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2000 Astro Archer conversion. 4x4 kit. 73k miles as of 3/13/22
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119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there an e-locker that is compatible with our vans? I have also seen in older posts talk about a manual locking rear end. Is this an option? What is the consensus on front lockers? I have also seen talk of switching to a iron front differential from an s10. Can someone school me in this?
PLEASE?
 

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I have a cast iron front diff with an LSD. A true locker has it’s issues if you want to steer. Yes there are air lockers E lockers and others. Captain Crunch did some fantastic research in this area. I took my lead from his posts.
 

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2000 Astro Archer conversion. 4x4 kit. 73k miles as of 3/13/22
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119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Can you tell me more about cast iron diff? What is the advantage? Is it a direct swap? I will search that name and see what i can find.
 

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1989 Astro RS on a 1998 AWD frame with a 1994 350 TBI
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The iron diff is stronger and will hold up to the locker and such, whereas the aluminum will not take a beating, and it is not recommended to install any type of locker. They are hard to find, though. Going rate for one now is 500 to 600 bucks from a junkyard. If you find one.
It is a direct swap and even comes with the lock out mechanism on the S-10
 

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1998 LS AWD Forest Green metallic
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1,486 Posts
I would not recommend going to the trouble of finding and installing a locker style rear diff, unless you are hard core off-road.
If a complete G80 rear end fell into your lap, cheap, then maybe. Swapping complete rear axle housing is some work, but no critical measurements are needed, as opposed to swapping in a different carrier assembly and shimming bearings etc.

The G80 option ( Gov-Loc) was available from the factory, but few use them any more, and the reputation is not good for reliability with heavy use.
I had a Torsen style ( Helical gear ) limited-slip installed in my rear differential. Mine was a used assembly from a Camaro or Pontiac. Eaton ( Tru-Trak?) makes a version that seems to be very reliable, from what I have read.
I have been in some pretty questionable places, prior to the Torsen install, and had no trouble with the stock AWD ( '98 with the Borg-Warner setup). A true 4X4 with low range would have been helpful on a couple of occasions to take the strain off the transmission, but with care, it worked out OK.
The opportunity to get the Torsen and get it installed was just too enticing, but I have not had much of an opportunity this last year, to really put it to a test. Hoping to be able to play in some snow and mud this yearo_O

Rod J
Issaquah, Wa
 

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My Envoy cast front diff was not a direct swap. I took the cast and my aluminum front diffs to Jeff in Georgia and had him build the LSD for the unit as they are not commercially available. Jeff swamped the front yolk and the axel tube then built and installed the LSD unit. It was not cheap. I have 900 in it. Plus the original purchase of the cast unit. (350.00 ) if memorial serves. My van has the factory G-80 rear which only works to twenty MPH. I kept the factory AWD NP 136 transfer case because mine works. I have two NP 233 C transfer cases ready to install, if I ever go that way. I built a mechanical linkage in my shop, but I like Music Mans cable shift better. Again find Capt Crunches old posts he goes through every thing very well.
 
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