Diff locker question on necessity.

Lstdrgns

Member
In my 24 plus years of 4x4/off-road driving, I have never even thought about diff lockers. It was either it was permanently locked by design or welding or not all.... It was only recently when it came to me looking at the Gladdy, when I started to look into it. I can definitely see some benefits, and some draw backs. I'm not a crawler but have had to crawl some. The question is for those with the lockers, how often do you actually use it, and how often is it truly needed? Is it something I should get when I get my new JT (i.e. a Rubicon)? or is it something I can do without or wait for a diff failure and add it if/or when a rebuild is necessary? (yes I have the mechanical skills to swap out the diffs in the future, as annoying as it is). I love a manual transmission and I only have one in my area for sale that has diff lockers and a manual, but like 20 manual transmissions with out the diff lockers..... lol. I could order one but yeah, I don't want to wait 6 months for my truck!!!!
 

Lstdrgns

Member
Adding my question here too seems to fit both.

In my 24 plus years of 4x4/off-road driving, I have never even thought about diff lockers. It was either it was permanently locked by design or welding or not all.... It was only recently when it came to me looking at the Gladdy, when I started to look into it. I can definitely see some benefits, and some draw backs. I'm not a crawler but have had to crawl some. The question is for those with the lockers, how often do you actually use it, and how often is it truly needed? Is it something I should get when I get my new JT (i.e. a Rubicon)? or is it something I can do without or wait for a diff failure and add it if/or when a rebuild is necessary? (yes I have the mechanical skills to swap out the diffs in the future, as annoying as it is). I love a manual transmission and I only have one in my area for sale that has diff lockers and a manual, but like 20 manual transmissions with out the diff lockers..... lol. I could order one but yeah, I don't want to wait 6 months for my truck!!!!
 

KevinG

Caught the Bug
Adding my question here too seems to fit both.

In my 24 plus years of 4x4/off-road driving, I have never even thought about diff lockers. It was either it was permanently locked by design or welding or not all.... It was only recently when it came to me looking at the Gladdy, when I started to look into it. I can definitely see some benefits, and some draw backs. I'm not a crawler but have had to crawl some. The question is for those with the lockers, how often do you actually use it, and how often is it truly needed? Is it something I should get when I get my new JT (i.e. a Rubicon)? or is it something I can do without or wait for a diff failure and add it if/or when a rebuild is necessary? (yes I have the mechanical skills to swap out the diffs in the future, as annoying as it is). I love a manual transmission and I only have one in my area for sale that has diff lockers and a manual, but like 20 manual transmissions with out the diff lockers..... lol. I could order one but yeah, I don't want to wait 6 months for my truck!!!!
I see you are up here in my neck of the woods. Brute hit the nail on the head with "when you need them... you need them" With 24 plus years of experience off road I imagine you would know this better than anyone. Up here in Washington (welcome btw) I don't find myself using a locker as much, but selectable would make it easy to snake through what seems like endless trees. Locked all the time would suck for that. Limited slip would do fine too.
As far as buying a rubicon or getting a sport S and going your own way, what's the end goal? Tire size? If you are thinking 40's and don't mind the work, check out the video below and then follow along with eddie's other vids for Evo OG 40. Since you have the skill to swap gears, an axle swap would be a walk in the park. Or, if you are thinking 37s just get a rubi and call it a day.
 
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Lstdrgns

Member
I see you are up here in my neck of the woods. Brute hit the nail on the head with "when you need them... you need them" With 24 plus years of experience off road I imagine you would know this better than anyone. Up here in Washington (welcome btw) I don't find myself using a locker as much, but selectable would make it easy to snake through what seems like endless trees. Locked all the time would suck for that. Limited slip would do fine too.
As far as buying a rubicon or getting a sport S and going your own way, what's the end goal? Tire size? If you are thinking 40's and don't mind the work, check out the video below and then follow along with eddie's other vids for Evo OG 40. Since you have the skill to swap gears, an axle swap would be a walk in the park. Or, if you are thinking 37s just get a rubi and call it a day.
That's a great video, really shows the benefits and drawbacks for the longer wheel base of the gladdy.
As far as end goal, I'm not looking to change it up to much, beefier bumper with good recovery points, winch, lights (that don't make it look like a floor display for kc) might do a small lift for 37s or maybe just 35s. I have the skill to swap gears BUT not really the motivation to do so... this will be a project sure but I want it to be my daily driver too.... so all terrains, not mud terrains or mud bloggers. I have parents approaching elderly, who like to go out too so not to tall, So end goal is a daily driver that could handle MOST off road situations.

I know the feeling of endless miles of trees to snake around grew up in Western Washington. My old f350 flat had a welded lsd. Previous owner hauled cattle and delt with mud and ect... all the time.
It was a pain.... it was still fun though.
 

KevinG

Caught the Bug
I'm sure you saw the date on it. Check out the other videos on wayalife's channel to see more about it. It was really early when the Gladiator came out and was pretty awesome to see how dollar wise where you can get for just a bit more than a Rubicon.
Hopefully some of the guys with Gladiators will chime in on here to give you more advice. I haven't really had much time with anything less than selectable lockers in a TJ, LJ and now a JK, but from the short time I had an LSD in the back of my current one, it did well in the mud, snow and general slop around here. If you are only going as far as mostly doing stuff like the WABDR and things like Forest Service Roads, from what I have read on here, the Limited Slip with the new traction control system is pretty good.
All that being said, if you can find a Rubicon, get thatl :ROFLMAO:
 

wayoflife

Administrator
Staff member
In my 24 plus years of 4x4/off-road driving, I have never even thought about diff lockers. It was either it was permanently locked by design or welding or not all.... It was only recently when it came to me looking at the Gladdy, when I started to look into it. I can definitely see some benefits, and some draw backs. I'm not a crawler but have had to crawl some. The question is for those with the lockers, how often do you actually use it, and how often is it truly needed? Is it something I should get when I get my new JT (i.e. a Rubicon)? or is it something I can do without or wait for a diff failure and add it if/or when a rebuild is necessary? (yes I have the mechanical skills to swap out the diffs in the future, as annoying as it is). I love a manual transmission and I only have one in my area for sale that has diff lockers and a manual, but like 20 manual transmissions with out the diff lockers..... lol. I could order one but yeah, I don't want to wait 6 months for my truck!!!!
Honestly, from what I just read, I'm going to say that you do not need lockers. This is especially true on a JL or JT being that the traction control on them is really amazing. That said, if what you're looking at comes with them, I wouldn't see that as a drawback and if the need ever arises, they WILL be a big help.

As far as manuals go, I will say that I do love them as well but I am not super thrilled with what comes in a JL or TJ today. Still fun to drive but the clutch is funky and it does take getting some used to.
 

Lstdrgns

Member
After seeing the first or maybe second video of Pippi I was very impressed with the stock, off road capabilities of the JL sport. The JT is basically a longer wheel based JL from everything I have seen with a bunch of minor differences and a bigger base engine oh and a truck bed. I might be wrong but that's what I see. So I'm starting to think that the lockers are not exactly necessary for me. If I find my needs change or my wheeling tastes change. I can spend a "weekend" and I can pull the diff and put in an arb air locker in.... not that I enjoy putting gears in and taking them out 20 times but still....
If I start crawling it though I'm sure a lot will change in the truck or I will buy an older rig to roll over..... lol
Thanks for your help and anymore thoughts are always welcome.

Oh and the clutch comment..... I will have to try it out for myself. All of my off road rigs have had a manual except one.... plus I'm a truck driver so weird clutches are the norm for me lol.
 

Lperdue

Active Member
I think you’ll be happy with either choice. But one thing to note is that the manual gladiator has a significantly lower towing rating (not sure if that matters to you). And also the biggest advantage of a rubi would be the 4 to 1 transfer case which would help the crawl ratio and help save your clutch.
 

Lstdrgns

Member
I think you’ll be happy with either choice. But one thing to note is that the manual gladiator has a significantly lower towing rating (not sure if that matters to you). And also the biggest advantage of a rubi would be the 4 to 1 transfer case which would help the crawl ratio and help save your clutch.
Good point about the gear ratio.....
Towing doesn't matter to me though, if I need to tow anything I have access to a F350.....
But yeah something definitely to think about, (y)
 

GP NOIR

Active Member
I've had ARBs and I've had a Detroit locker. I like being able to lock her up on the trail and having the rear locked all the time works. You can do a lot with open gears, but they do have limitations. I've heard it said that when you get stuck with lockers, you're really stuck! However, it's been my experience that stuck vehicles with open gears are harder to recover than vehicles with lockers.

I'm new to trail running with traction control. I've been playing with my new to me 2012 Wrangler Rubicon 2 door with manual transmission in the hills out behind my house in 4 hi. On the one hand, the traction control helped get the Jeep through stuff with greater control. But it hindered me when climbing hills at slow speeds when I reached the top. I could have made it if I'd gone faster, but going faster bounced the Jeep around. The traction control impeded tire speed, the engine bogged and died before I could crest over. So, relying on the traction control has its pros and cons. Another con is the traction control is (mostly) deactivated in 4 lo where it would be the most effective.

Do you need lockers? Wrong question. The right question is, do you want lockers? More to the point, do you want selectable lockers? Yes, you do. Selectable lockers give you more options. You can run open gears with the traction control for easy trails and better control when steering in tight quarters and you can lock them up for better traction without having to fight the traction control when things get more technical. When the lockers are engaged, it's the same as running a spool or welding up the gears.

Note: The steering of short wheel base vehicles are more affected by lockers than long wheel base vehicles. This is one of the advantages of the longer wheel base of the Gladiator.

Do you want the Rubicon? Yes. You want the lower t case and axle gears for better control on the trail. My Wrangler has a crawl ratio of 73 to 1. That's amazing for a factory rig. Most stock rigs have a crawl ratio of no more than about 45 to one.
 

Lstdrgns

Member
I've had ARBs and I've had a Detroit locker. I like being able to lock her up on the trail and having the rear locked all the time works. You can do a lot with open gears, but they do have limitations. I've heard it said that when you get stuck with lockers, you're really stuck! However, it's been my experience that stuck vehicles with open gears are harder to recover than vehicles with lockers.

I'm new to trail running with traction control. I've been playing with my new to me 2012 Wrangler Rubicon 2 door with manual transmission in the hills out behind my house in 4 hi. On the one hand, the traction control helped get the Jeep through stuff with greater control. But it hindered me when climbing hills at slow speeds when I reached the top. I could have made it if I'd gone faster, but going faster bounced the Jeep around. The traction control impeded tire speed, the engine bogged and died before I could crest over. So, relying on the traction control has its pros and cons. Another con is the traction control is (mostly) deactivated in 4 lo where it would be the most effective.

Do you need lockers? Wrong question. The right question is, do you want lockers? More to the point, do you want selectable lockers? Yes, you do. Selectable lockers give you more options. You can run open gears with the traction control for easy trails and better control when steering in tight quarters and you can lock them up for better traction without having to fight the traction control when things get more technical. When the lockers are engaged, it's the same as running a spool or welding up the gears.

Note: The steering of short wheel base vehicles are more affected by lockers than long wheel base vehicles. This is one of the advantages of the longer wheel base of the Gladiator.

Do you want the Rubicon? Yes. You want the lower t case and axle gears for better control on the trail. My Wrangler has a crawl ratio of 73 to 1. That's amazing for a factory rig. Most stock rigs have a crawl ratio of no more than about 45 to one.
Awesome answer, gives me lots to think about. Like I said I have never had a selectable diff before. I'm also a strong believer in the more simple something is the less there is to go wrong.... of course it also means that when something goes wrong it goes really wrong..... lol
Thanks again.
 

jesse3638

Hooked
I've had ARBs and I've had a Detroit locker. I like being able to lock her up on the trail and having the rear locked all the time works. You can do a lot with open gears, but they do have limitations. I've heard it said that when you get stuck with lockers, you're really stuck! However, it's been my experience that stuck vehicles with open gears are harder to recover than vehicles with lockers.

I'm new to trail running with traction control. I've been playing with my new to me 2012 Wrangler Rubicon 2 door with manual transmission in the hills out behind my house in 4 hi. On the one hand, the traction control helped get the Jeep through stuff with greater control. But it hindered me when climbing hills at slow speeds when I reached the top. I could have made it if I'd gone faster, but going faster bounced the Jeep around. The traction control impeded tire speed, the engine bogged and died before I could crest over. So, relying on the traction control has its pros and cons. Another con is the traction control is (mostly) deactivated in 4 lo where it would be the most effective.

Do you need lockers? Wrong question. The right question is, do you want lockers? More to the point, do you want selectable lockers? Yes, you do. Selectable lockers give you more options. You can run open gears with the traction control for easy trails and better control when steering in tight quarters and you can lock them up for better traction without having to fight the traction control when things get more technical. When the lockers are engaged, it's the same as running a spool or welding up the gears.

Note: The steering of short wheel base vehicles are more affected by lockers than long wheel base vehicles. This is one of the advantages of the longer wheel base of the Gladiator.

Do you want the Rubicon? Yes. You want the lower t case and axle gears for better control on the trail. My Wrangler has a crawl ratio of 73 to 1. That's amazing for a factory rig. Most stock rigs have a crawl ratio of no more than about 45 to one.
Wanted to let you know that if you hold the traction control button for 3-5 seconds in 4hi it will disable the ESC system just like in 4lo.
 

GP NOIR

Active Member
Wanted to let you know that if you hold the traction control button for 3-5 seconds in 4hi it will disable the ESC system just like in 4lo.
Thanks! I've been playing with that option as well.

Tires make a huge difference. Couple days ago, I installed a set of BF Goodrich 315/70 17 KM3 mud terrains. MUCH better traction than the old and worn Hankook 285s that were on the Jeep when I bought it.
 

jesse3638

Hooked
Thanks! I've been playing with that option as well.

Tires make a huge difference. Couple days ago, I installed a set of BF Goodrich 315/70 17 KM3 mud terrains. MUCH better traction than the old and worn Hankook 285s that were on the Jeep when I bought it.
Yeah it'll ding and show ESC OFF in the EVIC just like in 4lo. I didn't notice any computer caused funny business when playing in the dunes after that. Thats where it really counted as you need a lot of momentum.
 
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