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Non-locking lockers

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by e9999, Dec 13, 2003.

  1. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    Hiyall:

    Well, the last 3 80s with lockers that I looked at all had one or more of their lockers inoperative, even after trying to engage them in both forward and reverse during the test drive, say over a couple of hundred yards. And, yes, I am aware that it may take some time for these to engage after several years of inactivity. (Perversely enough, the reaction I got when I pointed out the non-locking lockers was “who cares, nobody knows what these things are for anway…?” A nasty twist on the notion that you don’t pay more for a locking rig than non-locking… :-\)

    I am running out of options locally as far as getting a decent 80 with lockers, it seems. The one I was going to try to get was sold from under me. So, I may need to consider getting one with inoperative lockers or get one without –shudder ;)…-.

    Question: how much of a risk would I take to get a ’95-’97 mall cruiser with inoperative lockers? (I am assuming that a mechanic inspection may not be able to tell readily the magnitude of the problem without a serious check that would itself be costly, and I likely would not have access to the rig to check things out carefully either.) How likely is it that the problem is serious vs a simple matter of actuator stuck due to dirt, corrosion, or a poor switch or connector contact? What $$ are we talking about in the worst case scenario (replace all if available)?

    Thanks for all the good advice so far

    Eric

    (btw, the last ‘97 I looked at had a center lock that would not engage in Low ( no light, no sound), whereas the front and rear lights would flash. Is it likely that the front and rear would engage if the center is fixed?)

    edit: btw, you guys better quit out there :D. It's been a couple of times now in L.A. that I call and the seller says "somebody already called to ask about the locker too..." So stop that, OK! I'll have you know that I alway ask about the lockers at the end of the conversation, as an "afterthought" so they don't realize how valuable these things are! ;) Geeez!
     
  2. sleeoffroad

    sleeoffroad Supporting Vendor

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    it's only money or time :D In most cases parts are not broken. If you are buying from a dealer make them fix it.
     
  3. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    Eric,

    >> Is it likely that the front and rear would engage if the center is fixed?) <<

    Yes.

    >> how much of a risk would I take to get a '95-'97 mall cruiser with inoperative lockers? <<

    Assuming there is no physical damage to the actuators, the costs should be minimal. The big ticket item would be an ECU but those are pretty solid. I can't remember hearing of a bad diff-lock ECU. $500 should cover anything that would be wrong and very likely all you would need to do is use them for a few weeks. If the truck is a SoCal truck then it is unlikely the motors would be rusted up.

    If you are not testing the diff locks on low traction surfaces (soft dirt, loose gravel, etc.) then you are wasting your time and potentially could break something. Besides, locking the front can be downright dangerous depending on where you are.

    -B-
     
  4. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    Hi B and Christo:
    thanks for the info. that does not sound too bad.
    B, yes I did try to engage them on dirt, both forward and reverse, straight and turning. But there is only so much one can do with a short strip of dirt in the middle of the city...

    I wonder if having the 35" would make it more difficult to engage than normal...

    Do the switches and actuator on the center diff fail often?
    Eric
     
  5. landtoy80

    landtoy80

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    The rear takes some time to lock. I have the cable locker and to get the big teeth to mesh one wheel must turn more than the other.
    Once the teeth are lined up, it can slide in and out with ease.
    The front locker has fine teeth and lockes in much faster than the rear.
    Have someone lock the diff as you are under and listen to hear if it is moving.
    If you hear it, buy it as it should be ok.
     
  6. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    >> I wonder if having the 35" would make it more difficult to engage than normal... <<

    Slightly.

    >> Do the switches and actuator on the center diff fail often? <<

    No.

    -B-
     
  7. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    I'd be willing to bet that it is just an arthritic condition. If you were to buy the truck I'd try once a day for a couple of weeks to get them to lock. Mine was very finicky at first and thought they were broken but with time they work flawlessly.

    As far as having 35" tires on there it will make a difference, as you'll need to roll further to rotate the axles the same amount as a smaller tire would. So lining up the lockers will take more effort and time.
     
  8. Rich

    Rich

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    I can always lock my front locker when stationary on any surface by, after turning the switch, turning the steering wheel fully from one side to another. Never fails. Works everytime, even sitting in my driveway. This may be an easier test then driving around on the street attempting to do the same.
     
  9. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    yikes Rich!
    this is a dirt driveway, I take it?
    Eric
     
  10. Rich

    Rich

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    Nope the driveway is concrete. This is only for exercising the lockers. The truck never moves. The only movment is the wheels steering side to side with the truck stationary. No yikes needed :)
     
  11. landtoy80

    landtoy80

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    Eric,
    Buy one with a dead rear locker and get them to drop the price of a new actuator and give me the old one so I don't have to have mine welded.