That's normal, that's what happens with an open differential.
In an open diff power is going to take the route of least resistance. A wheel that's spinning free has much less resistance than the wheel that has traction, therefore you don't move.
This is overcome either with a limited slip differential, or, in our cases, a locking differential. Locking diffs are open under normal circumstances, but then lock the wheels together when engaged so that when one wheel is spinning, the other wheel has to spin at the same rate.
Welcome to the world of open differentials... Your rear diff is doing exactly what it was designed to do, namely, let each wheel spin at a different speed. Great on road (reduces tire wear) but definitely not the case off road. If one tire looses traction, the diff sends all the engine power to the path of least resistance (the tire that is spinning freely) while the tire that actually has traction gets no power.
thanks guys this video and your replies clarifies quite a bit. Is it feasible to switch to an auto diff or a limited slip, or is it way to expensive? I live in the mountains and my driveway becomes a bear when its wet and we are in the rainy season. My girl laughs cause her girly car doesnt have a problem navigating the mountrain. She drives a Honda Element with All wheel drive. Yet Im the one on the X forum all the time and all in to Trucks so to speak. Its embarrassing.
There are plenty of people who upgrade to locker diffs, you just have to know what you're getting in to.
There are two main types of locking diffs, Air Lockers and E-Lockers. Air lockers are a little more complicated but are known to be more durable. The locking mechanism in an air locker is actuated pneumatically by compressed air, so it would require mounting a compressor, I believe a minimum of a 3 gallon tank, and running the hose to the locker.
E-Lockers are magnetically actuated, so they're entirely self contained. You basically run power to it and install the switch somewhere.
For a first gen Xterra the easiest option to find is probably the ARB Air Locker. Going that way would still be nearly $1500 in parts. An E-Locker would be less expensive, but I'm not sure who or if anyone makes them for the gen 1s... Eaton maybe? Hopefully someone with Gen 1 experience will chime in on that one
Eaton was supposedly going to make an elocker for the x, but as far as I know it never happened. Only thing I have ever seen are air lockers. arb is the big name for first gens, there are other brands, but most people avoid them. They arent that much cheaper and we all know the arb is pretty well proven to be a good product.
You could probably pick up a rear end or just a 3rd member with a limited slip in it, but honestly most of them are so worn out that you would have to replace the discs in them to get anything much better than what you have. Not sure on the cost of the discs or the labor involved in replacing them.
Apply dirt liberally, rinse and repeat
<<<-click for build
cut a bit
Lifted it more
welded a lot
cut some more
Got a winch
Parked until I can get a new steering setup.
ARB or their Chinese knock-offs are the only locker options for our 33 spline H233Bs... A shame really, it's a beefy diff that would probably be more than enough for built rigs if parts weren't so expensive and scarce.
You could stay cheap by swapping in a 30 spline H233B third member and axle shafts from a first gen Pathfinder. They had much tougher LSDs than the ever Xterra got (around double the breakaway torque of the 00-01 models, 4x stronger than 02-04) and there's a Lockrite lunchbox locker available for the 30 spline diff. Probably cost a couple hundred at the junkyard for the third and shafts...
Technically you'd lose a bit of strength going from 33 to 30 spline but it would be a marginal loss. Lots of guys beat on those old Pathys hard with big tires and the 30 spline still holds up pretty good by the sounds of it.
__________________ GRANITE 2003 SE SC BUILD THREAD HP60/10.25" SAS in the works.
Last edited by M3C.CA; 01-17-2013 at 11:30 AM.
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