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Front Locker - Steering Issue?

Discussion in 'Early CJ5 and CJ6 Tech' started by Bob, Mar 25, 2024.

  1. Mar 25, 2024
    Bob

    Bob Member

    Northern California
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    I was thinking of possibly putting a "lunchbox" locker in my front Dana 30, but was wondering how much more difficult it makes it to steer when in 4WD. I currently have manual Saginaw steering and 33x10.50 tires along with the large original steering wheel and steering in 4WD isn't a major problem now. Does an auto locker up front make steering noticeably more of a pain?
     
    Glenn likes this.
  2. Mar 25, 2024
    dnb71R2

    dnb71R2 SuperDave 2023 Sponsor

    Grand Mesa, CO
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    It will certainly be noticeable. How much of a 'pain' will be in your judgement.
    The most difficulty will be when the front axle is pulling; that's when the locker is engaged. Even though you turn the steering wheel, the vehicle may still tend to drive straight.
     
  3. Mar 25, 2024
    Jw60

    Jw60 Dropping towbars 2024 Sponsor 2023 Sponsor 2022 Sponsor

    Trails end,...
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    Noticeable, yes. If you follow jpet and bam bam... the rigs "thumper" (before the 2022 p/s swap) and "grampa's jeep" are auto locker fronts. Mine was open front but needs a lunchbox to keep up. The issues I've noticed are the same as a locked selectable. You will want a twin stick transfercase with 2wd low.
     
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  4. Mar 25, 2024
    Howard Eisenhauer

    Howard Eisenhauer Administrator Staff Member

    Tantallon, Nova...
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    I put a limited slip in the front of Tonk, it's a handful on turns. Things got way better after adding power steering.
     
  5. Mar 25, 2024
    ralph zepp

    ralph zepp New Member

    Lousiana
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    I have power locks front and rear of my 70 cj5. Front limited slip was not a option in 1970. Added limited slip 1987. Lets just say you steer with both hands with original steering system. I can see why Jeep did not install in 1970. I have reduced the number of clutches in front to help with steering otherwise ok.
     
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  6. Mar 25, 2024
    cayenne

    cayenne Member

    central Texas
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    I had a lockright in the front and rear with 33x10.50 and original ross set up and big wheel.
    Most of the time it was fine.
    If you were going really slow, it was a fight but doable.
    But what made me change to power saginaw was if I was on the throttle and had to do a quick unexpected turn (like over a hill crest) or to fix a crab walk --- I wasn't strong enough to turn it fast enough and almost hit a fence/tree once or twice.
     
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  7. Mar 25, 2024
    jeepstar

    jeepstar Well-Known Member 2024 Sponsor 2023 Sponsor 2022 Sponsor

    Sheboygan
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    Ive got a 134 fhead motor and i put an eaton E-locker in, it has a dana 30. Ross box steering and when the lockers on, its very difficult to turn.
     
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  8. Mar 25, 2024
    dnb71R2

    dnb71R2 SuperDave 2023 Sponsor

    Grand Mesa, CO
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    A Powr-Lok is a limited slip differential. Be careful not to confuse the issue.
    Many here, including myself, will speak highly of a Powr-Lok in the front.
    Finding a Powr-Lok for a Dana 30 is tough. An Eaton True-Trac is a similar, readily available, option for an LSD.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2024
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  9. Mar 26, 2024
    Bob

    Bob Member

    Northern California
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    Thanks guys. I've thought about a selectable locker too, but thought an automatic lunchbox locker might be doable. I'm currently running a Detroit in the rear. I've briefly thought about going to power steering, but I really don't mind the manual steering at all, but a front locker might change my mind on that.
     
  10. Mar 26, 2024
    FinoCJ

    FinoCJ 1970 CJ5 Staff Member

    Bozeman, MT
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    You sound like me....I put a lock rite in the front D27 last year. Still running manual ross box. It's definitely driveable - but I do wear gloves for long wheeling trips, and it's more 'tiring' on a long day - more so because its always pulling to one side or the other. You can't really take a break from paying attention and let it roll straight. I do not have a twin stick - I think a twin stick would really help with being able to disengage the front drive for stretches when not needed, or tight turns, but staying in low range is good. All that being said, I am probably, eventually going PS, and the locker would be why.
     
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  11. Mar 26, 2024
    Howard Eisenhauer

    Howard Eisenhauer Administrator Staff Member

    Tantallon, Nova...
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  12. Mar 26, 2024
    Jeepenstein

    Jeepenstein Me like Jeep.. 2024 Sponsor

    North Central FL
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    I put the lunchbox in my 27, I do have a twin stick though, and PS..
     
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  13. Mar 27, 2024
    jeepdaddy2000

    jeepdaddy2000 Active Member

    Eagle Point oregon
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    I think the real question is,
    Do you need it?
    Many folks build outside their needs. This can lead to components that don't complement each other or the environment they are supposed to work in.
    Front lockers are hard to steer, noisy, and can be a handful in snow and ice. For dry, tight, and slow wheeling or bottomless mud, they are a great option. For DD's, mild wheeling, or places that see snow or ice, maybe not so much.

    As stated, limited slips and torque sending diffs don't lock the axles together, but are much milder to drive on and perform better in winter weather. Selectibles are a great trade off but can be cost prohibitive.

    Just asking what your planned usage is.
     
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  14. Mar 27, 2024
    jpflat2a

    jpflat2a what's that noise?

    Hermosa, SD
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    With any type of traction device installed in the front axle, it's my belief that installing the two hole knuckle on the passenger side (D25,D27) and 1 piece tie rod conversion will make steering much easier. Just the small amount of leverage gained with the 2 hole knuckle alone is eye opening.
     
  15. Mar 27, 2024
    jpflat2a

    jpflat2a what's that noise?

    Hermosa, SD
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    With my comments above, I base that on my own experience.
    D25 power lok with manual saginaw steering and 2 hole knuckle with one piece tie rod conversion.
    Ran that way for over 25 years till D30 and P/S addition.
     
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  16. Mar 27, 2024
    Rozcoking23

    Rozcoking23 RUN & GET BIT! 2024 Sponsor

    Stockton, CA
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    Bob, I’m running the Torq locker in my Dana 30 and love it, but I do have power steering. Our JEEPS are set up pretty similar except for the power steering. I agree with jpflat2a about the two hole knuckle making the steering easier without power steering, but if you are gonna go that far might as well install the power steering. If I remember right you have forward dump exhaust on drivers side you will need to change.
     
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  17. Mar 27, 2024
    y2grey

    y2grey Member

    Fayetteville NY
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    Power steering or not, slow speed tight turns are tough. If I had it to do over I would go selectable up front.
     
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  18. Mar 27, 2024
    dnb71R2

    dnb71R2 SuperDave 2023 Sponsor

    Grand Mesa, CO
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    I don't doubt your comment, considering you have 35 x 14.50 tires!
    I'm also not familiar with how the SOA affects steering geometry.
     
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  19. Mar 27, 2024
    45es

    45es Active Member 2024 Sponsor 2023 Sponsor 2022 Sponsor

    Naches, WA
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    To the original question, suffice to say, if you lock up the front axle you will have difficult steering.
     
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  20. Mar 27, 2024
    timsresort

    timsresort Active Member 2023 Sponsor 2022 Sponsor

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    Yes, but there a lot of variables. Tire size, terrain. For example, Moab, all sandstone slick rock. Very hard to turn due to extreme traction. Rubicon, slippery granite with sand on top. Not so bad. Also, automatic lockers, Detroit etc, are only locked when under power, unlike a ARB or Ox. So on a trail like the Rubicon, if you have an automatic locker, you climb the obstacle locked, crest it, let off, unlock automatically, now easy to steer. And no pushing buttons all day. Overall, I would say if you are doing trails that you want a front locker for, you want power steering also.
     
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