Air Lockers - OEM vs ARB?

Kmrtnsn

Explorer
This is a good point, but may not be true depending on the person, geographic location, or wheeling expectations. It also may be a cost or budget issue. It is hard for some to justify a $200-300 air compressor on a $5-10k vehicle without installing lockers. Anyone installing a locker would benefit from having the onboard air system, but they should already have been carrying an air source before wheeling at all.

There are a lot of people who use a portable air compressor in place of the on-board units. I typically carry my M12 air compressor (rated up to 120psi) for air duty since it was cheaper and can be moved between my vehicles. Before that I used the compressor built into the Stanley jumpboxes that I keep in each vehicle. These also have the benefit of not needing to find a permanent mounting point in the vehicle. I can even carry it to a vehicle on the trail without needing to park next to it or get a long hose.

ARB has a proven design, and I do not believe their large components (locker or pump) would fail. However, if something damages a high pressure air line, I am not sure of an easy trail fix besides carrying spare line. The ARB locker engages at 70psi and they recommend supplying 100-150psi. A cut or tear to this line, although unlikely, could happen. This cannot be fixed with duct tape or even rescue tape to get it to engage again. The damaged section has to be cut out and replaced with new line and couplers, which is exactly what ARB sells as their trail service kit. At least the OEM low pressure system is 4psi which I can get to hold with enough gorilla tape or spare vacuum hose (usually rated to ~10psi) until I get off the trail. The E-locker would just need the wires reconnected to a 12V power source or spliced back together, which could be done with pliers and butt splices (as long as a smart installer leaves a little excess in case of repairs). Tree branches jab at weird angles, rocks seem to sneak up on weak points, and a random sharp object could be anywhere.

I would also be interested in seeing the total price of each system installed on the same vehicle. E-lockers requiring 2 differential installs, switches and a 12V connection, and the ARB with on-board air. I think they may be closer in price since the E-lockers tend to cost a little more, depending on the installer charges. DIY install, I believe ARB is cheaper.

I considered both, but I will stick with the rear hybrid LSD and traction control. I have yet to get stuck or need to turn around, and the largest boulders I have had to cross were the ones near Rabun Bald Mt. If I leave the east coast, I would probably reconsider these options again.
ARB locker airlines are not high pressure and are easily repaired. Google, “ARB air line repair kit”. For those especially worried about line failure ARB also makes line in braided stainless steel.
 

SoCalMonty

Explorer
I have never read a bad review on lockers, factory, ARB, Eaton, or other. Lockers tend to be too small a market to attract the off shore invasion. This is more personal choice, product availability, price? peer advice.

The big choice is air vs electric.
There IS a low-cost Chinese option that has really good reviews with Toyota and Nissan guys. Look up TRE lockers. It's what I plan to use when I lock the front axle. Some guys report using them for years on trail rigs with no issues.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
There IS a low-cost Chinese option that has really good reviews with Toyota and Nissan guys. Look up TRE lockers. It's what I plan to use when I lock the front axle. Some guys report using them for years on trail rigs with no issues.
Awesome, like I said "I have never read a bad review on lockers".
Love to hear your impressions. How do they compare $$$$ wise?
 
I'm not impressed with the elockers from harrop. they disengage too often when moving back and forth from watching videos. FOr the rear, the factory is a no brainers, for front, you have a few options. I will be trying the tjm locker myself. Not the cheap chinese one that has a similar name
 

PA_JERO

Adventurer
I've been happy with ARB, I run front and Rear on my SR. Like anything there are failure points. But you just do your best to avoid them

I Routed the copper line from the seal housing wrong and chewed that up. Cost me $80 for the seal housing and I was able to do the work myself. Take apart and re install cost me a days worth of work

The main seal inside my rear ARB had a defect and leaked after only a year old. But when you spend good money and buy from a legit reputable company like ARB, they take care of you. Sent them an email and they sent me the new seals for free, had them in 5 days from the day I emailed them.

Neither of these have left me stranded though. When running an airline for the air lockers you just need to be creative. I use all steel braided lines and have them routed away from heat sources and up high to the body. As far away from harms way as possible.

The OEM locker is good and gets the job done.... but it will be come obsolete soon. Parts aren't readily available here in the states either. They will either come from Australia or Japan. So long as your ordering parts for a 97 + montero. Anything predating that model is already gone and off any shelves anywhere.
 

Toasty

Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
I've been happy with ARB, I run front and Rear on my SR. Like anything there are failure points. But you just do your best to avoid them

I Routed the copper line from the seal housing wrong and chewed that up. Cost me $80 for the seal housing and I was able to do the work myself. Take apart and re install cost me a days worth of work

The main seal inside my rear ARB had a defect and leaked after only a year old. But when you spend good money and buy from a legit reputable company like ARB, they take care of you. Sent them an email and they sent me the new seals for free, had them in 5 days from the day I emailed them.

Neither of these have left me stranded though. When running an airline for the air lockers you just need to be creative. I use all steel braided lines and have them routed away from heat sources and up high to the body. As far away from harms way as possible.

The OEM locker is good and gets the job done.... but it will be come obsolete soon. Parts aren't readily available here in the states either. They will either come from Australia or Japan. So long as your ordering parts for a 97 + montero. Anything predating that model is already gone and off any shelves anywhere.

Welcome back.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
Here's my setup with TRE front lockers, so far no issues and it cost me $500 for the whole setup..


Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
Great video. Shows the ability of lockers to tread lightly. Even with tires air born and the complete loss of traction without lockers you kept steady progress. It also shows the extra stress of lockers as often the power thru the front differential is equal or even more than the stress thru the rear differential. MOST 4WDs have lighter front difs than rear difs which increases the risk of front dif breakage fully locked and hard on the skinny pedal.

Jeep Wranglers mostly come with D35/D30 difs or D44/D30 difs. Only the Rubicon comes with D44/D44 difs front and rear and they do that because of the Front and Rear Lockers. Consider that when engaging lockers. Locked both difs get equal stress.

Why do 4x4s come with weaker front difs than rear difs?????

Because in 2WD ALL the torque goes to the rear dif, Think towing. Think F250 or...... In 4WD 50% of the torques goes to the front dif...... Unless you locked both difs. In which case the torque split to the right rear D60 and left front D44 could equal the torque in 2WD to both sides of that D60 Rear dif.

Most every mod we do adds stress and silly application of the skinny pedal can be devastating.
 
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