Locker on the front, or a winch?


I think it was Buliwyf that said it's so easy to put a locker on the front of a SuperDuty that it would be shame not to do it. I travel alone in the desert so self-recovery is intimidating, and it occurred to me that a locking front would add some comfort without a lot of weight, and be more useful than a winch. The only time I ever used a winch was to pull a tree from the path, and usually there is not a lot to anchor to in the desert. Your thoughts on this alternative?
I would much rather have a winch than a front locker. That is assuming you have a rear locker of some sort already.

If I travelled by myself I would also invest in a pull pal or something similarly to help with self recovery.

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Well-known member
you can still get buried and stuck with lockers. Winch is more useful for most situations. if you have a shovel and something to bury ie your spare tire chances are you have an anchor point.


Viking with a Hammer
I'm just doing the locker this time around. Detroit or Yukon Grizz front, oem elocker rear. 4.56 or 4.88 gear. On my previous truck I only used the winch a few times for myself. I tore the winch down to clean all of the road salt out of it, more often than I used it.

I'm just keeping a highlift jack under the back seat with a winching adapter kit, some chain, and some winch rope. Highlifts are slow, but work fine, and don't cost a fortune to buy and maintain. I keep a shovel handy, you can always anchor to a hole in the earth, or jack the truck up and move earth under it.
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LR Max

Local Oaf
If you find yourself getting cross axled a lot, then a front locker should be a priority.

But if you are looking for a general fall-back recovery device, then a winch.


Viking with a Hammer
How much recovery do ya'll do with fullsizes in the desert?

I only ever used mine because the ground was wet grass, with quick-mud underneath. One you break through, that stuff is slicker than ice. No tire can climb out. (that was before lockers though) Winched the truck 3 measly feet, and that was it, for an entire year.

Happy Joe

Apprentice Geezer
When far from civilization a winch (plus a locker in each axle) really helps the piece of mind, IMO.
However since I went 10 plus (might have been 15+) years without needing a winch for myself in the last vehicle; I decided not to bother on this one (has OEM limited slip/selectable lockers in both axles).
I would say the decision depends on how much experience & confidence you have and your desired mental comfort level.
... that said the first relatively major mod that I do with a new/old vehicle is install selectable lockers, or at least a Torsen limited slip; usually with gears...

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Viking with a Hammer
The way I look at it: You need a high lift and a shovel for winching anyways. So it's an easy place to start.

You're only out the High Lift winch kit parts if you start there, and then add the electric winch later because you're winching 4 times a month. And the tree strap in that kit is still needed anyways. So it's not a waste.


If you're going into an area where you'll need a front locker, you'll likely need a winch too...get both.

Also, the install of a front locker isn't exactly "easy." Drilling a hole in the axle housing, setting up airlines (if going with ARB),'s probably a DIY job, but it requires some knowledge.

Detroit lockers are fire-and-forget, but they I don't think they would be my first option for a HD pickup, especially on the front axle.


Viking with a Hammer
My setup is so overkill with the Cooper STT's, I never need 4wd in the winter over 25mph. That's why I go so hardcore on the front axle. I don't need open/open 4wd in the winter. (Ohio, MI upper and lower, SE Canada, Vermont, PA, maybe Maine)

So I can gamble more towards off road, and less towards onroad snow/ice. I love the new full case front auto / selectable rear setups.