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Old 11-07-2012, 05:13 PM   #1
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Full Spool VS. Locker

I just replaced my rear AMC 20 2-piece axles with the 1-piece axles. Now I want to lock up the rear, but I'm struggling with the price of a GOOD locker. My Jeep is strictly for fun with the very rare and occasional drive in town. I don't want to spend a ton on a reliable locker and I don't want a cheap unreliable locker either. I have been seriously considering a full spool in the rear. I have read quite a few articles about the pro's and con's of both. Just looking to get some fellow Jeeper's opinions. Thanks.

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Old 11-07-2012, 07:10 PM   #2
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I upgraded my rear AMC 20 to the 1-piece axles. I put in a good ol Detroit locker and have not regretted it. I put a cheaper limited slip spartan up front. I haven't ever drivin a cj with the rear spool, so I'm not sure how they compare.

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Old 11-07-2012, 07:17 PM   #3
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Ive driven a couple spooled vehicles (the closest comparison is probably a Samurai)...and they are very predictable, however they will eat up your tires if you do not watch your tire pressure. I wouldnt want one on a daily driver, but I'd highly consider one on a toy.
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:19 PM   #4
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Save yourself the coin and weld them up.
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:21 PM   #5
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Save yourself the coin and weld them up.
There is another option. You are startin to sound like a damn toyota driver nick
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:34 PM   #6
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There is another option. You are startin to sound like a damn toyota driver nick
That and hanging out at the eye patch forum.
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:05 PM   #7
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I upgraded my rear AMC 20 to the 1-piece axles. I put in a good ol Detroit locker and have not regretted it. I put a cheaper limited slip spartan up front. I haven't ever drivin a cj with the rear spool, so I'm not sure how they compare.
Does the Detroit do a good job of staying unlocked on the street, but locked on the trail?
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:07 PM   #8
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Save yourself the coin and weld them up.
I have heard the welding option, but I unfortunately do not weld. I could ask around here for a good welder though.
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:11 PM   #9
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I have heard the welding option, but I unfortunately do not weld. I could ask around here for a good welder though.
Unless u set up your diffs yourself, you will have to pay someone to install the spool and reset your gears. If u get them welded, u could just pull the carrier and have a welder weld the gears together and then to the carrier....the cost would probably be cheaper for a welder than a gear guy.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:59 AM   #10
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Unless you don't care about spending a lot on tires, forget the spool if it is street driven. And frankly I hate Detroits-tried them twice, the second time just to see if my memory wasn't quite with it anymore. Maybe in a longer wheelbase with a wimpy motor, but with something other than a whimpy motor and 80-81" wheelbase, they are a good recipe to get you dead. Those unplanned lane changes on dry pavement are VERY real and just about undrivable on hardpack snow and ice. They do work well off road but at that point, you may as well spool/weld it.

If it were my choice, I would be saving until I could buy a quality selectable and I believe ARB's are still the best bet.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:03 PM   #11
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Unless you don't care about spending a lot on tires, forget the spool if it is street driven. And frankly I hate Detroits-tried them twice, the second time just to see if my memory wasn't quite with it anymore. Maybe in a longer wheelbase with a wimpy motor, but with something other than a whimpy motor and 80-81" wheelbase, they are a good recipe to get you dead. Those unplanned lane changes on dry pavement are VERY real and just about undrivable on hardpack snow and ice. They do work well off road but at that point, you may as well spool/weld it.

If it were my choice, I would be saving until I could buy a quality selectable and I believe ARB's are still the best bet.
Just my opinion, but the Detroit isn't made to engage when changing lanes? Maybe yours were put in wrong. Mine is not "unpredictable". If I turn it all the way in a parking lot it will try to engage, but it's supposed to because the axles are turning at different speeds. I have a CJ7 with a 304, wide track axles on 33's and I've never felt they would be the death of me.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:31 PM   #12
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Just my opinion, but the Detroit isn't made to engage when changing lanes? Maybe yours were put in wrong. Mine is not "unpredictable". If I turn it all the way in a parking lot it will try to engage, but it's supposed to because the axles are turning at different speeds. I have a CJ7 with a 304, wide track axles on 33's and I've never felt they would be the death of me.
As long as you have any power on them, they will remain locked. So, if you go into a corner on blacktop with your foot still on the throttle and the unit locked, the second you back off they will disengage with rather abrupt results. The bottom line is if you want to back off while still turning, you are SCREWED. Effects were very apparent with both the LT1 350 and the current 381 small blocks in my 3B. And it wasn't put in wrong. You apparently need to up the pony account with the 304 to appreciate what really happens.

For another $300, an ARB is well worth it.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:40 PM   #13
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As long as you have any power on them, they will remain locked. So, if you go into a corner on blacktop with your foot still on the throttle and the unit locked, the second you back off they will disengage with rather abrupt results. The bottom line is if you want to back off while still turning, you are SCREWED. Effects were very apparent with both the LT1 350 and the current 381 small blocks in my 3B. And it wasn't put in wrong. You apparently need to up the pony account with the 304 to appreciate what really happens.

For another $300, an ARB is well worth it.
My buddy ran one in his Cherokee until he sold it...which is now being driven by his roomate. I drove it a few times, and he also made some long trips in it. Never did he complain about it, and I never felt a problem. Every once and a while itd chirp around a corner. He said in the couple years of owning it, he only had it unload on him a handful of times. I think part of driving with an autolocker comes down to HOW you drive not the part itself. I have seen mixed feelings on the Detroits, and it seems that part of them depend on the age of the locker. If I recall more of the negative comments were coming from guys that ran older detroits in the past. That is just my two cents though.

Also for it the OP having it as a toy, I wouldnt hesitate to weld up the front and rear (or spool it) and call it a day. The more time you spend on the road, the faster your tires will get eaten up...but they also wont go bald in a weeks worth of daily driving lol. On the road, just be aware of your tire pressure with a spool/welded gears if a tire is at a higher pressure than the other, you will just be dragging the other around, wearing them out much faster.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:40 PM   #14
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Duffer


Please read the title of the thread and the posts. The OP is not building a DD.

He doesn't care that you don't know how to drive a rig with a Detroit.
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:30 PM   #15
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I'd say a shop with derby cars hanging around would weld up the gears for cheap.

A minispool would be another option but I don't think they make one for the amc 20.... or at least I can find one.

Last would be a lunch box locker. Probably run in the $300 range.

Botha minispool and a lunch box locker could be installed without setting up the gears if that is a concern of yours.
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:37 PM   #16
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As long as you have any power on them, they will remain locked. So, if you go into a corner on blacktop with your foot still on the throttle and the unit locked, the second you back off they will disengage with rather abrupt results. The bottom line is if you want to back off while still turning, you are SCREWED. Effects were very apparent with both the LT1 350 and the current 381 small blocks in my 3B. And it wasn't put in wrong. You apparently need to up the pony account with the 304 to appreciate what really happens.

For another $300, an ARB is well worth it.
Play nice. Input about how much HP your pumping in your jeep does not help answer the question and the reason for the thread.
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:19 PM   #17
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Thanks for the input everybody. I'm not too worried about tire ware due to the lack of time it spends on the road, other than heading to and from trails. If I go spool or mini spool, what all would need to be changed/replaced as far as gears/spider gears?
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:08 PM   #18
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Doing a full spool is the same labor as setting up any other full locker. The full spool replaces the carrier entirely. You need an install kit and you need to set up the gears or pay someone to do it for you.

A mini spool just slides in like a lunchbox locker and can be done in your driveway/garage. No real setup needed. Just slide the shafts out, pull the spider gears, slide in the mini spool, and button it all back up. You can pull the carrier to make the job a little easier but as long as you don't mix up the shims you can put it back together without having to set anything up.

Welding the gears is just dropping the cover, cleaning off the oil, welding the snot out of the gears and putting it back together.

The full spool is quite a bit stronger than a mini spool since it's one piece of metal and not bits riding inside a carrier. Welded gears, done correctly, are probably comparable to a full spool. Done poorly, it's a gamble.
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:55 PM   #19
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For just a trail rig and being the $$ is concern I say weld it up 1st see how you like it. It will give you an idea of what a spool will be like. Now that being said a spool vs a full locker the spool should come out as stronger, no moving parts to break etc. I have driven a detriot in my amc 20 and after about a day of driving it, you understand how it will react. I have one in my YJ currently and its a non issue as I understand what to expect. ARBs are nice and had two in my last TJ, but cost is way up there. Thus for what your needs are weld it up and go from there.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:30 AM   #20
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derf and 4Jeepn, you guys have been more than helpful. I actually have a grasp on what I want/can do now. Really appreciate it.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:24 AM   #21
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After lots of research, reading ya'lls feedback, and watching a lot of videos, I think I'm just going to have a local 4x4 shop weld up the rear end. A lot of people report mini spools failing and causing a lot of collateral damage and the full spool still seems more time and money consuming than I want. I think welding it up will be perfect for what I need. Thanks again for all the advice.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:24 AM   #22
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I run a spool in the rear of my Tj and a detroit locker in front. Drive on the road sometimes. I myself like the spool in the back. Locker on the road can be dangerous in snowy conditions, locking and unlocking. Also had a old ramcharger i welded up the rear, worked pretty good. My CJ 5 has open diffs. i might just keep it that way or get a selectable locker for the rear. Want to drive it on and off road when i finish building it.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:34 PM   #23
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Welding is definitely an easy trick, well worth it.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:48 AM   #24
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If you're trying to decide if the money for the spool is worth it, decide if you can afford to replace the whole carrier and gears if you hate the way it runs when you weld it up. Once you weld it it's a done deal. The spool can be removed and sold if you hate it.

I'm saving for an ARB personally and running a full spool in the front end. I simply lock the hubs and don't worry about the front at all and the limited slip in the rear seems to be doing the job until I can afford the ARB.

To each his own and everybody has an opinion.

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