Budget wheeling: where should I put ONE locker

Fergsy

Member 2022
I know, I know: buy once cry once but I want to do this on a budget. I need to re-gear but also don't want to invest too much into the D30 because eventually I'll try and swap a Rubicon D44 into the front.

If you were only going to go with a SINGLE locker would you go in the front or rear? Is it worth it to throw a LSD in the front if I put a locker in the rear? Am I underestimating the D30 and it will be fine for the weekend warrior I plan on my JKU on 35s being for the next 10 years at least?
 

Gr8Dain

Board of Directors
Member 2022
VA4WD
I will put my opinion out there. On my CJ, when I was looking at lockers initially, I was going to do the rear first. Then the front later when I could afford it. I have seen pros and cons of both situations (front only or rear only) on the web and such, but from what I was seeing for rocks, the rear made more sense if it was the only locker.

But as stated, that was my opinion from my research. And to qualify my opinion, I have a CJ and I just swapped both axles and have non-selectable (lunchbox style) lockers in both.
 

jwilson2598

Board of Directors
Member 2022
If it's only one, I would definitely do the rear. That's the one you will use the most.
 

cwkann

Website Committee
Member 2022
I would put it in the rear IMO. Especially if you are looking to replace the front in the future. Depending on how hard you wheel, the 30 will hold up. (should) If you pound on it, it won't. But then you will have an excuse to put the 44 in! :p
 

R3

Member 2022
So look at the physics and engineering. The rear axle propels the rig forward and is engineered stronger for that reason. If you are going to add traction devices start with the rear.

Front end. Steering is the key here. Sure you can throw budget lockers in the but the maneuverability becomes an issue. Also the mechanical lockers are pretty harsh on the drive line.
Limited slip, I would not put one in the front. Power ultimately goes to the wheel with least traction.

If you are doing this on a budget, you can buy the components to a front axle bit by bit and then assemble. Housings are about $2k and locker another $1k... Axles there is a variety out there and the spindles outward are the same.
Axle housing $2000
Locker. $1200
Shafts $700
Ball joints $500
Gears $250
Total about $4650....plus your labor and some friends tools.

Compared to a complete but D44.... Not a bad alternative.
Plus there are a bunch of D44s in the classifieds...people are always upgrading.

Cheers
 
Why put a locker in the front if you are eventually going to get rid of the D30 axle? Go with a locker in the rear.

If you eventually decide you would like/need a traction aid in the front D30 then you can throw a Torq lunchbox locker in without having to set up the gears again
.
Also, if funds allow, get a 35 spline locker and axles to go with it when picking out the rear upgrades.

-Clayton
 

mopar31898

Member 2022
I would concur with all the comments above.

I built out a D44 for my TJ last year and only put a locker in the back. Eventually i would like to build a 44 for the front and install a locker then but just the rear for now is a huge advantage.
 
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R3

Member 2022
Interesting vid. The testing does show some advantage to locking the front on that terrain and in that vehicle configuration. Going with what I have witnessed here in the US of A at Rausch Creek with a CJ, a TJ and a JK were quite different.

The CJ, ( auto mechanical front locker) while it did climb things quite well there was an issue with locking hubs almost evertime out. It would break one each trip. Once the bullet proof hubs were installed the next issue was shearing the bolts at the locking hub wheel hub joint. While the JK/JKU has no joint there, it did show me that there are some huge forces at play. The CJ also broke a axle u-join in some moderately challenging sections when the rear locker failed to operate.

TJ, short arm lift on 35s front auto locker and rear Limited slip. Each time it got stuck on black and red trail it was because the front lost traction and the rear could only supply power to the wheel with the least traction. This was the issue in rocks where the power needed to be divided to both wheels to climb the challenge. To over come this issue the TJ would use momentum to overcome the shortcomming of a LS rear. This led to broken u-joints in the axle. One on the right then the next trip one on the left.

JK with a failing front locker did follow us thru Death Trap and the lower half of rock creek with just the rear locker working. It was hard on the rig as the power up front was divided to the tire with the least traction and if the other was hard against a rock it was a challenge to smoothly climb. again lots of forces on the axle.

The Red Jeep is equipped with F&R lockers and where the CJ, TJ, and JK had issues the combination of both ends having a selectable locker provailed over just one end without breaking equipment.
 
I'm all about a rear lockers. I have been extremely happy for about 8 years of rear only locker in my CJ. Been all over Rausch and windrock and wheeling 4hope on 35s.


The biggest consideration for me about a front locker is steering. JKs don't have selectable hubs so if a mechanical locker engages in bad weather you may find yourself going straight when you want to turn.

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Gr8Dain

Board of Directors
Member 2022
VA4WD
Interesting vid. The testing does show some advantage to locking the front on that terrain and in that vehicle configuration. Going with what I have witnessed here in the US of A at Rausch Creek with a CJ, a TJ and a JK were quite different.

The CJ, ( auto mechanical front locker) while it did climb things quite well there was an issue with locking hubs almost evertime out. It would break one each trip. Once the bullet proof hubs were installed the next issue was shearing the bolts at the locking hub wheel hub joint. While the JK/JKU has no joint there, it did show me that there are some huge forces at play. The CJ also broke a axle u-join in some moderately challenging sections when the rear locker failed to operate.

TJ, short arm lift on 35s front auto locker and rear Limited slip. Each time it got stuck on black and red trail it was because the front lost traction and the rear could only supply power to the wheel with the least traction. This was the issue in rocks where the power needed to be divided to both wheels to climb the challenge. To over come this issue the TJ would use momentum to overcome the shortcomming of a LS rear. This led to broken u-joints in the axle. One on the right then the next trip one on the left.

JK with a failing front locker did follow us thru Death Trap and the lower half of rock creek with just the rear locker working. It was hard on the rig as the power up front was divided to the tire with the least traction and if the other was hard against a rock it was a challenge to smoothly climb. again lots of forces on the axle.

The Red Jeep is equipped with F&R lockers and where the CJ, TJ, and JK had issues the combination of both ends having a selectable locker provailed over just one end without breaking equipment.
Poor Garner and those hubs. While I now have auto lockers in both axles, I will learn from what Garner has experienced and told me and make sure to not try to make sharp turns when on the trail, without at least unlocking the hubs first.
 

HarvinJeep

Member 2022
My vote is rear first, even if you do a mechanical one to save on funds. Steering up front is my reason. There is noting wrong with a mechanical in the rear and a selectable in the front. Just like other have said of you're changing of the front don't the road why sink money into it before you swap it?
 

Mudskipper

2nd Time Around
Member 2022
I ran a rear spool on my TJ (33’s and short arm RE 3.5”) and a Detroit Tru-Track LSD up front.

In spite of what you’d imagine, the spool was actually quite easy to live with on the street. It was very, very predictable in its handling quirks once you got used to it, unlike a full time locker, which can induce yaw forces as power flows up and down the driveline from throttle to coast to throttle again. Plus Detroit rears ‘reset” from time to time, with quite a bang in the driveline. Usually in the middle of turn on an up shift.

I’d lock (or spool) the rear, put an LSD up front, and call it done. I’ve run all kinds of trails in that configuration and never had a problem.
 

Clifford04X

Member 2022
I ran a rear spool on my TJ (33’s and short arm RE 3.5”) and a Detroit Tru-Track LSD up front.

In spite of what you’d imagine, the spool was actually quite easy to live with on the street. It was very, very predictable in its handling quirks once you got used to it, unlike a full time locker, which can induce yaw forces as power flows up and down the driveline from throttle to coast to throttle again. Plus Detroit rears ‘reset” from time to time, with quite a bang in the driveline. Usually in the middle of turn on an up shift.

I’d lock (or spool) the rear, put an LSD up front, and call it done. I’ve run all kinds of trails in that configuration and never had a problem.
Spools are for the wild side. But, after having 7 different axles in my Jeep I agree for off road purposes. I run a spool in the rear and a Detroit in the front.
 
I would go with the rear locker first (Unless your JKU already has the rear limited slip, then I would lunch box the front first.) If you are not going to re-gear or anything at this time, a lunchbox is fine. You won't want to waste the $$ on a full carrier locker to only need another if you cross the carrier break in a re-gear later. I favor a mechanical out back (I don't want it shut off). I prefer a selectable in the front to aid in steering as most of the time you won't need the front fully locked.

In my Experience with CJ front dana 30s.

"The CJ, ( auto mechanical front locker) while it did climb things quite well there was an issue with locking hubs almost every time out. It would break one each trip." -- FACT -- 5 bolt hubs are junk. I ran through my stash of spares in a years time, never again.

"Once the bullet proof hubs were installed" --MISTAKE!!-- Why? because this happens afterward: "the next issue was shearing the bolts at the locking hub wheel hub joint." THEN THIS HAPPENS: "The CJ also broke a axle u-joint, in some moderately challenging sections." And we can't forget this: Every time I ran a limited slip this happed: " when the rear locker failed to operate." Insert Maranda Lamberts "Something bads about to happen song" My tub still wears the scar from the last time I needed the limited slip.

WARN Premium Hubs are too strong, I prefer to run the Factory style Warn 6 bolt hubs, the idea is to have the lock out hub break before the expensive stuff and harder to fix on the trail items, IE: Axles, U-joints, Ball Joints... This is why I went from the WARN 6 Bolt Premiums to the 5 bolts, only the 5 bolts are way too weak and constantly fail, as experienced above and by myself. So my lesson learned is the medium grade OEM 6 bolts are the best option. Strong but not over strong. Also I use grade 5 bolts, when they break in the hub, it's not as hard to remove as a grade 8. Also I always carry a spare hub, lock out hub and bolts.
 
I would go with the rear locker first (Unless your JKU already has the rear limited slip, then I would lunch box the front first.) If you are not going to re-gear or anything at this time, a lunchbox is fine. You won't want to waste the $$ on a full carrier locker to only need another if you cross the carrier break in a re-gear later. I favor a mechanical out back (I don't want it shut off). I prefer a selectable in the front to aid in steering as most of the time you won't need the front fully locked.

In my Experience with CJ front dana 30s.

"The CJ, ( auto mechanical front locker) while it did climb things quite well there was an issue with locking hubs almost every time out. It would break one each trip." -- FACT -- 5 bolt hubs are junk. I ran through my stash of spares in a years time, never again.

"Once the bullet proof hubs were installed" --MISTAKE!!-- Why? because this happens afterward: "the next issue was shearing the bolts at the locking hub wheel hub joint." THEN THIS HAPPENS: "The CJ also broke a axle u-joint, in some moderately challenging sections." And we can't forget this: Every time I ran a limited slip this happed: " when the rear locker failed to operate." Insert Maranda Lamberts "Something bads about to happen song" My tub still wears the scar from the last time I needed the limited slip.

WARN Premium Hubs are too strong, I prefer to run the Factory style Warn 6 bolt hubs, the idea is to have the lock out hub break before the expensive stuff and harder to fix on the trail items, IE: Axles, U-joints, Ball Joints... This is why I went from the WARN 6 Bolt Premiums to the 5 bolts, only the 5 bolts are way too weak and constantly fail, as experienced above and by myself. So my lesson learned is the medium grade OEM 6 bolts are the best option. Strong but not over strong. Also I use grade 5 bolts, when they break in the hub, it's not as hard to remove as a grade 8. Also I always carry a spare hub, lock out hub and bolts.
Highlander, I have the same issue with my open D30 in my CJ without a locker lol. Just the v8 was enough power to work the 5 bolt hubs loose until the bolts snapped. Went to McMaster Carr, ordered a bunch of grade 8 equivalent studs and so far no issues. Before I would have to re tighten my front hub bolts every 4 hrs of wheeling.

I'm a huge proponent of rear locker first. Notce that almost every brand of truck offers a rear locker now. Jeep is the only one I know with a front and rear locker.

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