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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone tried replacing the 4x4 vacuum actuator cable with a solenoid? There'd be some mounting issues, and you'd need a driver to switch the solenoid between pull/hold power so it didn't burn up. Seems like an interesting concept that maybe someone somewhere has given a shot. I ordered a cheap solenoid yesterday that I'm going to play with. Any help, advice, cautions, etc. will be greatly appreciated. Thanks -RR

PS: Someone already asked about this, but got no answers and eventually said they went for the Posi-Lock cable --- sorry, lost the thread, it's on here somewhere.
 

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You'd be simply trading vacuum power for electric power. Equally as reliable.
Seems like a lot of work to end up back where you started.
The advantage to cable is you're using manpower and we all know that never fails. :rolleyes:
I've always found fixing the vacuum system simple enough to not warrant further use of the time I have left on earth to make it "better". You can also bet GM has a lot of time and resources invested in the same basic system Ford and Chrysler use on some of their trucks. If there was a better way, one of the big 3 would have gone to it.
Just my humble opinion. That and $3 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You'd be simply trading vacuum power for electric power. Equally as reliable.
Seems like a lot of work to end up back where you started.
.......
Do a lot of beach driving at the Outer Banks in NC --- cables lasting about 2 to 3 years, plus several vacuum actuators and valve/hoses. I appreciate your advice. I guess to me it seems like the vacuum system is dependent on a lot of factors working in unison, whereas a solenoid would only depend on the one thing. Point taken that a lot of folks way smarter than me designed that vacuum system and they must have done it for a good reason. Thanks OldDeerSlayer
 

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A further consideration is that if the solenoid is not perfectly adjusted for actuation travel length and does not completely pull in it armature, the solenoid will draw excessive current and potentially burn up its coil insultion in short order. An example of this is a relay pull-in current versus its holding current. Conversely, if the solenoid/cable length is adjusted to allow full armature closure but does not fully actuate the differential pin, the front differential will not lock in.

To avoid this potential for frequent and sensitive adjustment, and arrangement of pretravel and overtravel springs could be designed to allow full solenoid movement regardless of cable travel. The vacuum bellows does that inherently, with air pressure as the "spring" and without danger of causing damage from under- or overtravel.
 

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Thanks Watthour! Got my solenoid Saturday and after a little experimentation, also thought "SPRING". I found that while it can easily hold up 2 bricks (my very scientific opposing force) once fully retracted, it cannot lift even a single brick that is dangling from the solenoid. It can lift one brick on a loose string from about 3/4 of the way into it's 15mm stroke. I ordered a more powerful "magnetic latching" solenoid with longer stroke last night to play with. Not really sure about just how much force I need to engage the front end --- I'm thinking a brick feels about right. For the last year or so I've got the actuator cable loose and stuck between the radiator and battery, and just pull it with pliers and lock it in place with a small pair of vice grips.
 
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