When I replace or upgrade my rear axle and re-gear, I am now planning on installing an ARB selectable locker. It would be great to install an ARB in the front as well, but they are very expensive. How many of you are running just a rear locker? For those of you with lockers on both axles, how often do you find that you need and use both lockers at once. Because I will also be doing the SYE and rear driveshaft, that extra thousand for another ARB in the front seems out of range for my budget. But then, I would have to pay all over again for a front gear set-up if I decided to add it later. I will never go bigger than the 33's I have now, so I know the Dana 30 should be fine either way. For all but the more extreme wheeling, should I be fine with just locking the rear?
Thanks for the reply, Jerry! You were one of several that I hoped to hear from because I know you do much more extreme wheeling than I would ever do. I almost bought a pair of Dana 44's with lockers from a 2004 Rubicon a couple of weeks ago, but couldn't come to terms on the deal. The guy who will be doing the work for me is helping me look for the best set-up I can afford, so at this time I don't know for sure if I will wind up with a Dana 44, a built Ford 8.8, or a Super 35 upgrade on my original rear axle. I will have him install an ARB in the rear whatever happens, but unless we find a super deal on the rear axle, I will probably just have to re-gear the front and leave it open. If just a locked rear works well for most use, hopefully I won't regret doing that.
How about some of you other Jeepers besides Jerry that have lockers? Do you find that you often need both the front and rear engaged, or do you feel that a locker in the rear is sufficient most of the time? Thanks in advance for any replies as I consider the best way to spend on upgrades.
In the deep snow having the front and rear locked will keep the vehicle moving especially on an incline. When I say deep snow I mean really deep like over the wheels up to the hood. Hard pack snow/ice is completely different.
I'm running an eLocker on the rear D44 and the front HP D30 is open, 4.10 ratio. I have no problems getting around on the trails, but I'm not one to hit the more difficult trails and obstacles anyway. I get on the sand dunes often, as well as slick rock, rarely mud, and seasonal snow a few times. I don't see any changes forthcoming to my setup, pretty happy with the way it works for me.
Thanks very much for your replies, Todd Phooz, JeepersDave, and racefan88. We get some snow here in Kentucky, although nowhere near hood-deep. I have also had this Jeep in some pretty deep mud and water a couple of times and decided that I am not a fan of either one. I mostly enjoy hill-climbing and some rutted trail-riding, and I would love to try sand some time. I would love to have that extra peace of mind that a front locker would provide, but it sounds like from all of your replies that the rear locker would get the job done most of the time, and this is also my daily driver. What I have to spend on the rear will probably be the determining factor.
Maybe I'm reading your post wrong. You say you are re-gearing your rear axle. You will have to re-gear the front as well whether you're doing a front locker or not or there will be catastrophic results. Depending on what gears you have now, and what you're going to, you may have to change the diff housing in the front. If so that would offset the frt locker price a little anyway. Also when running lockers, you should upgrade your axles as well. I would say save a little more, do it once, do it right. You may want to go to a frt locker anyway at some point. Don't regret not doing all at once. I'm in the same boat, I need to re-gear and want ARB's, axle upgrades etc. as well. Saving to do it once. Just my opinion, hope it helps.
Roy626, I will also be re-gearing my front axle whether I add a locker or not. I will be going from 3.07 to 4.10 on both axles since I have the 32RH 3-speed automatic. Since I am not yet sure whether I will wind up with a Dana 44, a Ford 8.8, or a Super 35 in the rear with an ARB, that cost can vary quite a bit. I am also budgeting for a SYE and a DC driveshaft to get rid of the transfer case drop the PO installed. Since I also want to add some skid protection and hopefully a winch later, I have been debating how much I would really need another ARB in the front, and I wanted some input from other owners about how well I could do just locking the rear. Thanks for your comments!
I'm in Ohio and ride most if the trails you would and I'd say a rear locker is fine for Jellico, Natural Bridge, and any of the offroad parks. I've been through most of it with an LSD in the rear and did fine. If you are choosing between skid plates and a Locker I'd get the skid plates. I can't tell you how many times I've come back from a trip and said I'm sure glad I bought that skid plate. I've never thought about a front locker, but I have thought about a rear.
2000 TJ 2.5l, 2" OME Lift, Winch, Adjustable Control Arms, Rokmen Gas Tank Skid, Warn Sliders, CCFabs 3" Hood-lines, Engine Skid, Rock Crawler Bumper Front & Rear
Right now I'm running just a front locker (ARB) in my HP30 and have an open D35 in back. I generally have no problems doing hardcore trails, but am saving for a rear axle replacement and rear ARB. One option for you might be to put the ARB in front and run a Detroit TruTrac in back in your 35.
Thanks for your input, 2JeepsThatRun and Water Dog! I really want to make sure that I at least protect the oil pan and eventually get a better gas tank skid. I really feel like I would prefer the locker in the rear if I am only able to do one. I hate that the PO installed a pretty decent BDS lift and bought five nice Ion alloy wheels with the 33's, yet did nothing about the Dana 35 and the 3.07 gears. I knew all this when I bought it, but it is a really clean southern TJ with a spotless frame and the 32RH automatic that I was looking for this time. I just can't afford to sink twenty grand or anything close to that in it with a daughter in college that we are trying to help. I gave her my previous 2000 Wrangler Sport with the Dana 44 and a 5-speed, so I am starting over. I appreciate all the comments I have received from everyone about the kind of wheeling they do and their opinion about lockers. I would take more time and try to save back more money except for the fact that I can feel how much the lousy gears are lugging the engine and transmission, and I want to eliminate that strain as soon as I can.