I have a Dana 30 front with lockable hubs. I have a rear electric locker and I don't miss spinning wheels and trying to power through obstacles throwing crap everywhere.
I want to add the same benefits to the front end now. I don't think I need to buy another selectable locker since I have hubs and can unlock completely on pavement.
Here's what I'm looking for: I want to be able to replace my open front diff and run with hubs locked, in or out of 4x4 on a dirt road (between the tougher terrain that would truly require the locker's benefits)- and not have a ton of banging and noise or steering issues. I want to know what the least necessary device is (by that I mean I don't want to overbuy hardware) and still have the best traction addition and least resulting drive-ability issues from the change.
I do some muddy hill climbs, in and out of steep stream banks, and the transition between most of that stuff is dirt roads. I drive cautiously, have a T-18 (granny 1st), 31's, 3.73.
Ok, hopefully that's enough information for someone to offer an opinion based on driving style and conditions. I appreciate the opinions.
I knew a guy who had a Dana Power-Lok limited slip in his D30 and loved it. The Power Lok has 4 spider gears so you probably won't be breaking spiders but maybe axles or ring and pinion depending on how heavy your right foot is, of course..
Selectable is a bit more expensive, but that's what I'd choose (try to catch them on sale or look for a good used unit if budget is critical). Something like a Detroit Locker will certainly make some noise. The quieter limited slip options will lose at least some potential traction. Whatever you choose, I'd recommend upgraded shafts (30 spline alloy can be comparable to a Dana 44).
Todays DL's are pretty quite.
If you don't drive stupid, the OEM front axle shafts will work just fine.
Have you had your hearing checked lately? Detroit "Soft" Locker is anything but quiet. My neighbor stopped me the other day to ask why my Jeep always makes the "clack, clack, clack noise" as I turn into my driveway. If he can hear it from a couple hundred feet away, it can't be my imagination. Granted, they are a little quieter than they were 20 years ago, but they still make plenty of noise. Some people don't care about the noise (me), or perhaps can't hear it (?), but the OP stated that it's a concern. To suggest that a Detroit Locker is quiet, really is doing a disservice to the person asking for advice.
Also, I resent the insinuation that anyone who has broken an axle shaft must " drive stupid". It's a well known fact that traction adding devices will increase strain to the entire drive train. The short shaft on the offset Dana 30 is particularly vulnerable to breakage due to torsional stress.
Really, back it down son.......
The clicking in the DL you hear in a turn is 110% normal as the ratchets over ride each other. It really ain't that loud. Dang, it's a JEEP
As far as my hearing goes, first, I'm 62+ y.o. I am deft in my right ear("married ear") and have major loss in my left ear. All the result of a helo crash I was in.
Now, why you want to take it personal, when I comment about driv'n stupid is past me. Little 'thin' me thinks. BTW, I never used the word "must", that's YOUR addition.
Have'n you along, is like loose'n 2 good men
I've been running a DL in my D30 for 15 years, it has never made any noise and have only broken one axle u-joint in all those years. That is with 35s and substantially more horsepower than normally found in a stock Cj.
It used to be, God bless America, it has become God help America