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Old 10-02-2019, 02:35 PM
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Advice on Gearing/Locker Combinations

After exhaustive searching, Iím more up in the air as to what to pick than when I first started. Maybe everyoneís insight and opinions can help guide me.

Here is my current setup and scenario:

2017 Sport S auto with 3.21 gears and a 30/44 axle combo
35Ē Nitto Trail Grapplers on 17Ē rims
D30 axle has been trussed and gussets with an Artec Armor Kit
This is my DD and I commute a few days a week on busy highways averaging about 60+ mph
Living in PA so I deal with all four seasons of weather as well as mountainous/hilly travel

My goals:

Certainly get a better gearing setup for DD Highway/town use riding on my heavy 35s now as well as recalibrate with my superchips to reset my transmission
I do participate in all day trail rides maybe every other month at most, consisting of wooded trails, mud, etc. (no rock crawling at this point)

My thoughts so far have been:

4.56 ratio that would handle the 35s ok and be a good all around ratio compared to what I have now.

4.88 ratio that could handle 37s if I ever want to try going up in size as well as handle the hills we have. Would 4.88s be too much for highway speeds and would they be to fragile/small in a D30?

Can I put a locker in a D30 at all with either of these ratios or should I only lock the rear D44 for the types of trail riding I do anyways? Would I even see a benefit to only having a locker in the rear?

Any thoughts and opinions are much appreciated!

-Rick


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Old 10-02-2019, 02:52 PM   #2
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JMO,,, go with 4.56 as the D30 won't like 37's ever. Put a locker in the rear and leave the front open so you don't snap stuff up there. You might not be as good as all locked but you'll save some bucks and let the D30 live.
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:54 PM   #3
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I am a big fan of having deep gears (I run 5.38s with 37s on an auto trans). So my suggestion is 4.88s, though I personally would consider that undergeared for 37s if you went that route, but others may not. So just keep that in mind.

The difference in 4.56 and 4.88 at 70mph is roughly 200rpm. If you generally are going 60mph I think mileage will be reasonably retained with 4.88s. If you tow or travel to higher elevations then 4.88 for sure.

I dont think you can really go wrong with either and both will be a huge improvement from 3.21s with regard to general driveability.
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:57 PM
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JMO,,, go with 4.56 as the D30 won't like 37's ever. Put a locker in the rear and leave the front open so you don't snap stuff up there. You might not be as good as all locked but you'll save some bucks and let the D30 live.


Thank you for the feedback! This is pretty much what I was leaning towards leaving the front open and just locking the rear. Iíll just save up for a whole new front axle if I ever want to try the 37s.


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Old 10-02-2019, 02:59 PM
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I am a big fan of having deep gears (I run 5.38s with 37s on an auto trans). So my suggestion is 4.88s, though I personally would consider that undergeared for 37s if you went that route, but others may not. So just keep that in mind.

The difference in 4.56 and 4.88 at 70mph is roughly 200rpm. If you generally are going 60mph I think mileage will be reasonably retained with 4.88s. If you tow or travel to higher elevations then 4.88 for sure.

I dont think you can really go wrong with either and both will be a huge improvement from 3.21s with regard to general driveability.


Thank you for the number comparison. I didnít realize it was only a 200 rpm difference. I thought I read somewhere that 4.88s might be too small of size in a D30 that they could break? Not enough teeth meshing or something? If not I may consider them for the hills we have around here.


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Old 10-02-2019, 03:18 PM   #6
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If you are really thinking of 37's in the future then do nothing for now. Going 1/2 way now will cost more in the future. Going 37's will mean a D44 front and 5.13 gears or more with lockers and axles, trusses, + rims and tires. True 35's will take you where you want to go and cost much less doing it.
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Old 10-02-2019, 03:21 PM   #7
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Thank you for the number comparison. I didnít realize it was only a 200 rpm difference. I thought I read somewhere that 4.88s might be too small of size in a D30 that they could break? Not enough teeth meshing or something? If not I may consider them for the hills we have around here.


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I have heard that in regards to 5.13s in a Dana 30. The pinion starts getting pretty small with those deep gear seats. I dont believe the problem presents itself with 4.88s
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:11 PM   #8
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I am locked front and rear on a D30- no issues but I am S & G'ed. I've seen people destroy D44 axles with as much frequency as D30s. It's not the hands-down weak link people think it is.
As to what locker I'd check with your local Jeep crew. I am all for rear locker only- but I've seen arguments that for mud, hills etc. that a front is more handy. (Rock crawler here.) I don't see any reason to do both in your case.
Throw the dice on the gears. 4.88s will not make your Jeep a screaming demon. It's easy enough to manually shift your auto to reach a desired RPM on the highway to see what it sounds/feels like. As mentioned- 200 RPMs isn't that different. 4.56s are a 100% safe bet. But 4.88s will give you more oopmh. Either way get rid of those 3.21s stat.
Like Ynot says- 37s are a whole other bag o'worms. It's not just "I might do 37s"- it's not that simple. I'd research what you need for that and if it doesn't make you run...then wait like he says.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:16 PM   #9
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FWIIW, I have JKU, 35's (Nitto Trails) and 4.56s. I do not tow a trailer. If I towed I would have gone with 4.88s. I do make the drive from MN to UT every year. I like to drive fast on long trips and do not think i would enjoy an extended drive at 85~90mph with 4.88s. If I lived out west I would have went with 4.88s.
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Old 10-02-2019, 08:45 PM
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I am locked front and rear on a D30- no issues but I am S & G'ed. I've seen people destroy D44 axles with as much frequency as D30s. It's not the hands-down weak link people think it is.

As to what locker I'd check with your local Jeep crew. I am all for rear locker only- but I've seen arguments that for mud, hills etc. that a front is more handy. (Rock crawler here.) I don't see any reason to do both in your case.

Throw the dice on the gears. 4.88s will not make your Jeep a screaming demon. It's easy enough to manually shift your auto to reach a desired RPM on the highway to see what it sounds/feels like. As mentioned- 200 RPMs isn't that different. 4.56s are a 100% safe bet. But 4.88s will give you more oopmh. Either way get rid of those 3.21s stat.

Like Ynot says- 37s are a whole other bag o'worms. It's not just "I might do 37s"- it's not that simple. I'd research what you need for that and if it doesn't make you run...then wait like he says.


Thank you for all that helpful info and opinions! Definitely a regear is long overdue. I just thought while they are in there, maybe I could/would use a locker or two. I recall only once getting stuck trying to go up a dry dirt hill and must have picked a bad line because I ended up just spinning a wheel up front. I suppose if I could have locked the front I wouldnít have had to back up and juice it a bit more up the hill. Or maybe just a locked rear would have helped me out. I have a winch and never wheel alone so I guess the locker thought is just a ďnice to haveĒ at this point.


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Old 10-02-2019, 08:48 PM
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FWIIW, I have JKU, 35's (Nitto Trails) and 4.56s. I do not tow a trailer. If I towed I would have gone with 4.88s. I do make the drive from MN to UT every year. I like to drive fast on long trips and do not think i would enjoy an extended drive at 85~90mph with 4.88s. If I lived out west I would have went with 4.88s.


Thanks for the feedback! Yep, I too drive many highway miles year round so maybe the 4.56s would be a safer bet considering highway miles alone. Iím sure they would be light years better than my 3.21s all around!


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Old 10-02-2019, 08:55 PM   #12
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You can break anything... And if a bigger front axle is something you could do anyway, build the 30 and go play. If you break it, replace it. I've got a TORQ auto locker in front and LSD in rear and really like the combo. We had a climbing competition last time I was in Moab and the lock front LSD rear went everywhere the lock/lock went, but lock rear and open front did not.
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Old 10-03-2019, 09:14 AM
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You can break anything... And if a bigger front axle is something you could do anyway, build the 30 and go play. If you break it, replace it. I've got a TORQ auto locker in front and LSD in rear and really like the combo. We had a climbing competition last time I was in Moab and the lock front LSD rear went everywhere the lock/lock went, but lock rear and open front did not.


Thanks for that combo option too! With snow and ice around here Iíve heard can be a problem drive ability wise with auto locker type of setups? Maybe that isnít an issue though and Iím mistaken.


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Old 10-03-2019, 09:58 AM   #14
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Thanks for that combo option too! With snow and ice around here Iíve heard can be a problem drive ability wise with auto locker type of setups? Maybe that isnít an issue though and Iím mistaken.
Living my whole life in AZ, my snow and ice experience is limited. I do think an open diff rear would be the safest... Front wouldn't matter nearly as much. Both tires pulling in front would be good I would think.

I went with the TORQ due to the easy installation and it's cheaper than an E locker, so if I break the axle and replace it, it should be easy enough to sell the TORQ locker for minimal $$.

And the first thing I did after putting it in was go to a spot where you always have a tire in the air to test it out. Yep, open front and the tire spins all front traction gone... TORQ locker (any locker actually) and the tire with traction keeps on pulling and up you go.

I chose the LSD rear because of my overlanding. I don't want to run an E-locker on all the time, and I didn't really want to be turning it on and off for each time I approached sand or silt, etc... The LSD is always ready to go.

So in the end, it really comes down to how you use it. I'm not built for the hardest core rock crawling, so lock/lock wasn't mandatory for me. Your choice is likely different, if nothing else but the inclement weather is part of your decision...
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:37 AM   #15
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I have heard that in regards to 5.13s in a Dana 30. The pinion starts getting pretty small with those deep gear seats. I dont believe the problem presents itself with 4.88s
It's not the size of the pinion that matters. With a big pinion, you still only have a couple of teeth in contact at any given time. That doesn't change as the pinion gets smaller.

The big issue with 5.13's is that people who run them run big tires. Big tires and a Dana 30 don't mix well. The big tires cause the axle housing to flex in interesting ways when you're trying to climb an obstacle. Add in throttle and it just gets worse. That causes the gears to get misaligned. That's when you start chucking gear teeth.

It's not the 5.13's. It's the weak D30 housing.

If you're running 35's off road with a 30, there are two vital pieces to extend the life of the axle. First is a truss that welds to the differential housing itself. The OP has the Artec truss, which does exactly that. Second is a heavy duty diff cover. Both add structural rigidity to the differential housing and really extend the life of your gears.



To the OP: I have a JK with 4.56 gears and an Eaton E-Locker in the front. I run 315/70R17 tires. I take my Jeep on some difficult trails up here in the mountains and Moab (up to an 8 on a 1-10 scale). My axle has survived fine for 6+ years. I too have the Artec full armor kit installed, and a heavy duty diff cover, along with chrome moly shafts. But I don't have a heavy throttle foot. I slow crawl as much as I can. And I only engage my locker when I absolutely need it.

If I had it to do over again, I would have gone with 4.88 gears. They work a little better up at altitude in the mountains. But 4.56 would be acceptable if you don't tow much and don't get to really high elevation very often. Highway cruising is fine with these gears and I can see 18 MPG on the freeway.

I would not hesitate to recommend either a TruTrac or one of the selectable lockers for a Dana 30. The TruTrac is great all around for winter driving in 4wd. I have one in the D30 front (as well as the rear) of my XJ and it's a beast in the snow. It does alright on moderate trails but doesn't really help so much when I lift a tire. It certainly does better than having an open differential. My JK has e-lockers front and rear. It is a mountain goat off road but still drives great on the street.

I'd shy away from the automatic lockers, either the drop-in ones or the full case lockers. They are always engaging and disengaging, adding stress to the axle. And they aren't as good in the snow.

Since you have to replace the front carrier when you go from 3.21 to anything else anyway, there really isn't a good reason not to go with either a TruTrac or selectable locker. The added cost on top of an open carrier for either isn't all that much and you end up with a much more capable Jeep. I do know that PowerTrax has started making a limited slip similar to the TruTrac and I haven't heard one bad word about it. It's cheaper so may be an even better bargain for you. Or if you go with a selectable locker, there's lots of good options. I like the E-Locker but the rest of them are all also good as well.
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:48 AM   #16
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Thanks for that combo option too! With snow and ice around here Iíve heard can be a problem drive ability wise with auto locker type of setups? Maybe that isnít an issue though and Iím mistaken.


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Different people have different opinions on snow and auto lockers or LSDs. Personally, I would rather have an LSD in the rear for snow, along with a selectable locker up front so I can leave the front open. But some think an open diff in the rear is also better for snow driving. My experience says otherwise, but I can see where some would prefer an open diff front and rear for the snow. It would be the safer option, making it easier to not exceed your abilities. Kinda like how front wheel drive is easier to drive in the snow, but not always better.
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:02 PM   #17
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I am a fan of open diffs and selectable lockers. This comes from years of living in a black ice area and LSD or an auto lockers can be very scary. Once I am off road or of the snow fly's I am in 4wd and 90% of the time I don't need more. I will engage the front lockers in the snow if it is heavy.

As far as gearing goes I think 4.56's would be fine in PA. You are not dealing with extreme altitudes like we do out here in the west. As others have said though 4.88's if you are thinking 37's in the future or you plan to pull a trailer.
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:49 PM   #18
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I have heard that in regards to 5.13s in a Dana 30. The pinion starts getting pretty small with those deep gear seats. I dont believe the problem presents itself with 4.88s[IMG class=inlineimg]https://www.wranglerforum.com/../images/smilies/drinks.gif[/IMG]
It's not the size of the pinion that matters. With a big pinion, you still only have a couple of teeth in contact at any given time. That doesn't change as the pinion gets smaller.
Tooth engagement actually does drop as the size of the pinion decreases. This is specifically why numerically higher ratio gear sets are weaker and more likely to break teeth.

To the OP, 4.88/4.56 and 35s will feel great. I'd go with the 4.88s for that little extra. I'd also stay away from 37s on a D30. I know people do it, but it's a fundamentally weak set-up for wheeling. People text and drive all the time and don't get in an accident - doesn't make it a good plan.
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Old 10-03-2019, 02:49 PM   #19
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Iím in PA as well I went 4.88s and love it. I donít notice the higher RPMs not even on the turnpike. I locked my rear as well with an ARB. I was worried about locking my front 30 and figured with my wheeling i probably didnít need it or I could just winch my self.

My guess is going from 3.21 to 4.56/4.88s you are gonna love it no matter what so you canít go wrong. I stressed going 4.88s and in the end I think I would even like 5.13s


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Old 10-03-2019, 08:02 PM   #20
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Iím in PA as well I went 4.88s and love it. I donít notice the higher RPMs not even on the turnpike. I locked my rear as well with an ARB. I was worried about locking my front 30 and figured with my wheeling i probably didnít need it or I could just winch my self.

My guess is going from 3.21 to 4.56/4.88s you are gonna love it no matter what so you canít go wrong. I stressed going 4.88s and in the end I think I would even like 5.13s


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There is a big deal made of the difference but the reality is its just not that much. There is this mythos about high RPMs making a Jeep a screamin' demon but it's just not valid. 3.21 to 4.56s- Big difference. But one gear up vs. the other...limited change. The wildcard is 37s- you don't want 4.56s on 37s. So the "I might go to 37" tires" idea always complicates matters. But on 35s either works.

And yep; I have 4.56s. And yep; 4.88s would've been fine.
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Old 10-03-2019, 08:33 PM   #21
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We're in Ohio. Went with 4.56 gears with front e-locker and rear trutrac with 315x70x17 Nitto Trail Grapplers. The 4.56 is nice on the freeway and work fine on the trails we run (Badlands Offroad Park in IN, Slade KY, etc.). If I were at higher elevation I would have gone with 4.88 but the 4.56 seem to be a good compromise for a vehicle that sees frequent freeway use at lower elevations.
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Old 10-04-2019, 12:40 PM
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Thanks to everyone for all the candid feedback and help!

My takeaways seem to be donít get wrapped up so much on 4.56 vs 4.88, locking either or/both and type seems to be personal opinion and donít mess with 37s until I swap the front axle to at least a 44.

Thanks again!


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Old 10-04-2019, 02:56 PM   #23
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Thanks to everyone for all the candid feedback and help!

My takeaways seem to be donít get wrapped up so much on 4.56 vs 4.88, locking either or/both and type seems to be personal opinion and donít mess with 37s until I swap the front axle to at least a 44.

Thanks again!


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Old 10-05-2019, 12:17 PM   #24
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Advice on Gearing/Locker Combinations

My preferred combination especially if you drive in snow is rear TruTrac LSD and front selectable locker.
That being said with The D30 front i would suggest a TruTrac in the front to reduce the strain. Not quite as good as a selectable locker but definitely better then an open diff..
For crappy icy roads I prefer the TruTrac LSD in the rear over open diff or locker. I would swap my rear Rubi E locker in a heartbeat for a TruTrac LSD if they made one.


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Old 10-06-2019, 08:49 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTPhoto JK View Post
My preferred combination especially if you drive in snow is rear TruTrac LSD and front selectable locker.
That being said with The D30 front i would suggest a TruTrac in the front to reduce the strain. Not quite as good as a selectable locker but definitely better then an open diff..
For crappy icy roads I prefer the TruTrac LSD in the rear over open diff or locker. I would swap my rear Rubi E locker in a heartbeat for a TruTrac LSD if they made one.


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I think the Grip Pro fits...

https://www.powertrax.com/traction-s...oupcode%3AGPRO
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2006 LJ Rubicon - Solar Yellow - Very Stock'ish - The Press Casual LJ-R build
2012 JKU Sahara - Pro Comp LED Headlights - PRS Audio mod- SWS - GraBars - Bestop Cargo Cover
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bumper - Yukon Gears - G2 Diff Covers - Pro Comp 8186 - Milestar Patagonia 35's - Teraflex BRK
- TORQ Locker - 1310 Driveshaft - PowerTrax Grip Pro - Full Core 4x4 Control Arms and Track Bars
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Old 10-06-2019, 10:31 PM   #26
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Rio Grande Valley, TX/Black Hills SD
Posts: 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by JTPhoto JK View Post
My preferred combination especially if you drive in snow is rear TruTrac LSD and front selectable locker.
That being said with The D30 front i would suggest a TruTrac in the front to reduce the strain. Not quite as good as a selectable locker but definitely better then an open diff..
For crappy icy roads I prefer the TruTrac LSD in the rear over open diff or locker. I would swap my rear Rubi E locker in a heartbeat for a TruTrac LSD if they made one.


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As others have said, going from 3.21 to either gear ratio will make a world of difference and I think you will like either one. When I was running 35s I really liked the way they paired up with the 4.88s. I just recently went up to 37s and the 4.88s work OK. However, next year when I build a D44 front end, I'll definitely regear to 5.13 or 5.38.
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Old 10-07-2019, 08:57 AM   #27
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I went with 4.56s, in preparation of going from my current 33s to 35s. At the same time, I added a TruTrac in the rear and Aussie in the front, since I couldn't really afford to go with a selectable.

This past weekend was the first time I've been able to do any wheeling other than mild sand and mud since the install, and the rocks and climbing I was able to do went really well. Some of the onlookers were really surprised at the capability, which made me feel much better about having LSDs front and rear.
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