The Aussie auto-locker isn't really a ratchet system per se, but utilizes interlocking teeth that have double bevels. When the locker locks up it is a solid connection, no ratchet at work. The two halves of teeth can be easily moved apart with light spring pressure when torque is reduced or removed. There is sometimes a ratcheting sound emitted when the differential is "open" when the auto-locker has disengaged when the vehicle is doing a turn on dry pavement. The auto-locker performs the same in forward or reverse.
The Aussie is a nice piece of gear, got my Jeep out of some super sticky muck holes.
I have Spartan auto lockers in mine. I will tell you that if I had it to do again I would go with a electric locker in the front. It makes a lot of popping sounds when you turn and sometimes it scares the crap out of me. I ended up pulling mine out of the front and putting a open carrier back in. It isn't that bad at all in the rear differential.
Say, in regards to many of the newer JK owners, the most modern JK has an outstanding BLD, ESP, Dana 44 rear and some (most Saharas) come with TracLok. Your OP was written before the new JK came out. If I could just add a few things so newer jeepers just don't run out & buy a new locker which may be unneeded.
After just completing the Naches Trail run, you'd be surprised at how capable, flexy, and downright awesome the most modern JK is. Granted, I'm old enough to remember having to go outside and "flip" the hubs to get them locked, i wholeheartedly appreciate fully locked rigs but...
Before this last 5 day adventure tour, I was certain I was going to add ARB air lockers to the Four door JK Jeep. Nope, again I was thoroughly impressed at how well these three components work together (all JKs have a D44 rear):
Plus, adding front sway bar disconnects will keep the front two tires on the ground, where they belong even in the most funky off-camber pucker inducing event.
I will not be adding air lockers to the JK after all.
At the end of every day, all the old-timers in their flat fenders and even many of the youngster in their TJs would come over and look at the JKs and say how impressed they were & how they were certain the new JK could never keep up etc... Once they get towed out by a "mini-van" their tune changes a bit!
Yes, thanks Jerry for the info! Very informative.
As OregonVette mentions... for those with late model JKs, how much do the features on the newer models ameliorate the need for lockers? For example, my JKU Sahara sticker indicates the following:
"Traction Control" listed under Standard Equipment
"Electronic Stability Control" listed under Standard Equipment
"Anti-Spin Differential Rear Axle" listed under Optional Equipment
Do these features, when combined with lift and off-road capable tires, significantly reduce the need for lockers for all but the most difficult situations?
Onroad those things can be valuable, but offroad they are of little value IMO. They in no way get you even remotely close to being locked.
Thanks. I now have a much better understanding of the value in the Rubicon's lower gearing, Dana 44 front axle, and the lockers. Rather than pour several thousands of dollars into our Sahara for aftermarket gearing, adding lockers, rear tire carrier, D44 front axle etc. I think it makes a lot more sense to trade the Sahara for a Rubicon, as the upgrades I have been wanting to do would already be done at the factory and will retain much of that value at resale/trade down the road, whereas the aftermarket upgrades done to the Sahara would not likely return much, if any, more than a stock Sahara at resale/trade in time. And.. those upgrades would be financed into the vehicle loan on the Jeep, rather than be big dollar outlay from my pocket right now.
So, for me, I think doing a trade of our 2013 Sahara for a 2016 Rubicon makes the most sense financially, in the long run.
2016 Rubi Hard Rock
AEV 17" Pintlers
Nitto 35x12.5 R17 LT Trail Grapplers
AEV 2.5" Coil Lift