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· Registered
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The surface I drive on with the least traction is icy roads. I'm making safety more of a priority these days.. I want to choose my differentials based on the least traction situation (ice and/or black ice). I'll start by saying the appropriate TIRES are probably the most important factor.

I get why open diffs / select-able lockers are recommended on ice. One tires has to not break free in order to hold the line rolling forward. With that said I've heard people make claims that some lim slips like the TrueTrac may be better on ice, but I remain skeptical. I ask because I do like the gear driven concept of the TrueTrac and I think putting one in the Front (D30) with a selectable locker in the rear would be ideal for my setup - that is in all situations except ice. If the open / select-able lockers are truly superior on ice I'll stick with that plan.

Has anyone ever conclusively tested open vs lim slips on ice?

· Premium Member
9,710 Posts
A true open diff will direct the torque to the spinning wheel, which is why they are not preferred for icy conditions.

A locked differential will keep torque to both tyres but also has issues with loads when turning. Truly locked one tyre will break grip on a turn due to the low friction surface.

A limited slip diff will deal with the icy surface as best as it can. this needs to be backed up by the right tyres.

· Super Moderator
24,610 Posts
I wonder if the difference is the climate they tested under.

I think someplace that is sub zero all the time and Ice doesn't have a chance to melt as you roll over it verus a 'warmer' place where it's ice one moment on as you roll over it, the ice melts and forms a layer of water and it turns into a little hydroplaning.

I guess there are 3 conditions.
Accelerating on ice. Want to be able to move forward.
Maintaining directional control on ice. Keeping in your lane on the road.
Slowing on ice. Taking you foot off the gas or downshifting can cause problems also.

Many times I just push in the clutch and coast through an icy turn.

I think I would like to have a mild LSD on the front and keep the Jeep in Front wheel drive only, just letting the rear follow the front.

Maybe even an adjustable Proportional valve for braking or anti lock setup.
I would love to have the ABS my old Astro van had. Best winter brakes I ever had.

It also had some type of locker on the rear that normally it would act as an open diff but if one wheel spun more than the other, it had a governor type thing that would lock up diff solid. I don't know what it was called but it worked great in the winter.

· Registered
3,421 Posts
I drive a '77 CJ-5 (3.54:1) and also a '46 CJ2A (5.38:1)

I'm down here in S.C.

During Winter we see a little snow (still a slick drive) but mostly see ice and the dreaded black ice.

I'm not fully up on this, but we're not allowed to use studded tires.

When my Dad was in the Air Force and stationed up North, Michigan, New York, New Jersey. Drove a lot with the studded tires when we were kids.

While I was in the Army, my Ranger Buddy from Pennsylvania left a set at my Dads house. I was home on pass during icy conditions and I stuck 'em on my Jeep for a few days.

WOW! what a difference on ice! That was my one and only experience with the studded tires.

Move on up to 1995 and up

When we have had some decent snow, there's a hill in town that trucks were making it about half way up then you would see the "U" in which they came back down.

Just for giggles, My hardtop on and homemade heater in my '46, I slapped a full set of chains that I was given, all the way around on my 700x16 military NDT tires.

I started at the bottom (not speeding to gain ground as the others had tried) I put him into low and crawled to the top---WOW!----Then me and my neighbor remembered we had not even locked the front axle in!

From my very limited experiences

I don't think "ratios" matter with Plain rubber against ice

Plain ole four wheel drive is much better than 2WD on ice----It will get away from you with speed and stopping

Studs work well---I'd still run slow and brake earlier

Chains are super----You might could do what you want to---speed is noisy and you might throw a chain----Stopping no problem at all? Plan to be able to dodge the guy stopping behind you!

Not bragging or nothing, but I've pulled many "untouchable" trucks and Jeeps back on the road after they flew through the hazards. Speed won't get you there, but attentive four wheel drive will!

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