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Getting welded HP44 - locker or not?


NAXJA Forum User
Hey all - I'm getting a HP44 from a guy who's been running it in an XJ. It's out of a 79 F250 and it's got manual locking hubs. Is it worth the expense to put a locker in instead, or leave it the way it is? I am getting it regeared to 4.88, so if I do a locker, the time would be now. I do want to do it right and do it once but if there really won't be any difference, I'm inclined just to leave it welded...some people said it could be hard to unlock the hubs sometimes, but this guy's wheeled it a lot and said he never had any trouble. I built the rig for the trail but find myself "wheeling" to Dollar General a lot more than the trails, so would be nice for it to have decent road manners too. If it matters it's a 95 on 6.5" and 35s.

Thanks all!
Im a tight ass and would leave it. If your on snowy rds or easy trails just lock one hub. Lock both hubs when you want to get realy stuck.

I have a grizzly in my front its pretty much a spool.

I would listen more to tge guy you got the axle from. Most on the internet answering questions don't have experience with the questions being asked. Me included

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Haha good advice, Evan - opinions are like buttholes, EVERYBODY'S GOT ONE. And here on the internet, opinions aren't always grounded in experience :) I hadn't thought about locking one hub - pretty sharp. That would basically keep one wheel locked and the other one would be open - so if it's in 2WD, it would act just like an open front, but in 4HI or low it would also act like an open front, but in 4wd, then if I lock the other one, she's all locked up. Seems pretty idiot proof - and saves me a grand on a locker that I don't have to spare!! Thanks a lot.
Had an old fart tell me one time, every one sits to shit.

A grand gets a grizzly/Detroit and gears

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I’d want something with more splines, and less full width, but if you’ll never drive it in 4wd on the street I would put the $1k into better shafts and joints. If it has good shafts and joints already, I would put it toward hydraulic steering.
I do believe the PO recently put in chromoly shafts, not sure about joints, but I'll check on that for sure. Definitely considering West Texas Offroad's hydro boost! I'm pretty sure the steering box is 293k worth of original, so getting a rebuilt unit from them would be a great start, not to mention the benefits of hydro boost. She's coming together!
To clarify this a bit:

...about locking one hub... That would basically keep one wheel locked and the other one would be open - so if it's in 2WD, it would act just like an open front

Yes, but would also be spinning the internals and driveshaft, same way a Dana 30 does.

but in 4HI or low it would also act like an open front,

Not quite. The difference being an open front will differentiate the torque equally between each side, whereas locking one side will result in that side being driven at 100% of it's available torque all the time. Quite literally being locked into 3 wheel drive. I.e. the open diff will allow either side to spin depending on the given conditions whereas one side locked will always drive the locked side and allow the unlocked side to coast.

That could be good or bad given different situations. I definitely wouldn't want that in snow/ice, but it could be nice wheeling to leave one unlocked to save some turning radius. I think it would still be hard on that u-joint.

If it was me, I'd be trying to decide between selectable or lunchbox. The welded will probably be just fine though.
Owned a built 44 once upon a time. Personally I would get rid of the stock carrier and at LEAST do a Detroit. Selectable being preferred. Even a full spool would be stronger than a welded carrier even.

Pick your poison really... your going to want locking hubs with a spool/welded carrier. After going to chromo shafts and 300M joints (nitro shafts end joints) I found the warn hubs to be the weak link. Locking hubs were effective, but with a selectable locker I found I rarely messed with them and the Jeep became a beater on a trailer. I skipped the Yukon hardcore hubs and went strait to drive slugs. If you go slugs, you’ll want a selectable or auto locker for 2wd use. Once I added hydro assist, I honestly rarely took the locker out of the locked position outside or 2wd use.

So the real question is... what’s your honest usage? Is this Jeep simply a toy or does it need to get you to work on Monday? Trailer queen or driving everywhere?

Just for clarity... hydro boost and hydro assist are two different things. Hydro boost is for brakes, I’m pretty sure your referencing hydro assist steering.
I second what VAhasnoWAVES said, if you have the $$, and drive in snow or ice at all, a selectable in the front is the way to go. I have a Eaton E locker in my front 44, and I only flip it on when I need it going over certain obstacles. The rest of the time I leave it off. It is a pain in the ass to turn with it on. If you decide to go with an automatic locker in the front, like a Detroit, turning is not bad if you have ram-assist steering. Like VA said, how are you planning on using it? that will determine how you set it up. For example my rig has a 44 front, 8.8 rear on 37's I drive my rig on the road daily all the time, but also drive 1000's of miles to go hard core wheeling and drive it home. Because of that I decided to go with selectable lockers front and rear.