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Old 03-18-2007, 03:28 PM   #1
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I have a P32 (R-Vision 241) that I have been playing with the idea of replacing the open differential with a "Detroit Locker". The reason? Boat ramps. I tow a sailboat with it and the notion of losing traction on a steep and always slippery ramp leaves me with anything but warm fuzzy feelings. The cost of a "Detroit locker" is only about $500.00, plus another $500.00 to install it. It's made for the Dana 80 in both 35 and 37 spline versions. I believe a bunch of the Cummins Dodges had this rear end. In short, the "Detroit Locker" is about bullet proof but let's face it, the stock Dana 80 is not going to fail anytime soon either.
I know the "Detroit Locker" has certain quirks and idiosyncrasies. Mostly regarding noise during tight turns, (clanking and popping) and weird handling problems in turns in the rain should you loose traction. Let's face it, most RV's, including mine are driven on straight highways or gently turning roads 90% of the time. I doubt the noise would bother me. The newer "Detroit Softlocker" is supposed to reduce all of these melodies but I've not see one in action.
The upside is, this will absolutely increase traction when I need it. I have seen a "Detroit Locker" go into action on a boat ramp on a 2 wheel drive Chevy pickup. The gigantic boat he was towing would not come out of the water. The left rear tire spun about a half a turn. I heard a clack, bang when the differential locked and that truck would have drug the boat out of the water no matter if it was on a trailer or not and the lake with it.

I'm asking for any opinions on the idea, the Detroit locker, my sanity...whatever. So far the Trail-Lite 241 has been an awesome vehicle over all and a great tow vehicle in general. I launch and retrieve the boat using a trailer hitch on the front of the rig and it works great but it is large, it is heavy and having a problem at the wrong time would be bad...very bad.
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Old 03-18-2007, 03:28 PM   #2
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I have a P32 (R-Vision 241) that I have been playing with the idea of replacing the open differential with a "Detroit Locker". The reason? Boat ramps. I tow a sailboat with it and the notion of losing traction on a steep and always slippery ramp leaves me with anything but warm fuzzy feelings. The cost of a "Detroit locker" is only about $500.00, plus another $500.00 to install it. It's made for the Dana 80 in both 35 and 37 spline versions. I believe a bunch of the Cummins Dodges had this rear end. In short, the "Detroit Locker" is about bullet proof but let's face it, the stock Dana 80 is not going to fail anytime soon either.
I know the "Detroit Locker" has certain quirks and idiosyncrasies. Mostly regarding noise during tight turns, (clanking and popping) and weird handling problems in turns in the rain should you loose traction. Let's face it, most RV's, including mine are driven on straight highways or gently turning roads 90% of the time. I doubt the noise would bother me. The newer "Detroit Softlocker" is supposed to reduce all of these melodies but I've not see one in action.
The upside is, this will absolutely increase traction when I need it. I have seen a "Detroit Locker" go into action on a boat ramp on a 2 wheel drive Chevy pickup. The gigantic boat he was towing would not come out of the water. The left rear tire spun about a half a turn. I heard a clack, bang when the differential locked and that truck would have drug the boat out of the water no matter if it was on a trailer or not and the lake with it.

I'm asking for any opinions on the idea, the Detroit locker, my sanity...whatever. So far the Trail-Lite 241 has been an awesome vehicle over all and a great tow vehicle in general. I launch and retrieve the boat using a trailer hitch on the front of the rig and it works great but it is large, it is heavy and having a problem at the wrong time would be bad...very bad.
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:16 AM   #3
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by FullAstern:
I have a P32 (R-Vision 241) that I have been playing with the idea of replacing the open differential with a "Detroit Locker". The reason? Boat ramps. I tow a sailboat with it and the notion of losing traction on a steep and always slippery ramp leaves me with anything but warm fuzzy feelings. The cost of a "Detroit locker" is only about $500.00, plus another $500.00 to install it. It's made for the Dana 80 in both 35 and 37 spline versions. I believe a bunch of the Cummins Dodges had this rear end. In short, the "Detroit Locker" is about bullet proof but let's face it, the stock Dana 80 is not going to fail anytime soon either.
I know the "Detroit Locker" has certain quirks and idiosyncrasies. Mostly regarding noise during tight turns, (clanking and popping) and weird handling problems in turns in the rain should you loose traction. Let's face it, most RV's, including mine are driven on straight highways or gently turning roads 90% of the time. I doubt the noise would bother me. The newer "Detroit Softlocker" is supposed to reduce all of these melodies but I've not see one in action.
The upside is, this will absolutely increase traction when I need it. I have seen a "Detroit Locker" go into action on a boat ramp on a 2 wheel drive Chevy pickup. The gigantic boat he was towing would not come out of the water. The left rear tire spun about a half a turn. I heard a clack, bang when the differential locked and that truck would have drug the boat out of the water no matter if it was on a trailer or not and the lake with it.

I'm asking for any opinions on the idea, the Detroit locker, my sanity...whatever. So far the Trail-Lite 241 has been an awesome vehicle over all and a great tow vehicle in general. I launch and retrieve the boat using a trailer hitch on the front of the rig and it works great but it is large, it is heavy and having a problem at the wrong time would be bad...very bad. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

How heavy is your sail boat? A 20,000 lb plus motorhome really shouldn't have much trouble pulling any boat out that is within it's rated capacity to pull unless you are trying to use a ramp that you shouldn't be navigating with a motorhome anyway.

You may get a false sense of security with the locker too and end up going where you wouldn't if you did not have it. I ran a snow plow up north and the old Dodge Power Wagon I had was outfitted with a locking tranfer case, locking rear end and limited slip front drive axle and when you got stuck with that rig you were really stuck.

Anyhow if the ramp is that bad I would not put my motorhome through the stress of a boat pullout on a steep ramp. A motorhome is really a highway vehicle and not that well suited for the extreme.
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Old 03-19-2007, 06:22 PM   #4
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You'd be a lot less likely to have traction problems if you backed the boat in and out with the back of the MH. The boat on the front takes weight off the drive wheels, when the front wheel are lower than thwe back, it take weight off the back wheels. When you hook it to the front , you have to drive the wheels deeper into the water because you don't have any where near the over hang in front that you do in the back.
I can never understand why any one would want to push the boat in and back it out. What an extra hassle that would be. Practice backing it up, it's easier with a MH than it is with a car or pick up.
PS, how do you like trusting that 'autopark' on the ramp?
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Old 03-20-2007, 02:27 PM   #5
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In defense of the front hitch, I used mine extensively when I had a trailer. Now it is only used when friends have a particularly tough trailer parking problem. The view and manuverability when using the front hitch is amazing.

I can't present any arguments against installing a locker. You are aware of the chirping possibility in corners, but can a 32' motorhome turn tight enough to even induce this.

It's your $1000, it it makes you more comfortable when launching your boat. DO IT.
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Old 03-20-2007, 02:44 PM   #6
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Trust me, the boat is a nightmare to launch by backing it in. The rear wheels are always on the greasy, slimy part of the ramp when backing in and I actually have less traction. Also, the boat happens to be absolutely invisible through the mirrors. You have no idea where it is in relation to the dock, the waters edge, the edge of of the ramp, when the boat is floating....nothing. It's not like just backing in to a parking space. When launching from the front I have an absolutely perfect view of everything. I can see right over the top or around the side and can float the boat right off the trailer within inches of the dock. I've done it both ways and there is no way on gods earth that I'm going back to being blind or trying to use the camera. That's like playing a video game. You are totally disconnected from what's happening.
I suspect alvinc is right. The weight is high enough and the wheelbase long enough that the effects of a locker will almost go unnoticed. I have read that light, short wheelbase Jeeps are the ones that have noticeable handling/noise issues.
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Old 03-20-2007, 02:55 PM   #7
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you can try airing your tires down to like 40psi and see if that will increase your traction. then just air them back up with a co2 tank or small air compressor.
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Old 04-08-2007, 07:04 AM   #8
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If you're worried about the clanging of a locker while driving, get a selectable locker for about $400 more. ARB air locker makes the best product and you can also look at the E-locker by detroit which is electrically operated. Ox locker is a cable actuated locker that works well also. I have the ARBs on my 4wd and they're great.
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Old 04-10-2007, 03:31 PM   #9
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Try a Eaton electric locker. Don't know if they are made for Dana 80 but I waited 5 years for Eaton to finally make one for a Dana 44. Totally selectable and extemely robust design. No air compresser needed as in ARB. and much stronger than EZ-locker. not as strong as Detroit locker which is the strongest but selectable. Electric mechanism in no way provides the locking power it operates steel lugs that tie the two azles together, Go to Eaton website and watch their video for 3-D view. Put one in my 4wd and wouldn't have anyother.
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Old 04-10-2007, 03:31 PM   #10
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Try a Eaton electric locker. Don't know if they are made for Dana 80 but I waited 5 years for Eaton to finally make one for a Dana 44. Totally selectable and extemely robust design. No air compresser needed as in ARB. and much stronger than EZ-locker. not as strong as Detroit locker which is the strongest but not selectable. Electric mechanism in no way provides the locking power it operates steel lugs that tie the two azles together, Go to Eaton website and watch their video for 3-D view. Put one in my 4wd and wouldn't have anyother.
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