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