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4 Wheel Drive Alternatives?

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DownBy TheRiver

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4 Wheel Drive Alternatives?
« on: January 27, 2010, 04:14:25 pm »

Hi “Titsi”, All –

Although an RV “wannabe”, I’ve been an experienced tent camper otherwise.  I have often been witness to camping situations where the lack of adequate vehicular traction have presented problems for RV’ers, whether as towed units or in motorhomes, due to slick and wet grass or mud, or gravel on sloped terrain.  While such problematic situations have provided great entertainment for my friends and me over a rainy beer breakfast on Sunday mornings at the campground, it’s not so funny for those poor folks just trying to pull out and hit the road.

Thus, I’ve often wondered for myself in my PC future, whether or not the ordinary “open differential” setup provided me in any regular chassis is sufficient enough for my needs.  Like “Titsi”, I would contemplate that a lot of my PC usage would likely encompass siting situations predicated upon “unimproved areas”, as opposed to a nice level pad, or where adequately “improved” sites are the norm.

So have any of you folks perceived or experienced the need for additional traction in your travels, particularly on “unimproved” sites?  The only forethought in this regard from Ford is that they offer a limited-slip differential on the E chassis with a 4.10 differential, either as an E-350 or E-450 chassis – and ONLY as a diesel chassis – and ONLY with ambulance prep.

Thus, I know that a Ford limited slip diff with 4.10 gearing exists and could be retrofitted to any E-350 gas, or E-350 or E-450 diesel chassis, however what about any locking differentials available?  Anyone know?

Toyota (still?) used to offer a pickup call the “Pre-Runner”.  Theoretically, such a truck had additional ground clearance and related off-road chassis attributes, yet only had a locking rear diff in place of full 4 wheel drive.  As described, such trucks were entirely useful enough in scouting out a Baja racecourse, thus the “PRE-Runner” designation.  Truck magazine scribes would point out that simply having a locking rear diff was more than half the battle in conquering most off-road situations at a much greatly reduced cost and mechanical complexity.  I myself was once the owner of a 1968 Checker sedan (whose chassis underpinnings were mostly Chevy truck) that was equipped with a vacuum-actuated, manually-locking rear diff, whose performance in snow was astounding.

Summing up, have any of you regretted not having more traction?  Anyone familiar with the availability and cost of limited slip and/or locking differentials for Ford Truck chassis products?