Specialized recommendation on gears, lockers

Joined
Sep 2, 2020
Messages
47
Location
KS
Hi everyone,

Using the search function I have read just about all the threads in this section related to gears, lockers, etc as well as tech articles from Cruiser Outfitters. I would like to hear everyone's thoughts on my perceived route to take to 1. only have to do this once and 2. make it as cost effective as possible.

So, I have a 1998 LX470 w/o factory rear locker. I run 295/70r18 Cooper AT3 XLT w/ stock gearing currently. These are a rather light weight tire and I feel the truck maintains good drivability currently.

I currently live in Kansas (minimal wheeling opportunities) but am going to be moving soon out West. Either AZ, UT, or CO (wife and I both work from home). My goal is to build a rig similar to what most here want...dependable, capable, comfortable, etc. Also getting my 3 yo and 5 yo into wheeling as well is a goal of mine.

I currently do what little mild wheeling I have available and what people today call "overlanding." I do that in current configuration no problem.

Within the next year I plan on having close access to much more difficult wheeling. My goal is to have a rig that can get through most of Moab and may consider the Rubicon as well. I currently have MetalTech sliders and full Slee skids.

Ok so here is what I am thinking right now, with parts being purchased from CruiserTeq:

1. Harrop or similar e-locker in the rear using a OEM switch in the dash
2. Regear the transfer case
3. Keep stock gearing

I realize this is quite a bit more tame then most but I also am somewhat against re-gearing due to the current decent drivability (albeit abysmal mileage) from the 100. I realize RPMs are not the end all be all to achieve maximum MPG and its much more about how much the engine has to work to get up to speed and maintain said speed. So maybe I just talked myself into 4.88s.

Thoughts?

And thank you.
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2010
Messages
539
Location
Calgary, Canada
I have wheeled mine pretty good over the last 5-6 years and just last week destroyed the front diff.
It was goinfg to happen but it took a good long time and beating in order to reach this point, you are on borrowed time. It will happen but it all depends on how hard you go.
I have done Moab a few times, Whipsaw, and hundreds of trails in Alberta and British Columbia. 56.000 km of just trails and overland trips.
Im going for the Harrop elocker and factory gears in the next few weeks
 

kreiten

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May 6, 2013
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UP Washington
I've done most of Moab and the Rubicon twice, just my 2 cents but if you are looking to do lots of rocks I'd throw in the 4.88's(I know it's not a huge jump up from the 4.30's) especially if you are already gonna be in there doing lockers. For Rubicon I'd recommend front and rear lockers, just my 2 cents... And grab the TCase reduction gears from Cruiser Outfitters, that gets ya a 25% reduction in 4Low! This setup works great and trust me you will never say my RPM's are too high or wished I hadn't of done gears, you will only say damn I wish they were even lower!
 
Joined
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If I remember right I think @kreiten did Moab/Rubicon even before he had lockers/4.88's/3.11 gears.

You having a 98 and being an LX you have a unique situation. You have a factory LSD in the rear and no VSC. The most $$$ friendly mod would be buy a used 4 pinion carrier and keep your stock 4.3's. Another option is to get a front locker to get rid of the 2 pinion. If going the locker route, a lot of us here regear at the same time, which means now you need to touch the rear diff, and now that your in there you might as well get a rear locker.

There's no wrong answer since it's your rig, just be mindful about labor cost if you get lockers now and are thinking about 4.88's later. You can even get lockers/used 4 pinion, then regear both the H and L gears in the transfer case and skip the diff regears completely.
 

kreiten

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If I remember right I think @kreiten did Moab/Rubicon even before he had lockers/4.88's/3.11 gears.

You having a 98 and being an LX you have a unique situation. You have a factory LSD in the rear and no VSC. The most $$$ friendly mod would be buy a used 4 pinion carrier and keep your stock 4.3's. Another option is to get a front locker to get rid of the 2 pinion. If going the locker route, a lot of us here regear at the same time, which means now you need to touch the rear diff, and now that your in there you might as well get a rear locker.

There's no wrong answer since it's your rig, just be mindful about labor cost if you get lockers now and are thinking about 4.88's later. You can even get lockers/used 4 pinion, then regear both the H and L gears in the transfer case and skip the diff regears completely.
The first year I did Rubicon I had front and rear ARB air lockers but no gears... After 3 days on the trail I knew I needed gears in the truck for it to be setup right for Rubicon IMO. So I added the 4.88's and TCase reduction gears and loved the results on the trail, low gears make crawling over rocks way more controlled and lesson the odds of a breakage IMO... I'm not saying everyone that slaps a locker in needs to do gears, but it's a good idea and even more so if you are looking to run trails like Rubicon...
 

saucebox

Slobivius Americanus
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Correct gearing absolutely transform the way the truck drives. I never noticed a problem on the stock 4:10s, then again didn't notice on 4:30s (added a rear OEM locking third). Low range gears for the transfer case were next on the list (might still be haha), but then I swapped all to 4:88s and added a Harrop to the front. For a time I was also on 295/70R18.

Every kind of driving is improved. Driving in traffic, driving up hills (mountains here), and especially driving in low range is vastly improved. @kreiten may well cost me some more money here :flipoff2:, but if there's any advice, it's to just do it once and right. It's expensive, but you can save a ton going DIY. It's not as hard as it sounds, and also not as expensive as doing it 3 times.

I'm on 35s now and it drives better than it ever did with IFS and 33s. Oh, and mileage is way up. 13.6 instead of 11.5-12 :flush:.

Edit: if you end up in Salt Lake City just swing by with the parts. It's a long day, but easily doable to regear and lock both axles.
 

OwnerCS

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Just to second some earlier posts. I installed a Harrop eLocker over a year ago. The driving factor was to upgrade from a 2-pinion to 4-pinion front ditt. I love it.

My LSD still works. Though its like an LSD axle that does the usual churn before locking. I grew up driving GM cars with the old 12-bolt posi-track rear ends.

The Harrop has gotten me out of 3 sticky situations that would have resulted in expensive or embarrasing recoveries.

Two of those times my only option was to use the locker in reverse. So I guess I've used the front locker for critical situations in reverse more than going forward.

I think the secret to enjoying a locker is to find the right place for installation. Done correctly, you'll be in for many years of good service.

I added a push-button switch for the eLocker. Picture below.

1633097634021.png
 
Joined
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I think I’m gonna just save and do e lockers front and rear snd 4.88s. Do it right first time. Cruiser Outfitters best place to buy?
 
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If your gonna do the labor yourself buy from a mud vendor. If your gonna pay a shop, buy the part from the shop so you won't have to deal with after install warranty issues. I wouldn't be suprised if some shops use vendors here on mud, because these said vendors (if you search here on mud) have recommended installers in some threads in the past.
 

OwnerCS

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While not drivetrain related, last summer before my trip to the San Juan Mountains, I upgraded the stereo head unit and installed front, rear, and dash cameras.

I call the front camera the "trail cam" to provide a view front low-level view just at the bumper. It came in handy with the switchbacks on Black Bear Pass and to have a view of the trail when driving down the steps. I could tell if I was getting close enough to the edge to be of concern.

I use it often around here in the mountains when I'm driving up a steep incline and can only see out over the hood when I need to steer based on trail conditions.

There are many options for this setup. So this is not a particular brand endorsement. It's a concept that may become more popular as cameras and electronics become more available.

This is a picture of Black Bear Pass using the front cam. The winch shackle is sticking out at the bottom of the screen.

1633096665091.png




1633096997782.png


Dirving up the the edge and looking down by the winch shackle.


1633096837982.png
 

OEMGUY0720

“Der liebe Gott steckt im detail”
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Just to second some earlier posts. I installed a Harrop eLocker over a year ago. The driving factor was to upgrade from a 2-pinion to 4-pinion front ditt. I love it.

My LSD still works. Though its like an LSD axle that does the usual churn before locking. I grew up driving GM cars with the old 12-bolt posi-track rear ends.

The Harrop has gotten me out of 3 sticky situations that would have resulted in expensive or embarrasing recoveries.

Two of those times my only option was to use the locker in reverse. So I guess I've used the front locker for critical situations in reverse more than going forward.

I think the secret to enjoying a locker is to find the right place for installation. Done correctly, you'll be in for many years of good service.

I added a push-button switch for the eLocker. Picture below.

View attachment 2800873
Glad to see a good real world experience with the Harrop E-locker esp here in mud. I won’t be doing any crazy rock crawling too and this is the system I prefer closest to the factory rear locking diff I had before on my hdj100. My intended use is mostly light trails, touring and some overlanding in the future.
 
Joined
Jun 18, 2014
Messages
574
Location
AZ
Good info in this thread - but in general I would say you're overthinking it. If you want to go with 35's (or almost 35's like most of us) and beat on the truck more, and you have the means, get the lockers and definitely re-gear at the time. I had 4.30's stock and I notice a huge difference going to 4.88's, but I also have (almost) 35's.

However, it is not a must have to do what you want to do on the trails.
 

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