Would a Air Locker Be Worth it?

Cmspears

New member
Hey ExPo, hopefully you can help settle my mind on this.

I currently drive a 1999 4x2 Limited 4Runner. When I picked it up, I got a crack on price for it, for a low amount of mileage (132K) at a price I could afford. My focus since purchase has to always build an overland rig with this vehicle.

Current set-up is ARB bull bar up with a warn winch on the way.
OME 881's Front, 890 Rear with Bilstein 5100 shocks all around.
265/75/r16 BFG K02's
Pullout Cooler & Cooktop with pull out drawers sitting in the rear cargo bay.


The type of driving I do is primarily back country roads and non-maintained service roads. As well as my daily commute to and from work. I occasionally will go to some offroad parks... but my main concern is just getting to where I wanna go, safely and easily without breaking the truck on the way there.

My rear diff was neglected by the previous owner unfortunately so that is being replaced soon. While looking at the replacement, I have the option to add an ARB Airlocker (RD132). The question is.. is it worth the $1,100 for the locker and air compressor?

Thanks for any input, even the ones that say I should have a bought a 4x4. :coffeedrink:
 

A.Wilson013

Adventurer
Hey ExPo, hopefully you can help settle my mind on this.

I currently drive a 1999 4x2 Limited 4Runner. When I picked it up, I got a crack on price for it, for a low amount of mileage (132K) at a price I could afford. My focus since purchase has to always build an overland rig with this vehicle.

Current set-up is ARB bull bar up with a warn winch on the way.
OME 881's Front, 890 Rear with Bilstein 5100 shocks all around.
265/75/r16 BFG K02's
Pullout Cooler & Cooktop with pull out drawers sitting in the rear cargo bay.


The type of driving I do is primarily back country roads and non-maintained service roads. As well as my daily commute to and from work. I occasionally will go to some offroad parks... but my main concern is just getting to where I wanna go, safely and easily without breaking the truck on the way there.

My rear diff was neglected by the previous owner unfortunately so that is being replaced soon. While looking at the replacement, I have the option to add an ARB Airlocker (RD132). The question is.. is it worth the $1,100 for the locker and air compressor?

Thanks for any input, even the ones that say I should have a bought a 4x4. :coffeedrink:
Swap out a rear axle from an e-locked 4Runner. Easy peasy.

Unless you're re-gearing, that is.

I ran trails in 2wd with the rear locked and did just as well as 4x4 unlocked 4Runners in most situations.
 

Cmspears

New member
On the fence about regearing! But it is an option.

I might go up to 33's here in the future, so it is something to think about because I have the option to re-gear for no extra price. While the performance boost would be good, I am already at the gas station every week haha!

How much do you think finding an assembled axle with an elocker would run? For everything that I am looking at with ECGS, total cost is currently $1809 shipped.
 

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zidaro

Explorer
Any type of traction device added to an open diff. running in 4x2 is going to add a huge advantage. ARB is tops as it is the most durable, an OEM elocker diff swap will be less expensive. Both are selectable and that is key.
Ive run the entire Rubicon Trail in 2wd with a detroit locker rear. Although that was in a nice flexy first gen running 37" tires :)
If your going to change the gearing at the same time, id go for the ARB. Otherwise you could spend time hunting around the forums and find an 8"elocker with your gearing for ~$4-600 regularly.
One nice bonus with the ARB, is your also adding an air source - this is a critical component to caring for yourself when out cruising, anywhere. add a good tire repair kit, learn how to use it, and you've got most tire issues covered.
 

XPLORx4

Adventurer
Have you driven on routes where you couldn't proceed because you only had 2WD and had to turn around? Have you been afraid to drive on routes that appeal to you because you're only 2WD? Do you air down on the trails you already drive? If your destinations have not yet impeded your enjoyment of nature, and your desire to explore more isn't that deep, I would say you probably would get better use of that $1100 locker cost elsewhere. Also even if you're locked, you still don't have good gearing/torque (i.e. low-range) that sometimes is more important to successfully overcoming an obstacle.
 

SportsmanJake

Adventurer
Don't buy a locker...

Sell the truck and buy a proper 4x4 model or convert the current 4x2 to 4x4. Anything else is a waste of money.
 

northwesttaco5

New member
Hey ExPo, hopefully you can help settle my mind on this.

I currently drive a 1999 4x2 Limited 4Runner. When I picked it up, I got a crack on price for it, for a low amount of mileage (132K) at a price I could afford. My focus since purchase has to always build an overland rig with this vehicle.

Current set-up is ARB bull bar up with a warn winch on the way.
OME 881's Front, 890 Rear with Bilstein 5100 shocks all around.
265/75/r16 BFG K02's
Pullout Cooler & Cooktop with pull out drawers sitting in the rear cargo bay.


The type of driving I do is primarily back country roads and non-maintained service roads. As well as my daily commute to and from work. I occasionally will go to some offroad parks... but my main concern is just getting to where I wanna go, safely and easily without breaking the truck on the way there.

My rear diff was neglected by the previous owner unfortunately so that is being replaced soon. While looking at the replacement, I have the option to add an ARB Airlocker (RD132). The question is.. is it worth the $1,100 for the locker and air compressor?

Thanks for any input, even the ones that say I should have a bought a 4x4. :coffeedrink:
Yes I think you should! If you have to replace the rear diff anyway I can tell you you'll regret it if you don't. Never hurts to have that extra option in case

Edit: Missed that you are 2wd.. i'd say no its not worth it for that.
 
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Cmspears

New member
Have you driven on routes where you couldn't proceed because you only had 2WD and had to turn around? Have you been afraid to drive on routes that appeal to you because you're only 2WD? Do you air down on the trails you already drive? If your destinations have not yet impeded your enjoyment of nature, and your desire to explore more isn't that deep, I would say you probably would get better use of that $1100 locker cost elsewhere. Also even if you're locked, you still don't have good gearing/torque (i.e. low-range) that sometimes is more important to successfully overcoming an obstacle.
There has not been a point where I have gotten suck without the locker... however, these times usually come with me bumping it up the trail or obstacle. From a price point perspective, a locker is almost like insurance. $900 for the locker versus a totaled rig from a cracked frame or failed suspension system. There are pros and cons to that argument of course. What do you think?

I do air down to about 15 psi on all 4 tires.

On topic of low range however... this is what appeals to me most about 4WD. Having the front pull you up an obstacle is just a bonus.
 

mtnkid85

Adventurer
I wouldn't pay the $1100 for an ARB for this rig. Find a 4.30 geared elocked axle to swap under there, it won't be too hard to locate one and you should be able to do that for well under the $1100 ARB price tag.
 

XPLORx4

Adventurer
In the long run, I honestly would not sink a ton of money into this 4x2 to make it into an expedition rig. I get that you're already rebuilding the rear end, and adding a locker now makes more sense, but like I mentioned earlier, you'd be better off spending that money converting your 4x2 in a 4x4 (whether you source front drivetrain parts or replace your rig with a different one).

You will encounter numerous places over the next 5-10 years where you'll wish you had 4WD, and you'll have invested a lot building up a platform that has a limit to its modifiability. For me, the biggest disadvantage of the 2WD is that you lack the low-range gearing that is so useful for ascents or descents, and provides extra torque at slower speeds to not have to "bump it up the trail" as much.

I don't know your budget constraints, but I would rather advise you to head down a path that makes more sense in the long run than try to "make do with what you've got". Get the rear end fixed, take that $1100 that you won't have spent on a locker, and see how far that'll get you towards getting 4WD (replacement rig or modding your 4x2).
 

Kmrtnsn

Explorer
I run ARB Air lockers front and rear in our Jeep. They're worth every penny and worth the expense to install.
 

Nate_gb

New member
Just as another bit of info, the new diff with locker may not be a plug and play type thing. There is an issue with air lockers in these rear ends that cause them to flex under load and and cause the locker to not function as it should. If you do some research you will find the issue. I had to deal with it myself and had to uninstall and reinstall my diff several times, sending it back to the company that built it, twice for them to fix it. Also, don't forget the time and cost of installing the air compressor. By the time all is said and done, you will invest at least $1400 to $1500 to do it right; not to mention several hours of your time. Not really an answer to your question, but just more info to help you make the decision that's right for you.
 

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AggieOE

Trying to escape the city
Yeah I hate being one of the guys to say slow down on the investment but it's kinda true.
Throughout your adventures, you may never need 4wd. Most likely you will, though.

It may be more worthwhile to take that ~$1,500 (after including compressor, hook-up, yadda), subtract what it costs to simply fix the rear end, and put the rest in another savings fund for either more gear, other life things, or purchasing a 4wd whatever down the road.

Don't you love forums? Ask one question and people answer another one you didn't even ask. lol

Good luck!
 

Cmspears

New member
Yeah I hate being one of the guys to say slow down on the investment but it's kinda true.
Throughout your adventures, you may never need 4wd. Most likely you will, though.

It may be more worthwhile to take that ~$1,500 (after including compressor, hook-up, yadda), subtract what it costs to simply fix the rear end, and put the rest in another savings fund for either more gear, other life things, or purchasing a 4wd whatever down the road.

Don't you love forums? Ask one question and people answer another one you didn't even ask. lol

Good luck!

Thanks man, I appreciate it!

Honestly, I knew the answer before I asked, I just thought the general census might have been different. But alas, common knowledge is good knowledge. We wouldn't all agree on something if there was not overwhelming truth. And its moments like these were I look at my current vehicle and realize were having a "it's not you, its me" moment haha
 
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