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Traction Control - Speed Shop

We Test It
Auburn Gear Electronically Controlled Traction Enhancing Differential (ECTED)

This is the solution to the "spool versus limited slip at the dragstrip" debate. A spool is good because it locks both axles together for maximum torque transfer but is dangerous on the street because it does not allow the rear tires to spin at different speeds around a corner, putting strain on the axles and causing fun but unsafe instability like understeer and snap oversteer. A limited slip is good because clutches allow the wheels to spin at different speeds, but hot slicks grabbing traction individually in the burnout box can kill it.

Jeep guys have solved this problem using air and hydraulic lockers for years to add 100 percent torque transfer to both spinning tires to escape mudholes and climb rocks. The new ECTED is based on this idea but uses a magnetic coil to lock, unlock, or even vary the amount of torque that is delivered to the rear wheels. It is designed to be used in conjunction with onboard traction control devices, but for our purposes it can serve as a switchable spool controlled with a simple on/off toggle. We installed one in our Rambler's AMC Model 20 rearend and gave it a beating. Here's what we found:

Can you switch it on and off while driving? Yes. It is recommended that the switch be flipped below 5 mph when only one tire is spinning. Otherwise, we flipped it on at freeway speed, low speed, high speed, and around corners with no problems.

Does it make noise? No. It is as quiet as any properly set-up differential we've ever used. We've never heard it clunk during engagement.

Will it fit in a stock housing? Yes. It installs just like a normal limited-slip differential. The only difference is drilling a hole in the diff cover to run the wires.

Is it a full locker? Yes. When it is engaged, the inside tire chirps around corners just like a full spool. Since it is wired to the ignition, when the key is off it unlocks so you can push or tow the car.

Is it a good limited slip? As good as any normal limited slip. We've plugged the throttle for some powerslides and it works as expected. In locked mode, we no longer fear the burnout box.

Learn More: Auburn Gear Inc.; Auburn, IN; 260/920-3501; auburngear.com

APPLICATIONS
Make Model
AMC M20
Ford 8.5
  8.8
  8.8 IRS
GM 12-bolt
Description PN Source Price
Auburn ECTED locker 545007 ringpinion.com $746.16

Sounds Improbable, Works Good
What It Is: A pair of foam car ramps.
Why You Care: Metal ramps have been around since the beginning of time. They're heavy, they screech when you drag them across the floor, they gouge the concrete and dig holes in asphalt driveways, and they rust the first time they see moisture. Brute Industries has come up with a better mousetrap in the form of Race Ramps-a pair of high-density foam ramps that support 3,000 pounds but weigh only 10 pounds each. They are available in 56- and 67-inch lengths to fit under lowered cars, and raise the car either 8 or 10 inches off the ground.
How Much: $199 for the 56-inch ramps, $299 for the 67-inchers.
Learn More: Brute Industries Inc.; Gladstone, MI; 866/464-2788; raceramps.com

Subframe to Full-Frame Conversion
What It Is: A bolt-in perimeter frame for first-gen F-cars.
Why You Care: If you're the kind of guy who likes to build a car from the ground up from a pile of parts, check out this frame for '67-'69 Camaros and Firebirds. Swapping a full frame in place of the original subframes will significantly increase chassis stiffness and therefore improve handling. The front suspension is designed with a better camber curve design, and the rear suspension shelves the ancient leaf springs in favor of a triangulated four-link design and Winters 9-inch housing that will swallow up giant 345mm rear tires. Universal motor mounts allow your choice of small-block, big-block, or LS-series engines.
How Much: The bare steel chassis starts at $3,495. A fully equipped roller complete with brakes costs $14,600.
We Say: Would look good under a Trans Am replica racer.
Learn More: Schwartz Extreme Performance; Crystal Lake, IL; 815/455-2230; schwartzperformance.com

Overdrive Five-Speed From Richmond
What It Is: Richmond Gear's heavy-duty five-speed overdrive transmission for Chevy, Ford, and Mopar applications.
Why You Care: Interested in an overdrive trans that will handle 600 lb-ft of torque without breaking a sweat? Check out this five-speed from Richmond. The company took one of its six-speed cases and filled it with only five gears. This allowed the face width of the gears to be wider and therefore stronger in order to handle that much torque. You can choose either a 3.33:1 or 2.89:1 First gear; top gear is an overdriven 0.77:1, and the shifter is included.
How Much: Pricing is to be announced, but Richmond's nonoverdrive five-speed road/race box sells for about $2,500 from Summit Racing.
We Say: Manual transmissions rule.
Learn More: Richmond Gear; Liberty, SC; 864/843-9231; richmondgear.com

Big Radiators in Brass, Not Aluminum
What It Is: Stock-appearing radiators.
Why You Care: Want a bigger radiator? Impala Bob's offers stock-replacement, copper/brass radiators for a variety of Chevys. You can choose standard-duty two-row cores, heavy-duty three-row cores, or the Desert Cooler four-row radiators. These radiators are designed to fit the stock mounting brackets.
How Much: Prices range from $165 to just over $400 depending on size and application.
We Say: Copper transfers heat better than aluminum.
Learn More: Impala Bob's Inc.; Mesa, AZ; 480/981-1600; impalas.com

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