I'm considering either buying a Wavetrac LSD (very expensive, so that's discouraging) or rebuilding my current Detroit Locker.

The Locker seems to run fine except there's a lot of play in it. Would this be as simple as shimming the locker or would something more involved be required? I'm assuming this is because of the play, but the car will jerk and start forward-backward bouncing a bit if I take a turn incorrectly (if I let go of the gas in the turn while the clutch is engaged, it'll do this, for instance). There's about 30 degrees of play in the driveshaft, I think, maybe up to 60 degrees, but I don't remember exactly. I think the play is what's causing most of the inconsistencies when driving, as also when coming out of a turn, the play makes it more difficult as it has a good chance of suddenly locking once the driveshaft spins to where the differential is engaged.


If your limited slip differential has started to mis-behave then you really should take remedial action, it has become dangerous by virtue of being unpredictable, and it can only get worse. Depending on age and mileage you are looking at a replacement unit. You pays your money and you take your choice of which one. Overhauling a high mileage unit piecemeal very rarely ends up to be a reliable or viable repair. On the other hand a replacement of a straight forward premature failure of an integral component on a low mileage unit can be, and usually is feasible. I would suggest a condition report from an experienced technician would be the first thing to do just to eliminate the possibility of something being overlooked.

  • Thank you the informative response. It is not a limited slip differention currently, as the Detroit Lockers are locking differentials with supposedly no wearable parts. It has somewhere between 20 and 40k miles on it currently. Thanks for letting me know that it may not be a reliable repair. That's helpful. I wasn't sure how reliable rebuilding a differential is and whether it was generally reliable or if it would be left up to chance.
    – JVE999
    Nov 24 '13 at 15:45

Detroit lockers aren't the most streetable differentials, but they should be a little easier to deal with than what you're describing. Two things:

1- That's a lot of play in your driveshaft and it sounds like too much to be incorrectly set backlash in the ring and pinion gear. Are your u-joints and carrier bearing (if you have one) ok? While you're checking those out, is the rear end housing square?

2- Try to unlock it before starting a corner and gradually start your turn in while easing off the gas. There's always going to be some banging and clunking from a locker, but you can keep it to a minimum by trying to keep it unlocked.

  • I've gotten really good at driving it, actually. I've had it for a few years now. It's the play, I think, that's the issue with it, and the rear end has leaks. The u-joints are fine. I can't see the carrier bearing unless I take it apart.
    – JVE999
    Dec 7 '13 at 16:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.