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Old 07-20-2019, 10:03 PM #1
Tahoe_Natl_Forest Tahoe_Natl_Forest is offline
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Tell me about a 'locker'

So...been working on my truck a little bit and have it kind of where I thought I wanted it with the exception of a roof rack and some bumper/under armor when I have additional cash available.

TLDR; Trying to understand what a locker is and how it can help me.

I'm not a newbie to 4wd'ing per se, but not super comfortable with what my new clearance is (3" lift) and do not know how to leverage angles and what not very well going down steep grades. Nor do I know the best time to use rocks versus dirt for traction. I've started to learn that this weekend...

Anyhow, brought it to a fairly straightforward location down to a spot where I've been before with others. However, it has been a number of years and I was a passenger before so had thought we went 'all the way down' instead of to an upper parking spot. The first day I parked in the upper parking spot because i was intimidated of the lower descent.

Next day, I had hiked the 1/3 mile down below and saw a jeep come on down the place where I had thought I'd been in an older (1992) 4runner 10 or so years ago. He came down easily, dropped off a kayak and went back up, picked up another kayak and came down. So, looked easy and I had a ton of gear so tried it.

Long story short, on the way down, I basically made a couple of technical errors that almost left me sidelined (flipping on side) but the truck held up and new sliders saved part of my side I'd assume and I cruised down fairly shaken.

At the bottom was only the lake and the other guy and his family with the wrangler so I talked to him for a few and he asked me if I had a locker. I know the term (and of course can google it) but for some reason thought that the '05 had some type of this in it. So....as opposed to my going and digging around the internet for details, I thought I'd come here for advice.

I think this was even a bigger deal on the way out. I was able to take a different way, but it was still very difficult with not being able to have 4 wheels on the ground and very little dirt. When I got to the top, someone else mentioned it....

Can you please tell me what I need to know about lockers? And if you know about the '05 sport stock situation? Appreciate it!

Last edited by Tahoe_Natl_Forest; 07-20-2019 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 07-20-2019, 10:06 PM #2
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Should this help....
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Old 07-20-2019, 10:25 PM #3
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Iím no expert but as I understand it, when you engage the center differential in our 4th gen 4Runners, it makes the front and rear wheels spin at the same rate eliminating slippage.

A rear locker makes only your rear wheels spin at the same rate.

Which is better? I donít know myself but I believe the Off Road guys will say rear diff. I am curious to see the other comments myself.

The 3rd gen 4Runner had a few years of rear diff locker from the factory, and when Toyota switched it to center diff lock on the 01 models, the Off Road guys werenít happy. I believe the 99 and 2000 were most desirable because of some multi mode 4x4 and rear locker combo.


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Old 07-20-2019, 11:11 PM #4
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Yes, you have a center diff locker, which when locked gives you the same functionality as any real 4x4 system, and when unlocked lets you drive on pavement without binding in full time 4wd.

So on any tough wheeling obstacle, definitely engage the center diff locker. That will ensure the front and rear driveshafts split the available torque 50/50. With it unlocked all the torque could be transfered to the front or rear driveshaft effectively making you 1 wheel drive in loose traction. When locked you are at least 2 wheel drive in loose traction. The center diff locker also turns of VSC which you don't want interfering.

Also, in any tough wheeling obstacle, put the truck in low range, that will give you the most control and least amount of wheel spin.

Now a front or rear differential locker when locked will ensure the tires on each side of that differential will spin at the same rate. So pairing a rear differential locker with a locked center diff will ensure at least 3 wheel drive in loose traction. A rear locker is easier to use and the go-to if you want to add just one locker. A front locker messes with your steering and is generally used only when the rear locker isn't enough.

Toyota's ATRAC system is pretty effective as a locker-like system in most situations and since I have open diffs I've learned to wheel with ATRAC pretty effectively. Look it up for more information but basically the system brakes the tire that's spinning and so the torque gets sent through the differential to the opposite tire with theoretically more traction, since it was spinning less. This process takes time and is never as good as a locker unless you like the fact that it doesn't have a switch and does all the thinking for you automatically and is completely bulletproof/simple reliability-wise.

What shocks do you have? I would look at upgrading to longer shocks before adding a diff locker. Especially since you can regear at the same time as doing a locker fairly easily. I just have the standard length Icon shocks and have done 90% of the obstacles my brother's FJ has done with his rear locker. Very rarely do I lift a tire as long as I take a good line, let alone two tires which easily defeats the ATRAC system letting me use my brother's winch or tow strap.

Heck I'm pretty satisfied with open diffs and 35's capability-wise, except for those 10% of obstacles that require a winch or strap. I've had this setup for 2 years so far but that's about to change w/ front/rear lockers.
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Old 07-21-2019, 12:57 AM #5
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Axle lockers are awesome. However, experience is more important. Wheelin with the locker engaged allows you to really get into trouble. Recommend saving the locker to get out of trouble, not into trouble. Never wheel alone.
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:07 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inv4drZm View Post
Yes, you have a center diff locker, which when locked gives you the same functionality as any real 4x4 system, and when unlocked lets you drive on pavement without binding in full time 4wd.

So on any tough wheeling obstacle, definitely engage the center diff locker. That will ensure the front and rear driveshafts split the available torque 50/50. With it unlocked all the torque could be transfered to the front or rear driveshaft effectively making you 1 wheel drive in loose traction. When locked you are at least 2 wheel drive in loose traction. The center diff locker also turns of VSC which you don't want interfering.

Also, in any tough wheeling obstacle, put the truck in low range, that will give you the most control and least amount of wheel spin.

Now a front or rear differential locker when locked will ensure the tires on each side of that differential will spin at the same rate. So pairing a rear differential locker with a locked center diff will ensure at least 3 wheel drive in loose traction. A rear locker is easier to use and the go-to if you want to add just one locker. A front locker messes with your steering and is generally used only when the rear locker isn't enough.

Toyota's ATRAC system is pretty effective as a locker-like system in most situations and since I have open diffs I've learned to wheel with ATRAC pretty effectively. Look it up for more information but basically the system brakes the tire that's spinning and so the torque gets sent through the differential to the opposite tire with theoretically more traction, since it was spinning less. This process takes time and is never as good as a locker unless you like the fact that it doesn't have a switch and does all the thinking for you automatically and is completely bulletproof/simple reliability-wise.

What shocks do you have? I would look at upgrading to longer shocks before adding a diff locker. Especially since you can regear at the same time as doing a locker fairly easily. I just have the standard length Icon shocks and have done 90% of the obstacles my brother's FJ has done with his rear locker. Very rarely do I lift a tire as long as I take a good line, let alone two tires which easily defeats the ATRAC system letting me use my brother's winch or tow strap.

Heck I'm pretty satisfied with open diffs and 35's capability-wise, except for those 10% of obstacles that require a winch or strap. I've had this setup for 2 years so far but that's about to change w/ front/rear lockers.
This very helpful, thanks for taking the time to explain to me. I think I'm getting it now or at least how it works mechanically.

I have a boss suspension system from toytec, which seems to really make a difference on small bumps. The fact it stood up to what it did yesterday also makes me happy on that install.

So, quick follow up - when you say: "Yes, you have a center diff locker, which when locked...", how do I lock it? Is it one of the buttons bin the picture below (left) ? I have never used these buttons...


Misc question: Do y'all use DAC? And if so, in which conditions - please don't say "when going downhill" - don't pick on the lazy noob


I'll start digging in to understand the ATRAC system as well. Sounds like a good thing to know about!
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:09 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcjeep View Post
Axle lockers are awesome. However, experience is more important. Wheelin with the locker engaged allows you to really get into trouble. Recommend saving the locker to get out of trouble, not into trouble. Never wheel alone.
This is good advice, especially around not going solo. While there were a few people around yesterday I chose to not discuss with them prior to going down the hill. Only going up, while stuck halfway, was I fortunate that an observer told me to try going a line on the dirt as opposed to rocks for traction. This saved the day!
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Old 07-21-2019, 04:28 PM #8
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I've read up on DAC - still have a question -- if the downhill I'm going down includes large drops of ~2 feet where I'll need the brake do I still use it?

From the descriptions I'm getting, it seems to be used if you are going down a very steep grade and want a very low gear and don't want to burn the brakes perhaps. If I am going down a rough rocky patch on a somewhat steep hill would I want to use this to gain more control?

EDIT: I just realized the threads I was reading were all from 2003......that sucks.

Last edited by Tahoe_Natl_Forest; 07-21-2019 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 07-21-2019, 04:34 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tahoe_Natl_Forest View Post
This very helpful, thanks for taking the time to explain to me. I think I'm getting it now or at least how it works mechanically.

I have a boss suspension system from toytec, which seems to really make a difference on small bumps. The fact it stood up to what it did yesterday also makes me happy on that install.

So, quick follow up - when you say: "Yes, you have a center diff locker, which when locked...", how do I lock it? Is it one of the buttons bin the picture below (left) ? I have never used these buttons...


Misc question: Do y'all use DAC? And if so, in which conditions - please don't say "when going downhill" - don't pick on the lazy noob


I'll start digging in to understand the ATRAC system as well. Sounds like a good thing to know about!
The center locker is the one with the x in the middle.

I would avoid using DAC, just throw it in low range and move the shifter to 1 or 2. Keep it simple.
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Old 07-21-2019, 05:58 PM #10
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I've only used DAC twice when I had to tow two full loads down a steep gravel drive. It's like ABS engaged fulltime but still ability to steer without having to use the brake pedal. You can brake still if you need to slow quicker, which will override it.
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Old 07-21-2019, 08:40 PM #11
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Is this statement true (I'm trying to understand in my own way, layman terms)....if not, can you please correct me?
_____
If you are stuck in mud for instance, the ATRAC in your vehicle will kick in and use the power to push the non stuck tire with more power and then the stuck tire will have the other half of the power used to lock the ABS. So if each are doing half the work, it's basically all applied to the non stuck tire as it thinks that needs to help move the stuck tire.

With a locker, it more or less negates this and provides equal power to both tires resulting in the stuck tire and the free tire getting equal power. IE, locking them. With this, you keep power on the stuck (or the tire that needs power if climbing up a rock) tire which helps assist in moving beyond the rock you are trying to cross.
_____

Been using this old thread I found that has some good content in it about the ATRAC and then trying to apply it to what I've briefly looked at for lockers which all seems to be connected

How does ATRAC work??


Is that accurate?
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Old 07-21-2019, 08:57 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tahoe_Natl_Forest View Post
Is this statement true (I'm trying to understand in my own way, layman terms)....if not, can you please correct me?
_____
If you are stuck in mud for instance, the ATRAC in your vehicle will kick in and use the power to push the non stuck tire with more power and then the stuck tire will have the other half of the power used to lock the ABS. So if each are doing half the work, it's basically all applied to the non stuck tire as it thinks that needs to help move the stuck tire.

With a locker, it more or less negates this and provides equal power to both tires resulting in the stuck tire and the free tire getting equal power. IE, locking them. With this, you keep power on the stuck (or the tire that needs power if climbing up a rock) tire which helps assist in moving beyond the rock you are trying to cross.
_____

Been using this old thread I found that has some good content in it about the ATRAC and then trying to apply it to what I've briefly looked at for lockers which all seems to be connected

How does ATRAC work??


Is that accurate?
In a normal open differential all power can potentially get routed to the free-ist spinning tire which sucks for trying to drive offroad. You could have one side of your truck on dry pavement, and the other side on ice, and you wouldn't be able to travel anywhere.

ATRAC only uses the brake calipers and wheel speed sensors to gauge if one tire is spinning more or less than the opposite side tire. If one is spinning more it applies the brakes to that tire, and by stopping that tire, the differential will route more power to the opposite stopped tire which has more traction.

Yes, a locker is very basic in that it splits power 50/50 whenever it's engaged 'locking' the two tires together.
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Old 07-24-2019, 12:44 PM #13
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Tell me about a 'locker'

Okay, since I have an Ď04 V6 T4R and have used all features, here is a short course:

1. If you donít have an ownerís manual, download the Toyota app and get an electronic copy. All of the answers are there regarding how to use the 4WD system.
2. If your vehicle is a V6, 4HI is basically a highway safe all wheel drive. Torque is split variably between front and back. 4HI plus center diff lock equals a more standard 4WD. Power is equally split front/back. You want this in any occasion where terrain gets uneven.
3. If youíre in a slow speed situation, engage 4LO. Much more control and power. Center Diff Lock works the same as in 4HI. By the way, you need to exercise that 4LO solenoid, so find a place or reason to flip that switch about once a month. If you donít use it, youíll lose it. And in case you havenít read the manual, yet (#1!), you need to be in neutral for it to engage.
4. Use that RSCA OFF button any time youíre in an off camber wheeling situation. It will keep your airbags from blowing if you tip too far.
5. DAC works! Point yourself downhill, put it in 4LO, then 1st or 2nd gear, and let the vehicle do its thing. Works wonderfully. Directional control down hill is much better. If you need to hit the brake, hit the brake. It just momentarily suspends the DAC until you let off the brake.
6. TRAC works okay until you get too much wheel off the ground. In that case, reposition your vehicle and try again. More momentum. (Talking about climbing hills in uneven terrain, here.)
7. Add a rear locker to enhance traction immensely. Be prepared for the cost (selectable, ARB or Toyota factory) or a change in driving practice (automatic or drop in locker, Detroit locker, Lock Right, Aussie, etc.). A rear limited slip (Detroit TrueTrac) might be a valid choice if youíre not rock crawling it.
8. A lift without a locker is like wearing a bra but not having the pretty parts to put in it. A lockeríed rig without lift is a sleeper (looks normal, wheels like a beast). I have a stock looking T100 that will wheel with a stock Rubicon. No lift, just lockers and the biggest tires I can stuff in the wheel wells. Traction for daaaaayyyyzzzz, bro. And no power to break the tires loose, because 3.slow.
9. Go back and read point 1. Manual! Manual! Manual!!!!!!!! Reeeeeaaaaaddd!
10. Find an ORV Park or someplace else safe to practice, and find somebody with experience to help you pick lines and teach you about COG, traction, power application. and such. Donít get yourself in a situation ALONE that youíre not comfortable with.

Thatís my experience. YMMV. Your rig has lots of cool features. Familiarize yourself and use them all.


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