PRI 2014: Motive Gear Gets Traction With New Differentials

Motive-PRI-116With a line of five different aftermarket performance differentials to choose from, each with it’s own qualities and optimum applications, Motive Gear is gaining ground in the automotive enthusiast marketplace. The gang from Motive Gear was on hand at the 2014 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show and we spent some time talking traction.

Motive-PRI-106Two standbys from Motive Gear are the Powertrax Lock-Right and the Powertrax No-Slip differentials. The Lock-Right provides straight-line performance akin to a spool, but allows for wheel differentiation when it automatically unlocks as the vehicle begins to turn. It’s recommended for severe-duty off-road and street use, and has been around since the 1970s, and as Steve Filipiak from Motive put it, “This is the unit your Dad used, the Lock-Right, although it’s been modified over the years to gain a little tighter tolerances and better durability, we’ve sold thousands of these over the last 40 years.”

The No-Slip, is another automatic locking differential from Motive Gear, but it is probably better for your daily driver because it combines the streetable characteristics of a limited-slip-device with the all-out traction performance of a locker, offering a synch mechanism that smooths out the locking and unlocking process. “The No Slip is a equally as strong as the Lock-Right, but a little more civilized. Either the Lock-Right or the No-Slip can be easily installed by the backyard mechanic.” said Filipiak.

Then there is the Powertrax Grip line of differentials from Motive Gear. The Grip LS is easily rebuildable, and uses clutches for power biasing to provide traction as needed, and is really best suited for the street machine market. However, it’s not as simple DIY installation, since the ring and pinion need to re-set, as well as backlash checked when installing.

The Grip Pro and Grip Lock are for the hardcore street/strip, or off-road user, who wants the most traction he can get. The Grip LS is more gentle, and a better option for average use, but the gear-driven Pro Grip limited-slip that delivers progressive and variable traction based on throttle input, and the Grip Lock that is a mechanically actuated locker, are about the closest to a spool you can get without actually having a spool.

Motive-PRI-114These Pro and Lock differentials in the Grip Line need their ring and pinion reset, so unless you’re a very experienced mechanic, it’s not really a DIY set up. However, they do have a distinct advantage over the Grip LS, as Greg Brown from Motive explained, “The clutch-type LS is lubricant sensitive (it needs a traction enhancer added to its oil), and can be prone to burning clutches, if they are used very hard.”

The Grip Pro and Grip Lock are new to the line, and are now available and shipping for many applications. Greg Brown told us, “we now have Pro and Lock for GM 10-bolts, but we have always covered the Ford and Dana axles.” For all the applications available across the entire Motive Gear product line, check out the company’s website.


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About the author

Stuart Bourdon

A passion for anything automotive (especially off-road vehicles), camping, and photography led to a life exploring the mountains and deserts of the Southwest and Baja, and a career in automotive, outdoor, and RV journalism.
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