Old 10-23-2013, 02:11 PM   #12
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I don't off-road much. I live in Chicago-land...and it actually snowed yesterday. I love Trac-Loc.

Those that do hard core off-roading would be wise to pass on it and use the money on True-tracs or lockers.

But for daily driving and occasional light off-roading, it is an excellent value. It is also covered under warranty. I don't think it is going to wear out anytime soon.
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmshay6 View Post
I ordered my new '14 JKU without. 99% of my driving is on road with some planned beach driving. My reasons for skipping it:

1) It's a clutch system and the clutches DO wear out . . . . eventually. I didn't want to deal with the maintenance/ repair at some point down the road.

2) Based on my experience with the same in Nissan Pick-ups, it is essentially useless in a 4WD vehicle in my opinion. I had a Nissan Frontier with LSD in it that really was little benefit in bad weather. I was either in 2WD or 4WD when the 2WD didn't cut it.

3) I now have Nissan Titan with an open rear diff and it is light in the rear. I only have problems with the rear stepping out of line when I drive too aggressively for the road conditions. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes not.

4) The Jeep has a brake lock differential standard which is a computerized version that uses braking on the slipping wheel to simulate an LSD. This is standard on ALL Jeeps. Therefore I didn't feel the additional $295 for the Trac-Lok was worth it.

Bear in mind this decision was made based on MY experience with both LSD and open Differentials in various pickups. It was also based on MY willingness to spend MY money. So YMMV, but for me, I didn't see the need or value in it - even at only $295 which I admit is a good deal for what it is.

But that same $295 could be used to offset the cost of 3.73 gears,or a premium top, or upgraded audio, or . . . .whatever.



Brake lock differential is a new one.......can anyone tell me more about this I never heard about Jeeps having this. Please be descriptive....
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:30 PM   #14
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I don't off-road much. I live in Chicago-land...and it actually snowed yesterday. I love Trac-Loc.

Those that do hard core off-roading would be wise to pass on it and use the money on True-tracs or lockers.

But for daily driving and occasional light off-roading, it is an excellent value. It is also covered under warranty. I don't think it is going to wear out anytime soon.
That makes alot of sense, if your using the vehicle as a daily and will only see off roading once a blue moon, then this would be perfect for someone. if your going to be a serious off roader then save the money and just go after market or lockers later on.
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:31 PM   #15
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Brake lock differential is a new one.......can anyone tell me more about this I never heard about Jeeps having this. Please be descriptive....
Poor mans locker:

Chrysler Blog - Jeep Brake Traction Control Explained

In my limited experience with it, you normally ride the brake and throttle until the diff locks up the left and right sides. Can work on rocks (like Moab)

It doesn't work on snow or in mud.

Again, buy a locker
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:39 PM   #16
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I have the factory trac-loc in my TJ its been rebulit once at 140k and has an extra spacer to make it tighter and I get questioned all the time if I have a locker in the rear. It's also great on road can't really tell its there until you need it but you will feel a kick when it starts to work.
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:50 PM   #17
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If you don't ever plan on re-gearing your JK, then I'd recommend getting the factory LSD because it's a relatively inexpensive and worthwhile option. It'll definitely be a noticeable traction improvement over an open differential. If you do plan to re-gear in the future, adding a Truetrac LSD or selectable locker at the same time would be a much better option.
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:00 PM   #18
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Cool

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If you don't ever plan on re-gearing your JK, then I'd recommend getting the factory LSD because it's a relatively inexpensive and worthwhile option. It'll definitely be a noticeable traction improvement over an open differential. If you do plan to re-gear in the future, adding a Truetrac LSD or selectable locker at the same time would be a much better option.
I second that.
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Old 10-24-2013, 06:49 AM   #19
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I didn't order it on mine. The stock system honestly isn't that good (although you will find some on here that will state otherwise). I'm going with a Trutrac in the rear, locker up front. No clutches to wear out, and a locker for tough situations off road. Best all around option. Save the 295 and put it towards a Trutrac if you want a limited slip that is actually worth it's weight.
I went that way at first until I figured out wheeling the steep hills in Michigan north woods that locker are worthless because you can't turn. when running 15-25 mph
I have since replaced my front e-locker with another trutrac.
What many guys don't understand a Rubicon locker only works in low range and it's almost impossible to wheel threw the woods going up steep hills with there rubicon because they can't steer them. Now crawling is a different story
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:08 AM   #20
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people claim its good on paved roads with snow or rain... then i also hear alot of people claim its not good at all off road.... now is that concrete info ?? really don't know. however i do know that i ordered it on mine, and i can't see it not being a plus for having it.
The only downside is maintenance - If you change the diff fluid and screw up the amount of friction modifier in it (IE: You don't add enough friction modifier) - you will destroy your diff gears.

If you put too much friction modifier, it won't work. If you get the dealer to do it, you don't have to worry about the chemistry.

Otherwise, It can be very beneficial off road where you really need the torque on rear end grip that you just can't get with the traction control... It's still no where near as good as a real locker when at crawling speeds, but has the "set it and forget it" ease of use.

LSD's are better for MUD, Sand and Snow where there is a high rate of excess spin, they are not great in crawling situations.
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:54 AM   #21
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The only downside is maintenance - If you change the diff fluid and screw up the amount of friction modifier in it (IE: You don't add enough friction modifier) - you will destroy your diff gears.

If you put too much friction modifier, it won't work. If you get the dealer to do it, you don't have to worry about the chemistry.

Otherwise, It can be very beneficial off road where you really need the torque on rear end grip that you just can't get with the traction control... It's still no where near as good as a real locker when at crawling speeds, but has the "set it and forget it" ease of use.

LSD's are better for MUD, Sand and Snow where there is a high rate of excess spin, they are not great in crawling situations.
precisely... not everyone is going to be using their jeeps for crawling. the lsd will suffice with as you said wet conditions,mud,snow,sand. and for me personally thats all i'll be dealing with cosidering im in florida. there is no snow nor moutains around these parts.
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Old 10-24-2013, 09:43 AM   #22
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Hi, all.

My apologies if this topic was already discussed. I thought I've already tried to search for this topic and didn't find too much.

Question: Is the Trac-Lok Differential an essential option or will the vehicle do well enough without it?

Thanks!
You will survive without it 99.9% of the time. But, for the price, it is well worth it for the added safety and capability it provide, on road and off.
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Old 11-14-2013, 01:10 PM   #23
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"exrub" Allow me to shed about 40yrs of working on Chrysler and Jeep vehicles.
First off the factory option is worth the $295 and for some reason this has not changed in price in about 10 years at least. I ordered my RAM 2500 with that option and I believe it was $395 for it and you could put two Dana 44's in that thing. I always order them with the limited slip for simple reason it's going to cost way more than $295 in time alone to set one up later. The unit does indeed come in handy no mater what the road conditions and driving habits. What it boils down to is personal choice, me? I'd rather have it than not. Will it work okay with out it, sure will the new traction or ESD works great also but as everyone has stated it's not the same thing.

Now if you find out that you are taking it off road more than you had anticipated then I would "add" a front electronic locker, if for some reason you find you need more than "two" front wheels pulling you "add" one to the rear. The electronic works much better in that YOU chose to add the needed traction and believe me it works which is why it's in the Rubicon series Jeep's.

The "torsen" limited slip in my truck however I do not like, it use's the worm gear method and I have been stuck a couple of times where one wheel was spinning and the other was not. I thought to myself that unit is broken, so I took it apart and checked it once I got it pulled out. Seems this option is NOT the best where as if both wheels happen to be on say ice where no traction can be made they CAN and will apply all power to one wheel. I found that to eliminate yourself from this situation you need to apply the emergency brake ever so slightly in order to allow the gearing to work. Once I did that as a test and it worked as advertised. Now NO moving parts are ever with out repair that's just the way it goes.
Now that said I am not advertising for one nor bashing the other in this next blurb.. BUT I have found that using Royal Purple gear oil is hands down the best you can use. I have tried Amsoil and used that religiously for years in my truck but ended up it would not go further than 10-15,000 miles with out a change. I also have tried several other synthetic's only to have them give the same results.
I my truck after about 10,000 miles it would wheel hope after running at highway speeds and exiting a ramp making a turn. Since I switched to Royal Purple I have not had that happen "yet" ... AND YES I own a 2010 JK with a factory limited slip unit. So far I have not had it stuck and I have had it in several situations where my truck would have needed a wrecker.
Take it for what it's worth (advice) I fully understand what everyone is saying here and I am not bashing anything they are saying everyone has an opinion.
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Old 11-14-2013, 01:14 PM   #24
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Hey, gomentmule.

Thanks for your input! I am pretty much convinced to go with the option.
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Old 11-14-2013, 01:25 PM   #25
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"exrub" Allow me to shed about 40yrs of working on Chrysler and Jeep vehicles.
First off the factory option is worth the $295 and for some reason this has not changed in price in about 10 years at least. I ordered my RAM 2500 with that option and I believe it was $395 for it and you could put two Dana 44's in that thing. I always order them with the limited slip for simple reason it's going to cost way more than $295 in time alone to set one up later. The unit does indeed come in handy no mater what the road conditions and driving habits. What it boils down to is personal choice, me? I'd rather have it than not. Will it work okay with out it, sure will the new traction or ESD works great also but as everyone has stated it's not the same thing.

Now if you find out that you are taking it off road more than you had anticipated then I would "add" a front electronic locker, if for some reason you find you need more than "two" front wheels pulling you "add" one to the rear. The electronic works much better in that YOU chose to add the needed traction and believe me it works which is why it's in the Rubicon series Jeep's.

The "torsen" limited slip in my truck however I do not like, it use's the worm gear method and I have been stuck a couple of times where one wheel was spinning and the other was not. I thought to myself that unit is broken, so I took it apart and checked it once I got it pulled out. Seems this option is NOT the best where as if both wheels happen to be on say ice where no traction can be made they CAN and will apply all power to one wheel. I found that to eliminate yourself from this situation you need to apply the emergency brake ever so slightly in order to allow the gearing to work. Once I did that as a test and it worked as advertised. Now NO moving parts are ever with out repair that's just the way it goes.
Now that said I am not advertising for one nor bashing the other in this next blurb.. BUT I have found that using Royal Purple gear oil is hands down the best you can use. I have tried Amsoil and used that religiously for years in my truck but ended up it would not go further than 10-15,000 miles with out a change. I also have tried several other synthetic's only to have them give the same results.
I my truck after about 10,000 miles it would wheel hope after running at highway speeds and exiting a ramp making a turn. Since I switched to Royal Purple I have not had that happen "yet" ... AND YES I own a 2010 JK with a factory limited slip unit. So far I have not had it stuck and I have had it in several situations where my truck would have needed a wrecker.
Take it for what it's worth (advice) I fully understand what everyone is saying here and I am not bashing anything they are saying everyone has an opinion.
Welcome to WF!
Yes, Trac-Lok seems to be one of the few options that has not jumped in price over the last few years. It has been $295 ever since I started looking at JK's....unlike the axle ratio upgrade...which has gone from $50 to $495 in about 18 months.
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Old 11-14-2013, 02:46 PM   #26
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Thank you!! Being the son of a mechanic, I hate to see someone go without knowledge.
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Old 11-14-2013, 02:52 PM   #27
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LOL...being the son of a mechanic as well, I was wondering if I was perhaps going overboard; hence my request for inputs.
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Old 11-14-2013, 03:08 PM   #28
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I don't have have my jeep just yet but I ordered it 3 days ago and Trac Lok was one of my major thoughts. I couldn't find a jeep with it. I asked tons of questions on the forum and what I came up with was, for $295 and waiting another few weeks to order a new one was no big deal. I would rather have it......... Then want it later and have to install it for over $1000
So get it !!
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Old 11-14-2013, 03:43 PM   #29
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Does Trac Lok affect mpg?
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Old 11-14-2013, 03:46 PM   #30
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Does Trac Lok affect mpg?
I don't see how it could.

I love synthetics, but not for differentials. Trac-lok is worth the money. It's better than an open diff, but TruTrac is better than both....imo.

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