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Unread 04-26-2007, 08:23 PM   #1
JP4Crawler
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Default Using a Locker

I've been wheelin' for a while in many situations & different vehicles, but never with a locker. So are there any techniques or tricks those more fortunate have discovered? My thinking is to use the rear only after I can't accomplish an obstacle & then the front only as a last result. I'm very curious to see & feel the difference btwn unlocked & locked. Or is this just foolhardy & putting unecesary stress on the 4R & defeating the lockers intended purpose? Wheeling Wizards please enlighten.
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Unread 04-26-2007, 08:54 PM   #2
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front locker will make the steering very heavy. with fr/rr locked, the truck wants to plow straight ahead.

you can challenge yourself and then use lockers as a last resort... but if you break w/o the locker, you will kick yourself j/k- you never really appreciate lockers until you try the same obstacle unlocked


big things are to watch the skinny pedal- come down on a spinning locked wheel and that stress needs to be released somewhere...

and careful on using the front while turning-

other than that, play with it and see what you can do.
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Unread 04-26-2007, 08:58 PM   #3
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I have wheeled mostly rigs with rear lockers only. Normally it is best to engage the rear locker before the obstacle and keep it on. As the rear does not control the steering there seems to be less stress on it, and it is also not a big deal to keep it on in most situations. However keep in mind that if you are on a sidehill the rear tends to walk sideways a lot more when locked.

I have not wheeled rigs with a front locker much, but what I was tough and the way i used it was: Lock the front when needed as you climb an obstacel, but unlock if you start turning the steering wheel. WIth IFS it is best to try and only use the front locker when the steerign wheel is pointing straight forward. SOme minimal turn on a climb is fine, especially if one wheel is in the air, but unlock the moment both hits surface and the steerign wheel is turned.

ALso with a front locker you pretty much loose steering when engaged and sometimes the locker freezes up adn doesn't unlock immediately if the wheels are turned. That is why lots of folks love ARB lockers for the front as they can quickly engage and disengage as needed.

Oh yeah, botomline with a locker is to engage it before it is needed rather than wait till you are in trouble

Anyhow my

This is the rig in which I did the RUbicon with my brother. ARB lockers on both ends with 35s DOn't think the 4Runner can match it in the rocks by a long shot, but then again I would never do Anza or DV with it

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Unread 04-26-2007, 09:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruiserhead View Post
front locker will make the steering very heavy. with fr/rr locked, the truck wants to plow straight ahead.

you can challenge yourself and then use lockers as a last resort... but if you break w/o the locker, you will kick yourself j/k- you never really appreciate lockers until you try the same obstacle unlocked


big things are to watch the skinny pedal- come down on a spinning locked wheel and that stress needs to be released somewhere...

and careful on using the front while turning-

other than that, play with it and see what you can do.
Hehehehe, you posted as I typed, bastard
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Unread 04-27-2007, 12:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by bulldog View Post
However keep in mind that if you are on a sidehill the rear tends to walk sideways a lot more when locked.
I have only a rear locker (for now) and I agree that when you are locked on a side hill the back end will start slipping downhill which can be a bit unnerving till you remember to unlock.

The difference between the open or locked rear of my pick up is huge. On a loose uphill climb if I do not carry a lot of momentum going up I will just start to spin the rear when open, where as locked I can just slowly climb up and even stop if necessary. Now the difference between the 4th gen 4 Runner with ATRAC and locker I would imagine to not be nearly as dramatic (since the ATRAC does a good job of slowing wheel spin)..
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Unread 04-27-2007, 03:31 PM   #6
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Before using ATRAC I had started pricing out a locker(s) but did not have a pressing need that rushed a decision. Once I used ATRAC on a nasty uphill I was so impressed that I resolved to wait a bit and understand ATRAC's limits and then pull the trigger on a rear locker.

The information about correct use of a locker has been really good, especially combined with similar information about ATRAC.
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Unread 04-27-2007, 05:27 PM   #7
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I had ARB lockers on my last two Toyotas (P/U and 4Runner). Ya just gota love having lockers.

The above advise is right on and I can't add much. The bigest learning was to understand the conditions where you will need it, recognize that ahead of time and engage the locker before you needed it. If you are already in a spinning wheels off condition, it's not mechanicaly nice to engage without stopping first. Some hill climbs are not condusive to stopping half way up.

I would only go the ARB route due to the ability to disengage back to open diffs as soon as you clear the obsticle. I would say even on tough 4X4 trails, I would only be locked about 10-15 percent of the time.

With my current four wheeling style being turned down a notch from my younger days, the ATRAC traction assist will probably take me to where I want to go. If you want to have amazing traction in all conditions, then lockers are a wonderful thing.
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Unread 04-27-2007, 07:41 PM   #8
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Just a quick sidenote. From feedback from folks that has went to Moab. The 4Runner and LC (80 and 100) is really nice since you can leave it in 4Lo without having the center diff locked. This due to the fact that Moab has some sections that have really good traction, but you still want the slow speed of 4Lo. With most other trucks you either have to bind up the driveline and put a lot of stres on it or put around in high range.

Aggreed with the above that ATRAC will b fine for most drivers. Tires and suepsnion will do more for you with ATRAC that adding lockers adn skipping on those.

Anyway back on topic. I think we have covered most of the original thread, so maybe it will time soon when we can't post up driveline breakage due to incorrect use of lockers
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Unread 04-30-2007, 08:56 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies guys. I think I will use the lockers only rarely, but certainly enough to justify the cost. There's at least 5 times I would have engaged at least the rear & probably more once I get a feel for it. Plus, I don't like the skinny pedal, I'd rather crawl.
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Unread 01-02-2008, 10:16 PM   #10
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So I've had the chance to try out my lockers on some pretty descent terrain & have some questions/ideas.

I've got the rear down pretty good, but the front is very tricky. I find myself needing it on a pretty regular basis but almost always am in a place where I have to turn either in the middle of an obstacle or right after. One trick I've found, but in very unusual/uncommon circumstances, is to engage F locker, get past the tough part & then disengage in a spot with one tire that can spin to allow for the locker to unlock. Very rare to find this condition, but I've had to do it a few times so that I could make a turn. Anything wrong with this maneuver?

Will I kill the axle/CV if I try very hard to turn with the F locker on? The resistance to turning is extreme & I already snapped one axle like a twig by having the wheels slightly turned & getting a bit of traction suddenly. It broke very easily & I'm nervous when using it.

Is it possible to turn your wheels, then lock it, get where you want, then unlock or is that the same stress as trying to turn while engaged? The big problem is that it seems that my gears have to go through one cycle before the front will disengage. Doesn't seem like much, but with the 4R, tire placement is critical & many times I don't have an inch to go.

I'm starting to get a feel for it but any pointers or thoughts are appreciated.
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Unread 01-02-2008, 10:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP4Crawler View Post
So I've had the chance to try out my lockers on some pretty descent terrain & have some questions/ideas.

I've got the rear down pretty good, but the front is very tricky. I find myself needing it on a pretty regular basis but almost always am in a place where I have to turn either in the middle of an obstacle or right after. One trick I've found, but in very unusual/uncommon circumstances, is to engage F locker, get past the tough part & then disengage in a spot with one tire that can spin to allow for the locker to unlock. Very rare to find this condition, but I've had to do it a few times so that I could make a turn. Anything wrong with this maneuver?

Will I kill the axle/CV if I try very hard to turn with the F locker on? The resistance to turning is extreme & I already snapped one axle like a twig by having the wheels slightly turned & getting a bit of traction suddenly. It broke very easily & I'm nervous when using it.

Is it possible to turn your wheels, then lock it, get where you want, then unlock or is that the same stress as trying to turn while engaged? The big problem is that it seems that my gears have to go through one cycle before the front will disengage. Doesn't seem like much, but with the 4R, tire placement is critical & many times I don't have an inch to go.

I'm starting to get a feel for it but any pointers or thoughts are appreciated.

I think your question will be answered by looking at the basics of differentials, wheel speeds when turning and what a locker does.

Teh reason why vehicles have a diff is becasue the inner and outer wheel totate at a different speed during a turn. A differential allows thia to happen. WHen locking the differential you basically force the axle to turn both wheels at the same speed. Any difference in wheel speed will create stress and the only relief is for the tires to break traction with the ground it is on, or alternatively something has to break in the axle to allow the wheels to rotate at the same speed.

The rear axle is pretty strong as it is basically a metal rod (which is pretty thick) that connects to the hubs of the wheels, thus it tends to break traction on the inner tire on the turn. Also the wheel speed difference on a turn on the rear axle is slgihtly less than on the front axle. That is why the rear axle tends to be easier with a locker.

On the frotn axle it is generally a good rule to only use the front locker going straight or with a very slight turn. The CV joints are pretty stron in the straight forward pusition and also there is little stress on them if you go straight (no difference in wheelspeed). The more you steer on the front the greater the difference on the wheelspeed = greater stress. Additionally the internals of the CV also gets more stress due to the operating angle. This is true for Solid axles as well as IFS, on IFS you have the additional stress of the up down angle on the CV too (which is not present on a solid axle). Thus for the same size CV (birfield) a solid axle will be stronger than IFS, as it only deals with steering angle, nit steerign and up/down angle.

SO back to your question. Yes you can lock the front locker on a turn only if you are very sure the one front wheel is in the air or has very little traction. This will become the weakest link in the system and the stress will be relived via wheel in the air or with low traction. However make sure that you dont suddenly get traction on a turn, so it is not a good idea to turn/lock and then bump the truck at the same time. Also keep in mind that all the traction=torque on the front will go to the wheel on the ground, thus if it is turned with a locked axle it will take all the tress at a compromised angle for the CV (so be careful on the skinny pedal). This goes for Solid axles and IFS. In general it is nto a good idea unless you can do it slow and controlled, and also tru to limit the steering angle as much as possible. Rather try to pick a line where you can climb and turn at different times.

You can also look at climbing and then unlocking as you get to the turn, the ARB lockers unlock really quick adn you only need to keep the wheel straight for a little bit if the axle didn't bind up. Even if it did bind a bit, a little forward motion in a straight line will see it unlock. This is the reason why I like the ARBs as they lock and unlock really quick.

Hope all my blah blah helped.

Did you already pop a 4th Gen CV with the locker ???
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Unread 01-03-2008, 02:43 PM   #12
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SNAP, CRACKLE, POPPED!!

Thanks Andries, very helpful to get a better understanding. So, what causes the binding? This has happened to me a couple times & I was lucky enough to have just enough room to unbind & unlock before a turn. I almost had to get out the jack to get the wheels off the ground to allow unbind/unlock, sometimes there's only one line to take with no other options.

Is it OK to lock & unlock under a load; say half way up a waterfall that you didn't want to need the front because of no straight line after the obstacle, but not too easy to back down either? Trying to figure this out, thanks for the help.
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Unread 01-03-2008, 04:12 PM   #13
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I can only add one thing that I didn't see in this thread. I added a rear locker last year, and the biggest problem I have noticed between locked and open was that the rearend will walk on you when it is locked. This is especially true when locked and making a long hill climb with limited traction. With an open diff, you will just spin and maintain a (fairly) straight course. With the rear locked, when you start to lose or gain traction, for whatever reason, the truck wants to go sideways at the rear end, normally to the right. And this movement will actually walk the truck to that side in a hurry, pulling you off your line and into things like big trees and rocks.

You may have already noticed this thru experimenting since I am so late in getting to this thread. Also, I have a taco, so I'm sure my ass end is much lighter than a 4R, so this may not even be an issue for you guys.
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Unread 01-03-2008, 07:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP4Crawler View Post
SNAP, CRACKLE, POPPED!!

Thanks Andries, very helpful to get a better understanding. So, what causes the binding? This has happened to me a couple times & I was lucky enough to have just enough room to unbind & unlock before a turn. I almost had to get out the jack to get the wheels off the ground to allow unbind/unlock, sometimes there's only one line to take with no other options.

Is it OK to lock & unlock under a load; say half way up a waterfall that you didn't want to need the front because of no straight line after the obstacle, but not too easy to back down either? Trying to figure this out, thanks for the help.
Teh locker binding up is caused due to the splines of the locker, than interconnect to join the 2 sides of the diff, that are under a lot of stress when applying power and the friction causes them to stick. This normally stops as soon as you go straight and don't apply power, and the locker will unlock easily. The ARB locker uses compressed ait to puch the locker splines in and lock the 2 sides of the axle, then a spring that returns the splines once there is no compressed air applied. It normally can lock and unlock under power and strain, but some folsk believe it will shorten the useful life of the locker.

Yes you can unlock and lock under load, but it is to advised to lock while truning and moving as it can cause the splines to grind on each other as they shift into position. If you go in s traight line and ease of the throttle it normally is not an issue, especially unlocking.

That is what I like about the ARBs as they lock and unlock pretty quick and powerful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBrasky View Post
I can only add one thing that I didn't see in this thread. I added a rear locker last year, and the biggest problem I have noticed between locked and open was that the rearend will walk on you when it is locked. This is especially true when locked and making a long hill climb with limited traction. With an open diff, you will just spin and maintain a (fairly) straight course. With the rear locked, when you start to lose or gain traction, for whatever reason, the truck wants to go sideways at the rear end, normally to the right. And this movement will actually walk the truck to that side in a hurry, pulling you off your line and into things like big trees and rocks.

You may have already noticed this thru experimenting since I am so late in getting to this thread. Also, I have a taco, so I'm sure my ass end is much lighter than a 4R, so this may not even be an issue for you guys.
I haven't noticed this on long climbs, unless the climb is slightly off camber. With the rear locked the rear end seems to crab towards the lower side of an off camber climb. I went up Truck Hill at Hollister (very long climb and with nice 3 ft holes and loose soil at the time) with the rear locked and didn't notice any crabbing. I have noticed the rear crabbing when it is slightly off camber and locked on a climb.

On my brithers Ford pickup with rear lcoker and do notice that the rear seems to crab much easier than on the 4Runner though. Maybe it the lgihter weght on the rear axle might make it more likely to crab with a pickup, dunno
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Unread 01-06-2008, 08:14 PM   #15
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Thanks for the schoolin' Andries. This will help me dial in the front locker without any more POPS, hopefully.

I went up & down some pretty loose & off camber hills at El Mirage & didn't have an issue with crabbing, so the weight of the 4R in the rear is probably the reason for a bit more stability.
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Unread 03-11-2008, 05:26 PM   #16
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So, after running ClawHammer out at Johnson Valley, I've learned a very interesting fact about the front locker.....Lock It & Drive. All the vehicles were locked just about the whole time & were making fully maxed out turns without issue. I believe the key is to keep the tires from spinning & then gaining traction. Your results may very, but that's what I saw & did. Lockers are amazing!!
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Unread 03-11-2008, 11:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP4Crawler View Post
So, after running ClawHammer out at Johnson Valley, I've learned a very interesting fact about the front locker.....Lock It & Drive. All the vehicles were locked just about the whole time & were making fully maxed out turns without issue. I believe the key is to keep the tires from spinning & then gaining traction. Your results may very, but that's what I saw & did. Lockers are amazing!!
The advantage of IFS is that you normally end up with one wheel in the air anyway, so no issues

I notice a lack of steering response if the front is locked and both wheels have traction though.
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Unread 04-09-2008, 10:37 AM   #18
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Reading more about lockers I'm coming to a decision that I might need just one. As I can see front is very gentle and can be broken easily when locked. So have couple actual questions:
- How often do you guys actually use front lockers? In what real situations? Was it necessary or you just precautious?
- How is ATRAC react on only rear engaged? I'm afraid that ATRAC is not fully disabled when center is locked and traction is still working. So what would it be when you have 2 rear wheels turning and one front while another stand still. Would ATRAC try to break those rear wheels?
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Unread 04-09-2008, 11:30 AM   #19
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I have used the front locker on a number of steep climbs with rocks or holes and especially if the traction is low. Works like a charm and a step up from ATRAC. Jason can give you his feedback, but the front is not that fragile, but it is good tobe catious. I found it prevent that feeling like some put a stop infront of the front axle when climbing and rear has to push over. See Jason and my runs in the Jawbone trip report thread. Jason didn't lock his front and I did.

ATRAC don't disbale when you lock the center diff, VSC does. ATRAC works from side to side on the saem axle, so if you lock the rear it sense no speed difference on the rear axle and doesn't do wnything to the rear. If you only lock the rear it is still active on the front axle and works as normal on that front axle. No issues here or many other folks now with just locking the rear and keeping the front open.

The front locker is only really needed over the ATRAC in very technical terrian. It does make your life easier in some cases, but ATRAC will still get you up. I woudl highly recommend getting a front locker if you want to do the Rubicon, but some folks have done it with a rear locker and ARAC on FJCs, thoguh I woudl bet they had to work a lot harder to get it done. Personally I would not recommend you do something that techincal without a front locker as well nor would I wan tto wheel the RUbicon or similar technical terrian without someone who equippped their vehcile appropriate for it.
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Unread 04-09-2008, 02:21 PM   #20
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No Rubicon in the nearest future. Is it necessary for terrains like Moab (rocky) or muddy rats?
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