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Old 05-07-2015, 10:12 PM
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Is trac loc needed?

All,

Been going back and forth about this and have read many forum posts about the trac-loc diff. I found a jeep that has the options I want except the trac loc differential. My question is, is it really needed? After all the jeep has stability control as well as 4 wheel drive. I don't mean to sound ignorant I'm just curious if it's worth passing on a jeep for...

Your opinions and experience are encouraged.

Thanks!

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Old 05-07-2015, 11:04 PM   #2
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Not enough information. Does the Jeep you are looking at have BLD?

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Old 05-08-2015, 12:05 AM   #3
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I would think he is looking at a new Jk or at least a Jk to be posting here so assuming he is then all JK's 07 up to present have BLD. It's part of the traction control system.

A limited slip will enhance the BLD system but is not needed. I do not have Trac Loc (limited slip) and I find my Jeep to have great traction in the winter months, but then I use 4 Hi in slippery conditions as that's what it is there for. A limited slip will however help in just 2 wheel drive in the above mentioned conditions or would be great for say pulling a boat up a slippery boat ramp, but then are Jeeps are not rated to tow much especially the 2 doors.

It couldn't hurt having Trac Loc but shouldn't be a deal breaker I was more interested in getting the optional 3.73 gears as I knew I would be going to a 33" tire.

You could always do an Eaton Truetrac clutchless limited slip down the road if you found you really needed one. Much better then the oem Trac Loc that has a clutch pack and will wear out eventually.

I actually plan on doing selectable lockers front and rear in the near future to enhance my off road capabilities as I find my on road capabilities more than adequate.
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Old 05-08-2015, 12:15 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by appman180 View Post
All,

Been going back and forth about this and have read many forum posts about the trac-loc diff. I found a jeep that has the options I want except the trac loc differential. My question is, is it really needed? After all the jeep has stability control as well as 4 wheel drive. I don't mean to sound ignorant I'm just curious if it's worth passing on a jeep for...

Your opinions and experience are encouraged.

Thanks!
It is a cheap option NOT to pass up. It really enhances the JK/JKU's overall performance in adverse weather driving and general to moderate trail use.
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:57 AM   #5
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Four wheel drive sends half the power to the front wheels and half to the back.
Each axle has bunch of gears in the middle called a differential.
Your differential is usually "open" and lets both wheels on the axle spin at different speeds.
This is a good thing for normal driving. Think about your wheels when you make a sharp right turn - the wheels on the left side of the jeep have to travel a further distance than the ones on the right.
A selectable "locker" like on the rubicon is a differential which is usually "open" but can be "locked" at the push of a button so that both wheels on the axle spin at the same speed. This is good for rock crawling when one wheel might be up on the air, because if the differential was "open" the wheel in the air would spin freely and get all the power while the wheel on the ground wouldn't get any power. On a "locked" differential, each wheel gets half the power going to the axle regardless of if it's on the ground or in the air. You would only want to use lockers at slow speeds, on low-traction surfaces.

A Limited Slip Differential (LSD) (like the "Trac Loc" branded one you're considering) is normally "open", but will start transferring power to the wheel spinning at a slower speed (the wheel on the ground) if the other wheel (in the air/on the patch of ice) starts spinning too fast. Think of it as an automatic not-quite-a-locker that is always watching/waiting and turns on only when you need it to.

If your jeep has traction control, the traction control can also sense that one wheel is spinning (because it's in the air/on the ice) and apply the brakes to just that wheel. This traction-control-based system is called Brake Lock Differential (BLD). When the brakes are applied to the spinning wheel, some of the power goes to the other wheel (the wheel on the ground) and some of the power is lost to the friction of the brake on the spinning wheel. You're basically losing power any time BLD kicks on, so it's a bit less effective than an LSD.
BLD can also work along with a LSD, but it's disabled when you "lock" the differential on a Rubicon - when "locked" both wheels spin at the same speed, so applying brakes to just one wheel would slow down both wheels and wouldn't help much.


Clear as mud? Check out this teraflex video on lockers http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PkfupUI2xj0
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Old 05-08-2015, 03:49 AM   #6
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It depends how you plan to use the Jeep. I would get LSD if I lived in snowy areas.

Traction Control slows down a wheel to help it regain traction; LSD shares 80% of the traction of one wheel with the other.

It will cost you about $1,100 (including labor) to add an aftermarket Detroit TrueTrac LSD.

I have it on my Sahara: it works seamless and is virtually indestructible.



Good luck,

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Old 05-08-2015, 03:51 AM   #7
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I was really bummed out when I decided not to put out the extra money for lsd or lockers when I regeared. But I could barely afford the gear swap already. Once I learned about the BLD system though I don't feel so bad about it anymore. It should be sufficient enough for my needs
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by appman180 View Post
All, Been going back and forth about this and have read many forum posts about the trac-loc diff. I found a jeep that has the options I want except the trac loc differential. My question is, is it really needed? After all the jeep has stability control as well as 4 wheel drive. I don't mean to sound ignorant I'm just curious if it's worth passing on a jeep for... Your opinions and experience are encouraged. Thanks!
I personally wouldn't get a non rubicon model without LSD. Get it you'll be happy.
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:50 AM   #9
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I personally wouldn't get a non rubicon model without LSD. Get it you'll be happy.
I learned that lesson the hard way, the time I got stuck with my YJ. Pretty embarrassing to get stuck in a Jeep.

I got the LSD on my XJ. My current JK, is a Rubicon, and has the better option of locking differentials.
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Old 05-08-2015, 07:11 AM   #10
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If that's "the" JK you want don't pass on it just because it doesn't have a limited slip rear. Trac-lok is a nice option to have and if I didn't get a Rubicon I would have ordered it on another JK. You can always add it aftermarket like was previously indicated. However, even though I have a Rubicon and being in situations where I didn't have to use the lockers I never said to myself, damm how come I didn't get a JK with limited slip.
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Old 05-08-2015, 07:23 AM   #11
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I learned that lesson the hard way, the time I got stuck with my YJ. Pretty embarrassing to get stuck in a Jeep. I got the LSD on my XJ. My current JK, is a Rubicon, and has the better option of locking differentials.
Haha you and I had the same problem. I got stuck in my YJ and my buddy had to pull me out in his TJ. This is my first Rubicon so not like I had a choice, but the lockers work pretty well on their own
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Old 05-08-2015, 08:36 AM   #12
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OP, my two cents follow:

Trac-lok is not necessarily needed; however, if you are a moderate to an aggressive driver, especially in inclement weather (rain, snow, slush, ice, etc...) then I would highly recommend it. Long & short, it protects you from losing total control of your vehicle when you squeeze the loud pedal too abruptly when executing a tight radius turn, etc...

I have it on two of my other three cars and I know & appreciate that it's there. My other car does not have it and I know that I have to be most judicious with the loud pedal when I accelerate briskly from a stop - start.

My 2010 JK did not have it and I regretted not having it! I actually moderated my driving habits/skill sets when I drove my former JK w/o trac-lok, when driving in inclement weather.

You will note, I ordered it on my new "ordered" JK. It's money very well spent.

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Old 05-08-2015, 09:17 AM   #13
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Tell the dealer you don't really want want it, I did and he took half the price off it. Only a $400 factory add anyway. I am glad I ended up getting mine tho. Doesn't hurt to have it.
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:08 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ak4marsx View Post
Four wheel drive sends half the power to the front wheels and half to the back.
Each axle has bunch of gears in the middle called a differential.
Your differential is usually "open" and lets both wheels on the axle spin at different speeds.
This is a good thing for normal driving. Think about your wheels when you make a sharp right turn - the wheels on the left side of the jeep have to travel a further distance than the ones on the right.
A selectable "locker" like on the rubicon is a differential which is usually "open" but can be "locked" at the push of a button so that both wheels on the axle spin at the same speed. This is good for rock crawling when one wheel might be up on the air, because if the differential was "open" the wheel in the air would spin freely and get all the power while the wheel on the ground wouldn't get any power. On a "locked" differential, each wheel gets half the power going to the axle regardless of if it's on the ground or in the air. You would only want to use lockers at slow speeds, on low-traction surfaces.

A Limited Slip Differential (LSD) (like the "Trac Loc" branded one you're considering) is normally "open", but will start transferring power to the wheel spinning at a slower speed (the wheel on the ground) if the other wheel (in the air/on the patch of ice) starts spinning too fast. Think of it as an automatic not-quite-a-locker that is always watching/waiting and turns on only when you need it to.

If your jeep has traction control, the traction control can also sense that one wheel is spinning (because it's in the air/on the ice) and apply the brakes to just that wheel. This traction-control-based system is called Brake Lock Differential (BLD). When the brakes are applied to the spinning wheel, some of the power goes to the other wheel (the wheel on the ground) and some of the power is lost to the friction of the brake on the spinning wheel. You're basically losing power any time BLD kicks on, so it's a bit less effective than an LSD.
BLD can also work along with a LSD, but it's disabled when you "lock" the differential on a Rubicon - when "locked" both wheels spin at the same speed, so applying brakes to just one wheel would slow down both wheels and wouldn't help much.


Clear as mud? Check out this teraflex video on lockers http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PkfupUI2xj0
This is a great explanation- thanks!
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Old 05-08-2015, 12:19 PM   #15
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I ordered mine without it

Only you can decide if TracLoc is needed for you- I ordered my Jeep without it. I only have the Brake Lock Differential (BLD AKA computer Traction Control)

I must admit that I have been impressed by how well the BLD works in snow. The Jeep will NOT get sideways or do a donut with the BLD engaged. It simply won't do it. Even when I REALLY try! Even in 2WD if I accelerate hard in the snow, you can feel it working as it shifts power side to side.

My jeep is for pavement and surf fishing. Maybe a fire road. But no mudding or rock climbing. I spent the money on other things and don't regret it.

I'm not a believer that all jeeps must have it. But it is a cheap option, so if it makes you feel better to have it, you should get it.
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Old 05-08-2015, 12:49 PM   #16
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If I could have ordered my '14 JKUR with a LSD rear axle, I would have. The Rubicon has so many features I appreciate and I wouldn't give it up for anyone, but I owned and drag raced Mustangs for many years and miss having both rear wheels pulling. I love my Wrangler but would enjoy having both rear tires digging in on slippery roads and loose or powdery grades. With both tires digging in, the vehicle isn't as prone to drifting sideways either. LSD is always working and I didn't have to shift anything to get two wheels pulling in my Mustangs.
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Old 05-08-2015, 12:59 PM   #17
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My $.02 is that trac lock is pretty good and cheap enough. The only downsides are that it will wear out and needs a friction modifier additive. Me and my buddy were discussing this because his sport does not have trac lock and my Sahara does. So discussion turned into a bet and the bet turned into a race in 2wd, off road in deep snow . Long story short - I won and he got stuck. Not entirely scientific but the trac lock definitely made it easer for me to keep momentum and keep going in the snow.
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Old 05-08-2015, 01:44 PM   #18
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Watch this Vid, it has an interesting section of traction control on vs trac-lok.
I think you can extrapolate the TC on as being similar to what would happen if there was no trac-lok and using BLD.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCKvGxjoXjQ
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:30 PM   #19
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I'm gonna toss my hat in the other direction on this.

I say no to LSD for street / bad weather use. Why?

In snow with open differentials, when one wheel breaks loose the other wheel stops spinning. This provides some resistance to drifting / fish tailing / sliding sideways on a crowned road. What happen is you lose forward momentum but the Jeep stays in a straight line.

With LSD you'll break both tires loose and the vehicle will be more likely to slide sideways.

I've seen it off-roading in the mountains in snow. Driving on a side sloping trail, the vehicle ahead of me (Detroit Lockers) kept fishtailing and getting sideways on the trail. It got so bad that he had to winch himself back onto the trail. I followed in my open diff rig and, while I broke loose from time to time, my vehicle stayed straight. No winching required.
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Old 05-08-2015, 04:58 PM   #20
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It depends how you plan to use the Jeep. I would get LSD if I lived in snowy areas.

Traction Control slows down a wheel to help it regain traction; LSD shares 80% of the traction of one wheel with the other.

It will cost you about $1,100 (including labor) to add an aftermarket Detroit TrueTrac LSD.

I have it on my Sahara: it works seamless and is virtually indestructible.



Good luck,

Aldo
I guess it depends on your location. I put TT's in front and rear. My rear cost $750 installed. I live in SE MI.
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:24 PM   #21
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I'm gonna toss my hat in the other direction on this.

I say no to LSD for street / bad weather use. Why?

In snow with open differentials, when one wheel breaks loose the other wheel stops spinning. This provides some resistance to drifting / fish tailing / sliding sideways on a crowned road. What happen is you lose forward momentum but the Jeep stays in a straight line.

With LSD you'll break both tires loose and the vehicle will be more likely to slide sideways.

I've seen it off-roading in the mountains in snow. Driving on a side sloping trail, the vehicle ahead of me (Detroit Lockers) kept fishtailing and getting sideways on the trail. It got so bad that he had to winch himself back onto
the trail. I followed in my open diff rig and, while I broke loose from time to time, my vehicle stayed straight. No winching required.
You do know that a LSD (limited slip differential) is NOT a locker and works completely different. Your above situation is talking about a locker, NOT a LSD.
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:42 PM   #22
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I'm gonna toss my hat in the other direction on this. I say no to LSD for street / bad weather use. Why? In snow with open differentials, when one wheel breaks loose the other wheel stops spinning. This provides some resistance to drifting / fish tailing / sliding sideways on a crowned road. What happen is you lose forward momentum but the Jeep stays in a straight line. With LSD you'll break both tires loose and the vehicle will be more likely to slide sideways. I've seen it off-roading in the mountains in snow. Driving on a side sloping trail, the vehicle ahead of me (Detroit Lockers) kept fishtailing and getting sideways on the trail. It got so bad that he had to winch himself back onto the trail. I followed in my open diff rig and, while I broke loose from time to time, my vehicle stayed straight. No winching required.
The traction control system makes this downside to LSD a nonissue.

Many times I turn the traction control off (or as off as I can...) because I like being able to tap the gas and get that nice, predictable little shift in the back. With it on, though, it locks things down as soon as you start to get out of line.
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Old 05-08-2015, 08:10 PM   #23
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When I bought my Jeep Tra Loc wasn't an option because I picked a base model. I ran it like that for the first year and got by with it. Then I had Detroit Truetracs installed front and back and the difference is night and day. So much more traction when needed.

I would highly recommend getting it or having it added.
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Old 05-08-2015, 08:40 PM   #24
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You do know that a LSD (limited slip differential) is NOT a locker and works completely different. Your above situation is talking about a locker, NOT a LSD.
No, n1as is absolutely right. I've been in those situations myself. A LS is a very nice option, but it is not perfect and can cause some problems in the right situation. In very low traction areas like snow on pavement, both rear tires break loose with LS and you slip sideways. An open diff spins one wheel and the car stays straight even if it can't go forward. On a dirt side hill the same thing can happen. I'd still take a LS over an open diif. though.

There may be times when the BLD is a bit better, but I've always liked LS and there are very few times it has caused a problem.
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Old 05-08-2015, 09:34 PM   #25
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No, n1as is absolutely right. I've been in those situations myself. A LS is a very nice option, but it is not perfect and can cause some problems in the right situation. In very low traction areas like snow on pavement, both rear tires break loose with LS and you slip sideways. An open diff spins one wheel and the car stays straight even if it can't go forward. On a dirt side hill the same thing can happen
That is not the situation n1as is describing. He is insinuating in his story that a Detroit locker performs just like a LSD. He is NOT correct in this insinuating. Might there be some slipping sideways in some rare and extreme situations, maybe, but it is NOTHING like would be experienced with a locker given the same situation.

I run LSDs on both our Jeeps and wheel them all over the SouthWest in all seasons and have never had any handling issues related to the LSD. The TC/BLD is designed to mitigate and correct for slipping/sliding which includes any that the LSD might induce unless the system is turned "off". Be it on wet, snow/ice covered mountain roads, slick muddy rocky trails or sandy dessert washes the LSDs have only added to the factory TC/BLD performance.
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Old 05-09-2015, 12:15 AM   #26
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That is not the situation n1as is describing. He is insinuating in his story that a Detroit locker performs just like a LSD.
Actually, that is exactly the situation I'm describing. It doesn't matter whether it is LSD or locker, any device that causes both tires on one axle to break traction at the same time will contribute to sideways drift. What matters is that you have both tires spinning (broken traction) not how they got that way. It is easier to achieve with a locker but an LSD will do it as well.

This is one of the huge benefits of the selectable lockers. Turn them off when you don't want to get sideways, turn them on when you need the go-ahead traction. Best of both worlds.

Quote:
The TC/BLD is designed to mitigate and correct for slipping/sliding which includes any that the LSD might induce unless the system is turned "off". Be it on wet, snow/ice covered mountain roads, slick muddy rocky trails or sandy dessert washes the LSDs have only added to the factory TC/BLD performance.
It may be true that TC/BLD may counter the issue by applying the brakes. Hmm, seems to me applying the brakes might undo some of the benefit of LSD however.
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Old 05-09-2015, 12:44 AM   #27
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Actually, that is exactly the situation I'm describing. It doesn't matter whether it is LSD or locker, any device that causes both tires on one axle to break traction at the same time will contribute to sideways drift. What matters is that you have both tires spinning (broken traction) not how they got that way. It is easier to achieve with a locker but an LSD will do it as well.

This is one of the huge benefits of the selectable lockers. Turn them off when you don't want to get sideways, turn them on when you need the go-ahead traction. Best of both worlds.



It may be true that TC/BLD may counter the issue by applying the brakes. Hmm, seems to me applying the brakes might undo some of the benefit of LSD however.
It is pretty clear you have very little real world "behind the wheel" experience with the performance of LSD working in conjunction with the TC/BLD as it comes equipped on the JK/U from the factory.

It is not the end all be all and I would never say it is, but it is a combination that works extremely well for the vast majority of road and trail use. To say in some extreme 1% situation it "may" do this or that is laughable as the positives of the LSD out weigh the 1% situation.
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Old 05-09-2015, 04:49 AM   #28
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It comes down to what you planning doing with your jeep. If you are not going to go off road with it--spend most of your time on the highway then maybe not. The LSD is a cheap option but there is also an expense--the LSD will cost you some gas mileage--maybe up to 1/2 MPG on the highway. Also the differential requires the use of a "friction modifier" that must be added to the gear oil when you change you differential oil. That being said if I did not have a Rubicon there is no way I would buy a jeep with out a LSD especially considering how cheap it is from the factory.
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Old 05-09-2015, 09:12 AM
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Thanks for all of the info. You all make some valid points. I think I'll hold out to find a. Jeep with the LSD.
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Old 05-09-2015, 10:36 AM   #30
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Actually, that is exactly the situation I'm describing. It doesn't matter whether it is LSD or locker, any device that causes both tires on one axle to break traction at the same time will contribute to sideways drift. What matters is that you have both tires spinning (broken traction) not how they got that way. It is easier to achieve with a locker but an LSD will do it as well.
Exactly. Been there many times. This isn't rocket science.
It really shows up on snow covered highways in the mountains, where I spend a lot of time. Riding along in 2wd as the road changes from wet to frozen. Then the rear spins and with LS both wheels spin, so the rig slides sideways instead of just spinning one tire and continuing straight, like an open diff would. It's no big deal on the highway if you're paying attention because it's time to shift to 4WD, but it does reduce your stability right at that transition. It can also get you sideways on trails where the rear has a LS and the front doesn't. LS will definitely get you farther in, but you have to know how to use it and what to expect. They all have different character too, so the gear systems act different than the clutch pack systems.

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