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Axle vs. Diff lock?

Discussion in 'General Truck Info' started by tncrom, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. tncrom

    tncrom New Member

    I just looked at several of these trucks today. I'm a bit confused though as to what the difference is b/t "axle lock" and "diff lock". Could someone please explain?

    Chris, IA
  2. Banzai

    Banzai New Member

    As far as I have been able to figure out on my 97 Suzuki Diff lock locks the rear diff. It automatically unlocks above 35 km/h. Axle lock locks the center diff and stays locked in as long as you want it.

    That is what I have figured out by expirementing and observing. Hope that helps.
  3. tncrom

    tncrom New Member

    Thanks, I was kind of thinking that too.

    On one of the vehicles I looked at it had axle lock, diff lock, and a "4x4" button on the hi/lo range lever.

    So if the axle lock takes care of the center diff, then what does the push button "4x4" button do?

    Thanks for any further insight.
  4. Banzai

    Banzai New Member

    I would assume that the 4x4 pushbutton engages and disengages the 4 wheel drive.
  5. texagswin97

    texagswin97 Guest

    the axle lock and differential lock are going to make all 4 tires spin regardless of your traction. The 4x4 will ensure all 4 tires are driving the truck. If it is in 2 wheel drive the axle lock doesn't mean much. You will notice the advantage when you have them all engaged and are in 4x4. If your right rear tire gets in mud then left rear tire will still spin and push the truck out of the mud. If you don't have diff/axle lock and the right rear tire gets in mud it could possibly just spin in the mud and the left tire will not spin to push you out. This is a general scenario. Another sceanrio is if one of your tires gets airborne it will spin and the other will do nothing w/out locks...
  6. tncrom

    tncrom New Member

    Thanks for the reply, texagswin97,

    Are you stating then that the Diff lock and the axle lock buttons located on the dash do the same function?

    What does each button do? What's scenario for using one, the other, or both?

    Please note that there is a separate "4x4" push button on the hi-lo lever between the seats.

    Thanks for any further clarification.
  7. texagswin97

    texagswin97 Guest

    Are you stating then that the Diff lock and the axle lock buttons located on the dash do the same function?

    What does each button do? What's scenario for using one, the other, or both?

    Please note that there is a separate "4x4" push button on the hi-lo lever between the seats.

    The 4x4 button will engage 4 wheel drive which means instead of the rear wheels driving the truck all 4 wheels will be engaged and driving the truck.
    It doesn't matter if you have the diff/axle lock engaged it will still put the truck in 4 wheel drive.
    The diff lock locks the rear tires so they both will spin regardless of the traction. the axle lock does the same for the front tires. the axle lock means nothing really unless you have it in 4 wheel drive... then both front tires will continue to spin/drive regardless of traction of one tire. In muddy areas/bad traction areas put it in 4 wheel drive and lock both axle lock and diff. When climbing a steep, rocky hill for example if you have everything engaged, if one tire, say front right gets bad traction and starts spinning all of the other tires will continue to spin/push the truck uphill. Hope that helps a little. If you are driving on good roads, etc. don't engage the diff and axle locks or 4 wheel drive for that matter.
  8. tncrom

    tncrom New Member

    Now I'm good-to-go.

    Axle lock for front diff lock
    Diff lock for rear diff lock
    4x4 to get the transfer case putting power to the front diff.

    Thanks for clearing this up for me.
  9. gbrad

    gbrad Member

    Ditto on the thanks texagswin97. I had a lot of problems getting a straight answer on that subject. Possibly just guys who can't communicate effectively, I don't know.

    I'm very familiar with 4wd vehicles and all the terminology concerning those trucks, but have only seen a few mini trucks and never gotten the chance to drive one. Meanwhile guys wonder why I persist with technical questions instead of just blindly sending them $5000.00 to $6000.00 without truly knowing what I will receive.

    Some questions may seem redundant to someone who already owns these little trucks, but when it comes to the technical aspects I do not want to make assumptions and there does not seem to be a readily available source of technical specifications available. The FAQ sections on web pages seem to all be the same info one of the bigger importers has on his web page, just cut and pasted on everyone else's page.

    That's OK. I'm just not parting with any money until I'm certain what I'll be purchasing and if it will perform as expected. I think that's pretty normal.

    Thanks again for the clarification.

  10. Wolfman

    Wolfman Member

    Think of it this way - A Carry with 4x4, axle lock, and diff lock = the perfect 4x4 minitruck, that will go anyplace you want it to, within the laws of gravity and physics. :D
  11. ace cutter

    ace cutter Member

    i want a difflock for front of my 99 suzuki carry,any one have one?
  12. kepow

    kepow Member

    axle lock does not lock the front diff it is just an easy way to lock in your front hubs
  13. Timetripper

    Timetripper Moderator

    Welcome to the forum

    There are quite a few posts on this subject that you will see here.

    Most of the info above is wrong.

    Diff Lock - Locks rear axle only, usually only in first gear/ reverse.

    Axle Lock - Engages front wheels to drive line only.

    It is not any type of posi or LSD for front axle, they do not exisist from the factory
    in any Brand of Kei truck - no matter what the uninformed try to tell you.

    There is two basic types of of 4wd sytems available in Kei trucks:

    Ones with Hi/ Low transfer case and those with out but have wider range transmissions - ultra low first & reverse gears to make up for no low range.

    All Kei trucks will automatically engage 4wd in Low range or Ultra Low gear [for no transfer case models]

    Typical operation for transfer case models is as follows:

    Engage "Axle Lock" button on dash to engage the front drive line.

    Push 4x4 button on transfer case lever - note there is some variations among brands on this.

    Some transfer case levers have H -N-L while others have only H-L

    You should now be in 4wd drive, the idea behind the axle lock is once engaged it keeps

    the front drive line sync'd to the transfer case allowing you to shift on the fly between 2wd and 4wd.

    What confuses people is that if you just go direct to 4Low it automatically engages the front

    drive line, so they think axle lock must be for something else

    - like posi or LSD which of course it is not.

    Honda uses a full time 4wd system called "Real Time 4wd" with no transfer case.

    Honda has "Attack" model which comes with lower 1st gear and two reverse gears, Diff Lock standard.

    Diahatsu has "Climber" model that comes with Diff Lock standard and lower gearing I think.

    Subaru uses 6sd with Extra Low 1st gear - no transfer case, Diff Lock is optional for standards

    and uses a fulltime 4wd for automatics.

    Early Kei trucks [late 80's] had LSD or Posi in rear then they all switched to "Diff Lock" style.

    Diff Lock on rear axle should be a option on all Kei trucks so they are around.

    There was no factory option for the front, so if you really get stuck with a Kei truck the most you could count on

    is with a Diff Lock equiped truck - both rear wheels have full power and 1 of 2 front or both - depending on traction conditions.

    No center Diff Lock like Unimog either BTW

    I hope this all makes sense :D

    Jaredk253 likes this.
  14. niconiko

    niconiko New Member

    Here's a video link that illustrates the difference:


    It's captioned in Japanese. But the relevant portions are at 04:45, when the truck becomes stuck in beach sand with 4WD set to ON and the diff lock set to OFF, and then 05:09, when the driver re-attempts the same stretch of beach but this time with 4WD ON and diff lock ON.

    The person who posted the video (the truck driver?) writes that the truck is a Honda Acty Attack (http://www.honda.co.jp/ACTY/truck/webcatalog/type/attack/, also in Japanese).

    I learnt the hard way last winter, after driving both of the left-side wheels on my Hijet into a snow covered roadside gutter :frustration:, that 4WD is not exactly 4WD. Sure enough, re-checked my user manual and learnt that there was a "diff lock" option I'd known nothing about.

    Something I'll keep in mind when purchasing my next kei-tora.

  15. neller

    neller New Member

    Timetripper , your breakdown of the variations and how they interact is fantastic ! My Sambar has something called ( free-axle ) ... I believe you covered that feature in your explanation . When I got the truck I noticed an empty socket for a relay that Subaru referred to as a " free-axle " relay . I had no idea what it did or how it was even engaged . The whole free-axle system shows up several times in the shop manual . Clear as mud really . Thanks again for the info.

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