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Unread 12-21-2008, 04:51 PM   #1
MGDWJ
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Vari-Loc axels

how dependable are the vari lock axles are they just as good as a limited slip or better would it be better to change it to front and rear lockers

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Unread 12-21-2008, 05:07 PM   #2
the88thpianoman
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Vari lock axles are limited slip diffs. However, it is nearly always better to change to lockers if you plan on doing any off roading, as LSD's have clutches that wear out over time, whereas lockers are permanent. The exception to this is the detroit tru trac LSD, as this is a mechanical limited slip, and does not have clutches that wear out.
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Unread 12-21-2008, 06:06 PM   #3
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Actually, the Vari-lock LSD's are probably the best LSD ever included in a OEM jeep. Older Jeep LSD's (Trac-locks) used clutches to provide friction and stop wheel spin. The Vari-lock uses a gerotor and hydraulic pump to transfer torque between the two sides. While it isn't capable of the 100% lock-up that DC claimed, with stock size tires or 31's it works remarkably well.

The downsides are that it still uses a system which can wearout and replacement parts are expensive. Also I think that the Vari-lock was only available in the D30 and D44a axles, not the D35. Then, on top of it all, they require the Quadra-drive axle shafts. I don't know what makes them different maybe someone else can chime in on that...
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Unread 12-22-2008, 12:06 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by YHC2000WJ View Post
Actually, the Vari-lock LSD's are probably the best LSD ever included in a OEM jeep. Older Jeep LSD's (Trac-locks) used clutches to provide friction and stop wheel spin. The Vari-lock uses a gerotor and hydraulic pump to transfer torque between the two sides. While it isn't capable of the 100% lock-up that DC claimed, with stock size tires or 31's it works remarkably well.

The downsides are that it still uses a system which can wearout and replacement parts are expensive. Also I think that the Vari-lock was only available in the D30 and D44a axles, not the D35. Then, on top of it all, they require the Quadra-drive axle shafts. I don't know what makes them different maybe someone else can chime in on that...
Good post, thing to remember here is 31" or less, maybe 32's for awhile, forget 33's and above. I trashed both my vari-locs on my axles, first to go was the rear, so I went with an aussie locker for the rear and when the front went, I worked out a deal for the 44's from IRO.

As far as the difference in the QD axle shafts and an open axle, the QD shafts are longer so they can get inside the vari-loc and connect. To the OP, if you plan on upgrading to lockers, you need to do more than you think. For the rear, you will have to get an open carrier to put the aussie locker in (currently the only locker available for the D44a). You can't reuse the vari-loc carrier, it's basically a whole unit and if you break it, it's $1250 to replace the whole variloc unit. As for the front, you can replace the unit with a good selectable, like an ARB, OX, ECTED, ect...

Hope that helped a little.
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Unread 05-07-2009, 06:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 10achik View Post
Good post, thing to remember here is 31" or less, maybe 32's for awhile, forget 33's and above. I trashed both my vari-locs on my axles, first to go was the rear, so I went with an aussie locker for the rear and when the front went, I worked out a deal for the 44's from IRO.

As far as the difference in the QD axle shafts and an open axle, the QD shafts are longer so they can get inside the vari-loc and connect. To the OP, if you plan on upgrading to lockers, you need to do more than you think. For the rear, you will have to get an open carrier to put the aussie locker in (currently the only locker available for the D44a). You can't reuse the vari-loc carrier, it's basically a whole unit and if you break it, it's $1250 to replace the whole variloc unit. As for the front, you can replace the unit with a good selectable, like an ARB, OX, ECTED, ect...

Hope that helped a little.
I have a CV joint making noise in my D30 with Vari lock axles (Quadra Drive), I can purchased the replacement CV axle as a unit. How hard is it to R&R the Vari lock axle shafts? Is pulling the vari lock shafts the same process as pulling non vari lock shafts from a D30?
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Unread 05-07-2009, 07:03 PM   #6
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^ good question.


as for how well do they work.... i am running stock tires (29's i think) and both front and rear hooked up very well in muddy areas! i've had the trac lock in my XJ rear and it worked good to.. can't say if it's better or worse come to think about it. i switched to a powertrax locker in the xj and it was definitely a step better than trac loc! havn't put my vari locks through too much yet, but i feel they are comparable to the powertrax. IMHO

they may indeed blow with big tires!
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Unread 05-08-2009, 01:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10achik View Post
Good post, thing to remember here is 31" or less, maybe 32's for awhile, forget 33's and above. I trashed both my vari-locs on my axles, first to go was the rear, so I went with an aussie locker for the rear and when the front went, I worked out a deal for the 44's from IRO.
I've heard this said a few times and always wonder how well a new vari-lok axle would have coped with the bigger tyres (sorry, i'm English) and how long it might last. I would think all practicle experience of this is based on old-ish vehicles with clutch packs that already have alot of wear in them. What do you reckon?
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Unread 05-08-2009, 05:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mike WJUK View Post
I've heard this said a few times and always wonder how well a new vari-lok axle would have coped with the bigger tyres (sorry, i'm English) and how long it might last. I would think all practicle experience of this is based on old-ish vehicles with clutch packs that already have alot of wear in them. What do you reckon?
Both my axles only had less than 60k miles on them when I started upgrading. I replaced them after 80k because they crapped out from the bigger tires. Is 60k considered a lot of miles? I didn't think so, but I guess it could be. Honestly I just don't think the components are meant to handle the stresses of the increased rotational mass, because they weren't designed for that...I mean we are talking about a GC here, most normal people don't wheel GC's
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Unread 05-08-2009, 06:57 PM   #9
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If someone could find the vari-lok version of a D60 (assuming it exists), it would likely be far beefier.
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Unread 08-06-2009, 01:54 PM   #10
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I know i'm upping an old thread, but...
To 10achik, my girlfriend has an 04 Overland with the D44 and vari-loks front and rear. Well the rear diff is making noise and binding up when making slow and tight turns and I don't think new fluid is helping any.

I'm wondering, if we have to do something about that unit we're NOT spending 1250 for a new vari-lok. Do you think it would be cheaper to buy new axle shafts, open carrier and an aussie? She probably won't wheel the Jeep as we have a Wrangler to take on the trails and she wants to keep this one for a long time. what do you think would be the best in this situation?
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Unread 08-06-2009, 02:07 PM   #11
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Wow this is a great thread. A lot of this I didn't know about the vari loks. Here is my question. Can you use normal diff fluid in these (going for amsoil severe gear oil)? And, do I have to put in a slip lock additive and if so would amsoil's stuff be ok? We've got some similar limited slip stuff at Autozone but on the back of the bottle says do not use in Chrysler quadra drive lsd's. I've never owned anything with limited slips so this is all new to me.
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Unread 08-06-2009, 04:32 PM   #12
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im running 35's with my vari-lock diffs, and they work great so far. Granted, i only have about 6000 miles with these larger tires though. I think they work pretty well. The only drawback is you have to spin the tires to get them to work in low traction situations. IE.. the free tire needs to spin a couple of revolutions before it transfers power to the tire with more traction..

I hope they last long enough that i can upgrade to some real axles though. hahah

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Unread 08-06-2009, 08:09 PM   #13
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Greg - I'm impressed that they actually do much that's noticeable with those tires. I'd say run them until they don't work anymore.
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Unread 08-06-2009, 08:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HaleyWJ View Post
Wow this is a great thread. A lot of this I didn't know about the vari loks. Here is my question. Can you use normal diff fluid in these (going for amsoil severe gear oil)? And, do I have to put in a slip lock additive and if so would amsoil's stuff be ok? We've got some similar limited slip stuff at Autozone but on the back of the bottle says do not use in Chrysler quadra drive lsd's. I've never owned anything with limited slips so this is all new to me.
Amsoil SEVERE Gear oil Requires NO LSD oil it alrdy has it added Pm Gabe. If your worried buy some amsoil LSD fluid squeeze a little extra

BUT the more in there the less it will lock up to much Friction Modifer. to little and it wont unlock
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Unread 08-07-2009, 08:39 AM   #15
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Greg - I'm impressed that they actually do much that's noticeable with those tires. I'd say run them until they don't work anymore.
thats what i plan on doing with them. I haven't been stuck yet, but i also haven't had a tire way off the ground yet in anything crazy. Gotta love long arms. If a tire starts to slip, i just barely tap the brake, and give it a little more throttle, and they hook right up.

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