More on Lockers

Submitted: Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 09:45
ThreadID: 34007 Views:2552 Replies:7 FollowUps:11
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I know I risk flogging a dead horse here, but I was fascinated to read some of the great responses to Justin’s question about diff lockers (post id 33978).

I have a ’94 80 series that has been converted to part-time 4WD. I am heading off for a 6 month trip shortly (sorry Footloose, but it is under Doctor’s orders) and I need to have the rear diff rebuilt. It will probably keep going forever, but we are towing on a long trip and the transmission snatch is getting annoying. Can’t afford to buy a new Nissan, so I have been quoted about $1000 for the rebuild.

Question is, given that I am up for about a grand, should I look at fitting an air locker for added capability? Will fitting the air locker (probably ARB) fix my current diff problems? (i.e., is it the same effect as a diff rebuild?) Can the fitted compressor be used for general applications (tyres, etc) as I am up for a new compressor anyhow?

Has anyone fitted an air locker to the rear of an 80 series recently and could I ask how much it costs? If it is not going to be significantly more than my $1000 rebuild and the cost of a decent new compressor, then it sounds like I might have a great opportunity to give the truck some added capability and fix the diff problem at the same time.

Obviously I will consult with the experts, but thought I would ask the real ‘experts’ first.


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Reply By: Scoey (QLD) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 10:38

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 10:38
Hi Matt,

Not real knowledgable on this topic but a couple of things I can try and answer! Firstly, yes the compressor can be used for other applications apart from operating the diff lock.
Secondly when I asked about doing EXACTLY the same thing - I was told that the diff needed to be in good condition before I can put an air locker in, so if it's on its way out then I needed to rebuild it and then install the difflock. They could've been trying to get more $$$ from me though... :-S

AnswerID: 173314

Follow Up By: F4Phantom - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 10:46

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 10:46
with the arb locker the complete carrier is replaced so it would depend on what part of the diff was worn that needed a rebuild. Either way I cant seeing a rebuild costing 1k. If the crown wheel and drive is worn i am not sure that the arb carrier includes this. If it's the spider wheels, shims and other carrier internals then the arb locker will sove the problem.
FollowupID: 429190

Follow Up By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 10:48

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 10:48
Thanks Scoey,

I guess the answer will be to determine exactly what needs replacing in my case and see if the locker will cover it. off to the workshop guess. If I have to spend money on the diff before fitting the locker then the job will probably not be on.


FollowupID: 429193

Follow Up By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:17

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:17
Thanks F4, the ARB kit does not include the crown wheel so it looks like it may not be the 'simple' answer I was after.


FollowupID: 429206

Follow Up By: Member - Coyote (SA) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 13:17

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 13:17
re diffs etc no advice there, but yes, once the ARB Compressor is fitted you can use it to operate the lockers and you can attach a hose for tyres etc.. I am in the process of installing the compressor under the bonnet with a truck air tank etc so it wil basically keep the tank full and make fuilling tyres or for that matter blowing the dust offf everything before I load it much quicker..
FollowupID: 429233

Reply By: cipher - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 10:38

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 10:38
Hi Matt,

Well i certanly am no expert at anything mechanical but i do have a good memory (well i think i do) so anyways, from what i have read on the forums about diffs after my very long previous thread, if you fit an ARB Difflocker then your diff has to be in working condition. As far as i know it does not replace any of your diff insides per say.

However, i think with a few of the automatic diff locks it is my understanding that they do replace the insides of your diff, not entirely but partially so i guess it depends which parts of your diff have seen better days.

I had a rear ARB diff lock quoted at 1800 for the first one (i think that included compressor i think compressors are about 500) and 1300 for the second diff locker.

I have certanly done my research on the 'LOKKA' auto diff lockers and i can tell you the place where you can buy them for 499 each. i thought that was darn reasnable.. That way you could do front and back...

However! Most people seem to think its better to have a Front auto diff locker and an ARB numatic diff locker in the back...

Not sure wether its personal opinion. But i would say if you want a diff locker on the front diff and you have a part time 4wd with free wheeling hubs then deff get a auto diff locker soooo much cheaper!

Well i hope i have been on some help, from what i have found i will be fitting both 'LOKKA' auto diff lockers front and back (so much cheaper)

Have fun!
AnswerID: 173315

Follow Up By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:12

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:12
Thanks Justin,

Given that it would appear that the air locker will not fix all my problems, the Lokka may be the way to go. Yes please, where do you get them or is it cheapest just to order from the manufacturer (in SA, I think)?

FollowupID: 429202

Follow Up By: cipher - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:18

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:18
hi again matt,

the place i got place from was one who had there brosure on the net

address was
i think there shop is called goannawhere or something similar, anyways have a look around on the site and there is a pdf you can download with there current price list, if you struggle finding it or need a hand or just wanna chat about them i use msn messenger
FollowupID: 429207

Follow Up By: F4Phantom - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 16:06

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 16:06
I have one of the 4x4 systems lokka in my rear of the navara. I like it, I like the fact that in 2wd I am always locked and dont have to do anything or even decide what to do. I paid around $500 and installed it myself. Not as easy as the company suggests unless of course you are one of those people who follow instructions with and always seem to have the exact same senario in front of you. (i have complications in everything i attempt) So it was cheap for me. The thing is the Lokka needs to go into an open carrier not an LSD. I ripped my diff to bits and had shims flying everywhere and had to put it all together without the lokka. I bought a new open carrier for $150 and then it went in fine, but I still had to shave 6 thousanths of an inch off the spacers. Anyway all worked out and it is an excellent device. Just make sure you have an open carrier or it could be that the Lokka for your car is designed to fit inside an LSD carrier. Now I have a true 3wd instead of a 2wd, or in the case of an open centre diff 80 series a 1wd.
FollowupID: 429276

Reply By: MichaelR - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:05

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:05
Matt M
Very envious at the thought of your "doctors' orders" 6 month trip. Could you please pass on your doctor's details?
As to the diff. If the diff is worn ie bearings, they will need to be replaced before you can fit your diff lock. The 80 series often developed slack due to wear in the pinion bearing and problems with the collapsible spacer. This area is unaffected by an airlocker installation so any problems here will need to be tackled separately (I think). Get under the car, grab hold of tailshaft near the diff and give it a solid push and pull. Note any movement of the flange on the diff. Don't be tempted to simply tighten the flange nut. It doesn't work.
So you will be up for the cost of the repair plus the locker. You would save maybe $300 or so if you decide to do both jobs together rather than putting in the difflock later on.
If you decide on an airlocker then before you choose the ARB model, I would have a look at the TJM locker. This is basically a McNamara difflock and does away with the airline seal that ARB lockers occasssionally have trouble with. By some accounts, it is also stronger. It is also about $100 more expensive but is the one I would get if I had a good doctor like yours. Have a great trip.
AnswerID: 173323

Follow Up By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:15

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:15
Good advice, thanks Michael. I will have a look at the TJM ones, although I suspect that unless I could have killed two birds, then the price tag will rise above the SLWSA (spending limit without spouse approval).


FollowupID: 429204

Reply By: Footloose - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:33

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:33
Matt..6 months eh ? My doctor gave me life (medical retirement) :)) I was thinking more of others when I posted.
Now for the thread. Personally I'd get the rear diff fixed first. This should give you back LSD anyway, which should help matters, and it sounds cheaper.
Now if you must play in the mud and rocks, put a locker in the front. That way it doesn't affect anything when you unlock the hubs. And when you feel the need for traction, all you do is to get out and put it in 4wd as normal.
Whatever you do, enjoy your time away. 6 months can be a lifetime or can pass before you know it :))
AnswerID: 173327

Follow Up By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:37

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:37
Thanks Footloose, probably the way to go. The guy who is rebuilding the diff claims it will be better than Toyota's original fit (shims, spacers, specs or something he claims).

Heaven forbid that it should compare to the hallowed Nissan diff, but better than original would be good.



P.S. Half seriously, would a Nissan diff fit?
FollowupID: 429212

Follow Up By: Footloose - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:54

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:54
Matt, I stopped looking at Nissans when their swb boxes came into Oz. I guess they've come a long way cause now I mistake em for the real thing :)) (Oh footie, you are going to get some flack for that one ! )
So sorry have no idea. The rebilt diffs are usually better than the original, at least the LSD lasts longer.
FollowupID: 429215

Reply By: Redback - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 14:24

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 14:24
I have a question about your car, why did you convert it to part time 4WD, why go backwards in techknolegy and away from a good system that the constant 4WD 80 series has.

Oh get a rear locker you won't regret it.

AnswerID: 173354

Follow Up By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 15:41

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 15:41

A number of reasons, but simply because it needed work done anyhow, advice from the diff guy and mainly fuel consumption and wear.

Have a look at post 29976.


FollowupID: 429273

Reply By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 20:51

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 20:51
I have a 92 gxl 80 series with 385000km and have just fitted a arb locker in the rear diff.Original carrier bearings which checked out OK when lsd was reset 95,000 kmago were replaced this time.
I would suggest that normally backlash in the 80 was mainly a result of worn front axle flanges/cv's but your PT conversion would eliminate that if 4wd not engaged and backlash still present.

how much work has your vehicle done, have you checked for slack in the tailshaft splines. try greasing the tailshaft and if it seems heaps better just after the grease that would indicate a lot of wear in the splines
I dont think the pinion spacer is a big issue and that should be replaced anyway with any diff repair where the diff is dismantled.

as far as cost air locker and new small arb compressor fitted (including diff bearings) was $1600.

This compressor however is no good for anything other than the air locker.

I wasnt worried as I have another higher volume compressor installed under bonnet connected to air tank for tyre pump etc.

now arb have these new compressors its just as cheap to go for it as buy all the regulators and fitting and have to modify standard fitting.

Hope you sort it out

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AnswerID: 173418

Reply By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 21:49

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 21:49
Thanks Howard I will try that. Appreciate the time taken to reply.

AnswerID: 173437

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