Chevrolet likes to talk about its pickup trucks and this week it’s shining the light on its G80 locking rear differential axle, designed to help out with traction on slick surfaces.
Referred to as the G80 for its order code, the rear axle locks automatically if one wheel starts to spin, enabling both rear wheels to propel the truck. The added traction lets a 2WD pickup to go places traditionally thought of as 4×4 territory, and further enhances the capability of 4×4 pickups.
“The G80 locking axle provides a greater traction advantage than limited-slip differentials in most situations, while its automatic engagement requires no driver involvement, unlike competitors’ electronic lockers, which require driver activations. The G80’s simplicity, durability and sure-footed grip have been proven with generations of customers, as it has been a staple of the Chevy truck lineup for more than 40 years,” says Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer.
Chevrolet’s special G80 get its name from their order code and are an automatically locking axle system. How it works is that when one wheel loses traction and starts to spin the rear axle senses this and locks allowing traction to be gained as the rear wheels work to get the truck out of that sticky situation.
Because of the enhanced traction provided by the G80, two-wheel drive Chevy’s are able to encroach on the the home turf traditionally reserved for four-wheel drive. This is a boon for drivers looking to save some money at the pump but still be able to do some off roading, or drive across that ridiculous patch of grass. Of course, a Chevy four-wheel drive equipped with G80 pushes the territory limit even further.
The G80 is an automatic emergency response that is triggered by excessive slippage. It acts to ensure that the rear wheels match the speed of the spinning wheel and therefore regain the lost traction. A normal axle allows wheels to rotate at different speeds which limits the amount of torque that can be channelled to maximize traction.
Unlike other brand trucks axles, the Chevy G80 axle locking system reacts automatically so that drivers can focus on the driving experience while their Chevy trucks make it happen. The process is so smooth that all that is noticed is the enhanced traction capabilities.
“There are no buttons to push or electronic setting to engage. The G80 does its job instantly and quietly, so drivers can go about their job with confidence,” says Luke.
The G80 is available on most Silverados, it is standard on LTZ and Z71 versions of the 1500 and on all 2500 and 3500 HDs models. It is also available on the Colorado WT and LT models and comes standard on the Z71. It also comes standard with the Tahoe and Suburban.
The Colorado is the Motor Trend’s 2015 Truck of the Year and is the top selling truck for the first quarter of this year. It gets a highway EPA of 27 mpg with two-wheel drive.