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dan188 02-11-2010 12:40 PM

Open Diff vs. Tru-Trak, please advise
Hi guys,

I have a stupid, but important question to ask everyone.... I have a 98 TJ, D44 with a tru-trak rear. I love it. It goes through anything. I'm from Philly and yesterday I had it out in 20 inches of snow (literally 20 inches) and it had no problems... now my question. my dad took my jeep to the store yesterday and liked it so much that he wants to buy one. he's looking at a really sweet TJ with an open rear and he asked me if the open rear will go as well as mine does. I told him that tons of guys run open rears off road with no problem but I just wanted to make sure.

For conditions like snow/light mud will an open rear TJ fair as well as a tru-trak TJ? My dad is never going rock crawling or swamping through 4 foot deep mud. He just wants a Jeep that can get through occasional deep snow, or sand if he's down at the beach.

thanks, dan

HyperBuzzin 02-11-2010 01:10 PM

Although the Tru-Trac is not a locker, IMO, it works better than nothing.
I wouldn't think an open diff would work as good as one with Tru-Trac

Kilroy 02-11-2010 01:11 PM

No, I had an open 44. It did not do well in snow, even in 4WD. You can play tricks with the emergency brake , but it is still not as good as an LSD or locker. I upgraded mine.

dan188 02-11-2010 01:57 PM

Kilroy, thanks for the info. I was worried that the open dif would stink in the snow. I will let my dad know that the LSD is the way to go.

wolfen 02-11-2010 03:33 PM

I have a D35 rear and a D30 front and their both open I haven't had any problems with them yet.
Except for back in November when I buried it up to the frame in mud 300 feet off the road :)

rocknmiss 02-11-2010 03:40 PM

I as well have had no issues with mine doing just light off road, beach, and the 18 inches of snow we just had and that was with stock tires, I just put the 31's on. 4 wheel hi, and away we went.

Kilroy 02-11-2010 03:57 PM

Try going up a hill in 18" snow with open axles.

Jerry Bransford 02-11-2010 04:04 PM

Caution that the term "Truetrac" refers to a Detroit Truetrac product that is an aftermarket gear-based limited slip differential. Jeep's limited slip differential is called a Tracloc that is clutch-based. So if your rear LSD is factory, it's a Tracloc.

Several types of LSDs can be installed into your dad's Jeep if it comes with an open differential and the Detroit Truetrac is the best of the bunch. :)

wolfen 02-11-2010 06:04 PM


Originally Posted by Kilroy (Post 543893)
Try going up a hill in 18" snow with open axles.

ok, been there done that with a 2 wheel 1973 Chevy pickup with a open.

But I want to make my brake usable for all 4 wheels, all I need is a set of rear disk brakes from a cra with disk in the rear and a splitter for the brake cable :)

s3nt3nc3d 02-11-2010 06:48 PM

Well...this just answered my question...

Many of you remember my thread bout driving in deep snow...I confirmed today that I do indeed have an open differential. No tag saying it has LSD anywhere on the rear diff (Dana 44)...and I jacked the back tires off the ground and spun them. Spun opposite directions.

FYI...I was stuck in under a foot of snow with I'd recommend investing in a LSD unit.

Jerry Bransford 02-11-2010 06:53 PM

Have you tried pulling the parking brake on by hand if one rear tire is spinning ineffectually and the other is not turning moving at all? Doing so is a poor-man's LSD which can really help increase the power sent to the wheel that has better traction. This is the age-old technique drivers from the Model T and Model A eras did when they got stuck on their unpaved roads that few modern drivers are aware of.

This works in 4x4 too by using the brake pedal to feed in a bit of resistance to the spinning wheels so more power (engine torque) can be generated for the non-spinning wheels. :)

HyperBuzzin 02-11-2010 09:01 PM


Originally Posted by s3nt3nc3d (Post 544064)

FYI...I was stuck in under a foot of snow with I'd recommend investing in a LSD unit.

It'll really help. Unlimiteds have an LSD stock and I made it through about 18"-20" of snow with no trouble.....

After I got back from a crazy winter ride...

willysmb 02-12-2010 05:25 AM

My jeep used to have open rears,never had issues in snow here in NJ in 4wd.But in 2wd,forget it. Couldnt even get moving in snow on flat ground.Now since regearing,I put a traclock LSD in and I can atually drive the jeep in snow in 2wd.Big difference,of course 4wd is even better.

dan188 02-12-2010 07:51 AM

Thanks for all of the responses guys! Sounds like my dad should look for a tracloc rear instead of an open rear.

Jeepzcb09 02-12-2010 12:12 PM

ive been up to my bumper in mud and snow with my open diffs and went right thru it

IslandTJ 02-12-2010 01:07 PM

I am very happy with my Detroit TrueTracs :)! I certainly wouldn't have make it through the trail below, if I was open. I made it through without winching or a tug.

Jerry Bransford 02-12-2010 01:14 PM


Originally Posted by dan188 (Post 544357)
Thanks for all of the responses guys! Sounds like my dad should look for a tracloc rear instead of an open rear.

Instead of the clutch-based Tracloc whose clutch disks eventually wear out, I would go with the gear-based (no clutch) Detroit Truetrac. Not to mention the Tracloc also needs a special additive in the gear lube to make it work properly and the gear-based Detroit Truetrac does not.

The Truetrac is a little more expensive but it's good for a lifetime & won't ever need a new clutchpack like the Tracloc will. Plus because the Tracloc is clutch-based, it can be a little more squirrely on slick roads than the gear-based Detroit Truetrac is. The Detroit Truetrac is a MUCH better limited slip differential and is virtually unnoticeable in operation. It drives just like there was nothing there until a tire starts spinning when it goes into action. :)

dan188 02-12-2010 03:40 PM

Jerry, thanks for the advice. And everyone thank for the info. Tomorrow we will see how good/bad the prospective TJ is overall and if we end up buying it, we will most likely get a detroit Truetrac for it. thanks again!

wolfen 02-12-2010 05:58 PM

One thing to always remember guys, driving experience is another factor to consider when thinking of swapping diffs. I was taught by an old man when I was 12 years old who refused to own any vehicle with lockers, LSD's Posi's or anything else, he had a 1962 Chevy pickup 2 wd and he used to bury that thing up to the rockers and still drive around like he was on dry paved roads.
He said you can have whatever you wanted as far as those" things in the rear" but without driving experience, they are useless. to this day I swear that even though it might have only applied to him he was right.

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