handled the twist ditch without any difficulties. When the front and rear
wheel would leave the ground we paused the Chevy for a moment, gave it
some gas and felt the rear locker kick in to provide the needed traction.
The Ford, without its lockers engaged, was unable to handle the twist
ditches. It quickly spun out and redlined. But when the Ford's ELockers
were engaged the twist ditches proved to be no obstacle. The ELockers
were also more comfortable for the driver because there was never the
anticipation and guesswork you get with a mechanical differential when
trying to climb over the ditches.
Next up was
a hill climb, but this was no ordinary hill. This was the kind of hill
that gives you pause to make sure your final will and last testament are
in order. The kind of hill that would make even Sisyphus want to throw
up his arms in defeat. It was a 50-degree monster strewn with a surface
of loose river rock, dirt and 6-inch deep ruts from past test vehicles.
We got out
and walked the hill to get a better feel for the terrain and then got
back in the Silverado for the first try. Hitting the gas we got within
a few feet of the top before it was clear not even the mechanical locker
was going to get us over. Staring at blue sky, barely able to see the
slope ahead of us, we were forced to back down the incline very slowly.
It took one more try with a little more gas and a slightly different approach
before we got the Chevy over the crest.
even try to run the SuperCrew up the hill without the front and rear diffs
engaged. ELockers activated, the SuperCrew hustled up the hill with barely
a complaint. Clearly the advantage was with the ELockers.
We took on
three other off-road courses before calling it a day, with much the same
results as the previous tests. A large field of dirt moguls offered us
the opportunity to place the trucks into any combination of attitude or
angle. A log ditch had around ten telephone poles chevroned together at
30-degree angles to climb the trucks over and we parted a deep water trough
that brought muddy water nearly up to the tops of the wheel wells.
the trip to Eaton's proving grounds drove home some critical points because
a lot of things we did you couldn't do with a truck 10 years ago. And,
if you are going to take on the world with your pickup you need equipment
that is up to the task, has the latest and most appropriate technology
and has been tested to the highest of tolerances. Eaton's differentials
are just a small assortment of the arsenal you might want Q to arm you
with before your mission.
are expected to be available as an aftermarket kit in September 2002.
Estimated retail pricing will be approximately $700 to $750 per axle.