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locker question

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Boondock, Feb 25, 2001.

  1. Boondock

    Boondock Registered Member

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    I went out with a friend this weekend to a place in Northern Virginia (Dumphries), the trails were pretty challenging, and there was a guy out there in a J@@p Cheroke. He had ARB air lockers. I heard a lot of hissing when he engaged them from a switch in the dash. I couldn't believe the stuff he made it through, he attributed his success to his ARB. I see alot on here about lockers, and I gotta be honest, I'm really new to the 4x4 world. Can anyone tell me what lockers do, how they work, any information about them? What are detroit lockers? they seemed to be a great mod to invest in. How much do they cost? How much work is involved in installing them? Thanks for any information, just trying to get educated.

    The only easy day was yesterday.
    Second place is a body bag.
     
  2. BlazerGuy

    BlazerGuy 3/4 ton status

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    This will tell you anything and everything you want to know about diff's
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.howstuffworks.com/differential.htm>http://www.howstuffworks.com/differential.htm</A>
    It also includes a section on lockers and limited slips.

    Murphy's Laws on Life :
    "Leftover nuts never match leftover bolts." [​IMG]
     
  3. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Very good. Couldnt have said it better myself.
     
  4. 84K5WITHAJUNK305

    84K5WITHAJUNK305 Registered Member

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    Basically, a locker locks the axle shafts together when it senses one wheel spinning faster or slower than the other(I know you've seen a vehicle get stuck in mud and spin only one tire on each side or a car do a burnout on the street and only spin one tire, this is where the locker comes in) and forces them both to turn at the same speed. Most 4x4's are, in reality, only 2 wheel drive. Only one wheel on the rear will have power and one on the front(if locked into "4wd"). A 4x4 vehicle with a locker in each differential is truly 4wd. There are two types of lockers, the most popular of which is the automatic type locker(as the name implies it works automatically), then there are manual lockers(three types), which require the driver to do one of three things, an air locker(the ARB locker you mentioned is this type) requires an onboard air compressor, switch for the compressor, air lines, and modification of the differential housing and has to be activated by the driver, then there are cable type lockers which lock by pulling a cable that looks much like the choke cable in an old manual choke equipped vehicle, and then there are electric lockers, which work off of, you guessed it, electricity. The selectable(on or off operation only) manual style locker are best in my opinion, at least for the front differential anyway because a locker in the front makes it hard to steer in 4wd, but are far more expensive than automatic type lockers(an ARB air locker goes for around $450-$700 depending on the application, plus another $240 or so for the compressor required to run it. An automatic type locker can go for anywhere from the high $200 range on up to well over $500 for a Detroit brand locker(very dependable and popular). Some lockers are designed for a drop in installation, which means you pull the old spider gears, etc. out and drop in the locker, but these types aren't as strong, but they can be done by the average backyard mechanic. Others require resetting the gears and this is something that should be done by someone with experience and knowledge in that area, one mistake can cost you lots of $$$$.
     
  5. Boondock

    Boondock Registered Member

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    Thanks for the helpful info. I think this is a must mod for me. Take care.

    The only easy day was yesterday.
    Second place is a body bag.
     
  6. kpanza

    kpanza 1/2 ton status

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    Put a Detroit in the rear for brute strength and never have to worry about it...and then put an ARB in the front - you will love it!! That is what I did, and it works beautifully!! Being able to unlock the front really helps in turns and reduces breakage (cause most front end breakage is done while turning - the u joints are really stressed in that situation), plus it helps on snowy winter roads when you don't need the front axle locked...the ARB and compressor are worth every cent!!
     

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