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Old 11-16-2010, 07:07 PM   #1
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2006 Rubicon Front Locker

Hey all, Im new and all but have a question I need answered. I have a 2006 Rubicon and am having problems with the front locker. I can tell it to lock and the light in the dash starts flashing and when I get out to listen to the pump by the TC it is pumping the air to the locker but its not locking. Does anyone have any ideas on why this might be happening? Also, who makes the locker for this model year just in case i need to replace the whole thing.
Thanks much.

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Old 11-16-2010, 07:25 PM   #2
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Odds are there is nothing more than an air leak causing the locker to not lock up. I would first try to isolate the air leak to the locker itself, or to the air system leading up to it.

Disconnect the air line where it connects to the locker at the top of the axle housing and while you pinch the air line off with pliers, vise grips, etc., have someone engage the front locker and listen for the air compressor that is mounted on the t-case skidplate. If the compressor shuts off after a few seconds, that says it is air tight to that point and the problem is likely not the locker itself. It is not air compressor or air line related in other words. In this case, the air leak is probably between the nipple on top of the axle and the locker inside the axle. For this, the hose inside the axle housing has probably just come off and it simply needs to be replaced. It is supposed to have a small spring steel clip holding it in place but sometimes it can still come off the copper air line that goes to the locker.

If the air compressor does not shut off (it has a built-in pressure switch that shuts it off once it has built up enough air pressure), that means the air leak is somewhere in the compressor or the air line between it and the compressor.

At least this is how I would go about finding the problem.

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Old 11-16-2010, 07:25 PM   #3
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Yep you lost the air line inside the diff most likely. Easy fix. Take off the front cover and re-attach the line. Before you open the diff up check the line for any leaks. I am about 99 percent sure it is the line inside tho. Pain in the butt since you have to put gear oil back in it and all but easy fix.
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:58 PM   #4
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Thanks so much. I did check the line up to the differential and the pump does shut off. I also noticed that when I do reattach the line to the differential, the pump does run for a while then shuts off. Again, it does not lock. Is the pump shutting off because the differential is pressurized?
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:00 PM   #5
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The pump shuts off once it has achieved full pressurization and that it doesn't turn back on again indicates there are no leaks. Sounds like a locker or wiring problem now.
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:05 PM   #6
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well if the pump shuts off then the there is not a leak. Do you know what it feels like when it is not locked? I think it is locked and you just don't know it. I am not doubting you at all, once it turns off it is reading that there is enough pressure. Pull the line off the diff and see see if air is coming out of it. Then plug it with you finger and see if it stops. IF you feel no air when you pull it off you have a block in the line and need to fix it.
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Isn't the JK just a rebodied PT Cruiser?!

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Just a few more inches Red. You can take it.


If you haven't gotten more out of the insurance company than you deserve, then you haven't screwed them nearly as much as they have been screwing you for the past xx years.
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:05 PM   #7
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Awesome. Should the pump pulse every so often? or is that a sigh that there might be a small leak somewhere?
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Old 11-17-2010, 01:53 AM   #8
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sign of a small leak somewhere if it kicks on every once in a while.
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Isn't the JK just a rebodied PT Cruiser?!

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Just a few more inches Red. You can take it.


If you haven't gotten more out of the insurance company than you deserve, then you haven't screwed them nearly as much as they have been screwing you for the past xx years.
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:28 AM   #9
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Jerry,

I also have a Rubicon, 2005. When taking sharp turns the front tires chirp like there is a limited slip differential. The rig is stock, is this normal?
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Old 11-17-2010, 01:52 PM   #10
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Are you in 4 wheel drive when this happens?
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:05 PM   #11
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Nope... just turning at full lock
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:14 PM   #12
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Turning at full lock will chirp the tires-you just don't notice it out on the trail because the tires are in dirt. NEVER use the lockers on TAR...you could shear off an axle from the torque!
And unless you've put in a bypass, you can't activate the lockers on a rubicon without being in 4WD low...it's built into the safety system.
As for the blinking light-if the airline seems to be alright, and the light doesn't go OUT once you start moving forward-then there's a good chance it's your SWITCH...which is very cheap to fix. I spent $$$ to replace the stock airpumps and convert the whole locker system on my ''03 to on-board Viair system-because the light would never stop blinking or would go out entirely...all that money, still happened...and someone on a rubicon board said-'it's your switch'....back to the mechanic, he pulled the switch...duh...they work fine now! At least I also got Viair for christmas last year...LOL
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Old 11-18-2010, 05:32 PM   #13
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Well, I had the wiring on the outside of the differential replaced by the dealer, so I know its not that. So, NHrubicon, would your front locker still lock up even though the light in the dash is still flashing? I cant even hear the front locker engage, like I can the rear.
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:52 PM   #14
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couple quick things to consider. the air hose INSIDE the front diff can become disconnected. easy to fix, remove the diff cover and then reconnect it. Also, there is an electrical plug that connects to the top middle of the transfer case. The connection lets the system know if the tcase is in 4lo or not and also lets it know how fast it is moving. If that is not connected or is broken then it won't let you switch on the lockers.

I had a clutch replaced at a shop... but when they lowered the tcase to get to the clutch they did not first disconnect that electrical connection. They broke that connection. And so my lockers would never turn on. Sooo, I did the following switch-a-roo to bypass the system that checks the tcase position and speed...



so, maybe the sensor that checks the tcase position is messed up. Try one of those locker bypasses to see if it makes a difference. It's nice to be able to switch on the lockers independent of each other (engage front without having to engage rear) regardless of tcase anyway.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:11 PM   #15
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Ok, so I did jumper pin one to both four and five and it didnt work. (granted I was in a hurry) I'm going to have to take a look at it later today to see what I did wrong.
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Old 11-19-2010, 08:24 PM   #16
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*edit: woops, I just posted in the wrong thread sorry...

Good luck on your diagnosis by the way. Which bypass did you do? Confirm the bypass test by switching on the rear lockers without putting the tcase into 4lo. If that works but the front does not then you know it is not related to the switch or your bypass mod but is something else, such as hose leak or likely the hose came off the nipple inside the front diff.

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