A mini spool replaces the spider gears and side gears in the differential. It is then pinned and locks the axles. A full spool replaces the carrier, which the ring gear mounts to, in the differential. It also locks the axles.
With all other forms of mechanical locking differentials there is some release or slop that exists. ARB's, Eaton's, Ox etc you engage/disengage by switch or cable to allow normal operation. Lock rites, detroit, LSD etc. all still allow for some differing speeds for axle shaft rotation if there is no torque applied to it I.E. turning a corner. With a spool your axles are locked intogether 100% of the time. They are not very advantageous to have if you are putting many street miles put on your rig.
In my experience with street driving the cheap mans spool (welded spiders) the on road characteristics were easily controllable. It wasn't hard to turn, it wasn't hurky jerky like people make it out to be. I drove mine for a year that way everywhere I went. But I didn't pay for the tires I had so I didn't mind it much
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