How important is a front locker?

Cascade Wanderer

Adventurer
In your experience, how important is it to have a front locking differential in a 4x4?

I've got one, an air locker. Cool to have. Kind of reassuring. But... perhaps the least used thing on my rig? Except thankfully the fire extinguisher. That's still unused!

How often do you use a front locker? Don't have one? Felt like you should have had one? What circumstances make you use the front locker?

Thanks, Guy
 

goodtimes

Expedition Poseur
Back when I was into rock crawling & searching out the more technical terrain - a front locker (along with deep gears, a winch, long-ish travel suspension, roll cage, skid plates, etc) was pretty much required.

Now that I've given up on rock crawling, I don't have any of that stuff. What I do have is a good set of tires & enough sense to turn around when road/trail conditions warrant.

So, how important is a front locker? It depends on where you want to go & how willing you are to turn around if trail conditions deteriorate.
 

redthies

Renaissance Redneck
I had ARBs front and rear on my 03 Tundra, as well as in my old 05 Rubicon and my current 11 Rubicon. I use the front once in a while, but I wouldn't describe it as "essential" for an expo type rig. I figure it is nice insurance though.
 

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JIMBO

Expedition Leader
:sombrero: 0/NADA/ZIP-

Untill that time you needit--shale hill/sand.snow-

How important is a parachute when flying ?-never needed one, but !!!!!

:costumed-smiley-007:wings: JIMBO
 

plainjaneFJC

Goofball
I figure if I need a front locker I'm probably in a place that will do more damage to my vehicle than I'm will to accept anyways.
 

Clay

Adventurer
Back when I was into rock crawling & searching out the more technical terrain - a front locker (along with deep gears, a winch, long-ish travel suspension, roll cage, skid plates, etc) was pretty much required.

Now that I've given up on rock crawling, I don't have any of that stuff. What I do have is a good set of tires & enough sense to turn around when road/trail conditions warrant.

So, how important is a front locker? It depends on where you want to go & how willing you are to turn around if trail conditions deteriorate.
I agree with this totally.
 

red EOD veteran

Adventurer
Depends. Like goodtimes mentioned in more difficult off roading its more of a requirement. Also if you are driving the anchor vehicle of the group (largest) it is a good idea to keep it from getting stuck.

For those that travel on their own as well. Roads and trails can fall apart unexpectedly, say a flash flood down a normally easy dirt road.
 

4x4junkie

Explorer
Better to have it and not need it, than to...
Well, you know the line.

I rarely use mine outside of rock crawling, but like red EOD veteran mentions, it's saved me at least once from having to get out the Hi-Lift and/or unspool the winch when the road got too deteriorated from erosion. In another case, it allowed driving over some boulders that had fallen from above on an otherwise stock SUV-passable road that would've been miles upon miles of backtracking had I had to turn around.
 

verdesardog

Explorer
I have open diff front and rear, if I was to get a locker it would be on the front for that once in a long time OH-OH moment....
 

craig333

Expedition Leader
I need one in the Jeep because it does go those places that require it (not much anymore but some) and the truck doesn't. I'd still like to have one in the truck for those times I fail to exercise good judgment but I probably won't, just too much money for insurance.
 

pappawheely

Autonomous4X4
There are pros and cons. A front locker can get you out of a mess or make a mess. There are a lot of things that can break in the front end when you apply too much torque to it.
 

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JIMBO

Expedition Leader
:sombrero: "Pros and cons of a front locker"

It's kinda like the "pros and cons" of a 1911 45acp, or a Dbl action S&W 357 mag-for defense-

It's what you feel you need !

:costumed-smiley-007:wings: JIMBO
 

bdog1

Adventurer
My large 4x4 van has very limited wheel travel, so it's easy to loose traction by lifting a wheel. This has makes the locker very useful. Several times I've been surprised to get out of situations where I really should have been pulling out the cable.
 
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