You may have heard I like differentials...no? Well I do! Anyway I was having a chat with a fellow Land Cruiser nerd this morning and he was telling me about his new Power Wagon 4 wheel camper. He mentioned something I did not know about the Power Wagon and now I’m kinda geeking out on it: The locker in the back, it turns out, is really neat.
This is a Tracrite GL, but not the cooler GTL in the Power Wagon. True to AAM form there is zero information and zero good pictures of any of the products I happen to be actually looking for. They are either intentionally cagey or the absolute worst marketers in the world.
Here is the best version of this diff I could find and then I cleaned it up a little.
Anyway, if you know diffs you probably know you are looking at a helical or Torsen type diff, which is an LSD...and a really good one.
“But an LSD isn’t a locker HHFP and the Power Wagon has a locker dum dum.”
Well...yeah...hurtful but true. Thats the difference between the GL (top) and the GTL (bellow). The GTL takes a the standard Torsen and adds an electromagnet and pins that allow for true locking. Im only guessing here, but what I would assume is that its a ball ramp mechanism. i.e. the current is applied to the magnet, which stops a plate from rotating freely with the carrier and thus forces ball bearings up a ramp and forcing a top plate, or pins up and into the side gear, locking it to the carrier and thus bypassing the differential gears.
At least thats how I think it works. It could lock the side gear without ball ramps which would be ideal since ball ramps require rotation to apply their force. Thus the diff isn’t locked until you move forwards and it temporarily unlocks if you change directions as the balls ramp down and then back up in the opposite direction.
Anyway, I think it’s really neat. It gives you the total control of a Torsen diff in 2wd and 4hi which aids traction everywhere up to a total wheel lift, and then lock the sucker in 4lo in the event you plan to lift a wheel. Plus because it’s electric (boogy woogy woogy) it doesn’t require an internal or external solenoid or air lines. I wish my lockers were also Torsen’s...but Im a choosy begger so...
As a bonus it works and is available aftermarket, for ANY AAM 11.5 or 10.5 rear differential, and actually 9.25 front diffs. This means Chevy too, in fact the 9.25 fits the front IFS diffs in some chevy trucks and because all you need is 12v you can just pop it in and go.
The downside is that I hear they can be very slow to engage or disengage but I feel like people who complain about that have either never used electrically switched lockers before or are just habitual complainers.