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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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pushbutton rear end?

I just got a '96 t-bird 4.6 a few weeks back from a friend. He claims it had an lsd rear end that would act like an open rear end with the traction control on. when I i had the car up on jacks I spun the rear wheels to see if it was indeed a lsd, the wheels spun in opposite directions. doing burnouts only spins the drivers side tire. now I should say that the traction control switch/waring light cluster is dead in my car (old solder joints all failing) and it's freaking cold outside right now, so i didn't want to go digging around in junkyards just to see if he is right. so is it indeed a "pushbutton" lsd? or a case of a blown rearend/he is full of bull. does anyone know where i could get the cluster new or have a part number? thanks
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 07:11 PM
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Your car is equipped with a 3.27 open differential, no limited slip. Traction control is an extension of the antilock braking system that automatically applies the brakes to a spinning drive wheel if slippage is detected. The "push button" is the on/off switch for the traction control subsystem located in the center console.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for your reply.
any chance the the pushbutton thing could be true? it seems as though everything has been changed/upgraded, so just because it came with it from the factory doesn't mean it hasn't been swapped. not trying to argue with you hear, i was thinking it was a factory open rearend as well, but my friend swears it was a posi.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 08:03 PM
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Posi is the GM term for a limited slip differential, or in Ford's case a Traction-Lok rear end - which was optional for these cars. The fact of one-wheel burnouts with the drive wheels spinning opposite directions when off the ground proves that you have an open rear end.

In a limited slip rear end, the wheels are mechanically restricted from a free spin situation; e.g. one wheel spinning while the other does not move. When one spins a certain degree faster than another, the wheels are mechanically locked together. In a traction control system like the one you have, this is not the case. When one wheel spins faster than the other, the brakes are applied to that wheel, forcing torque to the other drive wheel. If the free wheel starts to spin faster, the brakes are then applied to it to direct torque to the other wheel etc. etc. With this setup the two wheels are never actually prevented from spinning freely independently of the other. Pushing the button, so to speak, simply turns off the braking that happens when wheelspin is detected. You never actually have a limited slip system, regardless of whether traction control is on or off.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kornsystem69 View Post
any chance the the pushbutton thing could be true?
No.

Look at the tag on the differential; it's hanging off one of the bolts toward the top.

You can also look at the label on the driver's doorjamb; under axle it will say 5, most likely.

3L27 on the tag means Trak-Lok, which is the Ford version of positrack.

If you have a traction control switch on the front of the console, you do not have a trakloc differential, unless it's been swapped in.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 08:10 PM
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The only push-button style locker diff that I know of is the ARB air locker. It wouldn't be impossible to put that in a tbird, but I think it is highly unlikely considering the system requires an air compressor and tank to be mounted in the vehicle as well, and I don't know where you would hide one in a bird. A far more likely scenario is that the previous owner saw the traction control on/off button, and either he didn't know any better and thought it was a locking/unlocking diff, or he thought you wouldn't know any better, and told you that to make a sale. Also it being worn out is not likely because with IRS the axle doesn't twist up, so both tires have close to the same weight on them, so both wheels are more likely to spin.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-21-2010, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the answers guys. I thought it was a load of bull but a guy can hope you know? looks like a 3.73 posi rear end is in the plans for the car now.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 09:29 AM
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If you want, I have a 4.10 trak-lok unit for sale. I built it for a friend's car, and he used it for about 8-10K miles, then we converted the car to a 5-speed so he went back to 3.27s. I would need $300 plus shipping for it. Let me know if you're interested.

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