Buy with E-locker or Buy Open diff and install ARBs?

Joined
Mar 24, 2012
Messages
55
Location
Spokane
As the title says... ok more info
I'm looking to buy a 80 in the next couple of months/year. I really want to build up a solid overland/adventure touring rig. I'm noticing that rigs with factory E-lockers really demand a pretty penny, and even more so for those from the "dry" states. I'm finding "a lot" (relatively speaking) unlocked 80's from states with dry climates. so I'm wondering if it's worth waiting to jump on a locked 80 when it pops up, or buy one unlocked and invest in installing an ARB front and rear.

as I see it
E-locker
Pros
  • out of the box capability
  • OEM reliability
  • less expensive
  • no need to open diffs (if they are operational)
  • No issues with cold

Cons
  • unknown condition
  • slow to engage
  • Clean, low mileage, no rust locked 80 are less available

ARB
Pros
  • Stronger
  • Fast engagement
  • Clean, low mileage, no rust unlocked 80 are more available

Cons
  • More expensive
  • Cold weather vulnerable

I've done some research, I'm leaning towards the ARB setup, but I guess I'm just looking for some direct confirmation/guidance. so anything I'm missing, should consider? what way would/did you guys go?

Thanks!
 

flintknapper

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Joined
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Looking for a Cruiser with OEM lockers will severely limit your choices. Find the best one you can with open diffs. Then IF after driving it some offroad, you decide you want lockers have NEW aftermarket installed.

Also, unless you just need an air-pump for some reason....I wouldn't consider the ARB's when the Harrops (E locker) is readily available.

If those options are for the time too expensive....just drop an auto-locker of your choice in the rear. You can always upgrade to selectable later.
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2012
Messages
55
Location
Spokane
For an "overland/adventure touring type rig" do you even need lockers? The '80 is pretty capable without, maybe just put a lunchbox in the rear?
No, hell you don't even NEED 4x4... but it's insurance... and I'd rather have it than not. front locker is Definitely not a priority, so if I went ARB i'd probably only install a rear locker until I geared up.

but you do bring up a good point. My rough plan for rig is:
slinky lift
34-35' tires
488's or 5.29's (so gonna have to go into the diffs anyways at some point)
bumpers front and rear (moving spare to rack)
sliders

When I say adventure touring/overland type rig I mean that I plan on running local trails (moving to Spokane in a couple weeks) but also longer trips (talking to a friend about a McKenzie trail run in a few years... when he's retired from the mil like me lol)
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2012
Messages
55
Location
Spokane
Looking for a Cruiser with OEM lockers will severely limit your choices. Find the best one you can with open diffs. Then IF after driving it some offroad, you decide you want lockers have NEW aftermarket installed.

Also, unless you just need an air-pump for some reason....I wouldn't consider the ARB's when the Harrops (E locker) is readily available.

If those options are for the time too expensive....just drop an auto-locker of your choice in the rear. You can always upgrade to selectable later.
I should mention I had a 97 (my avatar) that I bought, unlocked... but sold to my father as our hunting rig. it does well... but yes, I have hit many times where I could have used a locker. now most of those are me seeking out by hitting trails that I knew would challenge the cruiser in stock form (no lift, sliders, lockers) but I do plan on using a rear locker fairly frequently


I don't know anything about Harrops... I guess more research is required... thanks!:cheers:
 

flintknapper

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I don't know anything about Harrops... I guess more research is required... thanks!:cheers:
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2012
Messages
55
Location
Spokane
yup knee deep in that thread right now lol
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2013
Messages
1,377
Like the others have said, find the cleanest, most maintained, rust free 80 you can find. 80s are shockingly capable in stock form and without lockers. You’ll find that the price to add lockers AFTER the fact is going to be more than if you just buy one with lockers but you’ll have to weigh your market, your timeframe, and what you truly want in your decision.

It’s always a catch 22 because with lockers you’ll want to go more challenging places. These typically result in panel damage.

I’ve wheeled mine for 5 years and could have used lockers a small handful of times. I bought a cream puff 80 and kind of regret it because I’ve taken the path of least resistance to keep it somewhat nice over the years. It’s slowly getting there but buying a more “best up” 80 will yield the most fun.

After 5 years, I finally ordered one rear ARB locker (free air compressor if you order by 3/31/19). I ordered this over the Harrop because it’s fully engaged when the Harrop has play when going from D to R (and vice verse). Additionally, I didn’t like the ratchet style lockers because of the drivability. While mostly transparent in an AWD rig with VC like ours, you still have to relearn how to drive in that you’re now coasting through turns to keep it from engaging.

Best of luck
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Messages
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San Diego, CA
Was in the same boat last year when I purchased. I told myself I'd take whichever one came first. Well a 1 owner, rust free, unlocked came up and and i snagged it.

I just finished putting ARBs in. This is what it cost me.

940 for Front ARB
940 for Rear ARB, Free basic compressor.
250 for rear 4.88 gears (Nitro)
215 for front 4.88 gears
154 Ring and Pinion Install kit
130 Rings and Pinion Install kit
68 for Flange Kit (required)

800 for gear/locker install. I pulled the 3rds and dropped them off. It will cost you twice that if you drop your truck off. I checked around
200 for a front axle rebuild kit which you should probably go ahead and do while the diffs are out. Mandatory gaskets.

100 is random Auto Parts store things: Gear oil, grease, gasket maker, towels, etc. It definitely adds up.
100 in random tools i bought: wits end bushing tool, seal pullers, wire wheels etc.

Grand total of $3,897. Not counting a ton of your time.

I literally finished it up today. So those are pretty current prices.

Good luck on your decision.
 
Joined
May 12, 2015
Messages
1,052
Location
SoCal
Harrops Eaton vastly superior to all other options. Cruiser Brothers imports them. So if you don’t find a triple locked cruiser, do not sweat it. At all.
 

flintknapper

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Joined
May 22, 2004
Messages
6,439
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Deep East Texas
If you skip a good cruiser to buy a pile of sh!t with lockers then you are a fool.
Yep. And with the 80 series aging as they are...nice ones are getting harder to find. Why would anyone reduce the number of vehicles they can look at by 80% for sake of having lockers. Now days, you can buy and have installed....E Lockers that are superior to the factory units.
 
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