Play in 8.8

This is a bit specific, but I’ll toss it out to everyone…

On my 8.8… when I tore it apart the carrier spacers fell out and I thought I had them switched because on re-install I couldn’t turn the carrier… was super tight.

Now that it’s in and I’ve got 50 miles on it, I’ve got more play than I remember in the shaft. I can rotate the driveshaft close to 3/8 inch before the ring engages. I’m not really keen on tearing it apart again… but with the play it’s got me concerned that my “switch” was actually in the wrong direction.

Bill, how much play is in yours when you turn the driveshaft? I may get some grease paint, tear it apart and try it all again to make sure it’s right.

Any ideas?

I know Detroit Lockers have up to 1/4 turn of backlash. Aussies work on the same principle so perhaps the additional backlash is the locker. Having said that, I would probably do like you suggested and check the pattern with marking compound.

X2 Aussie says that with the install of their locker it is expected for you to have more backlash than before and that you should not worry about it because there is nothing you can do about it.

Ok that makes sense… there’s probably 50% more backlash in it… although it’s actually now pretty close to the backlash that was in my D35. I’ll probably run it gently for another 50 miles (don’t have any time to wheel for the next couple weeks anyway) and then check the ring pattern with grease paint. I checked it at install with regular white grease and the tooth patterns looked really good - but it’s much harder to see the tooth patterns.

On the other note… got my LBT’s on - and I’m a little bummed by Town Fair. I’m going to have to take it in to get one of them re-balanced. It was on the front and I thought I was going to lose a tooth at 40mph. I moved it to the back and at least I’m not going into the hedges, but it’s still pretty rough over 35mph. Clearly not balanced right.

Of course I did end up with 33" LBT’s for $172 each and $49 to mount and balance. Not too shabby if they’ll fix the balancing issue.

On another note… noticing some handling issues. when I accelerate it pulls left, let off it pulls right. Any ideas on this one? it was doing it with the old tires, but I assumed that was because they were soft and losing air. It almost feels like I’m driving with a flat.

Don’t know if it’s an issue, or just the way life is with a locker, but I haven’t heard of other guys having this issue, so I’m concerned about either alignment, or the rear axle not being straight.

I’ve never experienced such behavior with a locker (except in the snow where going heavy on gas results in a much sideways movement as forward movement).

I had a similar symptom once that turned out to be a bad ball joint; really bad, like about ready to fail bad.

So… got up early this morning. Went to get something out of Heep. Noticed that my left rear tire appeared to “wrap” a rock it was sitting on. Thought “that’s odd with 35lbs of pressure”. Pulled out the gauge, 8lbs!!! WTF? I’ve only got 20 miles on the tires! Filled it to match the rest and it’s driving straighter (still a little off, but that could be the front alignment). Stupid tire must have been leaking out from the day I picked them up last week!

So, now I’ve got one leaking air, and another that’s balanced wrong (horrific wobble at 35mph). Geez.

Unfortunately thats the risk you run with those kind of tires. Normal tire shops are not really equipped to handle shit like that. You might want to take them to a Mack truck place and have them do it. they are more equipped for larger tires.

just got back from 10 day trip to CO. wasn’t ignoring you Jon. my 8.8 only has like 1/4" or so of play. its sounds like its from installing the aussie. as for the pulling on accelearation??? got me.

i’ve only been to CO once, in Denver. had a great time, beautiful out there

Here’s the email I had going back and forth with the Aussie Locker guys. I emailed them on Monday, had the following conversation on Tuesday. Very impressed with their responsiveness.

Name: Jonathan Wellington

Message Text:
I've installed a new axle along with the locker in the rear of my 95 Jeep Wrangler (6 cyl, 4" lift leaf springs, manual, 33" tires). I had the axle in about a week before the locker, ran smooth. After the locker when I accelerate it pulls left, and when I let off, under compression, it pulls right. I can't find any measurement variations where the axle might be crooked, is this normal, and if not what might be the cause? Thanks!

On Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 12:07 PM, John wrote:
Hi Jonathan–Thanks for your inquiry. Unless the locker is slipping, which would be quite unusual and accompanied by noise, your experience with pulling under acceleration and deceleration is more or less normal for a locker. This is because when moving straight ahead the left and right teeth are very rarely exactly lined up because of slight turning movements, very minor differences in tire diameter, just having come out of a turn, etc. As a result, when you get on the gas only one tire will actually be applying acceleration, and when backing off, deceleration switches to the other tire. The larger the vehicle the smaller the effect, but I have a locker in my 3/4-ton 4x4 Dodge full-size truck, and I can feel it sometimes too. You’ll notice that at other times (when the teeth happen to be exactly lined up) that it you won’t feel any effect at all. Whether you do (or not) is strictly a matter of chance. The places where you will notice your locker are off-road–the dramatic increase in traction more than makes up for the minor drawback of the different handling characteristic on-road, at least in my view. Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any more questions.

John Zentmyer, consultant
Aussie Locker Customer Service

Jonathan Wellington wrote:
Thanks for the info - I’ll probably post it on my clubs forum in the thread I’ve got about the issue.

Fortunately I found out the problem this morning. I didn’t think to check air pressure because my tires are a week old and have less than 20 miles on them. I had them 4 days before I mounted them, and this morning when I gave up all other possibilities (even checked the rear axle being square to the frame - it’s within a 32nd of an inch - not bad for a self install) I checked the air pressure. My left rear was at 8psi!!! Filled it to match and 90% of the drift went away. Fortunately I only drove a couple miles with mismatched air pressure and it was gently since I was experiencing handling issues.

Thanks for the quick response and great explanation - I had a guy with a full size say he didn’t notice the locker at all - that explains why I feel it some in my Jeep.

On Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 12:54 PM, John wrote:
Thanks for your quick feedback. I hadn’t directly considered tire pressure, although I sorta covered it when I mentioned minor differences in tire diameter. I’ll have to remember to mention that in answering future questions. 8 PSI will help climb hills, but it sure makes the vehicle soggy on-road! That’s something else I have to remember–the lower the tire pressure, the more you’ll feel the one-tire acceleration effect from the locker (meaning that the stiffer the suspension/tire combination, the less you’ll feel it).


Jonathan Wellington wrote:
Yeah, add in short wheel base, soft 4" springs, greaseable shackles lightly torqued for flex and “Bingo” - I do the bob and weave every time I shift.

The left side is at 35psi, the right was at 8. The only reason I didn’t look there first was because the tires are only a week old. Didn’t even consider that a brand new tire has a slow leak directly from the store.

Again, thanks for the feedback and quick responses. I’ll be putting a locker in my front axle sometime soon, you’ve definitely sealed the deal on which locker goes in the front!


Thanks for your additional info. More comment on our comments–Sometimes dirty rim beads will cause a tire to leak. You might want to check your bead(s) with soapy water and ream the installer if the bead leaks. Also, I should add to my comments that nosebleed installations (a higher center of gravity) also contribute to the shifting problem. If you can get your center of gravity lower than the centerline of the axle shafts you’ll be better off.

With a locker in both ends you’ll be able to climb walls. The only similar traction is spools, and with spools in both ends you could make your own railroad tracks (and turn about like a train does). You’ll notice that you can now do more in 2WD than you could in 4WD before. When you’re in 4WD with two lockers, you’ll experience understeer except on soft dirt–just another one of the differences with lockers. I’ve been in the biz for over 20 years (I invented the Lock-Right in 1985), and definitely have been in situations in which I would still be there if it hadn’t been for the front locker. Good luck with your wheelin.’

John Zentmyer

So great info and fast replies. On a follow up, found the bead was leaking at the balancing weight.