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Newbie Locker Questions

Discussion in 'Jeeps' started by wpeterson47, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. wpeterson47

    wpeterson47 Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    I'm trying to figure out the locker issue with plowing and have a bunch of questions hopefully those plowing with Rubis or lockers can respond to.

    My plow situation is this: fairly decent amount of snow in the mtns of Colorado in my driveway and I need to effectively plow WHILE turning the jeep.

    The guys over at the jeep forums say that lockers tend to make your jeep more difficult to turn in snow (as I understood correctly it wants to run straight). If this is so, would that be from the rear wanting to move the jeep in a straight line forward or somehow from front lockers?

    I'm trying to figure out whether to consider buying a rubi or go with a front selectable locker for my TJ?

    Also, if you run a selectable locker in the front, if it is not 'on' do you still have 'regular 4wd' (open differential?) operating?

    Thanks in advance.

    Wep
     
  2. Mems

    Mems Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 202

    Wep,

    Theres a lot in this thread in regards to questions so Ill do my best to answer them all. If I miss one, let me know.

    I have a 03 Rubicon and plow with it regularly as I live in Maine, pretty decent amount of snow per year. The reason why lockers tend to inhibit turning is due to the fact that they are for all intents and purposes "locking" the front axle so that both wheels travel together and pull at the same time. This motion in and of itself makes it somewhat hard to turn your wheels seeing as almost all the time, your wheels are turning seperately of each other and at different rates. With them locked your jeep tires will somewhat skip when turning to try and keep up with each other. I use my lockers usually only when I get stuck to get out of a jam in a straight line. More on this later though.

    I went right with the purchase of the Rubi upfront due to the lockers and i do a ton of offroading. But if you already have a wrangler then buying front and rear lockers will be much cheaper than buying a whole new jeep. Lockers arent needed for plowing and as I stated, unless stuck, wont do much unless your slipping and needing more traction in a straight line.

    With a selectable locker in either axle you will have standard 4 wheel drive when it isnt engaged.

    If I were you and Im assuming you already have a wrangler, id pick up a selectable locker for the rear axle for those just in case times when you need a little more ooomph or you get stuck. This will allow you to also still run the standard 4wheel drive system in the front without a locker with less worries of crushing axles or ujoints and youll have no issues with turning. The stock Jeep front axles are not made tough enough for a locker.

    (On a side note, if you do end up picking up the Rubi, you can do a cheap $2 mod to the locker switch that allows you to engage the lockers in the front or rear in any transfer case mode ie. 2hi, 4hi, or 4lo)
     
  3. KEC Maintaince

    KEC Maintaince Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 265

    nicely put i will also add changing the gear ratio will also aid in plowing it is not necessary but it will help gas milage will suffer imo i think 373 is a great compromise on tirers up to 33in tall.
     
  4. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,551

    When you go around a corner your inside wheels travel less than the outside wheels A "differential" allows wheels to rotate at different speeds so you can go around a corner. a locker locks the inner and outer wheels together so they cant turn at different speeds.

    When do all the wheels turn at the same speed? when you are going strait... so if you lock the dif the jeep wants to go strait.

    When a locker is not locked it acts like a regular dif.
     
  5. wpeterson47

    wpeterson47 Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    Thanks for all the info.

    Is it possible to modify the rubi or switch so the front diff is locked while the back is unlocked/open?

    wep
     
  6. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,551

    Yes
    I would have to see the schematic to figure out how.
     
  7. Mems

    Mems Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 202

    Yes, you'd have to split the wiring to each compressor to separate switches for this to work properly and its the easiest way to do it.
     
  8. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,551

    Normaly the front locker switch gets its power when the rear locker is on. All you halve to do is jump the power to the front locker switch
     
  9. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 620

    Jeeps come from the factory with elecrical lockers. People like them better because no air leaks to deal with.

    Also lockers only will engage when jeep is in 4wd low, to limit potential damage that could happen at speed.

    Lockers are not to go faster but to help get through a tough spot.

    Being most plowing is done in 2wd or 4wd high lockers won't come into play that much.

    However people did figure out how bypass and trick system on TJ's to get lockers to come on in 4wd high.
     
  10. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,551

    Did they change the lockers? The lockers used to be air. first couple of years for the Rubicon.
     
  11. Mems

    Mems Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 202

    They are air, atleast until 07 when they changed to all electric.

    And I was talking about running the lockers on mine with the switch mod done that allows for them to be used in either 4hi, 4lo, or 2wd. With this particular mod one can run the locker in 2wd rear only obviously, 4 hi lock the rear, 4 hi lock both, 4 lo lock the rear, or 4 lo lock both.
    This particular mod that ive done will not allow the front to be locked by itself. And it will, dependent on where you are in the transfer case (2hi, 4hi) allow the vehicle to be driven up to highway speed with them locked, although i wouldnt recommend it.

    Otherwise, they would have to single out each pump (not hard to do) on their own switch and operate them independently, ill be doing that next year for more flexibility offroad, not really needed for plowing.

    http://stu-offroad.com/electrical/rubi1/rubi1-1.htm
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  12. toast

    toast Member
    Messages: 44

    If you want to turn while being locked, you need an automatic locker. This could be a full case locker like a detroit, or a "lunchbox" locker. There are many lunchbox style lockers available, my favorite being a spartan locker.

    With a selectable locker, even though you may be able to turn the wheel due to slippery conditions, it will tend to push you through the corner if your trying to turn a tight radius.

    A selectable locker will be an open dif when not locked. An automatic locker will always be "locked". The difference is an automatic locker will allow either tire to spin faster than what the driveshaft is spinning, but not less. There is no indication of an automatic locker while in 2wd either.
     
  13. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 620

    Lockers are to be used off pavement. So unless on dirt, sand, or completely snow covered road shouldn't be using lockers. So turning should not be a problem because loose surface allows the tires to slip.
     
  14. Mems

    Mems Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 202

    The problem is is that your not actually getting any "real" power to the wheel that isnt spinning, no matter if your on pavement or in a mud hole, to get you out of a particular tough spot which is only when I would use my lockers in the first place. The maximum engine output reduces when a tire is spinning as it cant tell if the wheel is actually rolling or staying still and spinning.
    The only way to get this power to increase is to apply a load to the engine which effectively is asking it to power up and overcome the situation. You can use your brakes creatively to create this load or have a locker, which is applying the same amount of engine power to both wheels at the same time with the same resistance from them both allowing for better traction with increased HP to get unstuck or move a larger pile of snow. Having a tire spinning can happen frequently when your pushing snow with a plow and a lighter weight Wrangler.
     
  15. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,551

    May I suggest adding some counterweight and SNOW tires I Like Blizzak. I plow lots of driveways some 300 ft long spinning a tire is due to lack of traction Mmmm SNOW tires have a LOT more traction ON SNOW (particular packed snow) than "all season" tires and they are a LOT cheaper than lockers.
     
  16. Mems

    Mems Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 202

    Agreed. Simple Stupid and cheap first.
     
  17. Night_Sailor

    Night_Sailor Junior Member
    Messages: 28



    I am a believer in snow tires. Having taken more than a few trips off the road on black ice, I've come to appreciate studded snow tires. We have our share of ice storms, some of which get covered with snow, and then things get so dicey that it is easy to get stuck.

    My conclusion was I wanted something better for plowing. As we have three big trucks, 1 3/4 ton and two 1 tons. I'm researching putting air lockers on three of our trucks. I suppose I'll have to do it myself or else it will cost too much.

    Given that "hard driveways jobs" are passed around my all the plow operators in town, it will be easy to pick up all the hard driveway business with a short PV. It makes sense to get a Rubicon with lockers. Put on studded snow tires, and traction should be so good that lockers are rarely needed. But in the nastiest conditions, a push of a button should get me free.

    While all this might sound unstoppable, I was thinking about more more thing. Along with removing the spare, I'm thinking about putting a winch on the back, along with some extra counterweight--back and low is best, IMHO. The farther back, the less weight needed.

    I like your V plow also. I can see how that would be useful for breaking ground, tight turns on narrow driveways. I priced a driveway today with Belgian block everywhere. Many of which were knocked out of place. I wonder how your V-plow works when it hits something like that. So I have been shopping for a Jeep and the only question is will I buy it this year or wait until next year.
     
  18. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,551

    I have #400 counter weight bumper that plugs into my receiver hitch with tie in chains to the frame.

    yes the boss V plow TRIPS in any configuration.

    why take off the spare?
     
  19. toast

    toast Member
    Messages: 44

    IMO the cheapest, most cost effective solution will be to add a spartan up front. They are the easiest to install (and remove) and no gear setups, no switches, no air compressors, no adverse driveability on the road, or snow. The weight of the plow will help the most with traction there. I do prefer a selectable locker for the rear though.

    The only downside is that they can and do wear out. I have used them extensively, and in my experience last about 5 years, but that depends on your average mileage I guess. Even then, they still work, but may be louder, or unload (or not lock) under certain situations.

    http://www.4ws.com/spartan-locker-dana-30-27-spline.html