What's a good locker combination?

What's a good locker combination?
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I had an '83 CJ-7 which I used as my primary / only vehicle but it rusted out. I would like to get another though with the fiberglas body. Currently I have a '12 Jeep Patriot.
This is a generic question, I'm a former CJ7 owner and looking to get back into them as a second vehicle and so I'm making my plans.
This vehicle would mostly be used on the highway especially in winter when the S10 can't get out of the driveway but also as a weekend recreation vehicle with some moderate off roading.

I would like to find out what kind of lockers would be compatable with these uses, I've heard that Detroit lockers on the rear can be a problem in snow and ice and was wondering if just putting one on the front diff (4x3) would be a decent compromise....but something from the distant past says danger "Will Robinson." Of course I'm only 2x on the highway.

Any advise and links if this topic has been covered are appreciated.
 
I've heard that Detroit lockers on the rear can be a problem in snow and ice
That's true of any automatic locker. Detroit Lockers are the best automatic lockers.
You can get a selectable locker such as ARB or OX locker. They are the best because you can unlock them for the street. But they are also the most expensive, $1000 per axle. If you have the money this is what I would recommend since you live where you'll be getting lots of snow each winter.
The cheapest option is to get a "Lunchbox" locker such as a Ausi Locker. You install a Lunchbox locker into your existing differential. It is easier because you don't have to mess with the ring and pinion gears.
 
Next question is where to put the automatic locker. It used to be that everyone put lockers in the rear. Now many people put them in the front. That way you can get an open differential in the rear when you are on the street. The problem with putting them in the front is when you shift into 4x4 then the front tires may cause you to loose steering in a turn. With an automatic locker in the front you don't want to ever put your jeep in 4x4 on the street. If it is snowy out just deal with 2 wheel drive. With an automatic locker up front your you can loose directional stability and slide strait on a curve. When that happens there is nothing you can do but let off the gas and hope you start to turn before you crash. If the locker is in the rear you may fishtail but then you can always counter-steer to prevent a crash.
I always say a locker always keeps you moving but you may not move in the direction you want to go. An open differential has the best directional stability but you might get stuck.
On the other hand if you get a selectable locker then you turn it on when you are off-road and worried about getting stuck. You can also turn it off when you are on the street, especially on slippery roads.
 
Even though lunch-box lockers are cheaper, they still act like auto lockers ie. they are not very road friendly.
as Dave said secectables are the best all around, enen though they do cost a few bucks more.
you might even want to think about Limited slips if most of your driving is on road.
 
Thanks for the replies, there is a lot for me to learn about these things and I'm sure a lot has changed since the early 90s, the last time I was into 4x4.

I swapped ends a couple of times in snow and ice in a basically stock CJ7 in those days on the highway, fortunately no oncoming traffic but anything that could make that worse is to be feared, lol. On the other hand getting stuck on a side street isn't good for long term employment and careful driving and forethought can eliminate many problems.

It sounds like a locker on the front and an open back may be the way for me to go as I would only need the front drive to get me along residential streets a few blocks to the main road at which point I could go back to 2 wheel drive. Of course it would also be there for me off road when I get stuck in a mud hole (my personal enemy).

Do I understand correctly that if I unlock the hubs and the transfer case is in 2x the front lockers WON'T effect steering?
 
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I swapped ends a couple of times in snow and ice in a basically stock CJ7 in those days on the highway, fortunately no oncoming traffic but anything that could make that worse is to be feared,
It's the short wheelbase of the CJ that makes the locker even worse. If you had a long pickup with a locker in the rear it wouldn't be much of a problem.

It sounds like a locker on the front and an open back may be the way for me to go as I would only need the front drive to get me along residential streets a few blocks to the main road at which point I could go back to 2 wheel drive. Of course it would also be there for me off road when I get stuck in a mud hole (my personal enemy).
I don't want to steer you wrong. The people I know that have a locker in front use it for rock crawling. I really wouldn't recommend it for street use. Even 10 or 15 mph is enough to send you into a parked car. If you get a locker in front i would use it for off road only.

Do I understand correctly that if I unlock the hubs and the transfer case is in 2x the front lockers WON'T effect steering?
That's right. The locker in front will only come in effect when you are in four wheel drive.

A selectable locker would be best but they cost $1000 per axle. If that's too much I would listen to Old Dog and get a Limited Slip at $500. A Limited Slip costs about the same as a locker. These recommendations are based on the assumption that you will often be using 4x4 on slippery roads.
 
It's the short wheelbase of the CJ that makes the locker even worse....

A selectable locker would be best but they cost $1000 per axle. If that's too much I would listen to Old Dog and get a Limited Slip at $500. A Limited Slip costs about the same as a locker. These recommendations are based on the assumption that you will often be using 4x4 on slippery roads.

Yeah it would be engaged on muddy trails and as I mentioned on a snow/ice covered street just long enough (2 blocks) to get me to the intersection which is usually plowed. On the other hand Its been so long since I've had a jeep I might find I'm able to do it in 2 wheel drive without the need for a locker. Hell, my 2x S10 can do it 90% of the time as is.

don't want to steer you wrong. The people I know that have a locker in front use it for rock crawling. I really wouldn't recommend it for street use. Even 10 or 15 mph is enough to send you into a parked car.

Just to clarify it a little more for me, would this also apply to snow and ice covered streets or where the pavement is clear only?
 
For the money I like selectable lockers. I run ARB's front and rear. But you have to run an air compressor, which might not be good in really cold weather. I think an electric selectable locker work work better for you. You can engage when needed at the touch of a button, then disengage and be open diff. Tire selection would make a big difference, also.
 
I don't want to steer you wrong. The people I know that have a locker in front use it for rock crawling. I really wouldn't recommend it for street use. Even 10 or 15 mph is enough to send you into a parked car. If you get a locker in front i would use it for off road only.
Just to clarify it a little more for me, would this also apply to snow and ice covered streets or where the pavement is clear only?
Yes what I said also applies to snow and ice covered roads.
If you are going around a corner in the snow, even at slow speeds a locker can make you go strait when you want to turn.
I wouldn't use a front locker on any slick surfaces, even muddy trails. If you are going on a side hill with a front locker your front end may want to slide to the downhill side if you have a locker up front. even at low speeds.
 
If lockers are that iffy, why you want one unless rock crawling? I was thinking about doing a rear locker. Something like a detroit tru-track.
 
If lockers are that iffy, why you want one unless rock crawling? I was thinking about doing a rear locker. Something like a detroit tru-track.
They are not iffy if they are installed in the rear. You just have to be careful with the gas on slippery roads. An automatic locker will make noises as it locks and unlocks when you go around turns. The Detroit TruTrak is not a locker. It's a Limited slip (one of the best). A Detroit Locker is an automatic locker. You can get a Detroit locker in the rear or a TruTrak in front and rear.
 

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