The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Stuck again

truck stuck in the mud

It's been really dry lately, but I still managed to get the truck stuck yesterday.

We did a bit of research prompted by a suggestion from Roland about the differential unit.

I called a local dealer, who could tell from the VIN number that our particular model does not have a "locker" mechanism, which locks up when your tires start to spin so that each wheel turns equally, and then unlocks for regular driving so that normal turning can still be done.

The parts alone were going to be around 1000 dollars with an estimate of 300 for the labor. My current plan is to track down a used differential unit that has the "locker" feature and have our local mechanic swap them out.

We've also decided to get an electric winch in the hopes that it might be able to pull us out of spots like this in the future.

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

check out They make locking gears for lots of differentials.
Comment by cj kramer Fri Sep 2 23:30:09 2011
Thanks for the lead, CJ! I'm sure Mark will research it along with used differentials.
Comment by anna Sat Sep 3 14:18:01 2011
Being a city-gal who watches too much TV, would a winch in the front of your truck be useful? Somehow magically pulling the truck free if you tied on to some of those lovely trees? Or perhaps a winch would be just as expensive as a locking differential?
Comment by Rena Sat Sep 3 23:03:32 2011
If you are really unlucky with a winch, you start up with a car stuck in the mud, and you and up with a car stuck in the mud with a tree on top. :-)
Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Sep 4 10:11:36 2011
If you do get a winch, you may want to consider a receiver hitch attachment for it. You can then mount it on the front or rear of the truck. Gives you a bit of flexibility when trying to get out of a hole.
Comment by Shannon Sun Sep 4 15:15:27 2011

Roland-One senerio I did not consider is the possibility of falling a tree and crushing the truck all in the same day....reminds me of a scene in the movie "The Gods Must Be Crazy" where the guy forgets the winch is on and it somehow pulls his truck like 40 feet in the air after it pulled the truck from a river.

Shannon-You must have read my mind about the winch. I found one that will snug up to a towing ball on a hitch, and yes I want to also have the option of putting it up front, which I think will entail welding the plate it comes with to the frame somehow. Also having a portable winch could come in handy on other chores away from the truck. My main concern is the low duty rating of all the portable winchs. I guess I'll just be careful not to put too much strain on it.

Comment by mark Sun Sep 4 17:26:43 2011
Rena-A winch will vary in price, and yes some of them would cost just as much as the differential or more, but I think I'm going to try what's called a "portable winch" which runs around 100 dollars and can be carried by hand instead of being mounted to the front like most winchs. The main reason for going the portable route is not finding an easy way to make one of the more heavy duty winchs at least portable enough to switch from the front to the back.
Comment by mark Sun Sep 4 17:31:48 2011
There should be a couple of point on the front and back of the frame of the truck where you can attach tow cables. Attach your winch to one of those and a suitable tree and winch away.
Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Sep 4 19:19:28 2011

Funny you should say that.

I just had a local guy visit to explore the possibility of making a chicken cam and on the way out he noticed our stuck truck and offered to bring his "Monkey Winch" over.

He explained the cable was as thick as your wrist and I instantly was experiencing some kind of winch that I've looked it up I see why he was so confident in it doing the job.

Maybe I could try to talk him into selling it....he said he bought if off his brother back in 1960 for 30 bucks!

That being said....the weather forecast is calling for rain all day tomorrow, which might mean the truck will have to wait for a week or longer.

Comment by mark Sun Sep 4 20:15:59 2011

cj Kramer-Thanks for turning us on to PowerTrax.

That Lock-Right locker looks like exactly what we need at a price that should make the dealer blush.

Too bad the contact form on their website is broken. My real question is which one do I need to order for our truck and how fast can they send it to us....but when I submit the form it just breaks.....arghhhhhh...

Comment by mark Sun Sep 4 20:55:09 2011

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.