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Old 03-24-2009, 04:19 AM   #1
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FAQ(1): Lockers = great value

Whenever a vehicle turns, the outside wheels travel a longer arc (distance) than the inside tire. An open differential is designed to handle this by allowing the tires to spin at different speeds. Pretty animations, and explanation here: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/differential2.htm. This keeps the tires from scrubbing in turns. But, the tire with the least amount of traction gets all the torque. If one tire's getting traction, and the other isn't the tire with NO traction spins, and the tire WITH traction just sits there = you're stuck.

A locker makes the axle solid. Both wheels will turn at the same speed so even if one tire is up in the air or free-spinning in loose dirt, the other tire will pull you through. This traction aid is like adding a tire size or two, so you can go more places with less tire, less lift, less gearing correction, less power & MPG loss and may help avoid the need for a new wheel offset. It's far more bang-for-the-buck than larger tires.

Locker selection is one of those areas where there's no such thing as a best option. The only way to know which is best for you is to understand how each works, how much each costs, and what comprises they make. All but the selectable & limited slip options are going to be harsher on the drive line. If you beat your rig, design the drivetrain's beefiness as if using a tire size or two larger than what you're running.

Spool ($110): Makes the axle all one piece. The tires always act the same way, are always locked, and will always rotate at the same speed. As with any locker, this will cause you to loose traction if too much power is applied in low traction events (any slick road event). However, this behavior is very predictable and easy to avoid by using less throttle in bad weather (or more throttle if you like to power slide).
Pros: Cheap, more predictable than auto locker in inclement weather
Cons: Harshest locker on tires, axles & other drive train components. Not good to use in front differential. Causes wider turning radius.

Welded aka: Lincoln or Fozzie ($ Cost of weld): The gears inside the diff are welded up basically making it a super-cheap spool. There's a few methods for doing this anyone want to share pics & links?
Pros: Same as spool, but cheaper.
Cons: Same as spool. IF the weld wasn't done properly, it's easy to over-heat the gears and make them brittle... which means they're break easier.

Lead ($ Cost of lead): Similar to the welded locker. Molten lead is poured into the diff gear set & allowed to dry. Might have to get creative with sourcing lead, and a mini-foundry (search google & youtube: DIY lead foundry lead casting - that type of thing). WARNING: Lead is extremely toxic, and molten stuff burns handle accordingly.
Pros: Same as welded, but reversible
Cons: Same as spool

Auto Locker ($200-$300): The locker will sense when it needs to be locked or unlocked. When you're turning, it should unlock to save your tires & relieve stress from driveline. Lockrites seem to be more reliable (and popular) than the Detroits.
Pros: Cheap way to save tire wear. The models for Suzuki's have fuses (shear pins: $15) in them that are designed to break under too much stress. When front axle is engaged, it's easier to turn than spool.
Cons: The auto locker sometimes guesses wrong, and acts like a spool at the wrong time. This can make what's called a winding & banging as the axles load up & the locker suddenly releases that energy. Makes a ratcheting sound during turns (this is the locker staying unlocked). They also take a tire rotation or two to engage (so, if the other tire is spinning fast, there will be a shock load on the drivetrain keep this in mind when rocking between forward & reverse). The moving parts & shear pins breaking on trail makes them less reliable than the spool (but theoretically may save your driveline).
NOTE: Toyota & Dana axle users have access to the Aussie Locker which has a vastly superior design than those available to Suzuki. No whine / back / ratcheting issues, and they're bulletproof. Must purchas directly: http://aussielocker.com/

Selectable Locker (ARB: $200+ for compressor & fittings, $800 per differential. KAM: $1,200 & comes with heavy duty axle KAM is not available for Tracker): Other than price, this is the no-compromise locker. The driver selects when the locker is engaged, and when it's not.
Pros: Easy on tires & drivetrain. Usable in front or rear without penalty. Retains resale value. ARB requires an air compressor to work which can double as a tire inflater (Need optional $200 kit).
Cons: Price. If ARB air line leaks, or compressor goes out: so does the locker.

Limited Slip Differential ($500): While this technically isn't a locker, it's worth mentioning here. It doesn't lock, but if one tire looses traction, it will transfer some (about that of what a locker will) power to the other wheel. It's perfect for vehicles that will see mostly street, and occasional off road use. In any kind of real rock crawling, the LSD will just overheat and cause damage to the LSD.
Pros: Street-friendly. Great for snowy roads.
Cons: Price. Limited usability off-road. Calmini only product.

NOTE: If you run a locker, you MUST keep the tire pressure the same or you will have problems. You MUST run a full-sized spare.

What'd I miss ??? Any other advice and thoughts on lockers out there ???
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Old 03-24-2009, 04:31 AM   #2
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Great info!
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:25 AM   #3
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Nice write up!! And Great info!!
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:54 PM   #4
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Auto Lockers don't guess - they lock when torque is applied to them.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:33 PM   #5
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Fozzie lockers let you have a 1/4 turn at the axle before it engages.
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:24 PM   #6
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Looks like I nailed the "FAQ" of the week - there's four threads going on about it now...:
Best rear end set up?
Welded rear
Rear Locker
Detroit locker Trouble Help
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:58 PM   #7
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Turns out I got a mini-spool in the rear. Huh.

I Fozzy locked the front end. Works pretty good, but I broke another CV...
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Fozzie lockers let you have a 1/4 turn at the axle before it engages.
X2 Fozzy locker is not locked like a spool.
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:07 PM   #9
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jerimiah, I think it is pretty cool that you did this.

good job
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:29 PM   #10
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I have never heard of the lead idea but i guess it would work.
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Old 04-06-2009, 07:11 PM   #11
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http://www.zuwharrie.com/component/o.../topic,19204.0
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:37 PM   #12
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Lockriete's gotta go: http://www.zukikrawlers.ru/showthread.php?t=23677
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Old 04-07-2009, 05:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bass Man View Post
Fozzie lockers let you have a 1/4 turn at the axle before it engages.
If welded solid, it acts like a spool.

I did the weld 2 slots, skip 2, weld 2, etc. Did not have anywhere near 1/4 turn. Maybe 1" ~ 1.5" of turn on a 33.
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:27 PM   #14
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Sidekick fronts have 2 Spyder gears.
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:01 PM   #15
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Aussie Locker:
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:05 PM   #16
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fozzie locker... i welded the spider gears not the side gears... and i only welded 1 gap and the other staight across on the 4 spiders... then timed them so all hit at the same time.... mine will ture 1/4 round with 33s
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:04 PM   #17
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I want to stress tire wear with a spool (or welded / leaded) rear end. I have lost about 50% tread life in 2000 miles of daily driving with a mini-spool in the rear. Since I don't really do any crawling anyway Ill be removing it ASAP, partly of the wear and partly to get some of my turning radius back. Mmy turning circle probably widened a good 5-10 feet, making u-turns and other sharp turns (both on- and off-road) more of a pain.


Also, I would like to add that over a few relatively minor (typically shut things down for a day or two) snows this past winter, I didn't notice any negative affects to having the spool. I was actually expecting it to want to slide because of the spool, but it never happened unless I really wanted it to. Part of that was likely the tires (mud tires), but it still probably wasn't any worse than if I were still open.

Though, funny enough, during normal driving, I notice if I hit bumps while turning, the loss in traction in the front will cause the front tires to "hop out" (basically the vehicle wants to go strait while the wheels are turned) until the front end settles again. This is undoubtedly due to the spool trying to point me strait all the time.

If I did more crawling I probably wouldn't mind it, but since I hardly need it anyways the sacrifices aren't worth it. I'd consider an LSD but I don't know if I want to be the $500 Guinea Pig.

Thanks for the write up!
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Old 04-20-2009, 01:09 AM   #18
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I can U-turn in a regular road with my spool, and it's funny to watch, cuz it hops.

I've noticed my tires are about 35% and I've only had them 9 months.
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:29 AM   #19
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In 9 months you've ate through 65% of your tread?
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Old 04-20-2009, 11:30 AM   #20
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Probably more. I drive this thing about 15 miles a day average, and for the first 2 months, I didn't have my front end alligned and it cupped the front.
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:44 PM   #21
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nice my boggers our already starting to wear really good
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:50 PM   #22
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I'd also like to point out that the extra tire wear in the rear imbalances the drivetrain in 4WD. My rear tires are about 1/4" diameter less than the fronts. That means that in 4WD, for every rotation of the tires, the fronts need to move about 3/4" further than the rears. I tried driving in 4L on pavement (to test in high traction) and the vibration is really bad. On dirt it isn't bad because the tires can easily slip a little, but with the extra traction the tires really have to jerk and hop to make up the differences.
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