33 inch tires, lunchbox front locker, stock birfields strong enuf?

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Hey guys considering getting a front locker for my 81, spartan perhaps. I know this is the gas forum but many more 80 drivers here and torque specs appear similar on paper. I'm running 285/75/16 with the 1HDT/manual 5 speed/oem part time T-case and lockout hubs. Will the birf hold up in moderate wheeling conditions or do I need a chromoly set?
Thnx in advance
 
I think with 33's and part-time 4wd you could probably get away with it. My friend has had a Spartan in the front of his 99 Tacoma on 33's for a few years with no issues. It really comes down to how you drive it though.
 
I would NOT recommend a lunchbox locker in the FRONT for ANY truck except a dedicated toy.

I used to drive and old Chevy as a DD with a limited slip in the front and in the winter or in very slick (ice) conditions, the front locker worked against me because it made it so ALL FOUR WHEELS TURNED THE SAME SPEED. That meant that I could NOT turn on semi-slick surfaces.

If I ever do it again, I will get a selectable locker for the front so I can turn it on when needed only. If I am on the street and it is 100% snow and ice covered, the locker will make it so you cannot corner. I experienced this on a long sloping right hand corner at 30 MPH. I started into the corner and the slight difference in gearing (rear was 0.02 faster than the front...yes...stock) the rear started to push and I started in a slow CW pirouette. The only way I finally corrected to stop was to stomp the brakes, lock all 4 wheels, jam in reverse, and dump the clutch to WOT in reverse. I stopped about 18" from hitting a light pole. I had zero steering control. After that, I tried driving with one hub locked in (I don't recommend that either) just to aid a little steering with a little more traction.

It amounted to I just had to be REALLY cautious when I was in 4WD with the hubs locked in on slick surfaces.

Once I was in the mud or snow and wanted to go in a straight line, it was fantastic!
 
Thnx for the replies guys but I should have mentioned -

1) i don't drive this truck in the winter.
2) i have a spare diff which i will be putting the locker in so i can always swap the original open diff back in.
3) i always unlock the hubs on the road and set the T-case to 2wd, no awd on this HDJ from the factory.

If anyone has experience driving an 80 on 33's with a front locker I'd love to hear about it. Must be a few of you since they came stock on some FZJs. If u blew a birf I'd like to hear how hard u were wheeling and was it rock or mud. Thnx guys
 
You'll be fine.
I run stock birfs on 37's (swapping to RCV soon) and i'm not very nice to her.
 
I would NOT recommend a lunchbox locker in the FRONT for ANY truck except a dedicated toy.

I used to drive and old Chevy as a DD with a limited slip in the front and in the winter or in very slick (ice) conditions, the front locker worked against me because it made it so ALL FOUR WHEELS TURNED THE SAME SPEED. That meant that I could NOT turn on semi-slick surfaces.

If I ever do it again, I will get a selectable locker for the front so I can turn it on when needed only. If I am on the street and it is 100% snow and ice covered, the locker will make it so you cannot corner. I experienced this on a long sloping right hand corner at 30 MPH. I started into the corner and the slight difference in gearing (rear was 0.02 faster than the front...yes...stock) the rear started to push and I started in a slow CW pirouette. The only way I finally corrected to stop was to stomp the brakes, lock all 4 wheels, jam in reverse, and dump the clutch to WOT in reverse. I stopped about 18" from hitting a light pole. I had zero steering control. After that, I tried driving with one hub locked in (I don't recommend that either) just to aid a little steering with a little more traction.

It amounted to I just had to be REALLY cautious when I was in 4WD with the hubs locked in on slick surfaces.

Once I was in the mud or snow and wanted to go in a straight line, it was fantastic!


I saw that behavior with a buddy's rig on a mountain shelf road in snow. He ended up with only 1 wheel left on the road... with a 100-200 ft drop. It took 3 winches to recover him.
 
I agree, auto lockers do not belong in the front axle. Even if you don't drive in snow/etc, it will totally ruin your turning radius. Imagine an uphill switchback on the trail. You'll be in 4WD because you're on the trail. You'll need to apply the gas because you're going uphill. Those two factors combined will result in major front-end plowing and every switch back will turn into a 3(or more) point turn.

The other alternative is to just lock one hub and leave the truck in 3WD most of the time, and then when you get to an obstacle that actually requires the front locker, get out and lock the other hub. IMO, this does not sound like fun at all and kind of defeats the purpose.

Just don't. Save up for a selectable front locker or just run it open.

As to your actual question, yes, I imagine the stock axles would be more than up to the job. :)

That's my $.02
 
...The other alternative is to just lock one hub and leave the truck in 3WD most of the time, and then when you get to an obstacle that actually requires the front locker, get out and lock the other hub. IMO, this does not sound like fun at all ...
Seen that discussion many times, back in the day when I was hanging out on a Blazer board... accepted solution was to get a passenger to do the locking/unlocking of the hub. :)

Having ARB's that I can control independently, I actually tried trail running with the front locked & rear open just to see how this goes... it wasn't a lot of fun, and the truck was resisting steering input at every turn. Perhaps an auto locker would be a bit more forgiving than the ARB, but there's no way I'd put an auto locker in the front unless it were in a rock buggy with cutting brakes.
 
Do you already have a rear locker? If not, I'd put a locker in the rear long before I considered putting on in the front (assuming only running a single diff lock). An Auto locker in the rear works really well in an 80 and I never had weird road manners when I had an Aussie in the rear diff on my '93. Hardly even knew it was there.
 
So stock birf should be strong enuf then, good to know thnx guys. As for your question yes the rear would be locked first and it's not just about the extra $750 for a front arb compared to a spartan, i want to install the locker myself.
I'd like to add too that running one hub locked is something u could do all day long in many cases, left or right front wheel power beats the weakest wheel receiving power. Lock the 2nd hub in on the rare occasion u see a terrible spot on the horizon. Or if your next obstacle is a steep hill with a sharp turn choose which one front wheel would be best to have grip for that particular situation and only lock that hub. Having prado electric hubs with separate control for left or right would be nice!
When u really break it down having a lunchbox locker with front hubs is better in a lot of ways than awd hubs with an ARB, but yes an ARB and manual hubs would be the ultimate combo.
Thnx again guys
 
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The question of "is it strong enough", yes. But love of skinny pedal can destroy almost anything so its up to your driving style
 
Save a bit more money and get a harrop e locker. You will be happy you did.
yeah harrop sound nice but i'm actually thinking a spool might be the best option for my setUp lol seriously i can run one wheel up front for the entire offroad life of the cruiser with one hub unlocked. switch the side each week for even wear :) 90% of the time both unlocked on the pave anyway and both locked in those special moments.. This is not my daily driver..
 
That works sure, not sure if you've experienced how that feels on the trail.. I have and it sucks.

I blew a hub and didn't have my spare with me so I ran the diff locked with my front passenger hub locked. It was fatiguing because the drive force through the one tire was constantly trying to turn the wheels to the left. So I had to spend hours holding countersteer just to keep it going straight, it was not enjoyable in the slightest.

If you go that route then you might as well save the money and weld it.
 
The question of "is it strong enough", yes. But love of skinny pedal can destroy almost anything so its up to your driving style

yeah i hear ya, I'll have to play it by ear. I had a suzuki with dual T-cases on 38's dual locked, broke 3 toyota mini axle birfs in 2 weeks. But that was driving down skidder trails. I'm pretty gentle with the cruiser tho
 
That works sure, not sure if you've experienced how that feels on the trail.. I have and it sucks.

I blew a hub and didn't have my spare with me so I ran the diff locked with my front passenger hub locked. It was fatiguing because the drive force through the one tire was constantly trying to turn the wheels to the left. So I had to spend hours holding countersteer just to keep it going straight, it was not enjoyable in the slightest.

If you go that route then you might as well save the money and weld it.
ok. yeah iu have felt it but it
 
Do it. I had a lock right in the front of mine for years. All I did was put 60 hubs up front. Left it fulltime 4wd. I was fine on stock birfs until I went with 38s
 
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