How to install a ‘lunchbox’ locker (lockrite, aussie locker, etc) in your D30 axle.
Here’s the steps to installing a locker in general for the front axle of a jeep. I’ll cover it as best I can, it can be a lot of work but it’s do-able. I had never ripped apart a front axle before to install a locker and I figured it out ;)
I am covering this install for all axles that have gears low enough (3.56’s, 4.11’s, etc) that the carrier must be removed due to the ring gear teeth not allowing the cross shaft to be removed while still in the axle. The cross shaft is the ‘bar’ that goes through the carrier and holds the spider gears in place, the lower gear ratios (mine were 4.11) cause the bigger ring gear teeth to block this bar from removal so the carrier must be removed from the axle and the ring gear must be pulled from the carrier. Here goes the process:
Here's a pic of the locker I bought (best investment I've made yet):
On to the install:
Make sure to chock your back wheels so your jeep won’t roll off and switch the t-case into 4 low.
1)Removing The Axles Shafts
You need to pull the axle shafts in order to remove the carrier, it’s fairly simple and good to know how to do if you ever need to change a u-joint.
First off jack up the front end and jack-stand it. Remove both tires. Remove the brakes. To do this you must remove the two bolts each side has. They are located behind the caliper and should have a little rubber boot around the shaft with the bolt head sticking out.
Once those are removed there are 2 ways to remove the calipers. You can take a pry bar or small crowbar and pry the top of the pads\caliper off the rotor (disc) or you can get a nice big c-clamp and press the caliper to loosen it. Do this by placing the c-clamp screw onto the outside brake pad and the back end of the c-clamp on the back of the caliper (facing the inner fender\engine), be careful not to crush anything important. Squeeze the c-clamp in a few turns with the bleeder screw open, close the bleeder (opening the bleeder stops rusty fluid from getting up into your master cylinder and blowing it’s seals) and then release the c-clamp. The caliper should now pull off with –some- ease hehe. Now pull the disc\rotor off, it will slide right off toward you without problem.
Make sure to place the rotor out of the way where it won’t be damaged\scratched and don’t mix the drivers side one with the passenger one (they may have worn differently). Hang the calipers up on the axle with zip-ties or anywhere out of the way where they won’t fall and hang\rip the brake lines.
So now we have both sides with the brakes removed and your jeep should look like this old picture of mine, on each side, perfect.
Second is the fun part, removing the axle shafts. Do the drivers side one first. The ‘hub’ is held onto your steering knuckle by 3 12 pointed bolts. A 12 pointed bolt is what it sounds like, it has 12 points on it’s head, so it looks like a gear almost. They are on the back side of the steering knuckle facing the engine. You can see one of them in the following picture:
There are 2 more located lower than this one, they encumber the area of the hub to hold it in. I tried using a socket but found it wasn’t grabbing right. So I got a brand new wrench and used it. You want a 12 pointed one, everyone has one, you probably jus didn’t know it. Get a normal ‘bone wrench’ or ‘box end wrench’ , the kind that one side looks like a 2 pronged fork and the other side is ROUND. The ROUND side is the 12 pointed side.
I found the easiest way to get these buggers to start coming out was to VERY CAREFULLY (you do NOT want to strip these) clean them off with a wire brush and put the wrench on them, I then slowly tapped the wrench with a hammer so it would apply pressure like an impact wrench would, DO NOT slam them like they owe you money, they are tough bolts but you don’t want a 10 lbs sledge in there hehe.
Once all three bolts are removed, set them aside, you don’t want to loose them (I was bagging all my stuff in ziplocks as I went). The hub is now held in by nothing more than rust. It is still a PITA to remove though for the first time.
To remove the hub I took a flat head screwdriver and hammered it CAREFULLY into the seam between the hub flange and the steering knuckle near each bolt hole. I did just a bit at a time going clockwise (hammer in near the top hole until the flange came out of the knuckle a millimeter or 2, then moved to the next one and did the same). This ensures it will come out straight. Another trick is to put the tire back on, put the lug nuts on finger tight and just reef on the tire until it pulls the hub out. I didn’t go this route for fear of it falling off the jack and stands (gravel driveways suck). See the pictures below to see what I mean by axle flange and knuckle being separate:
Just like in the picture you can now CAREFULLY pull the axle and hub assembly STRAIGHT out of the axle. Don’t drag it or pull it sideways unless you want to be replacing all the inner seals in your diff.
Awesome, now do the exact same thing to the passenger side. Make a note that on YJ’s the passenger shaft is a lot shorter than the driver side shaft, that is because the d30 HP in a YJ has 2 shafts on the passenger side with a disconnect system, no problem. Remove the passenger shaft and place it somewhere safe and clean (like you did with the drivers side too right??).
Next we need to deal with that other half of the shaft us YJ’s have. This is accomplished very easily. The passenger side axle has a shift motor on it. See the picture below so you know what you are removing:
*The picture here is from another jeep, notice the coil springs, I lost my pic of my motor, they look the same though* :thumbsup:
It has 4 bolts that, on my jeep, very easily came off. Remove those and pull the motor (being careful not to rip any hoses or wires off) just out of the way a bit. Some gear oil may leak out, that’s ok. Once it’s out of the way you will see inside the hole it came from (being careful not to get crap in there) a ring and on the left of that the end of an axle shaft. Use your fingers and patiently pull the axle shaft you see over towards the outwards side (to the right, like you’re removing it). You need to move it about 3 or 4”, just enough so it’s not still inside the carrier and side gears in the pumpkin. I pulled mine out about 6” just to be safe, you don’t need to remove it completely.
Some older d30 models will have a c-clip on the inner axle shaft end inside the carrier, push the axle inward towards the carrier, slide the c-clip off and then push and work the axle shaft outwards, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO RE-INSTALL THIS C-CLIP ONCE THE LOCKER AND CARRIER ARE BACK IN. It is no longer needed.
See the next picture:
A= the outer-passenger's side axle shaft end (if your doing this right you shouldn't see this)
B= the inner-passenger's side axle shaft end, this is the one you want to pull towards the outward.
C= the shift collar, pull this to the outer side of the 'box' you are looking into so you can get a better grip on the inner shaft end (this can be pulled out completely if needed).
GREAT we now have the axle shafts out of the way and are ready for the fun stuff.
2) Getting the carrier out.
First things first. I removed my carrier (with a hell of a lot of swearing) with the tie-rod still attached. Boys and girls, it was NOT worth the pain, remove the tie rod and make life a pretty place ;).
Tie rod removal is simple, remove the cotter pin (on the end at the DRIVERS SIDE), undo the nut, tap the top of the tie rod end with a hammer and it will drop out of it’s receiver. Boom, you’re done, it’s out of the way. Don’t loose it’s hardware and try not to fall or lean on it.
Second, remove all but the top few bolts on the diff cover. Loosen those top one’s a bit and get a big pan to catch the diff fluid. Pry the bottom SLOWLY with a screw driver being careful not to scratch the diff mating surface. It will dump it’s oil into the pan. Remove the diff cover completely when it’s done and clean the gasket off the diff and the cover with a scraper. Here’s what yours will look like (but without the tie rod in the way):
Note on either side of the carrier there are bearing caps (those things that have a bolt in the top and bottom of them. Those hold the carrier in the diff. THE NEXT FEW STEPS ARE SO BRUTALLY IMPORTANT DON’T SKIMP ON THIS! Draw a picture of your diff on a piece of paper, relatively the same size. Mark one side the TOP and one side the BOTTOM and mark which is LEFT and which is RIGHT so you don’t mix it up. Remove 1 bearing cap bolt and tape it to the picture you made (or the label you made, whatever works) in the place that it corresponds to (ex- left side top bolt). Remove the other bolt and do the same. Now remove the bearing cap and make sure it is also on the picture with the TOP SIDE facing the TOP in the picture. THESE HAVE TO GO BACK IN THE AXLE THE EXACT WAY THAT THEY WERE REMOVED. Unless of course you enjoy blowing up differentials ;) .
Do the same for the other bearing cap.
At this point nothing should be holding the carrier in but bearing pre-load. All diffs are different, some of them just spit the carrier out, some need a CAREFUL use of prybars. I put both hands onto mine and pulled and jerked until it popped out. BE CAREFUL not to ding anything with it, or drop it in the dirt, or do anything. Pretend this thing is made of nitro-glycerine. If dirt, dust, knicks, dents, marrs, anything like that happens, you may be kissing your diff goodbye. I can’t stress that enough.
WARNING when you pull it out there is a bearing race (a circle of metal) on each side that is sitting in there LOOSELY. They will want to fall out DO NOT LET THEM FALL and get bent. These MUST go back on the side they came off of and with the right side facing out (mine were tapered and could only go on the way they came off, but not all might be like this). DO NOT MIX THEM UP. Again, I put mine in LABELED zip lock baggies.
3) Removing the ring gear.
Take your carrier and get some plastic wrap. You must cover the bearings to ensure no dirt or dust gets in them (1 grain of sand, or even some lint, will destroy these bearings if it gets re-installed with it in there). Wrap the plastic wrap around\covering each bearing and put a nice tight elastic on it to hold it there. We need to pull the ring gear and those bolt are high torque so it’s easier if you have a vice (I’ve seen people use clamps and 2x4’s but a vice is much better).
Place the carrier in the vice with the ring gear facing downward and the bolts facing up. Put a piece of wood on either side of the carrier so the vice teeth won’t crush the carrier or mark on it. The ring gear just slides onto the carrier and is held by 10 ring gear bolts. Mark the ring gears location to the carrier. I used white-out (first cleaned the area to remove the oil) and drew a straight line from the ring gears side up to the top of the carrier where the bolts are. THE RING GEAR MUST GO BACK ON THE SAME WAY IT CAME OFF. Remove each ring gear bolt, I untorqued mine one at a time in a cross hatching pattern and then completely unscrewed them all. Put them in a bag and keep them clean too.
Removing the ring gear can go 1 of 2 ways, some people say it sticks and doesn’t want to come off unless put in the oven, others say it falls right off. Mine fell right off. Well didn’t FALL, I removed the carrier from the vice and carefully slid the ring gear off. Put that somewhere safe and for the love of god don’t drop it, it’s a cast piece and might break in half. You should now have a plain carrier like the picture:
4) Removing the carriers guts, spider and side gears.
Notice in the picture of the carrier with the ring gear bolts removed, near where the “1 o’clock” bolt hole is, there is a small hole. That hole contains a ‘roll pin’ which holds the cross shaft (seen protruding upwards in the second picture from above, the side view) in the carrier. I took a long skinny screw driver and tapped it through that hole and punched the roll pin out, DO NOT loose that, you don’t have a spare ;) . Now tap the cross shaft out like in the picture above. The spider and side gears will now be free.
To remove them just turn them so the side gears (the one’s on the side) pull the spiders (top and bottom) to the opening in the carrier. Take the spider gears out. Remove the side gears and take note there is a bigass washer behind each one, these are called THRUST washers. For my install I was told to re-install those with my locker on the exact side they came from, if your locker states to do so then go for it.
Now you have a completely empty carrier and a whole ton of parts and bolts sitting all over ORGANIZED right? Hehe. Everyone’s locker install is different, if you’re installing a lockrite or aussie (mine was an aussie, they rule) it’s VERY easy to follow the directions. Just put the two halves in each side, put the middle pieces in and then pop in the tongs and springs. It took me about 5mins to do that part, I found it easier to put some bearing grease on the parts to make them ‘stick’ while assembling. Even a child could do this part so I won’t bore with those details ;) . Don’t forget to pop the cross shaft back in and tap the roll pin back in with a screw driver just like before.
5) Re-assembling once the locker is in the carrier.
Slip the ring gear back onto the carrier, making sure your white-out line lines up EXACTLY as when it was together before, make sure the ring gear bolt holes line up perfectly. Clean the holes with a shot of brake cleaner, do the same with the ring gear bolts. Put some red locktite on each bolt and put them into their holes FINGER TIGHT. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO STRIP THE HOLES by cross threading, you can’t just ‘retap’ a ring gear, you strip it, you buy a new one.
Make sure you know where you are starting and apply 20 ft lbs of torque to one bolt, do the same for the bolt adjacent to it, and then do another adjacent one, etc etc until all have been evenly torqued to 20 ft lbs. Don’t do them all around in a circle, it won’t seat properly, you have to do the opposites. Now go back and in the same pattern apply the full 55 ft lbs my FSM recommends (you may want to check with your dealer, if your axle or model year has a diff torque spec). Be careful not to break any bolts, apply slow and steady torque evenly.
Now I know we were careful in this install but I’m sure some crud got into the bearings on the carrier, no worries. Take some brake cleaner or clean naptha fuel and soak the hell out of the bearings. Then blast them with a can of compressed air (the kind used to clean computer stuff) to get any dirt out. DO NOT USE AN AIR COMPRESSOR, they may throw bits of grit and dust that clean filtered canned air won’t. Now put some high pressure wheel bearing grease on the bearings while carefully turning them (don’t get dirt in them or you’ll have to clean them again) and put the bearing races back on the way they came off in the first place. Great, almost done. :D
6) Re-installing the carrier.
Bring the whole thing back out to your jeep and carefully put the carrier back into the pumpkin. Make sure it goes in STRAIGHT, it won’t go in crooked or off center, it MUST go in straight. Once in it will kind of pop into place, I placed a piece of SOFT wood 2x4 against the carrier and carefully tapped it in with a hammer.
Now we have to re-install the bearing caps, remember the one’s we made sure will be put back in the way they came out? I found it easiest to put the top bolt in finger tight on each one so it would hang there. Then put the bottom bolt in and torque each one to the FSM stated 57 ft lbs of torque.
Apply a bead of silicone (black or blue) to the mating surface of the pumpkin and to the differential cover. It should look like the picture below:
*Note it looks like I did a shoddy job of the RTV on the diff, the stuff you see there I just added for extra re-assurance, I applied my RTV to the diff cover INSIDE my house because it was way to cold for it to start skinning over properly outdoors, so the RTV you see is really only the 'overkill' because the cover was properly done.*
Re-install the axle shafts in the exact reverse of the removal, to make life easier next time you need to remove the hub\shafts put some never-seize on the surface of the knuckle and of the hub where they mate. When re-installing the shafts you will have to line them up with the teeth in the locker, to do this just apply light pressure to the shaft while turning it, you’ll feel it line up and slip in another 2 or 3 inches and lock.
Make sure when you put that shift motor back on that the little fork it has slides over the ring in there (that fork pulls the ring over the axles to engage or disengage the shaft), you can re-use it’s gasket, just make sure it lines up and make sure to top up it’s space with some gear oil if some fell out when you removed it. I did this by semi-finger tightening the bottom bolts, opening the top by pulling back on the top of the motor and pouring gear oil into the little crack between the motor and the axle surface.
Put your brakes back on the same way they came off, make sure the two bolts that hold the calipers on get torqued to 12 ft lbs (I know it’s weak, but that’s what my FSM says, you don’t want to crush them). Press the brake pedal a few times to pump them up and re-adjust to the rotors (once both sides are put back on).
Now time to test the locker (yes, before we put the cover back on). Squirt some gear oil onto the locker and around the bearings and stuff in the pumpkin, don’t over do it and don’t get any on the silicone that’s there. Put the wheels back on and have one friend hold one tire and turn the other one by hand, the tire SHOULD turn, with some force, and you’ll hear a clicking noise. Good, the locker is intalled right.
Now slap the diff cover back on making sure it gets a nice seal. Put all the bolts back in FINGER TIGHT. Let the diff seal dry for about 30-45mins (depending on temperature out) and then apply the final 30 ft lbs of torque going in an alternating pattern to the bolts on the cover. Now remove the plug and fill with your favorite brand of 75w90 gear oil. Can't figure out the diff cover plug? On mine it had a square slot cut into the plug that no allen key or hex would fit. What I did was take a standard ratchet (1\2" if I remember right) and noticed the part the socket attaches to the ratchet by was the exact size, so I took an extension and without a socket on the end I placed it into that square and turned the plug off fine. Back to the test, now again have someone turn 1 wheel while the other is held still (or let one side down off the jack and turn the other side), it should turn and now make a much quieter clicking noise.
Don’t forget the tie rod ;) . Put it back on the same way it came off and put a new cotter pin in it. Now go for a short drive and make sure all is well (remember to remove the rear wheel chocks and pull it out of 4wd).
Find your favorite wheeling spot or a place with loose surface (Don’t drive on dry pavement in 4wd) and shift into 4wd. Make sure all sounds well and that it drives fine. The wheel will feel a bit harder to turn, but nothing major, trust me, I can still steer with my baby finger off road. Turn a tight corner with the locker while pressing the gas, you should feel the tires kind of skid a bit or slide, you’ll still turn nicely trust me. Now try a turn and push the clutch pedal down or just go easy on the gas, you should, if listening REAL close hear a faint clicking noise, that’s the locker doing it’s job of unlocking while cornering.
Enjoy the extra traction, this mod will blow your mind with the difference it makes ;) . Like I said earlier the average backyard mechanic CAN do this mod as long as you are neat, organized and pay attention to what you are doing. It may sound intimidating to someone who hasn't worked on diffs before but it's not that bad as long as you follow the steps right, there aren't any shims to worry about in this style of axle, they are packed under the bearings so they won't fall out like some other axles (in case anyone is telling you that there are shims waiting to fall out).
I did NOT have to 'set' my gears after this install, and those pics are from waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back, I've since put approx 15,0000-20,000 miles on my jeep since with tons of wheeling and there are no noises, whines, crunching, or gears blowing up. :wave:
PM me if I missed anything or if you have anything you want me to add. :thumbsup:
Man, where was this write up when I did mine! :laugh: Great write up. :thumbsup:
Thanks, glad you guys appreciate it and hopefully it helps some guys out so you don't have to fly blind :thumbsup: . Sorry for being late on it, I intalled my locker in the spring but didn't do this until now because I realized no one had done one yet.
wow, great write I will definitely save this to use when I do mine. That won't be anytime soon but now I know what to do I won't be as intimidated when the time comes. thank you
Sorry about the pics guys, I just heard from someone that they aren't working anymore. The hosting site I used to use has crashed for some reason. I'm looking for another one right now (I really want to buy a membership but I'm always low on cash).
EDIT: Fixed the pictures and added a few extras. PM me if they disapear again guys :thumbsup:
Another thing to note, is that the reverse torx bolts you mentioned, are actually E-torx bolts. You can buy the proper wrenches or sockets at any good tool store. Look much like a regular box-end wrench, but the points are deeper and it fits the top of the e-torx perfectly, so not to strip the head.
Oh ok. I havent actualy done this, but just from how you were describing them, Thats what I was thinking they were. My bad.
Question for you. This may be basic to all front-end lockers, but what happens when you are in 2wd? Does the locker still engage/disengage? Would an aussie locker be fine for a daily driver, with heavy wheelin on the weekends?
Hehe no prob on the bolts :)
My jeep is my DD, it gets me to work, it gets me to the bar, it gets my wife to school. It also does all my highway driving and anything else I need done, she is definintely no trailer queen, nor will it ever be :rofl: . In 2wd this locker is TOTALLY AND UTERLY invisible. I have an axle disconnect on one side (all YJ's and some XJ's have them) so the locker is NEVER under pressure and never makes any kind of fuss.
Now if you DO NOT have a disconnect you're screwed....hehe just kidding, even with a solid axle (no disco) they are invisible. My vacuum disconnect was giving me trouble since it got cold with not engaging so I locked the axle together, pulled the vacuum lines and never went back. That means I'm driving in 2wd with both wheels turning the locker just like a TJ would or some XJ's. It's still totally un-noticeable. That's because the locker only wants to LOCK when torque is applied to the driveshaft. It's designed so when the ring gear turns the carrier the crosshaft will push the inner gears of the locker out against the outer causing a fully locked system, as soon as you remove torque from the ring gear (2wd, or press down the clutch) the little springs and the way it's made will cause it to unlock and pull the dog teeth back just enough to allow it to "differentiate".
Good enough for wheeling? Well Aussie is one of the few lunchbox lockers that comes not only with NO tire size limit but a "break it if you can" warranty. You break it, they replace it within the warranty period, free of charge no matter what. Last time I checked the only 1 that had EVER come back was due to a bad install and the company STILL replaced it free of charge even though it was not their fault.
So what, good warranty, what does that do for wheeling, right? Well I've pounded the living hell out of mine (brutal brutal abuse, trust me) in mud, rocks, snow, ice, pavement even hehe, and it has not only NEVER complained but it has NEVER failed me. Since I've dropped in my locker I have NEVER been stuck. I wheel every chance I get and I have not even once ever regretted doing this install, out of my whole jeep this is my "prized posession" and what sets me apart from the other guys on the trail. In fact I spend so much time wheeling in places others can't I end up on trails where guys with 35" 's drive by giving me that look of "Hmm I guess there's another easier trail he must of come in on" when I just went the way they did without hesitation. :wave:
Well, you sold me! :) I drive on some trails that other boys take their rubies with lockers, or YJ's and TJ's with arb lockers, and was wondering if the aussie locker could compete. Looks like it should be able to. Thanks!
This had no dependence of gear ratio right? I have 3.07's right now, but I'm planning on upgrading to 4.56's in the future. I could still install the locker now, and upgrade gearing later right?
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