Rear Lockers

Hi all,

Trying to decide what to go with for overlanding, between late model (2012+) LR4 and RR Sport with a RR as a dark horse (any recommendations appreciated).

Compounding the problem is the issue of rear diff lockers. I am sure it’s been discussed, and I brushed up with multiple resources (this board, articles, other boards, conversation with dealers) but I have a few lingering questions I am hoping you guys can get help with.

1: Do I even need one? I want to do more overlanding than crawling. But I want to be as self sufficient as possible for long trips by my self. I also live in the Rockie Mountains, and I’d like to do Moab.
2: I understand that the HD package on the LR4 includes the rear diff, but how can I narrow down candidates for rear diffs in RRS?
3: Does either truck have an option for aftermarket rear diffs like ARB. I hear differing things from old threads (I.e they’re coming, they prototype didn’t work and there are none, there is an arb locker, there isn’t an arb locker but there is some other type of locker).
4: How effective are front lockers if I can’t get a rear locker?

Thanks for your help. It’s great to have a place with such experienced people willing to answer questions.
This gets discussed a great deal on here, with the HD package taking on a seemingly mythical value at times. To your questions:
1) Probably not. If you want to do long haul travel off the beaten path (aka overlanding) vice intense use of the vehicle on extremely rough terrain (offroading, crawling, etc) then by default you don't really need a locker to be self-sufficient, and more than capable.
1A) Self sufficiency would be increased in many ways by having other aids on your vehicle for yourself (and for others) such as a winch, and a couple of pairs of maxtrax.
1B) The locker adds some capability but a key question many don't like to answer is to what end? Would you use skinny pedal to get through more obstacles b/c you have a locker? (Not using mechanical sympathy to preserve the truck for the intended purpose) Not saying you would, but when we start talking about trucks that have stuff hanging all over an already heavy platform I have to question if the locker is really going to be the panacea folks think it is.
1C) The fact that you are out west does make for a compelling case though, as the locker will help more in dry situations than wet.

2) I believe your best bet is either look underneath, or get the VINs and run the build sheets.

3) RRS may be able to use the rear dif for the LR3-depending on the year (aka the same years they are essentially LR3s with different exteriors-yes I know that's a simplification) I haven't seen anything updating the rear dif aspect for the LR4 nor for later RRS models.

4) A front locker with no traction aid in the back will help a little but with weight distribution you won't get nearly the same return on investment-at considerable investment. So you are back to question 1. Which is something you'll need to answer for yourself.

My experience, and advice, is the locker isn't something to prioritize at the top.
On my LR3 the nav panel (in off road mode) indicates when the rear locker is activated so I am guessing if no locker shows on the panel you don't have one. The vin is the best indicator unless you can get under the vehicle and know what to look for.
Really haven't had the use for one except that one of my traveling companions, behind me, did notice that it was engaged on a particular trail and asked if I had locker. I guess the vehicle decided it was necessary and it went into the lock mode. Oncee again I have a vehicle that is more capable than I am.
If the traction control is working properly, these choices are very capable rigs. Just returned from a three day wheeling trip in southern Ohio and followed some pretty stock LR's that handled some very difficult climbs with just traction control option. One LR3 was the HD package and had rear locker...he went everywhere the tall tire (33/35's) rovers went (unless he bottomed out), very impressive rover.

Like mentioned above, you have several other concerns when building an overland rig. Suspension is probably number one area to focus.

Thanks for all the great help so far.

I think I can help with the locker ID. If you have the vin, sign up for Topix, as an “independent”. Run the vin and go to the vehicle summary. Click on Minor Features and if a vehicle has a rear locker it will show up on the list as “Locker - E Diff” or something like that, if not it will have “Rear Open Diff”.

I understand the LR4 pre-2014 had a two speed transfer case, but 2014 and on came standard with a single speed, with the 2 speed being an option only that came only with the HD package. Thus, if the LR4 is 2014 or above, the presence of Hi and low 4 wheel drive also = rear L diff.

I think one of my main questions is, what conditions precipitate a l diff in rrs? Does anyone know what packages included a rear l diff, or do I just have to keep looking them up on a case by case basis on topix? Maybe I will fib start a rrs thread to ask on.


Expedition Leader
I also live in the Rocky Mountains and have used our LR4 with HD on many trails, to include Engineers Pass. The rear locker worked well.

That said, I don't think a rear locker is a complete deal breaker. I do think a 2 speed xfer case is a minimum. Fully loaded on a trip these trucks can be heavy. In addition slow speed trail work is much better in low range. Less strain on drivetrain.

If I added an ARB air locker to a RRS, would it mess anything up with the computer or the terrain select features?

I can’t find a RRS with a rear locker anywhere.
A rear locker is obviously very good to have. If you plan on doing a lot of off roading and visiting OHV/ORV parks regularly then I think it is probably a good idea/investment.

However that doesn't seem like the case. With that in mind, I'd say learn to drive with traction control. Its completely different and if you drive it like a 1982 Jeep CJ, it won't work. Constant throttle input, let it work, let it make noises, and it'll pull through. But really, only in ridiculous crap or cross axle situations has it kicked in.

Oh and if you want to drive it likea 1982 CJ, then get lockers. That'll make everything work well.

Front lockers are fairly effective, surprisingly. We used to run TJs with lunchbox lockers in the front. Worked very well (did this because the front Dana 30 was stronger/more reliable than the rear D35).

I was also heck bent on getting a rover with the HD package. I ended up with a non-HD vehicle (my LR3 is pretty much the awesome spec except for lack of rear locker). Overall I've been impressed and I have put it through its paces somewhat. Easier trails but always mud covered. Overall I found myself cursing my tires more than my traction aids (two decent street tires on the front and two bald performance tires on the rear, yay previous owner...). However a set of BFG ATs has corrected this issue.

In the next month I'm planning a trip to Colorado. Do the Ouray/Telluride trails. Also trails across the southern part of the state to the Ouray-area. Do everything in there, including black bear pass. Then see what other trouble I can get into. A rear locker would be nice but I don't foresee any issues with my current setup. Also throwing on a set of rock sliders since it only takes one hit for them to pay for themselves. If that ballparks you on the capabilities of these vehicles.
If I added an ARB air locker to a RRS, would it mess anything up with the computer or the terrain select features?

I can’t find a RRS with a rear locker anywhere.
I have an LR3 with front and rear ARB lockers...

It won’t mess anything up and works fine... if your wheel is not slipping it does not activate the dsc.
I usually turn that off though, and select an appropriate terrain response program more for the throttle response than anything.
a huge factor to think about is aftermarket parts availability, i recently replaced my LR3 with a RRS because i couldn't find a suitable LR4 and your options for offroad parts is pretty limited. Some of the parts are the same but when you start getting into the bumpers, racks and such the selection is seriously limited for a RRS.
Here to echo everyone else.

Saying the locker is pointless is incorrect.
Saying it's necessary is also likely incorrect.

It's a nice to have. Weigh it accordingly with other factors with the vehicle you purchase. I was lucky and got the right truck *and* it had the locker.
Went on an adventure last week on CO backroads that were very rocky and muddy. Not just muddy but with many mud/water holes that were at least 2 feet deep. Many places the locker was a distinct advantage. Glad I had it. Had the screen in 4X mode and there were times that the center locker symbol was on lock mode as well as the rear locker.
Those that seem to think a locker is not a necessity are surely such experienced drivers that they could probably take a Prius over the trails and come out on the other side with nary a hesitation. I am not one of those and so I let the vehicle tell me when it needs help. It came with the vehicle so there must be a reason and I am glad it is so.
Going by the screen, mine activates quite frequently in 4lo. Much more often than i would likely engage it if I were doing it manually.

My truck goes under the knife to get its ARB front locker added sometime in the next couple of weeks.
For the sake of this discussion I’ll just emphasize a locker can’t fix what tires aren’t suited for-simply put the thing I would make sure I have is good tires for the conditions I wheel in.

What we really need is suitable MTs; really only easy to accomplish if is you go 17’s.

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Anything you can do will help off road. These things are heavy with poor wheel travel. They use the electronics to overcome the inherent bad off road design but it has its limits and can be beaten in the right situations. In those cases a locker really helps.