Retro fit Locking Diff to Non Locked Housing

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by Bear80, Nov 13, 2004.

  1. Bear80

    Bear80

    Messages:
    2,951
    Ok well my dad just got the front and rear locking axles off a crashed '97 LX450. However the front of the wagon took such a hit, like 60mph+ into a concrete bridge pole. And with the axles off the wagon the front housing has a few hits front the tie rod cross bars. So looks like he'll have to retro fit the front pumpkin into his non locking housing.
    Now I've looked at slee about how this is done. This is nothing we cannont do, but I'm worried about the area that is cut and no longer has a large sealing surface. I'm guessing that housings that came with lockers are made different and the cutting we'll have to do is for a retro fit.
    Anyone ever tried this, and how well can you get it to seal around the cut out area, I'm guessing some RTV or form-a-gasket will work to double up with the paper seal. Oh and any other notes will be helpful too.

    By the way, he bought the rear wheels and spare off of it too, but he didn't have the truck to bring any of it back so the yard was going to deliver it for him. That night, some assholes broke into the yard, stole other stuff and the spare, I guess since the tire was like new. So now we only have 2 wheels any ideas where I can get atleast 2 more, I want them for my mini truck.
  2. reffug

    reffug

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    3,994
    Location:
    'in dat der briar patch'
    I think Cristo might have some wheels, would be worth asking. Just 02
  3. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    Groveland MA
    Make sure you get the other bits to the locking diffs, ecu, the switch and there is also a harness which I beleive is the one that runs along the sway bar which isn't available from Toyota.


    BTW, I could use a rear sway bar, I'd like to replace the aftermarket one I have. Could you maybe help a guy out?
  4. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Moderator Supporting Vendor

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    The front non-lock housing must be heavily modified to fit the diff. The sealing area is an issue as well as the fact that new holes need to be drilled and tapped to accept additional mounting studs and some existing holes need to be filled. Two of these additional studs are over 5 inches long and if the new threaded holes are not absolutely perpendicular to the diff mounting surface you will never get the diff in the housing.

    I retro-fitted OEM locks into mine utilizing the correct, new, front axle housing.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2004
  5. Bear80

    Bear80

    Messages:
    2,951
    He got all that is needed, he's been wanting locking diffs pretty bad. He put the ecu, harness and switch in a year ago so he's ready. Kinda bummed that the front housing is bent though, it woud have been nice to just bolt everyhing up.

    Yeah let me get with him and see, I know he got the springs and all, why I don't know....but if he did get the sway bar I'm sure he won't mind sending it your way.
  6. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    17,094
    Location:
    Groveland MA
  7. Bear80,

    Depending on where the axle is bent, maybe he can have someone cut the locking pumpkin and weld it to the good axle housing. If you could do that you could also turn the housing a little to take care of the caster.

    -B-
  8. Bear80

    Bear80

    Messages:
    2,951
    Yeah, grea idea! I know he was looking at the other crashed 80 in that junk yard that he got the wiring off of, and it suffered a rollover that cracked the front housing next to the birfield cup. I think he's going to get it and see which of the two he can get to work so as to advoid cutting his original housing.

    Which if he does they may or may not make him take the 3rd member also, anyone think that it may be usful to have another front locking pumkin?
  9. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    17,094
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    Groveland MA

    Kurt? :doh:
  10. landtoy80

    landtoy80

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    4,946
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    West Slope Colorado

    What. I heard my name called. What did I do?
  11. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

    Messages:
    17,094
    Location:
    Groveland MA

    LOL, thought you might want to comment on having a spare diff/actuator assembly handy.

  12. foxfab

    foxfab

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    3,426
    Location:
    Hope Valley, RI
    Heavily modified? All you do is move 4 studs, cut a notch for the actuator arm, add some weld for the sealing surface and its done.... I typically charge $100 to do this. Its not rocket science.
  13. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Moderator Supporting Vendor

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    Sniffin' diesel
    Do you do this in-frame or does the housing need to be out on the bench?
  14. Bear80

    Bear80

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    2,951
    You wouldn't happen to be close to texas would you??
    I was thinking taking it to a machine shop will all the specs would work out best. So around $100 is a fair price, it's worth the consideration the.
  15. 4x4CPOSEADOG

    4x4CPOSEADOG SILVER Star

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    2,555
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    I've been wanting to this on my LX. I know removing and replacing non-lock diffs with locking diffs is easy, but what's bothering me is installing the ecu, harness, and switch. Are these items already pre-wired in a non locking diff where you can just plug and play once you installed them? Also how do you synchronize both diffs once hooked up to the driveshafts? :confused: Thanks for any info. :D Or may Cdan can help me out since he did this on his rig.
  16. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Moderator Supporting Vendor

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    The ECU and the rotary switch will plug into pre-existing recepticles in the cowl harness.
    The indicators in the dash are also present. you need to pull the instrument cluster and add the indicator bulbs to the pre-existing holes in the circuit board. The front axle wiring is also plug in. You need to get a front axle wiring harness. This will plug into the actuator and then make the trip up to the firewall where it plugs into the cowl harness near the antenna plug.
    The rear axle is a bit more challenging. You will need a diff-lock rear axle housing harness that will replace the ABS-only setup with one that is ABS AND difflock. This harness terminates at the left quarter. To be true plug and play you will also need a complete floor wiring harness. (big money). You can build a 5 wire harness of your own and run it along the existing floor harness. This is what I did. It is 14 feet long and is terminated on the front end with OEM harness repair splices that fit into the un-used cavities of the floor wire harness side of the connector that mates the floor harness to the cowl harness.

    D-
  17. 4x4CPOSEADOG

    4x4CPOSEADOG SILVER Star

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    Location:
    on the right coast
    Thanks for that great info CDan. Now, I have to search all the junkyard in my area to look for a wreck cruiser or maybe talk to my wife's friend who is about to sell their 97 locked cruiser. Again, many thanks.
  18. >> Now, I have to search all the junkyard in my area to look for a wreck cruiser ... <<

    Or you could give Dan a call, slap leather, and help feed his dogs. Last I heard they're getting a little lean this fall.

    -B-
  19. rgmax

    rgmax

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Orange County, Ca.
    I retro fitted both front and rear factory lockers into my '96 a few of montha ago. Here are some of the highlights:

    1) The rear locker bolts in with only a small notch required to clear the actuator arm. Takes less than 5 min with a die grinder and carbide bit. You will also have to replace some of the studs with longer ones (4-5 I dont remember exactly) . The passenger side axle is also different( shorter). The wiring harnesses (2) will need to be replaced between the diff and where they enter the left rear quarter. You will have to fabricate a 5 wire harness to bridge the gap to the main harness connector in the drivers side kick panel. I scavenged pins out of the connectors on the discarded harnesses, soldered them to my "bridge' harness and inserted them into the empty holes in the existing main floor harness connectors. Thats it for the rear, pretty easy.

    2) The front is a more complicated. This is the time to repack the birfs, bearings, replace seals, etc since the axles have to be pulled.
    The notch required to fit the diff is much larger that for the rear, I used a combination of cutoff wheel and die grinder. Enought metal remains on the sealing area that I decided not to weld up this area. So far no leaks, but having it welded would be best.
    Unlike the rear, 4 studs need to be moved which of course require holes to be drilled and tapped. This is by far the trickiest part of the mod. I removed the 4 old studs, bolted in the new diff and used a transfer punch to mark the new hole locations. Using a hand drill with a fabricated alinement fixture I drilled then tapped the 4 holes. There is little room to work with the housing in the truck. If I had to do this over I would have removed the housing, had it welded and used a drill press for the new holes.
    The front diff wiring harness connects with no problems to the existing harness on the passenger side fire wall.

    All thats left is to plug in the locker ECU in the passenger side kick panel, add the diff lock indicator bulbs/holders into the dash and add the diff selector switch.

    I bought the diffs, wiring harnesses, gaskets and a few other odds and ends new online. Some of the other items that would have been expensive new like the locker ECU and axle I got from salvage yards. Its possable to get all these parts from salvage yards making the mod fairly inexpensive.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2004
  20. Arya Ebrahimi

    Arya Ebrahimi

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    3,102
    Location:
    Rockville, MD
    Not to worry, I think Dan's welfare and that of his family should be just fine this winter thanks to me :D :flipoff2:

    :cheers: to Dan and the services he provides.

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