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To Lock, Or Not to Lock

Discussion in '4x4 Discussion' started by Caleb Forbes, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. Caleb Forbes

    Caleb Forbes Administrator

    Jul 11, 2016
    Likes Received:
    If you have a Rubicon of any year, from the factory you have front and rear differential lockers.
    A common question we get from new Rubicon owners while off road is whether or not lockers are needed.

    Even though lockers will make the trail easier, they do not need to be used constantly while off road. This can actually damage your differentials.
    Traction is the key here. Lockers should NEVER be used on pavement as there is plenty of traction available. When off road however, there are a series of steps we recommend before hitting the magic buttons on your dash.

    As you approach an obstacle, shift your transfer case to Low Range 4WD . The transfer case shifts all of the power to the lowest possible ratio to provide torque to all 4 wheels. In MOST cases, 4L is more than enough to get you through any obstacle in your way. However, because of a modern differential design when the lockers are not on, the differentials allow power to follow the path of least resistance. And as such, there are some spots where 4L still loses traction, and 4 Wheel Drive becomes 2 Wheel Drive. What we mean by this, is when you are in 4WD of any range, the power is sent to one tire on each axle with the least amount of resistance so that nothing breaks while in a bind. This makes 4wd virtually useless as you are stuck spinning the tires and not moving forward.

    Those in a Sport or Sahara will have to either find a new line or have a winch ready; but for the Rubicon owners, this is your shining moment! This is when you can finally engage your (not so secret) weapon! When you engage the front and rear lockers, essentially what you are doing is "locking" both pairs of axle shafts to each other so that power is sent to all four tires regardless of resistance. All four tires will spin at the same slow rate to pull you up and out of whatever was keeping you from moving forward. After you are moving freely, simply disengage the lockers and either stay in 4L or shift back to 4H for easy movement. Do not exceed 10 MPH while engaged. Also be sure that you are pointed in the direction you want to go, since steering becomes much more difficult when lockers are on.

    If you have a few free minutes, check out this video that Teraflex put together!


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