Differentials
Chevy Suburban
GMC Safari

How do you know if a GMC Safari has a Locking Rear Axle?

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2015-07-15 19:02:24
2015-07-15 19:02:24

Several ways: 1) put one rear tire on a jackstand and see if the vehicle will drive off the stand - if so it's locking/limited slip. If not - open. 2) Lift the entire rear end up and w/the tranny in neutral spin one tire by hand. If the other spins the same direction it's a locking diff - if it spins the opposite direction - open diff. 3) Put one rear tire on grass and the other on pavement and floor it. If the one in the grass does all the spinning and you barely move - open. If you put rubber on the pavement - locking. 4) VIN Code will tell you.

More comments: The locking rear axle on the later model Safari/Astro is a "fly weight" locker that works like an open axle until it senses too much speed difference between the two rear wheels. When that happens, there is a fly weight that is thrown outward to lock the rear axles. So, Item #2 above, won't work on this axle if you turn a wheel by hand since you can't get enough speed difference (unless you are Superman). Items #1&3 will work OK, just be careful. Regarding Item #4, the VIN won't tell you about the axle. The easiest way to determine if van has a locker is to look on the RPO code placard on the edge of the passenger front door. If it has "G80" listed, then the van has a locking differential. If no G80 listed, then it is an open axle. By the way, if it has "GU6" listed, the van has a 3.42:1 axle ratio. If it has "GT4" listed, the van has a 3.73:1 axle ratio.

Jack up the rear of the van. Place the gear selector in neutral. Rotate the rear tire by hand. If the opposite tire revolves in the same direction then it is posi. If the opposite tire revolves in the opposite direction then it is not posi.

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