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Traction aid Clarification Chart

Ford 8.8 open carrier

Other terms for the axle housing:
Diff, Pig, Pumpkin,

Differential - This term refers to the drive part of an axle. the various styles include:
open differential - (see image above) allows both tires on the same drive axle to rotate independently of each other, transferring power to the tire with the least amount of traction.
Limited slip - (see image below) similar to open differential, with the exception of clutch packs inside the differential slow down the tire with the least traction to force more power to the tire with more traction.
Posi, positraction - another name for a limited slip.

Limited slip - Also known as posi. The limited slip is not a locker nor is it an open carrier. It has clutch packs located inside the carrier that force both tires to spin. The clutch packs usually work great when they are new but as time goes on and they wear your traction aid decreases.

Pros - Extra traction, completely transparent under normal driving conditions, came stock in alot of different vehicles.

Cons - when clutches wear out they are not as effective, Cost, Cost of install.

Also known as Posi, positraction, auburn, and many other brand names.

Limited slip

Automatic Locker - The Automatic Locker (also known as lunchbox locker) Replaces the spider and side gears (see parts C and D above) the same as the mini spool, unlike the mini spool the automatic locker does unlock.

Pros - Superior traction, Still allows 1 tire to spin faster than the other minimizing tire wear, cheap, easy to install. (locker install article).

Cons - Awkward road manners.

Automatic locker

Detroit Locker - Full locker, almost the same as a full spool. The detroit allows for ratcheting acting letting one tire spin faster than the other for minimized tire wear.

Pros - Extreme traction, Ratcheting action to allow one tire to spin faster than the other, strongest ratcheting locker available.

Cons - Replaces carrier therefore expensive gear setup charges are involved.

Detroit Locker

Selectable locker - The best of all worlds. When it is in the unlocked position it is an open carrier allowing both tires to spin however they want to. when it is in the locked position it is the same as a full spool making both tires spin as one.

Pros - Selectable, can be on or off, user switchable, open carrier when in off position minimizing tire wear, spooled in locked position giving ultimate traction. Can be electric powered, air powered, or cable actuated.

Cons - Cost!!!!!, cost of install.

Selectable locker

Lincoln Locker - Lincoln locker is a term for welded differential. Welding the spider gears and side gears together is a cheap way to create a mini spool. generally when welding the gears you should also weld to the carrier to prevent any type of movement at all.

Pros - Super cheap, no expensive gear setups.

Cons - Need a really good welder, ruins the carrier and possibly the bearings, excessive tire wear, if not done properly the gears will slowly begin to move and eat away at the weld leaving you with an open carrier.

Lincoln locker

Mini Spool - The mini spool is designed to replace the spider and side gears inside the carrier (see part C and D above). With the mini spool it is effectively the same as a full spool however it is cheaper and easier to install. The mini spool does effectively make both axles spin the same speed at all times.

Pros - Easy install, Good road manners, Cheaper than full spool.

Cons - excessive tire wear, Does not unlock.

Mini Spool

Full spool - The Full Spool is a direct replacement for the carrier inside a differential (see part B above) This piece is designed to connect the two axle shafts together effectively making them one piece. The tires will spin at the same speed all the time unless something is broken.

Pros - Unlimited traction, both tires always spinning at the same speed, no awkward road manners.

Cons - Excessive tire wear, does not unlock, expensive differential setup.

Full spool