Lockers? The Death Valley Debate

lcolon

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I went to Death Valley for my annual trip between X-Mas and New Year :D. We decided to run one of my favorite trails to get into Death Valley which goes from Ballarat -> Goler Wash -> Mengel Pass -> Warm Springs Rd.

We have run this trail before, but this year the waterfall at the entrance to Goler had the spring running pretty strong and all of the rocks were wet. After much rock stacking and 4 attempts at getting up, I was ready to give up and take the road.

Along comes a guy in a nice TACO (thank god not a heap), walked right up the falls, and proceeded to give me a yank with a strap to make it up. He was fully locked and I think just had the rear locker engaged. He made the falls look like they were made of sand on the beach by a 2yr old.

I also have on the agenda this year to go to Cruise Moab for the first time. This lame wet hill schooled my open diffs easily (perhaps I need to be a better :steer:)

I am thinking of adding lockers to my rig - ARB all the way. I am not sure whether I just need a Rear Locker or whether it makes sense to try to do both Front and Rear? If I do a front locker, are longfields a must?

I run 33's, OME, 4.11 Diffs on an H55F with the stock 2F engine.

Or should I really just get a winch? Thoughts?

(probably will just generate a debate but I thought I would put it out there)

Pics for the uninitiated attached...
Death Valley Goler Pass 1.jpg
Death Valley Goler Pass 2.jpg
Death Valley Goler Pass 3.jpg
 
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Rear locker will get you through probably 90% of stuff you're looking to conquer. With your setup I wouldn't be too worried about getting longs (but not a bad idea).

I got a aussie in the rear of mine and love it. Easy to install (3-4 hours, for an inexperienced college kid), drives really smooth in town, can only notice when making slow tight turns, about 1/3 the price of an ARB (not including the compressor).
 

lcolon

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Thank you for your responses. If I do lock the back - I am going to use the selectable ARB even if it is more expensive. Given the amount of freeway and around the town driving I do, I want to avoid any of the issues with the auto-lockers. Plus I am also worried about handling in the snow.

Does running just a rear locker stress the back axles too much? Would I now need to carry spare front/rear axles? I go out as a solo vehicle quite often (although not remote trails - all well traveled) and would want to be able to plan for unforeseen events.

I have already blown up my front diff once and twisted my front driveshaft - but that is another story.

Luis
 

klinetime574

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It would be less stress on the rear axles to have a selectable locker. You would be using it less. The automatic mechanical type can get pretty funky if driven incorrectly. Your 33's, 4.11's and H55F is a really good combo. But without a locker it will do exactly what you experienced.

If you have the money to get the front and rear ARB locked I would do it. And I BET you won't regret it :D
 
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I did ARB front and rear mostly because I was down to frame anyway so I had options. It's not a hard install just take the time and follow the instructions. If your in the east bay you have Georg in Stockton that may be able to do it for you .
 
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Been there done that...Seriously, I went through the very same process/experiences you've described and ended up with front and rear ARB's. Nothing more frustrating than taking run after run at an obstacle with open diff's and not making it up. Lockers are not the "fix all", but another tool to enhance and develop your driving skill and off-road enjoyment.

Good luck!
Moab 2010 285.jpg
 
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I can appreciate where you are. I finally went with ARB's front and rear. Cost is high, until you are somewhere easy by yourself, and bad things happen.
1. Driveability is stock, no wear and tear with both lockers off. Highway manners are great, and in winter a locked rear can be a hazard on a slippery road.
2. You can engage at will, this gives you options. I always try something open diff first, then lock up if it takes more than just finesse.
3. I think you are right, that pitch up that creek with a rear locker only would have probably been enough. Then you unlock and away you go. All this running open diffs on the trail is slightly more fuel efficient too.
4. ARB wiring will not allow you to lock the front locker until the rear locker is engaged. This is because if you lock the front only, the added stress without the push from the rear can have destructive impact on your front birf's. I know lots of guys, who are experienced and knowledgable who bypass this and use only a front locker for assist. IMO see: Longfields, etc. if you do this.
5. I too am solo alot. I'm careful, but ARB's are as good an insurance policy as you can get.

I hope my opinion has merits to you. I run a FJ40 on 38.5 SX'x with a 351W, still have original birfs.
My 60 will be getting a gear upgrade and ARB's at the same time soon.
 
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Been considering the ARB as well. My rear E-locker is my secret weapon on my Tacoma. So effective, that I am going to remove my Warn winch and install it on my 60. What is one looking at price wise for a front/rear ARB. I am not much of a wrench...
 

lcolon

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Thank you all for the advice. I think I am going to save my pennies and try to do the ARB front and rear at the same time. If it turns out to be too much - I will do just the rear. It is frustrating to make multiple attempts at an obstacle. Particularly when you have all those rocks stacked at the bottom, there was one this time that almost gave me a sidewall cut.

Cruiser Pilot - I did not know that ARB forces you to engage the rear locker first, but that makes sense to me that you would want the back on first before the front.

So do you all carry spare axles as well? I have done some searching and it seams to be a mixed bag. I personally am going to look into it as well as it seems that the locker will increase the chance of breaking the "C" clip, the long side rear, or screwing up a Birf. - I would hate to have to change a front axle in the field. That job is a PITA in the garage with all of the tools and a clean environment.
 

lcolon

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Been considering the ARB as well. My rear E-locker is my secret weapon on my Tacoma. So effective, that I am going to remove my Warn winch and install it on my 60. What is one looking at price wise for a front/rear ARB. I am not much of a wrench...

Just started researching the price myself - to lock both probably in the $2500 neighborhood (incl cost of the ARB front/rear, compressor, rebuild kits for dif, setup).
 
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I have been saving for the BIG change and plan on doing it all at once
4:11 ring and pinion ..front and rear of course
ARB locker for the rear
H55f trans
$5000 is what I have budgeted not including labor. but I think it may be more ..if I wait too long .
 
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I have been saving for the BIG change and plan on doing it all at once
4:11 ring and pinion ..front and rear of course
ARB locker for the rear
H55f trans
$5000 is what I have budgeted not including labor. but I think it may be more ..if I wait too long .

Just bought a hff last week $2400.
ARB's each are about $900 with shipping
RandP are about $650

your at $4850 before you get a compressor gaskets knuckle rebuild ( may as well) etc. I would budget somewhere closer to 7k to be safe.
 
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The weight of the 60 has it's advantages whith respect to running only a rear locker. I have pushed mine through Dusy and the mini Rubicon at Holister with just a rear and 36" Iroks. If it were me I'd do the rear, add a winch and learn how the rig performs. Then think about the front.
 
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If you have the $$ ARB is the way to go. Lockers make a huge difference in offroad capability.. I run mechanical lockers, but as noted selectable are teh best of both worlds. Tire selection plays a great deal into that equation.

If you plan to spend any time off road lockers are a great investment.
 
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Knuckles are done less than 10000 miles ago and the rear wheel bearings done also.. I agree 7000k might be a more realistic number ... I also want a differential specialist to r+r the ring and pinion and rebuild the 3rd members. If only the the old 2f (275,000 miles) would give up and die that would motivate me to get the whole ball rolling with the vortec v8 conversion and the h55, locker etc.!
 
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As a possible teaser, i got the compressor for free with fr and rr ARB lockers. Never hurts to ask, I don't think it's an uncommon promotion. I've looked at the new compressor, it's alot nicer than my old one.
I do carry extra birfields and driveshafts when looking for trails or on expeditions, but not on day trips with the dogs.
I did my own locker install, except I had a Toyota guy set up the ring/pinion backlash. I could rough it in for an emergency, but I would rather pay for that to have it done properly to specs by someone who does it for a living. But if you take just the carrier in, it will be reasonably priced and then you take it home and install it.
I hope this helps.
 

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On certain kinds of obstacles, the front locker is an "easy" button like you (the O.P.) found out. Two out of three of my 4WD trucks are locked on both ends, so yeah I think it is worth the investment, but it really depends on what kind of trails you like to run. The slickrock trails at Moab give great traction when dry, but if you're going to do some that aren't just slickrock (there are plenty of these at Moab too) then lockers are nice. A front locker is really helpful going up steep/tall rock ledges, where it can help pull the truck up over the ledge when most of the weight is not on the front end.

If you were ever going to re-gear your diffs, save up and do it at the same time you put in your ARB lockers because the labor to do either or both is the same.
 

mwalls54

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I had aussie lockers in the rear and front for about 3 years and I hated running 4wd because it was a pita to steer so I would run 90% of the time in 2wd low. I had a drivetrain vibration so I rebuilt both axles and put in arb's and they are awesome. they are so much better to drive on the road and even better off road.
 
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I'm with LCOwner and vote for ARB in the rear and a winch up front. That gives you a locker to get you through a ton of stuff and a winch to help out where being even double locked won't help.

Anything can break but only running 33s with a locker in the rear is not going to be a big deal. Up front with 33s and a locker on stock birfs I would be a little more cautious on harder stuff.
 

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