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Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon Axles and Differentials

lvroblvrob Posts: 7
edited June 2014 in Chevrolet
As I understand it GM is the only company that offers a locking differential instead of a limited slip differential in 2 wheel drive models and that a locking differential is superior to a limited slip differential for traction. I'm interested in owners experience with locking differentials since off road traction is paramount to me. I understand that a locking differential can create noise & increased tire wear & am willing to live with that just as long as the locking differential is reliable and indeed provides improved traction. So I'm interested in owners experiences.


  • lvroblvrob Posts: 7
    Thought I'd add this info on differentials I found on the web:
    "Unfortunately, limited slip differentials (LS), available as options for many 4x4 in the US are offered by sales people as "locking differentials". A confusing term because nothing on these differentials is LOCKING. They are by far inferior to a differential that is truly (manually or automatically) lockable.
    If you have to decide whether to get a "locking differential" (LS) if available as an option on your new truck I would recommend getting it, because it is still better than not having anything at all.
    To repeat: "locking differentials" are limited slip differentials that are not to be confused with differential lock!
    Differential lock = differential locker = diff lock = diff locker = locker
    It seems to me, that manufacturers and dealers prefer to use the term "locking differential" over the correct term "limited slip differential" because it sounds more like the real thing - even though it is not. Is this already consumer fraud?

    Now here is a twist to the locking differential story: When Chevy advertises its trucks with an optional rear locking differential - it indeed is a differential that locks up (automatically). In the 80's it was sold as a Gov-Lok for a while named Command-Traxx and is available in some Chevy trucks as G80 option. It is not manually activated as in Dodge, Jeep and Mercedes - it locks up automatically. It is a hybrid of a clutch type limited slip unit combined with a flyweight governor that is able to lock up 100%.

    This makes me very interested in buying a Colorado or Canyon with the G80 option locking differential, interested in owners experiences.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    I am not sure what is used on the Colorado, but the Silverado has the optional Eaton rear-end which is the best rear-end available for true 4-wheel drive.
  • lvroblvrob Posts: 7
    GMC's website has the Eaton locking differential advertised. Both Canyon & Colorado offer the locking rear differential in 2 wheel Drive. I first became aware of it watching Motor week, they showed a pretty impressive demo.
  • greenjeanzgreenjeanz Posts: 18
    I have a 07 colorado,4x4,z-71 with the eaton g-80 locker.It works as advertised,and does it very quietly and smoothly.It got a good workout this past winter in several feet of fresh snow (with stock a/t's)with no problems.During this summer,we have been off road with it,and have yet to use 4 wheel drive,because of the locker.It is far superior to anything I have owned to date,and I'm an old fart.
  • lvroblvrob Posts: 7
    Thank you,
    Great info, the g-80 sounds for real when you haven't had to kick in 4 WD.
  • fasfas Posts: 6
    I have an '05 I5 crew cab 4X4 and have the "locking " rear. Well 2 weeks ago, it went back to chevy because the rear really locked up. Coming out of my driveway. It took 2 weeks for them to get it back. They had to replace the complete rear (gears, bearings and clutches) It was under warrantee. It is really a 'positraction rear" (this what the service mgr told me).
    It handles much berrer on wet roads. Actually, I don't think the rear was ever right since I bought it new
    BTW, GM is not calling this a recall, they only have recalls for safty issues!
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    Is it that optional Eaton rear end that has been praised in tests against its foreign rivals who don't offer the same kind of traction when the going gets rough.
  • i have an 07 colorado 4x4 . Window sticker reads auto locking rear diff.. I'v never heard any noise and it always leaves 2 nice black marks w/ 265/75/16 tires in 2 wheel drive on hard takeoff.
  • gdhuff1gdhuff1 Posts: 1
    Can I purchase a g80 locking differential for my 07 Colorado on line?
  • The automatic locking differential on the canyons/colorados is designed to sense a loss of or lack of traction at ONE wheel versus the other and will lock at the time that those preset parameters are reached.

    It doesn't have anything to do with whether or not you can lay down 2 stripes of rubber on the road.

    The automatic locking differential also will REDUCE available engine power when it is actuated. It works good BUT there are times when a locked axle & full available power can be an asset.

    There needs to be a module mod to allow full power with the axle locked.
  • dig_emdig_em Posts: 2
    Just a bit of info for you. Your service manager needs to do better home work and better research. This is way better than a "posi trac". It is a true locker that uses a clutch setup to lock up when the rear senses slippage from one wheel. I have a 2005 with the same rear end, and it has not given me any trouble. I sell these trucks for my living, so I do know what I am talking about.
  • dig_emdig_em Posts: 2
    Actually the comment about the reduced power availability to the engine has nothing to do with the Diff. That is the traction control unit, and if your truck has the traction control it can be turned off via the switch on the dash above the radio. As for two strips of rubber, you are right in some situations. If you were to be on flat pavement it would have nothing to do with it, but if you were to encounter, lets say a curb, and both wheels kept laying down rubber, then that would be the locker locking up. Let me clarify that a bit, if just one wheel contacts the curb, thus changing the number of rotations that one wheel makes in relation to the other, because the wheel going over the curb is actually traveling further than the one on the flat pavement, the situation I have described happens.
  • would that go in my 06 canyon? its rear wheel drive with an open differential. i go down lots of nasty dirt roads
This discussion has been closed.