At What Point Does Being "Locked" Matter?

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Mar 18, 2007
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So I'm shopping 80's and am wondering how much stock should realistically be placed in the elusive Locked Differential...

Honestly, does this only provide incremental value in the case of intense/extreme off-roading such as rock climbing? Is a non-locked 80 helpless in normal off-roading, mudding etc?

Would the average owner going through trails miss it?
 
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Just speaking for me personally - I knew that someday I would want them, and would eventually add them if my truck if it didn't have the OEM lockers. That motivated me simply to wait till I found the right one. I know I made the right decision based on my personality. Otherwise, its $3000 (roughly, anyone correct me if im wrong) to think about.
 

NLXTACY

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It is FAAAAAAAAAR more inexpensive to buy a locked LC now rather than add them later. I can also tell you from experience that I have only needed lockers twice and both times were in an ice/snow mixture. I had to use manual labor to extract me instead of turning a knob:bang:
 

lockd80

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I used my front lockers yesterday on a fairly easy trail just because I am new to wheeling took the wrong line and did not want to make everyone else back up so I could do it right. For a newb like me lockers are great. I try not to use them most of the time just so I can learn the right way to wheel and usualy I only use the front to get unstuck but being new that seems to be quite often.

If you are going to wheel wait for lockers, they usualy do not add to the cost of the vehicle because most people dont even know what they are and they have saved my bacon many times.
 
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You won't know how much you will regret not having lockers until you get into a situation where you need them. I have only needed them twice, once on a sandy hill and once in ice/snow in my in-laws driveway. Nothing is more embarrassing than using manual labor to dig your fearless landcruiser out while your :princess:'s family laughs inside the house:rolleyes:

If you plan on wheeling, even weak sauce stuff, do yourself a favor and find a locked one.
 
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I say if you are not an experienced wheeler, and are just getting into it, get an unlocked truck. You will need to hone your skills and figure where you can make it with no lockers first...because lockers can get you in trouble quick if you don;t know what you are doing.

Don't let the lockers slow you down on finding 1 you like....lockers can always be added later when you figure out when you'll need them. I would say I can do 90% of most of teh trails unlocked, and only really lock when I'll get twisted up and a tore off the ground etc.
 
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I say if you are not an experienced wheeler, and are just getting into it, get an unlocked truck. You will need to hone your skills and figure where you can make it with no lockers first...because lockers can get you in trouble quick if you don;t know what you are doing.

Don't let the lockers slow you down on finding 1 you like....lockers can always be added later when you figure out when you'll need them. I would say I can do 90% of most of teh trails unlocked, and only really lock when I'll get twisted up and a tore off the ground etc.
Agreed!
Lockers make up for some peoples driving skills, Not bagging on anyone here, Just sayin ;p
I wheeled my 80 without lockers for almost 3 years before I opted for a Lock Right in the rear diff.
I was able to do all but the most difficult trails in Moab before I put in the Lock Right, Some I still wont do because of severe body damage and or the lack of sliders.
I would suggest finding the best one for your budget, If you arent in a big rush wait it out.
Good luck
 
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Telling someone not to worry about lockers if your just starting is crap advice. Fact is it makes a world of difference and you can practice all you want without locking them in. Given that prices are the way they are you can afford to be picky and get exactly what you want. Were I in your shoes I would look for a mildly built rig with lockers.
 
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I say if you are not an experienced wheeler, and are just getting into it, get an unlocked truck. You will need to hone your skills and figure where you can make it with no lockers first...because lockers can get you in trouble quick if you don;t know what you are doing.

Don't let the lockers slow you down on finding 1 you like....lockers can always be added later when you figure out when you'll need them. I would say I can do 90% of most of teh trails unlocked, and only really lock when I'll get twisted up and a tore off the ground etc.
I have to disagree here. Just because he is inexperienced he should not buy lockers now and pay more later? Where is the logic here? Just don't use them while wheeling if you want to get non locked experience. Then when you screw up just lock them and learn that you did not do something right. Unlock and try again. Don't financially punish yourself for being unexperienced at wheeling.

It also depends on what type of wheeling you are doing. I live by lots of sand dunes. Yes I can get around without lockers, but lockers do provide some comfort when I am out in the dunes with just me and my little daughter. If I am with friends I will try things without them and I can always get pulled out or lock up and drive out. Lockers make a world of difference in sand, especially climbing dunes

I would look for one with lockers, but would not use that as the ultimate decision maker.
 
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Nov 16, 2006
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So I'm shopping 80's and am wondering how much stock should realistically be placed in the elusive Locked Differential...
If you have to ask, you won't need them. It's more important to find a clean, well-maintained truck.

I used my front lockers yesterday on a fairly easy trail just because I am new to wheeling took the wrong line and did not want to make everyone else back up so I could do it right. For a newb like me lockers are great. I try not to use them most of the time just so I can learn the right way to wheel and usualy I only use the front to get unstuck but being new that seems to be quite often.

If you are going to wheel wait for lockers, they usualy do not add to the cost of the vehicle because most people dont even know what they are and they have saved my bacon many times.
Do you have factory lockers? If so, I thought the dial only allows locking rear or front and rear, not front independently.
 

george_tlc

 
 
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If you can find (willing to search & wait for) an 80 with lockers, that's definitely the way to go. They will essentially cost you nothing versus later having to fit aftermarket units.

I have elockers in my 80 and had ARBs installed f/r in my nissan in Australia. With reasonably aggressive tyres AND the relatively flexy suspension of the 80 - you don't need lockers as often as some other 4wds with less flex (some of the older leaf sprung or ifs vehicles).

Where the lockers save the day is when even the coils of the 80 can't keep opposite side tyres planted on the ground. That doesn't happen too often, but when it does it generally means your 80 is in a much more awkward/precarious position than most other 4wds and the recovery is going to be a lot harder. THAT is when you will really appreciate having the lockers...

The other place lockers save you is in mud or slippery conditions where an opposite side wheel is just spinning helplessly. Lockers can get you into more trouble on slippery side slopes so they are tools that need to be used WHEN needed rather than being the all powerful saviors.

From my own experience if you don't have lockers, most times you get stuck lockers would have got you out. If you have lockers and you get stuck you will more than likely need a winch... i.e. the lockers just raise the stakes :)

cheers,
george.
 

Buckru

 
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Two other thoughts to consider.

One is that you can place less stress on your rig with lockers. Some obstacles will require momentum when unlocked. With a locked rig a much slower pace can be used to complete the same obsticle.

Secondly is that lockers can help to save trails from being rutted. Sometimes unlocked rigs may need a little wheel spin which digs out trails where a locked rig won't see any wheel spin at all.

Get a locked rig if you can find one. If not just add them later.

Buck
 

e9999

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(this topic has been beaten to death. Search? But since I surely asked that same question before I bought mine :), here goes with some practical experience, FWIW...: )

it is perhaps a misconception to think that lockers are only useful for extreme trails. They may yet save the day on a perfectly flat road with mud or ice.

Having said, that, depending on what you plan to do with the truck, they may be more or less important and/or critical.

Personally, I would not buy one without lockers as long as I can still find a good condition truck with them. But if it really boils down to a turd with lockers or one in great shape mechanically without them, I'd take the latter. Having the lockers but not being sure you'll make it to the trail head cuz of the cooling or electrical system is silly IMHO.


Sooo, get the lockers *as long as* the truck attached to them is sound.


But remember: being stuck, reaching down, turning a knob and driving out with A/C, leather seats and Mozart: Priceless...! :D
 
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if you can find one with lockers and you do plan on wheeling your rig, get it locked. You will regret it in the long run if you pass on one. Once you really start to go offroad, you will want lockers. To install, there is a large expense and some downtime while the install is being done.

I bought my truck unlocked because i had no idea about ih8mud and i didn't know they came with that option. I figured i would just add them later. I'm very jealous of the guys on the trails that have them stock and can just turn the dial when they need them, saved the time and expense of doing it later.
 
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What kind of offroading are you planning? If just 1 and 2 star scenic trails, then lockers would not be a requirement for you. If you want to travel some more difficult and/or remote trails, then I would wait for lockers.

When I was looking three years ago, I waited for one with lockers Basically my requirements were locked and mechanically sound. I didn't care if it had Toyota or Lexus badges, just that it was locked and in good condition. They only way I would have considered buying unlocked would have been if I found a pristine unlocked 80 for $3k less than any locked 80, but when I was looking there was little price difference.

As others have pointed out, having lockers can save your bacon, save wear on trails, and save wear on your rig when used properly.
 

PACNW96

 
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Personally, I would not buy one without lockers as long as I can still find a good condition truck with them. But if it really boils down to a turd with lockers or one in great shape mechanically without them, I'd take the latter. Having the lockers but not being sure you'll make it to the trail head cuz of the cooling or electrical system is silly IMHO.

Sooo, get the lockers *as long as* the truck attached to them is sound.
This is the best advice so far. Locked>Unlocked all things considered equal, but we all know these rigs are getting harder and harder to find, let alone in good shape, and the 7% that are locked.

Look for a locked rig first, but I wouldn't pass up a creamy puff unlocked 80. Do I wish I had lockers...yes, but I found a very low mileage unlocked rig, 1 owner, records since new and couldn't pass it up. No regrets here.
 
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Lockers are great fun, but I've only needed them once. Deep, wet snow. Attempted it in high gear, stuck. Shifted to Low. Moving a little, but still stuck. Turn the knob and lock it up......the truck plows through like a tank.

That dial makes a big big difference when you need it.
 

CreeperSleeper

Cascade Cruisers
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Personally, I at least use my rear locker every time I'm out wheeling. Sometimes it's just because I can take an obstical slower than if I was unlocked, sometimes it's because I need it. All in all, I would never buy an unlocked 80. It cuts the ability of the rig to a third, IMO.
 

Box Rocket

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Agreed!
Lockers make up for some peoples driving skills, Not bagging on anyone here, Just sayin ;p
I wheeled my 80 without lockers for almost 3 years before I opted for a Lock Right in the rear diff.
I was able to do all but the most difficult trails in Moab before I put in the Lock Right, Some I still wont do because of severe body damage and or the lack of sliders.
I would suggest finding the best one for your budget, If you arent in a big rush wait it out.
Good luck
I agree with this. Lockers [can be] a good way to cover up bad driving habits on trails. All I'm saying is that I've seen way too many novice wheelers consistently pick bad lines or get themselves into trouble because they don't know any better and then rely on their lockers to get them out. Then they continue to struggle to learn how to pick correct lines etc. Knowing the correct line and still choosing a more challenging one is a whole different story and I'm all for that.

IMO it is far more important to find a good truck whether it has lockers or not. True it will 'probably' cost you more to add lockers later if it doesn't have them but it shouldn't be a deal breaker on a good truck. You will be able to do A LOT in a truck without lockers. I wheeled my 40 without powersteering and without lockers for several years before adding either upgrade. Also, in my 80 I wheeled since 2001 without lockers until last spring when I added a rear Aussie locker. Plently of that wheeling on moderate to difficult stuff. Nothing like extreme rock crawling, but my 80 isn't built for that anyway.
 

80t0ylc

Hill & Gully Rider
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So I'm shopping 80's and am wondering how much stock should realistically be placed in the elusive Locked Differential...

Honestly, does this only provide incremental value in the case of intense/extreme off-roading such as rock climbing? Is a non-locked 80 helpless in normal off-roading, mudding etc?

Would the average owner going through trails miss it?
No offense intended here, but it sounds like to me, you're just getting into off roading, so you,re not really "average", yet. I would suggest riding along on some outings with experienced wheelers so you can see the situations that have been suggested in previous posts here. You need to grasp the basic concepts so you can see the advantages of lockers and then you can put your own priority on them in your rig. As has been mentioned, you don't have to be off roading to appreciate the advantage they give you.
 
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