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  1. #1

    Auto locker characteristics ????

    Just blew up the factory rear locker in my 06 Rubicon LJ. Thinking of going to a Detroit or Grizzly but never having driven I'm curious as to what differences I'll notice on street and trail. I don't use the LJ for much street driving it's mostly trails but when the snow gets deep I like to take it out. I've read of issues with it unlocking when turning but I don't understand how much that affects handling or control or if this is something that I will learn to control after I have it for awhile. Looking for some real world experiences and thoughts from folks who have actually driven with one in the rear.
    Thanks...
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  2. #2
    They occasionally bang really loud, and can cause the rear end to step out a bit when they do. Usually not a big deal. The big thing is that the axle is locked whenever you are on the gas. That causes the inner tire to chirp on sharp turns, and can make for interesting behavior in the snow.

    Mark

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  3. #3
    I put an auto locker in the rear of my TJ. It was awesome on trails but it got old fast as a daily driver. Not bad, just got tiring to fight it all the time on the street. I won’t install another on a daily driver, but I wouldn’t hesitate to install in a (mostly) trail rig if I didn’t want to deal with cost or installation of an electric or air locker.
    Last edited by Xiondavis; July 22nd, 2018 at 12:06 PM.

  4. #4
    mtn WJ's Avatar
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    I have had a detroit in my HP9 in my WJ for over 10 years and not one issue with reliability. With longer wheelbase rigs the auto lockers are a little less noticeable on the streets as well. Yes they jerk a little when down shifting under acceleration and sometimes you hear a bang, but not as often as you might think. Conversely I have had a ARB in the front for the same amount of time. I can not tell you how many times I have had leaks, compressor issues etc. I love the concept of on demand lockers, just not the maintenance.

    I have a 242 tcase which gives me 4wd high range full time mode. This makes a difference on ice and snow etc because with tcases that do not have high range 4wd full time there is no differentiation between the front and rear outputs so the front wheels are causing he rear diff to be in lock mode even when coasting around turns. So in the case of a 231 tcase for example on a street rig I would do an ARB or some other select locker in the rear.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Xiondavis View Post
    It was awesome on trails but it got old fast as a daily driver. Not bad, just got tiring to fight it all the time on the street.
    Not sure what you mean by "fighting it all the time on the street", could you explain a bit more?

  6. #6
    When you are on the throttle, all the torque goes to the “inside” wheel. With a short wheelbase TJ that translates to a lot of slight weave motion as you get on and off the gas on traffic, especially around corners. It wasn’t so much “fighting it” but I missed the nice easy around town daily driver characteristics before the locker install.

  7. #7
    Adding to that ... I never put a locker in my 2dr JK just because it drove so nice as a grocery getter with open diffs and I started beating on the race car instead of the Jeep. Maybe someone with a 4 door has a better experience - it might have just need the short wheelbase that caused my dislike. I had a cheap “quiet” auto locker that didn’t ratchet during turns. I don’t remover which one. It banged around a bit on the street when unlocking but Nothing too bad.

  8. #8
    mtn WJ's Avatar
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    My son had an Aussie locker in his WJ and it made a lot more noise than my detroit ever does. I was under the impression that the non carrier lockers like the Aussie were smoother than a full carrier type as in my Detroit, but frankly this was not the case with two same length Jeeps. The opposite.

  9. #9
    I have had Detroit’s in a few of my rigs, I love them. I like arb but as mentioned they always seem to have some sort of weird issue (leaks, compressor issues, electrical issues) and it’s of course when you need to use them. One thing it takes some getting used to and for some it’s a non issue.... when an ARB is on its 100% locked, a Detroit has to slip a little and then it fully locks. You get used to it but I’ve seen it roll people over on off camber/twisty stuff thinking both wheels were going to turn and only one did for a split second. They still get my vote over arb.

    Detroit’s you never have to worry about reliability. You get used to how they handle on dry pavement. If you have ever driven a rig with a spool in the snow, Detroit’s handle much the same. On a longer wheelbase rig on dry pavement you’ll notice it a little, mostly in tight parking areas.

    They do “bang” every now and again. Trust me, you will get some goofy looks from people when you pull up next to them at a light and your Jeep makes a loud, metal bang. I used to get a kick out of it so it never bothered me.
    Last edited by GotMOAB?; July 24th, 2018 at 11:44 PM.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by mtn WJ View Post
    My son had an Aussie locker in his WJ and it made a lot more noise than my detroit ever does. I was under the impression that the non carrier lockers like the Aussie were smoother than a full carrier type as in my Detroit, but frankly this was not the case with two same length Jeeps. The opposite.
    The lockers that replace spider gears only do make more noise than a full carrier Detroit.

  11. #11
    I put a detroit in a reg cab short bed F-150 (my first offroad toy) and it was a little bothersome as a daily driver with the experiences noted above. I'd really try to find someone with a similar rig to yours and with the locker you seek and ask for a ride. All attributes take some getting used to, but it's not "unlivable". And since you don't DD this rig, I wouldn't hesitate to put one it. Especially over anything air actuated.

    My current rig sports a lunch box locker (one that replaces on the spiders) in the front. Lock-Right, IIRC. I've blown one up before and wanted to do a spartan or Aussie, but they were both out of production indefinitely at that time. I will say I hear far less from this than I ever did with my detroit, but it's also in the front which I only ever use on the trail. I still never hear anything from it. It certainly has better road manners than the spool in the rear.

    For the rear application, I would do a full locker and avoid a lunchbox. I don't know what your factory locker is like, but I would assume a full locker will be required anyway in your situation.
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  12. #12
    I will also say I went from a spool to a Detroit in the rear of my CJ7 and the Detroit made driving the jeep on the street less fun. Every time you clutch to change gears it would unload and dart to the left.

    The one in the YJ is far less noticeable, though.
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  13. #13
    I installed a Lockright in the rear of my Toyota in 2000 and besides a little wheel drag on hard accell around corners it has been mostly unnoticeable (accept for the clicking around corners) I regularly rotate the tires so they do not show any funny wear either.
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Dotcom View Post
    I installed a Lockright in the rear of my Toyota in 2000 and besides a little wheel drag on hard accell around corners it has been mostly unnoticeable (accept for the clicking around corners) I regularly rotate the tires so they do not show any funny wear either.
    Interesting, I've heard that the lunchbox lockers are more noticeable when they lock/unlock.

    I've been thinking about getting a Lockright for my Tacoma but the cost is almost the same as a full Detroit so I've been putting it off until I regear since you have to pull the carrier even for the lockright. I might just weld the spiders in the meantime

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