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Differential lock opinion...
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GreggK
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:02 pm    Post subject: Differential lock opinion... Reply with quote

Hello, Im thinking of buying my first syncro. It does not have the differential lock option. What exactaly are the benifets of the lock over not having it? Do you need an entire new trans to have the lock? I live in Colorado and have been getting around in the snow, very carefully, in my 2wd vanagons for 10 years now but it time for 4x4. Id like to hear any opinions. Thanks
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D Clymer
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Non-locker Syncros are good snow vehicles. They just don't work that well in hard core off road situations. You do need a different transmission in order to retrofit the locker since the mount for the actuator is not there on the non-locker trannies. If you are just looking for a better snow Vanagon, a non-locker Syncro is an excellent choice. But they are certainly less desirable at resale time than a locker model, so make sure you don't pay top dollar.

D
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fairweather
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use mine in snow and sand, go as far as I can/want then use the locker or at least knowing I have the locker to help get me back out.

Recently did alot of miles in deep sand and was very glad to have it when I got stuck, sometimes all you have to do to get unstuck is pull the knob. Same thing happened in snow last year, trying to bust through a snow bank, get stuck, pull knob, back out, repeat.

If you know your will use your van in these situations I would wait.
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itsasyncro
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine was a non locker when I bought it.
Cost about $3000 to make it a rear locker.
With a used trans, traded my nonlocker as a core.
Since added front locker.
It was(is) a great Syncro worthy of the upgrade( one
of many).
Console and all of the other parts needed are becoming
Difficult to locate.
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candyman
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have had my syncro westy for 10 years now. I use it in all kinds of conditions thay western montana can throw at you, which are some of the most extreme! Anyways, ive used my locker maybe 6 times, only needed it maybe 3 times. If you have been fine for the last 10 years with 2wd, just having the the advantage of syncro may be enough. If not, you could always add a locker $$ later Wink
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Jon_slider
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adding a Locker is a $1000 case upgrade, plus rebuild costs, plus you need to add the locker Dash controls and plumbing, about $500, plus the cost and down time to remove, ship, rebuild, ship, reinstall, the new tranny, and the cost of installing the locker plumbing and controlls..

I would not buy a non locker Syncro.. it is only marginally better than 2wd, not even close to a Syncro with a Locker offroad.. not even close, really!

Syncros with Lockers go places you will not be able to go unlocked, and you would be considered a liability to a group of locker equipped Syncros on trail rides..

yes, I feel that strongly about it...
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's just to get around in the snow, you'll be highly capable in the Syncro. If it's serious trail work you're planning then a locker would be a big benefit.

So let us know as these are two different directions I'd take a recommendation, based on YOUR intended use.

IMHO, for getting around in serious snow and ice, I'd prefer a nonlocked Syncro with dedicated winter tires - far more capable - over a locked Syncro on excellent all around tires.

DougM
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whynotvw
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i bought my syncro without locker and when my tranny needed a rebuild, Rancho Trans. charged extra $500-$700 to add the locker plus the rebuild cost. I then had to spend another $250 for all the dash controls.

If the syncro your buying needs a trans rebuild down the line then you could always add it later. If its been rebuilt already then its a lot of work to add it.

good luck
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gears
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jon_slider wrote:

I would not buy a non locker Syncro.. it is only marginally better than 2wd, not even close to a Syncro with a Locker offroad.. not even close, really!

Syncros with Lockers go places you will not be able to go unlocked, and you would be considered a liability to a group of locker equipped Syncros on trail rides..

yes, I feel that strongly about it...


but Jon, that's because you're now a rock hound, not a snow dog ;>)
I doubt Gregg would need a locker in the snow. Maybe if he somehow got stuck .. but that's rare with good snow tires (and there's always the hand-brake traction assist).
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SyncroGhia
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A cheaper option would be to have an LSD fitted.

That'll get you out of most situations for a lot less than a difflock.

It will work offroading too but you need to spin the wheels more to get it to cut in and supply power to the other wheel.

MG
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RGS Paul
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the rest of the van is really clean and the price is right, go for it. It isn't too hard to retrofit, just kind of expensive. And you will be able to enjoy your van in the meantime.

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FNGRUVN
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought me and the wife were going to have to spend the night on some lonely, snow-cover forest service road one time because I put the right rear tire slightly off the road. A locker would have gotten us out really easy.

I wouldn't pass on the van just because it doesn't have a locker, though. Just keep the cost of adding one later in mind when negotiating the price with the seller.
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insyncro
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not in agreement that a non locking Syncro will suffer offroad.
The driver is in control or out of control and the resulting situation is not the equipments fault Exclamation

I have been selling locker plumbing kits for years, no longer though.
I have all the parts and yes the prices are going through the roof.
I used to sell the bare locker panels for $175.....than $475 and they sold even faster.

I also have ever single piece that makes up the entire interior and exterior system brand new.
I will entertain offers to have all the parts reverse engineered/reproduced.
It has to be worth it on my end.....I'm not selling these parts, don't ask Exclamation


Not difficult at all to add the exterior components.
The wiring is already there.
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Dimitrios
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SyncroGhia wrote:
A cheaper option would be to have an LSD fitted.

That'll get you out of most situations for a lot less than a difflock.

It will work offroading too but you need to spin the wheels more to get it to cut in and supply power to the other wheel.

MG


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Jon_slider
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

> What exactaly are the benifets of the lock over not having it?

the lock benefit is for offroad, in situations where unlocked is crating wheel spin, such as when climbing up terrain that has holes under one of your wheels.

lets step through the options

2wd... if one wheel slips, with no locker and no LSD, no power goes to the other wheel on same axle.. so essentially 2wd is One wheel drive on slippery surfaces.

Syncro with Viscous Coupling and no lockers.. if one rear wheel slips, the VC will send power to the front wheels.. if one front wheels slips, while one rear wheel slips.. no power goes to the other wheels.. essentially a syncro without lockers is One wheel drive in the rear, and One wheel drive in the front, on slippery surfaces.

Syncro with Viscous Coupling and rear locker.. with the rear locked, if one rear wheel slips, the other one keeps turning.. true TWO wheel drive, on the rear axle.. and if the rear wheels slip and spin, power goes to the front wheels through the Viscous Coupling.. essentially then, a Syncro with a rear locker can have 3 wheels pulling.

Syncro with Viscous Coupling and front and rear lockers.. with both front and rear locked, both back wheels will push the van, even if one slips.. If the rear slips, the front engages, and if its locked, Both front wheels will pull.. essentially 2wd in the rear, plus 2wd in the front, though the VC does not transfer equal power to the front.. And in my opinion the VC does not transfer significant power to the front until the rear wheels spin. That is why a Syncro with a Viscous Coupling runs tail low in sand, and a Syncro with Solid Shaft, runs level in sand.

Syncro with Solid Shaft, and front and rear lockers.. with both front and rear locked, both back, and both front wheels will put power to the ground.. TRUE 4 wheel drive on slippery surfaces. But you need a Decoupler with a Solid Shaft, and you give up the AWD feature of the Viscous Coupling. On pavement, decoupled, the van is the same as a 2wd Van..

Adding a rear locker is easily a $1500 proposition. Adding a Decoupler and Solid shaft is also easily $1500, and adding a Front Locker is easily another $1500.

About LSD.. Limited Slip Differential.. Vanagons have access to a device that is actually a TBD, Torque Biasing differential. Cost about $1250, PLUS removing the tranny, opening it up, then reinstalling the tranny.. PLUS the cost of the control knobs.. another $250 from Go Westy..

edit: thanks to Alaric, below for catching the fact that LSD/TBD does not need a control knob.. and thanks to syncrodoka, also below, for pointing out that you can also have Locking LSD/TBD.. for which you DO need a knob on the dash. And you can have LSD/TBD, OR Locking LSD/TBD in your front differential also.

The 2wd Vans I have gone camping with perform FANTASTICALLY in dirt with LSD/TBD.. When one wheel begins to slip, power is transferred to the opposite wheel on the same axle, automatically.. I agree this is a GREAT upgrade for a 2WD van..

But a Locker is superior to LSD/TBD offroad, because LSD/TBD power transfer does not happen if there is NO traction under the spinning wheel, such as when it is in the air. OTOH, LSD/TBD is better on pavement and snow covered pavement, than a locker.

I agree a Syncro with no Locker is fine on snow covered pavement.. But the OP already posted that 2wd works fine for them in snow too.

these are my personal opinions, and biases, based on using my van off pavement..

I agree a non locker syncro will do fine on snow covered pavement, and that the tires are the biggest factor in getting through snow. Tires like the Nokian, with lots of sipes, are far superior in snow, to the BFGoodrich AT KO, that many people use on Syncros.


Last edited by Jon_slider on Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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GreggK
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow lots of info. Im going to re-read all that again and again untill I "think" I understand,and then ask more questions. I mentioned the snow but i think over all I will be thinking sand and dirt, but nothing too extreme. Well to start any way. Thanks alot to you all. Im sure Ill be back.GreggK
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kurt vonnagon
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

save your money go off roading with a friend have them push. no lockers in my syncro i saved money by bringing chains, come along and a chainsaw
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Alaric.H
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

About LSD.. Limited Slip Differential.. Vanagons have access to a device that is actually a TBD, Torque Biasing differential. Cost about $1250, PLUS removing the tranny, opening it up, then reinstalling the tranny.. PLUS the cost of the control knobs.. another $250 from Go Westy..

Why do you need control knobs on Torque Biasing differential?
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a locker version of them
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silversyncro
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue, in my opinion, is not the 4wd system, but basically the result of the syncro's limited (sorta lame) suspension capability. Keeping the rubber on the road can be a real issue in the right circumstances.

If you ever plan on taking your syncro off flat pavement or improved forest service roads...you'll want at least a rear locker.
It just doesn't take much at all, to get a wheel (or two) off the ground in these vans.

I've owned 4x4's all my life...none with lockers...and have never had problems going just about anywhere. I'm not a rock crawler, or someone who spends time in 4x4 parks, just a back-country traveler. That said, with-out lockers, I would have been stuck hundreds of times in the syncro, even with my decoupler & straight shaft.
All it takes is the right combo of pot holes or dips or rocks or whatever...add to that a little mud, sand, or snow, & you'll have at least one wheel spinning (like Jon explained) & yer stuck.

Spinning your wheels in the BC is also a great way to break a cv joint or snap an axle. Controlled, thoughtful use of a locker can help prevent this problem as well (read...learn to recognize the terrain & lock up BEFORE yer stuck or spinning)
Just as important however is to remember to unlock as soon as you can as driving around locked up will creat a whole host of other issues.

It may seem like a lot of money up front, but just wait, it'll seem like peanuts compared to all the other crap you'll blow your wad on, & it's a lot of bang for your buck when you really need it.
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