Question About Lockers

Question About Lockers

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1979 CJ-7 with a fiberglass body and 1982 wide track axles, 258 I-6 with a 1995 4.0 head, HEI distributor, Motorcraft 2100 Carb, T-18 wide ratio tranny, Super Lift Springs and 33s, a 1997 BMW 328i, and a 2010 REDLINE CONQUEST TEAM Cyclocross Bike. :)
I've heard conflicting opinions on this. If installing just one locker, is it better to put one in the front or rear axle? Just doing the front would seem to make more sense to me because you wouldn't have it in use when the hubs are not locked, and it would only be there when you need it. Having it in the rear would make the Jeep more likely to fish tail in rear wheel drive on slick streets.

In which end do people usually install them?
 
I have lockers in front and rear in my opinion the rear is a better choice because when your front is locked in snow/mud or slippery surface your steering is greatly reduced. When turning one wheel is turning faster than the other you cannot turn as sharp and your chances of gear damage is greater. When I have my rear locked in there is very little fish tailing as long as you keep your foot out of the gas.
 
My opinion is the same as jarbidge09, and I'll add something do it.

When you lock the front axle, you immediately put more stress on the axle U-joints, ring and pinion, shafts... If the rear is locked, that's usually not a big deal. But with the rearend left open, the front will tend to want to "drag" the rear I.E. do most of the work...this compounds the stress on an already weaker front axle.

The rearend in any vehicle is going to be the stronger axle. It will complain less haveing to do more of the work then the frontend will.

When I locked my Jeep, I did the rear first and am glad I did. It wasn't to much longer and I locked up the front. I would not have done it the other way for the above reasons.

Im originally from Montana and I heard all the "horror stories" about locked rearends on ice and I have to tell you, after installing the locker, my jeep actually handled better. No fishtailing as It did previously with one tire spinning furiously, and I had positive forward traction...something I wasn't used to!

I experimented at length up and down icy roads, and hard throttle wouldnt force it to do anything but accelerate forward. Corners are another story, you want to take it easy as you dont have the differentiation created by an open rearend...one tire turning slower and tracking around the icy corner. But it's do-able and I wouldn't go back to open diffs for anything. Even on icy, snowy, slippery roads.
 
It sounds like everyone is talking about auto locking differentials such as the Detroit Lockers. Let me throw something else out there. I prefer a selectable locker such as ARB or OX locker. They cost more but then you can have the best of both worlds. Lock it when you need it but unlock it on slippery roads.
If you go with a selectable locker then put it in the rear. The job of the rear is to move you forward. A locker will do that. The job of the front end is to steer you in the right direction. An open diff there will do that.
 
It sounds like everyone is talking about auto locking differentials such as the Detroit Lockers. Let me throw something else out there. I prefer a selectable locker such as ARB or OX locker. They cost more but then you can have the best of both worlds. Lock it when you need it but unlock it on slippery roads.
If you go with a selectable locker then put it in the rear. The job of the rear is to move you forward. A locker will do that. The job of the front end is to steer you in the right direction. An open diff there will do that.

Totally agree.
And as a side note to what Dave said, I never run my front end hubs locked and in 4wd on icy roads for the very reason he stated. The rear offers plenty of traction, the front "rudders" just fine. With power to the front, the tires will break traction (even with an open frontend you run this risk) and you can lose control on the slippery stuff.
I reserve all-out locked-up for getting myself out of ditches and navigating through deep unplowed roads.

This may sound odd to some, believing 4wd is best on ice, but it's more about controlling the tire grip of the frontend that provides stable driving circumstances especially with short wheel base Jeeps.
 
It sounds like the consensus is to do the rear axle if only installing one. All the reasons given make good sense. One other thing I thought of is my lazy side tells me it's a lot easier to install one in the rear axle because I won't have to take as much apart! :chug:

Guess I'll buy one for the back first, and maybe put one in the front eventually.

Thanks for all the info!
 
It sounds like everyone is talking about auto locking differentials such as the Detroit Lockers. Let me throw something else out there. I prefer a selectable locker such as ARB or OX locker. They cost more but then you can have the best of both worlds. Lock it when you need it but unlock it on slippery roads.
If you go with a selectable locker then put it in the rear. The job of the rear is to move you forward. A locker will do that. The job of the front end is to steer you in the right direction. An open diff there will do that.

I thought about springing for an air locker, but with this Jeep of mine, simplicity is the theme. I decided I wanted to build a Jeep with the least number of possible points of failure that I could. Simple means reliable and problems are more easily diagnosed. I just plan to install a Lockright locker so everything will be self contained and simple. It also doesn't hurt that I can buy one for just a little over $200.

When installing the locker, that would also be a really good time for me to install a pair of one piece axles in the old AMC 20.

Does anyone have any recomendations on where to get the best axles for the money?
 
It sounds like everyone is talking about auto locking differentials such as the Detroit Lockers. Let me throw something else out there. I prefer a selectable locker such as ARB or OX locker. They cost more but then you can have the best of both worlds. Lock it when you need it but unlock it on slippery roads.
If you go with a selectable locker then put it in the rear. The job of the rear is to move you forward. A locker will do that. The job of the front end is to steer you in the right direction. An open diff there will do that.

I agree with the selectable locker. I have a detroit in the rear of mine now,
and on slick roads if the rear breaks traction it wants to go down the crown of the road and in the ditch, an open diiff. rear doesn't do that.
The next locker I buy will be selectable.
 
I decided I wanted to build a Jeep with the least number of possible points of failure that I could. Simple means reliable and problems are more easily diagnosed. I just plan to install a Lockright locker so everything will be self contained and simple. It also doesn't hurt that I can buy one for just a little over $200.

When installing the locker, that would also be a really good time for me to install a pair of one piece axles in the old AMC 20.

Does anyone have any recomendations on where to get the best axles for the money?

I wouldn't go with a lockright, they use your stock carrier and will be a weak point.
The best place for axles is summit racing. IMO the best axles are made by superior.
 
I wouldn't go with a lockright, they use your stock carrier and will be a weak point.
The best place for axles is summit racing. IMO the best axles are made by superior.
How common is it for them to break? I'm only running a 258 with a 1 barrel carb and 33's. I take it off road but I'm not doing monster rock crawling with it. I put too much work into making it look good to shred it on really big rocks. :eek:

If running a lockright, what actually breaks, the locker or the carrier?

One other thing for me to consider. If I was about to spend the kind of money it would take to buy a selectible locker or even a Detroit, along with a pair of one piece axles for the AMC 20, I might as well upgrade to a stronger Dana than the 20 while I'm at it.
 
The best place for axles is summit racing. IMO the best axles are made by superior.

I saw that Quadratec has a complete one piece rear axle kit for $199. Do you really think the Superior brand from Summit is that much better? Has anyone on here ever reported any brand of one piece axles breaking? If so, I'd much rather spend the extra money, but if not, I'll go with the lower cost.

I'm definitely not spending over $800 on a selectible locker in a weaker axle like the AMC 20. For the kind of driving I do, I think I'll be fine with the AMC 20 and a locker, with a pair of 1 piece axles for a little piece of mind. I can do the axles and lockright for just over $400 total. That's not too bad. If I ever decide to go nuts on rock crawling or put more HP under the hood, I'll upgrade to a Dana 44 or or some other stronger axle.
 
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I'll proabably end up with lockers in both ends eventually. I'm just trying to figure out which one would do the most good for now.

I understand that there are always better, stronger, and more expensive ways to build things, but for the use I want to get out of my CJ for the foreseeable future, I'm comfortable with a lockright on one end or the other and a set of one piece axles in the AMC 20. I can think of a million things I'd rather spend the extra money it would take to buy a selectible locker on like maybe a winch.

I have a lot of hobbies and money doesn't grow on trees, so I'm just trying to get the most for my money on the Jeep. Simple, cheap, and reliable for the moderate abuse I plan to put my Jeep through is my plan.
 
You can get the cheap made overseas axles or you can spend a little more on U.S.A. made ie. Superior or Moser. I my lifetime being cheap has never paid off for me.;)
 
Everyone has a preference and here is where I am going after all this discussion and the research I have done. Like you, I have the 258 engine and a AMC 20 rear end. I've decided on the Aussie locker and solid axles. It's one of the stronger lunch box options and by all accounts it does the job well. Unless you are going to beef up the horsepower and/or do some mud whomping, the AMC 20 should hold up fine. My CJ 5 has been through the Rubicon 8 times and other rough trails as well and my axles have never been a problem. I am definitely doing the rear end first. If I do the front, I will probably look at doing a selectable for all the reasons given here.

Tommy
 
You can get the cheap made overseas axles or you can spend a little more on U.S.A. made ie. Superior or Moser. I my lifetime being cheap has never paid off for me.;)

That's a good point. I haven't heard of anyone breaking any one piece axle from any manufacturer, but I'd be willing to pay a few bucks more to have one less part on my project that's made in china.
 
I've been running Lockrights front and rear in my CJ for over 10 years and have never had a problem. Currently running a lot of horsepower and 36's with no issues whatsoever.

The problem with Lockrights lies with case tolerance. People will break lockers if the tolerance (distance) is to great between couplers...which is a direct result of a worn out case. They blame the failure on the locker when in fact, it is their axle itself that caused the problem.

What typically breaks is the pins and occasionally, the cross shaft...but many people will use the stock non-hardened cross shaft which is ill-advised by Powertrax. The pins tend to break, once again, because of case tolerance.

I personally think Lockrights are the perfect choice for the 30/20 combo as they are cheap, simple, and effective. I simply cant justify spending a fortune on lockers for these axles.
 
My current jeep comes with a limited slip rear.
So when I did my first upgrade I swapped in a
D44 in the front with an auburn e-locker.
It's limited slip when unlocked, flip the switch
then it's locked.

I personally prefer a locker up front, it's where
the weight is and will get the most traction.
It's pulling the weight not trying to push it.
 
My current jeep comes with a limited slip rear.
So when I did my first upgrade I swapped in a
D44 in the front with an auburn e-locker.
It's limited slip when unlocked, flip the switch
then it's locked.

I personally prefer a locker up front, it's where
the weight is and will get the most traction.
It's pulling the weight not trying to push it.

I've heard a lot of different opinions on front or back axle. If I decide to do serious rock crawling, the weight would be on the rears when pushing up the face of the rock, and then the front would pull when the rear tires start going up the face. I don't do major rock crawling, so at least for now, I think a rear locker would do more good.

As for a brand and style, I'm going with a lockright. I could buy three Lockrights for what one Detroit would cost, and that doesn't even factor in the cost of re-aligning the gears. I could buy four Lockrights for what one selectible locker would cost, and again I'd also have to pay to get the gears set up. If the Lockright only lasts half as long as a detroit, it would still be worth it. My last project was a 69 Vette that I went nuts on getting the best parts I could afford, and it went from running 13's on the original motor I built to running low 11's on the last motor I built. With many thousands of dollars invested to gain 2 seconds in the quarter mile, I had a car that was less fun to drive because it was so radical, and it broke other parts like spindles with all that extra hp. I don't drive my CJ as hard as some on here drive theirs. A Lockright set up properly should be just fine for the moderate wheeling I plan to do, without breaking the bank. I just wish I'd learned that lesson before building two more powerful engines for the vette. It would have saved me tons of cash, and a whole lot of hours labor. And I would have continued to enjoy beating up on punks in mustang GT's from stoplight to stoplight while having a comfortable reliable ride for the last few years I owned it instead of all the fun being taken out of it because it was too easy. :D
 
Even in mud and snow I prefer a front locker.
It's easier for the jeep to pull weight than to push it, IMO.
 
Here's my opinion. (and remember it's just an opinion)

If you have lockers it seems like you can always stay moving. You may not always move in the direction you intended, but you will stay moving.

If you have open diffs you will always stay pointed in the correct direction. You may not always be moving but at least you will be pointed the right way.

That's why I like a selectable locker. The best of both worlds.
:grinjeep:
 

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