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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2.2L 2wd Sonoma with an open differential and am looking to get a little better traction out of it. I don't do anything crazy with it, but tired of getting stuck when there's just a little bit of a slick spot. One option I could do would be to put in a limited-slip differential of some sort. Another option would be to go with a more aggressive tire and get better at applying the brakes slightly when one of the wheels is slipping. I'm mainly looking to get better traction in the winter and to be able to drive across a field to pick up a deer a couple of times a year. I know the best option would be to get a real truck with 4wd, but I don't have the money for that now.

What are your thoughts on better tires vs limited slip differential for improving traction? If your vote is for a limited slip differential, should I go torsen or posi?

If I go the tire route, I've heard good things about Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires. The trouble is that the smallest size they have are 235/75R15. I think they should fit on stock 2wd rims, but how bad will they rub the frame when turning? Another could be Firestone Destination A/T, and they come in the stock 205/75R15 size. They also seem to be about 1/2 the price of the Duratracs.

Going with both tires and a new differential might be the next best option short of real 4wd, but I don't have the money to do both right now.
 

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I’ll give you my opinion. For winter traction in a RWD truck, you do NOT want a LSD or locker. Yes, you’ll have both wheels pulling, but one wheel is going to break loose and then it takes nothing to break the other one loose, especially in any kind of turn. The only time LSD is better on snow or ice is if you’re going perfectly straight on perfectly level ground.

Nothing‘s as good as 4x4 in snow and ice, period. I’ve found the best winter traction in a RWD truck is an open diff with some studded rear tires. Throw a little weight in the back and you can go pretty much anywhere you’d want.

LSD and good tires will help in off-road situations like picking up your deer.
 

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I’ll give you my opinion. For winter traction in a RWD truck, you do NOT want a LSD or locker. Yes, you’ll have both wheels pulling, but one wheel is going to break loose and then it takes nothing to break the other one loose, especially in any kind of turn. The only time LSD is better on snow or ice is if you’re going perfectly straight on perfectly level ground.

Nothing‘s as good as 4x4 in snow and ice, period. I’ve found the best winter traction in a RWD truck is an open diff with some studded rear tires. Throw a little weight in the back and you can go pretty much anywhere you’d want.

LSD and good tires will help in off-road situations like picking up your deer.
IMO anyone that can't manage an LSD in the snow needs some more practice. You can't drive it like you stole it. It all comes down to driving style...or lack of it.
 
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Finding a good G80 locker from another S10 at the junkyard would be the cheapest option to gain some traction. Definitely work towards some better tires in the future.

I had 235/75R15 on my 91 S10. It did rub in the front, but it wasn't too bad. Mainly on the frame. Your newer truck should have a bit more clearance from what I understand.
 

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Having driven a number of Canadian winters with mine I can tell you nothing beats an LSD and knowing how to use it. Installing an LSD in a GM 10 bolt isn't really a DIY project unless you've done it before. Better to pay a shop to do it. If you're going to pay a shop to do it, you might as well put in a new unit. An Eaton Truetrac Helical LSD is ideal.

Anyone who says an LSD makes traction worse vs an Open differential simply doesn't understand how to drive or how an LSD works. In an Open diff, all torque goes to the easiest wheel to spin. If you apply the brakes, the torque still goes to the easiest wheel to spin. Brakes apply the same left to right... so applying the brakes only helps marginally in an Open diff. the best an open diff can manage is a TBR around 1.3:1. A limited slip differential acts to torque bias the rear. A Truetrac has a torque biasing ratio of 3.5x, which means take the least amount of torque you can generate (the free spinning wheel), and it will apply 3.5x the torque to the wheel that still has traction. You can "create" more torque with an LSD by using the brake, and progressively more brake sends more torque bias to the opposite side. An open diff can't and doesn't do this nearly as well.

Different LSD's have different torque biases depending on design.
RPO G80/Standard Zexel Torsen T2 is 2.1:1
Most aftermarket LSD's whether clutch or helical gear design will be around 3.5:1

Tires will of course help, no amount of posi will makeup for bald tires with no tread. Appropriate All Terrain tires also matter.

Lastly, RWD S10's like a little bit of weight either over the rear wheels or just ahead of them against the front of the box. 50-100lbs or two grey conc. patio stones or two rubbermaid tubs filled with sand. Or just a toolbox with emergency shit in it, straps, ropes, chains w/e, will do.

A combo of all 3, LSD, tires, and a bit of weight, make these little trucks work just fine out back in the mud, 4wd not really necessary.
 

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IMO anyone that can't manage an LSD in the snow needs some more practice. You can't drive it like you stole it. It all comes down to driving style...or lack of it.
I won't take your comment personally since we don't know each other. I've driven in snow and ice for over 40 years in a variety of vehicles.

My experience with a LSD is limited to my '98 Ram 2500 RWD auto diesel. I'll gladly let you try your hand at it in snow and ice. It's totally worthless. Maybe it's due to the torque or possibly the 1/2 ton of iron in the front end. You can't even just let off the brake at idle without the tires breaking loose and it doesn't matter which way the front wheels are pointed, the front end's going down hill.

Every small RWD truck I've ever had, three S10's, two LUV's, and one Ranger, all had open diffs. Maybe the LSD in the small trucks is much better than my Dodge.
 

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A three quarter ton RWD truck isn't really a good point of reference for whether LSD's are any good or not. You're on the right track about that 1/2 ton of iron in the front- a large part of what makes it totally useless in a field. Might seem obvious, but not every class of truck can do every job as good as the next one. There's also a reason actual tractors exist too heh.
 

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This is a great conversation as I'm looking at this challenge as well. With a 5spd 2.2, there not a lot of torque to be had, and I can control applied torque and wheel speed better than with an automatic. I view my truck as "1WD" at this point since my experience in slick conditions with this vehicle has been going up hills slowly sideways with a controlled spin of the one tire. (I keep 2 bags of rock salt in the bed for weight.) Truth be told, it's was a 265 wide tire and not a great tread for winter use - I've since replace them with more aggressive 225's. I've also had my G80 quipped Colorado (auto transmission) put my truck sideways quickly in wet roads because both tires spun out on lack of traction, so I'm sympathetic to that behavior as well (also noting the 3.5L I5 engine has twice the power/torque). So part of me is simply going to get real snow tires Nov-Feb, and/or have chains avail, and keep some weight in the back. The other half is weighing the G80 retrofit. Maybe both are warrented. Of course, if I spend all the time and money on this I'll never see real snow again. All thought appreciated...
Ken
 

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Not sure why people have an issue with driving with an lsd. Never had an issue with the Z71 I had, or the SS with the 4.3. It actually rained here today. 1st time out in the rain with the L33..still no problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
At this point, I'm leaning toward the side that good tires might make more of a difference than a LSD. Good to know that a set of 235/75R15 won't rub too bad, since I can't find any aggressive tires in the stock 205/75R15. I think I'd get a second set of rims for the aggressive tires and drive the stock size during the summer months. Thinking about something like these:


They have 19mm less offset than the stock rims. I'd prefer to go with less offset on the rims than have to get a set of spacers too for the bigger tires. I'd be open to suggestions though, since this would be the first time I've ever purchased aftermarket rims.
 

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I think chains will take you anywhere and they are the cheapest option about 150 bucks for a good set at les Schwab. If you want tires l, good snow tires are best , or all terrians like grabber at2s are also good but nothing's better than a snow tires studded
 

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I doubt he's going to come out west for chains...lol
 

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I think you get used to both. For years I drove all kinds of farm equipment, and golf course equipment, mowers, cushmans, gators, w/e, most of them were manual, the odd hydrostatic one here and there plus manual cars & automatic ones over the years. If you've got the feel for riding the clutch, the engine, and weight/tire limitations you can generally go anywhere an automatic can go. Definitely being able to engine brake down a steep gravel/dirt grade has its advantages, ditto being able to go up a gear to reduce your tire spin at low speed.

Though, my 2016 Subaru Forester with its fancy pants symmetrical AWD and active torque multi plate clutch LSD is downright impressive in the muck. I'd take it over a manual any day... that and you can put it into manual tiptronic mode and it will hold a simulated "gear" if you want it to. The hill descent control and active applied braking to slipping wheels is also very good. 250hp/250tq with Cooper AT3 A/T tires and 2.5" lift kit, it gets me around mud pit construction sites better than some guys in their fullsizes.
 
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