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  1. #1

    Default Standard 2wd - Should I upgrade to LSD, Posi, Locker?

    Ok, hear me out first before you go posting about limited slip differentials and such.

    I have an '03 Silverado 2500HD that is 2wd and does not have the G80 posi-traction limited slip differential. I live in Utah where winters can be down right brutal some times. I am wondering if installing an aftermarket LSD, posi, or even a locker would be beneficial. I don't go "off-roading" or anything like that (I would have bought a 4wd for that). I just want control when I am going down the highway in a snow storm. Occasionally I will pull a 6-7,000 lb travel trailer with my truck. So I don't what something that will burn up. My father is a mechanic and has been for over 40 years and he tells me of people who come into his shop and want the G80 removed from their truck because it keeps burning up. I have looked at other Eaton and American Axle differentials, but they all seem to be the same with exception to the electronic or air lockers where they are manual. I have a friend who says that the automatic engagement and disengagement of the LSD is somewhat frightening when it kicks in going down the highway. You are never sure when it going to engage/disengage and when it is not.

    Is it worth it? Thanks in advance.

    2003 Bi-Fuel 2500HD CNG/Gasoline (equivalent 40 MPG)
    2003 Bi-Fuel Cavalier CNG/Gasoline (equivalent 90 MPG)
    2011 Traverse

  2. #2
    Sr. Engineer
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Manitowoc, WI


    If your friend has the factory g80 locker engaging when he's going down the highway there's something wrong, they're not supposed to engage over 25mph.. The only time I notice it engaging is when I'm turning a corner in the snow or rain and accelerating, like off of a stop light or stop sign and the back end will try to kick out. If you're having problems getting moving in winter, it'll help. Its still not going to be anything like 4wd, but better than nothing.

  3. #3


    I am wondering if installing an aftermarket LSD, posi, or even a locker would be beneficial. I don't go "off-roading" or anything like that (I would have bought a 4wd for that). I just want control when I am going down the highway in a snow storm.
    In my opinion, you get very little benefit for the expense in terms of "routine" snow driving like you're describing. In fact, in terms of "control" I think you have better control with an open diff. Two reasons:

    1) Understeer. With any "traction" differential, you get some increased understeer. It is particular bad with non-selectable lockers (those are the ones that "kick in" on the highway like you described). I've locked my ARB a few times in the snow and scared myself with how bad the understeer was. With a locker, the physics at each wheel has to decide what will slip first when turning -- the inside rear wheel, or the front wheels. If all 4 wheels have equal traction, then they will all slip equally causing your turns to be much less responsive. A decent limited slip (like a clutch type or geared type limited slip), isn't as bad as a locker.

    2) Fish tailing and "kick out". Because lockers and limited slips don't want to let one rear wheel spin without the other, you increase the chance of fishtailing and, worse, having the rear end "kick out" on corners. As before, this will be most noticeable with lockers rather than limited slips. With an open diff, one wheel can spin, while the other doesn't. The non-spinning wheel actually has better traction which helps the rear end track straight. When both wheels spin, then the back end will go the direction of least resistance, which might be sideways.

    Another thing to remember is that aftermarket differentials like we're talking about only help in the "go" department -- they make no difference in terms of stopping power. Think of those "close calls" you've had when driving in the snow and, if your experience is like mine, most of them are related to not being able to stop or not being able to turn. Rebuilding the differential doesn't help in those situations. Rebuilding the diff will only help in those situations where you are accelerating and one wheel has significantly better traction than the other.

    For routine snow driving, I would suggest you spend your money on good snow tires (probably with studs), maybe a set of chains, rather than rebuilding the differential. Good tires not only help with traction for going, but also improve stopping and steering traction, which is what improves your control.

    My 2 cents worth.
    '98 K1500 Suburban LS 5.7 L 4L60E NV246 ARB
    '92 Ford Explorer XLT 4x4 4.0 L A4LD BW13-54 Trac-loc rear
    "My toys were the greasy cogs and springs and pistons that lay around all over the place, and these, I can promise you, were far more fun to play with than most of the plastic rubbish children are given nowadays." Danny in Roald Dahl's Danny The Champion of the World

  4. #4


    ARB makes a air-locker for your 2500. I like the air-lockers because its the best of both worlds with just the touch of a button.

    2005 Chevy Silverado Z71 Crew Cab
    6" Skyjacker lift w/Edlebrock dual front remote resoviour shocks, single rear remote. Rancho skid-plate.
    17" x 9" M/T Classic Lock Wheels, 35" BFG A/T or M/T tires
    4.10 PercisionGears w/factory locker, T/A Performance rear-end cover
    Banks CAI intake, ported throttlebody, JBA coated headers, over-sized Magnaflow cats, Magnaflow cat back exhaust, Diablo tuned
    B&M aluminum deep transmission pan
    Warn brush guard w/Warn 9.5 XP winch, PIAA bulbs, Line-X bedliner, AWS Black tool chest, Extang tonneau cover
    Weather Tech floor mats
    Cover-Craft seat covers
    Dash mat cover
    Formula One window tint
    One black Lab in rear seat.

  5. #5


    Thank you all for the info. This is very helpful.

  6. #6
    Sr. Engineer
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Indianapolis, In


    MrShorty gives realy good advice and valid comparisons. If you're already moving, an open differential is the way to go for control for the reasons MrShorty has stated. I would add this to the pros of open diffs. ... If you are putting much power to the ground to maintain speed and you come acoss a slick spot such as drifting snow, iced bridges, shaded spots, etc. then the chances of both wheels spinning with a posi trac or locker are great and you will loose directional stability. Drift a little and then hit dry pavement and suddenly you're shooting for the ditch at the precise angle of that drift.
    These are the resaons I like the G80 locker. Yea, it may be a little clunky but it will get you going and then give you back the control of the open diff.
    2000 GMC YUKON SLT, 5.3L tow pkg, G80 rear/w 3.73 gear

  7. #7


    My one regret with my truck is that I did not get the 4x4. But at the time I thought about the price and what not, but now I want to go off roading. I guess I could always just buy an older truck with 4x4 and take that out, this way I won't ruin my daily driver.
    Dave V. -- Riverside, California
    Owner of --
    2008 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4.8Liter V8 engine 2WD w/Kenwood Double DIN CD/DVD Player
    1971 Chevrolet Chevelle 350ci V8 engine with 500+ horsepower (Still Under Construction)

  8. #8


    get a late 80s k1500. cheap and they have the 350 so got lots of room to grow power.

    as far as the OP, a buddy of mine has a detroit tru trac in his truck, he has good luck with it (works like the G80)

    cheapest solution is to get a good set of snow tires and do some rear end weighting to get the power to the ground without slipping. 200 lbs made a world of diff in my half ton.


    2011 GMC Sierra SLE 5.3 Z71 4X4 Stealth Gray Metallic / 2004 Chevy Impala LS 3.8 Cappuccino

    Tow mirrors - Diablew Tuned - Flowmaster Regular 40 - Ready Lift 2.5' lift - BFG LT A/T K/Os - Carr Light Wing - TruckLite LED lights - Optima Red Top - 50% Front Window Tint - Line-X bedliner - Airaid MIT - Tekonsha P2 - ARS Billet Grill - Fia custom fit seat covers

  9. #9


    I have a good set of tires on it now. I think for $50 - $100 bucks I can get a good set of chains. I think with chains it is a little a Murphy's Law. If I don't have them - I will need them. If I have them - I won't need them. I better get them.

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