Locking Diff. T1N What's it take to do?


Starting build on 05 2500 Sprinter Camper Conversion. I was thinking of how to make this thing more off road (more like dirt road capable.....open diffs. can get stuck in a puddle) capable. Does anyone know of a good solution for installing a locking diff. for the back of this thing?

Thank you


Well-known member
Flip the ASR switch. Designed to unstick you from puddles.


Well-known member
A locking rear differential would disable some of the best safety features in your Sprinter.
You have ASR (Anti-Skid Recovery) which will straighten you out if you start to spin
take a corner too fast and have the rear wheels break loose.
It does this by sensing (with an accellerometer) when the Sprinter is deviating from
rear wheels tracking behind the front wheels and applies the service brakes on the wheel
or wheels that will straighten you back out ad prevent loss of control.
It really works.....don't ask how I know this.
Adding a locking differential would be totally in conflict with the OEM safety and traction
control systems.
If you are getting stuck in puddles or wet grass, and are using the OEM Continental Vanco
Four Seasons tires, the problem is the tires, not the vehicle they are supposed to move.
Get a set of Michelin Defender LTX AT-2 (on/off road All Terrain tires) and your traction will
improve significantly.
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New member
Starting build on 05 2500 Sprinter Camper Conversion. I was thinking of how to make this thing more off road (more like dirt road capable.....open diffs. can get stuck in a puddle) capable. Does anyone know of a good solution for installing a locking diff. for the back of this thing?

Thank you
You have to realize you are asking people who think Mother Mercedez is the be all, end all of commercial vehicles.

I'd love a locker, but sadly I don't think any (or many) options exist.

I already have aggressive AT tires. I drive wherever the roads take me. From remote back country roads to 10" snow covered roads in our back 40 to go dirt biking. It's impressive what an unlocked vehicle with a heavy front end can do, but having a locker would be security for sure. You don't lock up an axle and worry about stability, ABS, etc. It's there for a specific use only.

I drive a lifted and locked 4runner as well. You can go from stuck to flip a switch and drive out with a locker. And that's with a vehicle that will flex like crazy. The van lifts a tire going over pebbles in comparison, the main downfall of using the van in demanding situations. As soon as that tire lifts, the van loses all drive. Locker would fix that.


Active member
When one back tire spins the brake for the other rear wheel gets activated and both tires will spin.

Why the need for a locker?

I find that when roads get rough I get notably annoyed by driving down a severely crappy road before the sprinter is not capable of driving down the road.


New member
Yes, the "Anti-Skid Recovery" is designed to prevent wheel spin, which represents loss of traction. This is a very smart design for typical on-road slipping scenarios, when both wheels have enough surface contact. But if the terrain is challenging enough, such as when one wheel is lifted (such as in the typical off-road, crawling over rocks scenerio) or sometimes in snow/mud (where a little wheel-spin can be helpful to dig till there is traction), the ASR system will simply prevent the van from moving no matter how much you rev the engine, because it's designed to brake any slipping. Even backing up my driveway with a little wet leaves and mud I've found that turning off ASR allows me to crawl up it with better control (vs the ASR stopping the van and losing momentum as soon as it senses slip). Momentum can be a key ingredient to getting through low-traction scenarios, and ASR braking sometimes prevents this.

As Shibby explained, a locking diff will mechanically force both wheels to spin at the same time, which has much better results in off-road or more challenging scenarios because it equalizes torque across drive wheels, allowing them to push the vehicle from either wheel where traction is found.

For my purposes I would consider a rear diff lock upgrade over a full 4x4 conversion. Has anybody in the US had any success with this?
After seeing a former roommate with his Toyota truck having a dashboard activated rear locker button years ago, I have hoped for the same ever since.

A couple of winters ago after a rainy few days and the low spot in my backyard making a pool because of the underlying clay would take days to soak through, I deactivated my ASR system hoping it would allow me to drive on through to my usual parking space against the backyard fence.

Take any guesses what happened anyone? After several attempts to get out, I ended up calling AAA and being towed out to the paved driveway portion.

My confidence in using the deactivated ASR to get me out of a touchy situation no longer exists. And yes, I did lower the air pressure in the tires significantly to no avail.

Any discussion of rear lockers peaks my interest every time. For the crucial times this would be needed, disabling other safety features for the short distance and slow speeds would be preferable. Once unstuck, turn off the locker.

Van Compass is working on a disconnect sway bar that allows the wheels to stay on the ground in certain conditions and even removing the sway bar altogether because of the wheel s lifting off the ground due to limited movement. I think they have something there that is better for keeping all the wheels on the ground and maintaining traction when it is most needed.

Thanks to all here.

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2018 144" Tall Revel
I prefer a good limited slip to a locker. I have Toyota’s with each. The 4Runner with LS truetrac is more capable and easier to use than the Tacoma with factory E locker.
An important difference in very low traction conditions is the ability to steer. With the E locker, you best be pointed where you want to go.


New member
Is this post too old to resurrect? Anyone know specifically where to get a rear locking differential, or single rear wheel axle with same, for the T1N sprinter? Parts numbers would be especially appreciated. There are zero drawbacks to having a switchable locker. You turn it on when you want it (and turn off the traction control) or turn it off when you don't, and let the normal electronic aids do their normal jobs.

I'll never understand why Mercedes didn't spring for EDL (electronic diff lock) in the brake system. My 1998 Audi A8 Quattro has it, and it has neither ESP nor even traction control, though it does obviously have ABS. At speeds under 40kph, the brakes are used to slow down the slipping wheel when under power. This is almost certainly a simple configuration change in the Bosch ABS programming during production, that Mercedes decided wasn't worth a couple of bucks per vehicle or whatever it would have broken down to across the entire fleet. This would have solved the one-legger problem sufficiently for most purposes. Vehicles with ESP have enough brake capacity for this by definition.


Engineer In Residence
Sprinters do have traction control on the rear axle, which brakes the spinning wheel.

Other than importing a locker MB axle from europe, you only option is to swap another vehicles axle in. Because the rear wheel speed sensors need to match, you either need to get lots of custom stuff made, or use a signal modifier box. I am doing something similar for my 4wd conversion.

Supposedly Quaife made a helical LSD for the sprinter, but I can't find any documentation for it.

Gabe Athouse

New member
I spoke with quaife headquarters and they do not offer any products for us.


New member
Possible there is someone from Europe on the forum pleasantly export if there someone screaming out! driving sprinter in challenging wheather or terrain is difficult or impossible without diff lock.
50% of sprinter sold in northern Europe are equipped with diff lock, almost every models with dual rear wheels are because of laws.
I am currently shut down on the project due to illness and winter snow, but I am working on transplanting a GM 9.5" rear axle off a Sierra pickup that has a gov lock, but this can also be upgraded with some aftermarket models. The transplant involves:

-remove/replace shock/anti sway stabilizer brackets
-weld adapter plates onto spring perches due to slightly different spring centers
-with wedge to adjust pinion angle
-modify bump stop plates on GM axle
-re-plumb brakes
-With my model year GM, I am making tone wheel assemblies and installing wheel speed sensors which also require electronic bias correction. Using later model axles with ABS means different tone wheel tooth count than Sprinter, requiring electronic correction (MWD and I are using arduino for these types of functions with our 4wd conversions)

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