Lock it up… with an ARB front Air Locker!

After some wheeling and dealing, I acquired an ARB Front air locker. Score. Always wanted one, and the price was right.

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I knew a front locker is frowned upon by some as it seems to be hard on the CV’s but I figured I’ll try for myself and see. As long as I use my brain, a front locker seems like a good tool. Unlike most Florida wheeling, the out-of-state trails and parks I’ve visited, where rocks are more prevalent, it’s common to “bump” your front tire on something. My hope was that with a locker I could reduce some of the impacts and abuse on the front drivetrain and suspension by being able to get more climb control.

Step one was removing the front differential. After the Skid plates were off, it was a breeze. It took a minute to manipulate the diff to come out of the truck, but once I figured out where to rotate, and where to lift, it came out easily.

I threw the diff in my beater MkII Golf and rumbled down to Naples, to my friend Mike from Sparks and Gears, same guy who did such a tremendous and meticulous job on my re-gear. Mike made time on his busy schedule and got started almost right away.

Meanwhile, I figured that with the front locked, it would be in my best interest to get rid of the Autozone HD New Manufacture CVs, and run OEM Axles again. But who wants to spend $350 on a new axle….
Fortunately, my friend Scott discovered the Toyota Partnumber for OEM Reman axles, at $115 each. Can’t beat that!

While Mike kept sending me pictures and status reports, I got the rest of the truck ready by rewiring my dual ARB Compressor, installing the solenoid and a manifold. I wanted the compressor switch up front vs the back, where it was before.
While wiring and plumbing in the back, I decided to make a little basket on the left hand side to protect the plumbing and 12VDC and USB plugs, using some scrap expanded steel I had. Not bad.

Using some of my daughter’s nail polish, I marked the front locker switch to keep from accidentally engaging it.

Mike finished up the diff, and with the tricks I learned from removing the diff, I was able to install the thing in a matter of hours. EvilFJ was back on its feet again, ready to take on the next trail or mod, whichever came first.

I’ve only had the truck on a few trails where I’ve played with the locker on, and have discovered that when engaged, the truck really only wants to go straight. It’s an odd feeling, turning the wheel, and not turning. Takes a minute to compute…

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Not a good spot to be locked.

 

 

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