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Old 01-16-2008, 10:49 AM   #1
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New Locker thread

Good Morning,

I have read every thread (almost) and not able to find the answer I was looking for.

I called my local 4-wheel store to get an estimate on how much it would cost to install an OX in my front dana 30. The guy said he won't recommend it becuase they have a lot of problems such as not engaging/disengaging properly. He recommended a Detroit in the front coupled with something in my transfer case that would disengage the locker in 2nd gear depending on how much torque is aplied. I DON'T WANT IT!

I want a selectable locker in the front. Money is not an issue for a locker in the front. I am preparede to spend $1300 for it. I'm currently running 31 Bridgestone duler revos with 3.73 gears. We have a cabin in Lake of the Wods and it snows there in winter time so the lunchbox lockers are out.

What I am interested in is the experience most of you have had with the OX. Have you had any problems with the cable not being adjusted properly or the locker not engaging/disengaging properly?

I like the idea of manual operation better that electronic or with air compressor. I feel the manual operation is more reliable. Even my Bronco a few years back had a lever to engage into 4x4...I didn't like the 4x4 button in that truck.

So....ARB, OX or Auburn? Currently I am heading for OX unless any Jeep Veteran tells me otherwise.

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Old 01-16-2008, 11:04 AM   #2
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Well I personally do not have an ox locker but I wheel with a friend that does, and the only thing is that sometimes when he tries to engage, it wont engauge because the teeth arent lined up to lock together, so he has to take his foot off the brake and let the car roll an inch or so and then click it locks in.....thats the only "problem" (if you want to call it that) that i know of with the ox lockers.

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Old 01-16-2008, 11:10 AM   #3
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I am also not speaking form experience, only what i have read. I have heard that the only times people have trouble engaging and disengaging is when the cable is not routed properly. I have heard many times that someone that really knows what they are doing should install and adjust the cable. It sounds like you need to find you another shop to do the work. There are too many people that run OX and love them to be turned off by what one person says.
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Old 01-16-2008, 12:34 PM   #4
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^^ X2 thats what ive herad, that once it is adjusted right it works great and there's no worry of braking a air line, but if you dont ahve it right then it wont engange
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Old 01-16-2008, 12:40 PM   #5
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what does the snow have to do with not wanting a lunchbox locker? just the fact it is engaged all the time? or control issues?
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Old 01-16-2008, 02:45 PM   #6
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if it enganges in the snow it will start a skid, a lunchbox locker DEFINITYL should NOT be put int eh rear if u live anywhere with snow and it's queationable if its ok in the front, definitly not ok it you use 4WD in the snow!
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Old 01-16-2008, 02:50 PM   #7
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my ARB lockers work fine and engage/disengage immediately after pushing the button.

a friends OX lockers sometimes don´t disengage.
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Old 01-16-2008, 04:44 PM   #8
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Ox did have some problems a few years back, however all of those issues were corrected and greatly improved on. For the money and the "Simplicity" factor Ox is my choice for selectable lockers. However this is almost the same as the Manual vs Automatic argument. Whichever way someone is that's how they are always going to be.

You wouldn't be disapointed putting an Ox up there.
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:04 PM   #9
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I use 4 wheel drive on the first day that it snows on the pavement and that would cause turning problems due to the slippage of the wheels on snow covered pavement. I think when it comes down to it, it's really about persoanl preference. I feel very confident knowing I can engage and disengage with a cable instead of air or having something lock and unlock for me automatically.

How about 4WheelParts stores? One of my Jeep buddies said to me that they have no idea what they are doing and that I shouldn't let them touch my Jeep. The guys over there drive Jeeps and they seem knowlegdable when I ask them questions. They want $345 labor to install the OX including fluids. I think that's fair...but will they get the job done right?

As most of you know...this is such a tough decision. Who can I trust with my TJ? I'm almost to the point of wanting to install the OX myself but I have never seen the inside of a differential. At this point...I am spending countless hours researching on who is the best company to install this locker for me. I'll keep you guys posted with the aftermath. Hopefully I make the correct decision. Thanx for all your inputs.
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:27 AM   #10
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OX is a kick@ss locker. a few years ago they had problems with their first design but that has all been fixed with the design that is sold now. i ran OX in my yj that was a strict off-highway jeep and they were amazing. i chose to run ARB in the TJ just to see the diference. if you ask me they work about the same. it really does come down to if you want a cable or a button. i allready had on-board-air in my jeep so ARB made sense to me.
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Old 01-17-2008, 12:26 PM   #11
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He recommended a Detroit in the front coupled with something in my transfer case that would disengage the locker in 2nd gear depending on how much torque is aplied. I DON'T WANT IT!
He may not have totally understood how all that works, or perhaps you misunderstood what it was that he explained.

You live in Rancho Cucamonga, not exactly in the snow belt. Why do you feel you need a selectable locker up front? Why are you afraid of a Detroit Locker, or any other automatic locker up front? Are you worried about it affecting steering when on the streets even when you're in 2wd? As many ads indicate for front-wheel lockers?

If so, maybe I can put you at ease. The TJ is a completely different beast where front lockers are concerned. The TJ does not send power to the front axle when in 2wd which means you won't even notice the presence of a front locker, like the Detroit Locker. This is way different from most other 4x4 vehicles, including the older YJ Wrangler. A front automatic locker does cause steering problems for those vehicles, but not a TJ.

Personally, I've been running a front automatic locker in my TJ for 6-7 years now. Rear too. In 2wd, you won't even notice its presence. I added manual hubs to my front axle 3-4 years after installing the front locker and in 2wd, I cannot tell if my front hubs are locked or not.

The ONLY time a front locker is locked up hard in a TJ is when you're in 4x4, which is the ONLY time you will notice it. And it's only if you wheel or drive where it snows or the roads get icy where an automatic locker is usually not the way to go.

The Detroit Locker is unnoticeable when in the front axle when you're in 2wd, so is the Powertrax No-Slip lunchbox-style automatic locker. You could even install a $200 Lockrite or Aussie automatic (lunchbox style) locker up front which is equally undetectable through the steering wheel, though those two lockers do click softly during some slow-speed turns.

So don't pay through the nose for a selectable locker like an Ox, ARB Air Locker, etc. if your only concern is that you're afraid the steering will suck with an automatic locker up front. I see your Avitar shows you wheeling in snow... if you do that, then by all means go with a selectable locker. But if you don't, then a front automatic locker is fine.

A front automatic locker is a well-known NON-issue for the TJ except in snow/ice conditions. Really, no jive, no rumor.
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Old 01-17-2008, 12:58 PM   #12
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One more note that explains why the TJ doesn't suffer from front steering issues in 2wd when a front automatic locker is installed. The version of the NP231 (aka NV231.... same-same) transfer case used in the TJ (and this is different from the NP231 used in the YJ) is that the TJ's front driveshaft is not powered by the transfer case when in 2wd. The transfer case's front output shaft is in a true neutral position so it does not drive the front driveshaft in 2wd.

What does that mean? It means that while an automatic locker's normal mode is to be locked, it is "barely" locked when you're in 2wd. It only locks up firmly when it receives torque from its driveshaft when you're in 4x4. So in the TJ's case, an automatic locker is so "loosely" locked that it completely unlocks without any drama while you are turning left or right while driving in 2wd. It is only when you pull the t-case lever into 4Hi or 4Lo that a front automatic locker (like a Detroit Locker, Aussie, Lockrite, etc.) locks up hard and "goes into action".
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Old 01-17-2008, 01:09 PM   #13
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Jerry, you are a wealth of information and it looks like you will be saving me about $500 because I will be getting an automatic locker instead of a selectable. Now with that being said..any recommendations on which automatic locker to go with?

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One more note that explains why the TJ doesn't suffer from front steering issues in 2wd when a front automatic locker is installed. The version of the NP231 (aka NV231.... same-same) transfer case used in the TJ (and this is different from the NP231 used in the YJ) is that the TJ's front driveshaft is not powered by the transfer case when in 2wd. The transfer case's front output shaft is in a true neutral position so it does not drive the front driveshaft in 2wd.

What does that mean? It means that while an automatic locker's normal mode is to be locked, it is "barely" locked when you're in 2wd. It only locks up firmly when it receives torque from its driveshaft when you're in 4x4. So in the TJ's case, an automatic locker is so "loosely" locked that it completely unlocks without any drama while you are turning left or right while driving in 2wd. It is only when you pull the t-case lever into 4Hi or 4Lo that a front automatic locker (like a Detroit Locker, Aussie, Lockrite, etc.) locks up hard and "goes into action".
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Old 01-17-2008, 01:14 PM   #14
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a friend has an aussie in the front. but i would never install an auto locker.
in some situations you don´t want an engaged locker.
p.e. if he wants to drive a curve in deep mud with spinning wheels his TJ with the engaged doesn´t want to drive a courve.
but better an auto locker than no locker...
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Old 01-17-2008, 01:24 PM   #15
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Jerry, you are a wealth of information and it looks like you will be saving me about $500 because I will be getting an automatic locker instead of a selectable. Now with that being said..any recommendations on which automatic locker to go with?
You're not worried about Atlanta's ice storms? I would be if I had to drive in 4x4 on an icy highway and had a front automatic locker.

If that's not an issue for you, I would go with a Lockrite, Aussie, or No-Slip... in that order. All are fine in 2wd. I only put the No-Slip last because it is about $100 more than either the Aussie or Lockrite with no real benefit up front other than it doesn't click at all. I put the Aussie behind the Lockrite only because the Lockrite is American made. Other than that, the Lockrite and Aussie are the same locker, the Aussie is essentially a very good copy of the Lockrite.
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Old 01-17-2008, 01:30 PM   #16
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Funny you mentioned that, we had a "snow storm" last night. We have an ice storm once a year. I am not really worried about it that much. I would just have to take it easy on that one day of the year. I was thinking about going with the Lockrite. So thanks again.

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You're not worried about Atlanta's ice storms? I would be if I had to drive in 4x4 on an icy highway and had a front automatic locker.

If that's not an issue for you, I would go with a Lockrite, Aussie, or No-Slip... in that order. All are fine in 2wd. I only put the No-Slip last because it is about $100 more than either the Aussie or Lockrite with no real benefit up front other than it doesn't click at all. I put the Aussie behind the Lockrite only because the Lockrite is American made. Other than that, the Lockrite and Aussie are the same locker, the Aussie is essentially a very good copy of the Lockrite.
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:00 PM   #17
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I am not disputing your knowledge in any way jerry, but he says in his first post that he has a cabin in the woods and it snows there. He also said he puts it in 4wd at the first sign of snow. This being said I think it would be a good idea for him to go ahead and get a selectable if he has the means to do so.
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:17 PM   #18
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I am not disputing your knowledge in any way jerry, but he says in his first post that he has a cabin in the woods and it snows there. He also said he puts it in 4wd at the first sign of snow. This being said I think it would be a good idea for him to go ahead and get a selectable if he has the means to do so.
Which is exactly why I said "I see your Avitar shows you wheeling in snow... if you do that, then by all means go with a selectable locker." I didn't catch his second post where he talked about his cabin. It certainly doesn't snow where he lives though.
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:36 PM   #19
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when you put in a selectable locker you should think abour regearing at the same time if you want some bigger tires in the future.
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:58 PM   #20
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I wouldn't let 4WheelParts touch my Jeep! Go to 4West in San Bernardino for installation. It's only Jeeps and they all own Jeeps. The work WILL be done right for a fair price. 4WP has screwed up too many peoples stuff. My $.02- gat an ARB.
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:46 PM   #21
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I know what you mean. I was just thinking about regearing but i don;t want to re gear my Dana 30 or 35. I think for now I will buy my front locker and use it until my tires are worn. When it's time to replace the tires, I am going to replace my axlex with dana 44's and higher gears to run 35" tires. The first upgrade will be the locker and the windshield headlights for now. My tires are brand new and they should last me about 30,000 miles or so depending on how much damage I cause them.
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:49 PM   #22
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Mr Bash
I wouldn't let 4WheelParts touch my Jeep! Go to 4West in San Bernardino for installation. It's only Jeeps and they all own Jeeps. The work WILL be done right for a fair price. 4WP has screwed up too many peoples stuff. My $.02- gat an ARB.
You're right! I just received an e-mail from 4West in Colton quoting the labor amount for the installation of the OX Locker. I will be dropping my Jeep off on Tuesday. I'm staying away from 4 Wheel Parts.
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Old 01-18-2008, 12:27 AM   #23
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So don't pay through the nose for a selectable locker like an Ox, ARB Air Locker, etc. if your only concern is that you're afraid the steering will suck with an automatic locker up front. I see your Avitar shows you wheeling in snow... if you do that, then by all means go with a selectable locker. But if you don't, then a front automatic locker is fine.

A front automatic locker is a well-known NON-issue for the TJ except in snow/ice conditions. Really, no jive, no rumor.
First I would like to say that.. great pics on your site. It is obvious you have penty of wheeling experience under your belt and appreciate your thoughts. Unlike you, I don't do much rock crawling. I am more of a trail rider consisting of steep hills, sand, and especially snow. When it snows, I love to be the first to drive trough the trails and make the tire tracks. Having a front locker driving uphill on a snow covered hill is imperatibe. That is why I want a selectable locker. The only time I drive in 4 wheel on pavement is the first day it snows when the streets havn't been cleared yet. Also, the snow falls 20 minutes from my house in Rancho Cucamonga, and when it does fall....I'm there on my next day of and every week there-after until the snow melts.

It really just boils down to one thing. My confidence level is always higher when I have the control the turn the locker on or off. Sometimes I make turns on the trails and I need engage back to 2-wheel for easier manuevering.

Quite frankly, deciding to purchase a selectable locker makes me more comfortable with my TJ.
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Old 01-18-2008, 12:56 AM   #24
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please excuse my grammar
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Old 01-18-2008, 11:43 AM   #25
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Quite frankly, deciding to purchase a selectable locker makes me more comfortable with my TJ.
If I could afford front and rear selectable lockers rather than the auto lockers I have installed, I would definitely have selectable lockers though I personally would go with ARB Air Lockers if it were me.

My only point was if cost was a factor and that if you had just been lead to believe a front automatic locker would cause steering issues, that you shouldn't be worried about using an automatic locker up front. Enjoy your new selectable locker, you can never go wrong with that type of locker.
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Old 02-08-2008, 01:39 AM   #26
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I recently posted in the Trail thread about my discovery. My rear diff was leaking oil so I took to dealer and that is when I found out I have a Dana 44 in the rear. This whole time I was assuming I have a DAna 35. I'm the happiest man on earth.

Concerning the locker I was going to buy, I changed my mind. $1500 is alot of money for a locker.

I went up Cleghorne tonight with my new Dick Cepek offroad lights. What a difference offroading at night with these lights. Anyway, I went back up to the hill with the power tower and I attempted to climb that hill with my open diffs. I just had to do it and I knew I can make it. All I had to do is find the right track up.

I have learned that with open diffs, it is very important to keep all tires on the ground as much as you can. Basically, I need to choose my path and change it accordingly until I climb the hill and get over to my destination. I made it up the hill. I went up and down seven times.

I have been so used to my Touareg and its automatic lockers that I had forgotten what it was like to offroad with my open diffs before I bought the Touareg. Anyway, now the Touareg is gone and Offroading has become a challenge again.

I will say this...I do feel safer with atleast one locker...because loosing traction when your up a hill is not fun. I will end up getting a locker for the rear. I think I will go with a selectable air locker so I can use the compressor to pump my tires as well.

I went up to frazier park over the weekend and pumping air in 4 tires for 25 minutes was not fun.

Here the pic of my new lights...


Here's a pic of the hill I had to drive back down on at Cleghorne when I first bought my TJ. Now i KNow better.
If you look carefully, you can see my buddies yellow JK on the left side towards the bottom of the trail.

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Old 02-08-2008, 02:18 AM   #27
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Mr bash,
I can't give any first hand advice on an OX locker, but as a guy who lives in the Inland Empire I can recommend where to get it installed or any other work done. 4West in San Bernardino is a Jeep only store and shop. They did my SYE. Their work is great and good prices. Check them out.
www.4west.com
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Old 02-08-2008, 01:12 PM   #28
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I do agree. My buddy Norman from VW Pasadena recommended them as well.
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Old 02-08-2008, 02:11 PM   #29
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You're not worried about Atlanta's ice storms? I would be if I had to drive in 4x4 on an icy highway and had a front automatic locker.

If that's not an issue for you, I would go with a Lockrite, Aussie, or No-Slip... in that order. All are fine in 2wd. I only put the No-Slip last because it is about $100 more than either the Aussie or Lockrite with no real benefit up front other than it doesn't click at all. I put the Aussie behind the Lockrite only because the Lockrite is American made. Other than that, the Lockrite and Aussie are the same locker, the Aussie is essentially a very good copy of the Lockrite.


On this same note, Jerry, where I live we do get a good amount of snow, and I get mine out in the snow occasionally. I've got the factory trac-lok in the rear, would I be better off to upgrade that to a "real" locker out back or go with something up front? BTW, my Jeep isn't a DD, but it is more of a weekend warrior. Will a front locker of any of these types present an issue to flat towing?
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Old 02-08-2008, 02:23 PM   #30
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What's your budget and does it need to be street-friendly when the roads are icy? The Tracloc in your rear axle is actually not all that good on icy roads, it can cause understeer due to its clutch pack. When you wheel, do you wheel on off-camber trails that are iced up or full of snow? Do you need front and rear lockers for where you wheel? Do you prefer an automatic locker or is a selectable locker within your budget?

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