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Discussion Starter #1
sorry for such frequent posts, ive been looking into this and trying to work out the best option... i love my sierra, but open diffs just dont get the job done sometimes.
what i want to know is what the advantages/disadvantages of air lockers and the mechanical lockers such as the detroit locker. in terms of price, i was quoted $1700 per diff for airlockers fully installed, but i have had mates tell me that detroit lockers are around $400-500, but not sure if thats fitted or not, but still cheaper...
some things ive read are that detroit lockers tend to lock during low speed cornering through town which kills the tires... has anyone ever worked with both?... not sure if this makes a difference, but i would only be looking at the rear locker
 

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sorry for such frequent posts, ive been looking into this and trying to work out the best option... i love my sierra, but open diffs just dont get the job done sometimes.
what i want to know is what the advantages/disadvantages of air lockers and the mechanical lockers such as the detroit locker. in terms of price, i was quoted $1700 per diff for airlockers fully installed, but i have had mates tell me that detroit lockers are around $400-500, but not sure if thats fitted or not, but still cheaper...
some things ive read are that detroit lockers tend to lock during low speed cornering through town which kills the tires... has anyone ever worked with both?... not sure if this makes a difference, but i would only be looking at the rear locker
LockRite and Detroit Lockers are really not designed for street use as they unlock when the load between one wheel becomes great enough to overcome the friction causing the locker mechanism to release. This mostly occurs when the driver is not steering straight. As you might imagine, the unlocking during a turn - at any speed - can be unnerving both in terms of noise and the "feel" of the "driver's seat" or steering wheel. You CAN drive with them but it requires you to think more about the driving situations that you are in and it can wear down your tires because the locking effect causes tire scrubbing.

I have a locker on the front axle of my Daily Driver/offroading Samurai. With the hubs unlocked, the locker has no effect on road handling. When the hubs are locked while offroad, the locker helps pull the truck over/through obstacles better. My rear axle is unlocked.

About Selective lockers: They are incredible for both on- and off-road use! I had a 1973 Pinzgauer 710M (google that for more) that had hydraulically-acutated lockers both front and rear. I could get out of the most difficult offroad situations with them and STILL drive on the roads! Unfortunately, road driving was limited to 55MPH (88.5KPH) tops and the swing-arm axles made the truck danged scary to handle in emergency driving situations!

Choosing a locker is a compromise. I decided that street drivability was more important than offroad drivability. My compromise was a Lockrite/EZlocker in the front.

Take a look at some of the US vendor's websites. A search at Ack's FAQ (see link in signature, below) - using the CATEGORY of "VENDORS" with no search string - will reveal a list of Suzuki offroad websites including nearly all of the North American vendors. Hopefully the shipping and customs won't kill the price compared to your local prices. If nothing else, some of the product pages/pictures can be educational!

I hope that this helps!
 

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A Lock-Right/Detroit locker costs under US$250. Installation can be made without changing the R&P engagement (although I paid a specialist to install mine). Conventional wisdom says to put the locker in the rear, but a lot of Zukers install them in the front as well/instead, often with upgraded front axles. Until you lock the hubs, you'll not know it's there. When locked in front, steering will be harder, and some folks install power steering.

I chose to install mine in the rear, because it's always engaged and I need traction most when climbing, when the weight has all shifted to the rear. But I've had to learn to tolerate the behavior quirks. You'll hear a harmless clicking noise as you make sharp low-speed turns, as the outside wheel over-runs the inside, which now has all the drive. I've not noticed the tire wear that some folks claim -- it's just not a factor for me (my tires will age out long before they wear out). The most obvious effect is torque steer, when the locker locks & unlocks as you apply/release the throttle. You'll learn NOT to do this in a corner -- it can be a bit spooky! On asphalt, once in a rare while I'll hear a loud BANG! as the built-up axle torque is released. With smallish tires, this doesn't seem to be a problem. Driving with a locker is said to be tricky in ice & snow, but I've got none of that here, so close to L.A.

Would I do it again? I dunno. I've already got the heavy-duty front axles and power steering, so I just might someday give a front locker a try. I've now installed a limited-slip in the front that I'm going to run for a while. Steering should be easier with the LSD, and when installed up front, its clutches will likely never wear out.

Edit: I once had an LSD on a rear-wheel-drive Volvo. After a couple of years the clutches wore out and it became an open diff. An LSD in the rear on a daily driver would be subject to the same everyday wear, and would wear out more quickly. Samurai LSDs are no longer available (until another batch is made by the manufacturer), so I need to keep mine working as long as possible.
 

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Locked Diffs...

How bad is it to just straight up weld them up, (front and back)? I have done it on a few old Ford Escorts to increase driving enjoyment :p and never had problems.

Stuart
 

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if you plan on drag racing it, or if you use it strictly for offroad only, you can weld it. If you want a more subtle locking type mechanism you can use a Limited Slip Differential. it will provide improved traction and driveablity over the stock differential on road and be a vast improvement over the Open differential when Off-road. An LSD will not provide the full lock of a selectable or full time locker, but a locker makes on road handling worse and sometimes dangerous. So figure out what application works best for your driving style.
 

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Also, if you drive it in the sand, or loose rock, or on a trail that is technical (need precise lines to make it clean) then stay away from the welded diffs. The 3 point turn will turn into a 15 point turn as it won't turn on a dime anymore.
Lockrites are cheap, but the are hard on axles unless you beef them up.
I have run them all and prefer selectables. Either the electric from KAM or the air locker from ARB. Pricey? Yes. But oh so much better on the trail.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How bad is it to just straight up weld them up, (front and back)? I have done it on a few old Ford Escorts to increase driving enjoyment :p and never had problems.

Stuart
one of my mates was telling me he knew someone who did this, and blew a hole in his diff going around a roundabout... whether his diff was in good condition or not i dont know, but even if it was all rusted, to actually do that much damage... no way.

i originally planned to get air lockers, and from what ive heard my mind hasnt been changed. guess i better start saving ;)
 

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I have an air-locker up front in my daily driver, a Toyota (sorry Suzuki), and they're absolutely brilliant. So capable off-road and so comfortable on-road. It was a huge investment, so with my Zuk I just went for rear lockright. I still haven't installed it, it is sitting on my bench waiting to be installed. I didn't go for front one because I am not planning to beef up my front axle. I don't want to put too much money into those things.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
well for me, the only time ive ever got stuck is going uphill... in that case the weight is at the back. that, plus the fact that its so much harder to steer with front ones locked in, have me set on rears, and fronts sometime in the future...
 

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when and if you do get lockers up front, get some locking hubs for it at the same time. You'll notice a lot more power on-road when your little engine doesn't have to push the front drive train while it's locked in. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
sorry, im not that good on terminology :( are they the ones that you have to physically twist for it to go into 4wd? if so, then i already have them :) were on the car when i got it. actually thought they were stock, but i dunno...
 

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sorry, im not that good on terminology :( are they the ones that you have to physically twist for it to go into 4wd? if so, then i already have them :) were on the car when i got it. actually thought they were stock, but i dunno...
those are stock and yes, those are the locking hubs.... I had this topic confused with another one where the original poster did NOT have the locking hubs on his rig. Sorry about the confusion Whincup, my bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
you should be sorry because you should just remember everything ;) lol that was sarcasm jst for the record :) no probs
 

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Just a word of warning,
DONT get the Detroit locker with Detroit sidegears,
If you are going to get one get the one that uses the original Suzuki sidegears

I got the Detroit with Detroit sidegears (even though I asked for the Lockrite... long story)
Me and a diff shop had the diff out about 8 times because it didnt work
It kept unlocking at low speed in a straight line, low speed because I couldnt go any faster!

The late model (someone want to add dates here) Samurais only had 2 pinion front diff so a Lockrite/Detroit could not be put in the front

Maybe a good question, does anyone know if a 4 pinion diff can be put in the front of a late Samurai?
 

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Just a word of warning,
DONT get the Detroit locker with Detroit sidegears,
If you are going to get one get the one that uses the original Suzuki sidegears

I got the Detroit with Detroit sidegears (even though I asked for the Lockrite... long story)
Me and a diff shop had the diff out about 8 times because it didnt work
It kept unlocking at low speed in a straight line, low speed because I couldnt go any faster!

The late model (someone want to add dates here) Samurais only had 2 pinion front diff so a Lockrite/Detroit could not be put in the front

Maybe a good question, does anyone know if a 4 pinion diff can be put in the front of a late Samurai?
Yes. I purchased 2 sets of Powertrax Lockrite lockers, together with "4-pin carriers" from Offroad products for the serious offroad enthusiast!. Installed 1 set in my 1996 Suzuki Samurai SJ70 (leaf sprung) and I'm very, very satisfied!
(Yes the 4 pinion rear diff can also be used in the front on the leaf sprung models)

Unfortunately the coil sprung models or SJ80 (1996-1998) use a smaller front diff and axles.

Can anybody give me advise on what front lockers will fit in my 1997 Samurai/Sierra SJ80 coil sprung model? Do the later Jimny models perhaps use the same front diff?
 

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sidehill locker

I had a 3/4T chev. long wheel base with a detroit locker in the rear. On any kind of sidehill in ice and snow it can get downright tricky. rear end tends to slide out sideways and stay there.
 
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