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Need Advice on lockers


NAXJA Forum User
I have a 2wd XJ that I want to lock up the rear end of for a couple of reasons. First off, I love off-roading and would love to have both tires going when I am on the trial.

And the second reason is because I am installing a nitrous kit and have many performance modifications to my Jeep and plan to take it out to the track a couple of times and want the XJ to hook up as best as it can.

And finally I use my XJ to tow a 26 foot sailboat so I want to have plenty of traction when I back that thing down the boat ramps.

I know that doing a 4X4 swap would give me lots of traction but I want to keep the weight down and think that the locker would be the best route.

I have a Dana 35 rear end that is presently open in my 1996 XJ. Thanks in advance for the advice.

I could give you the name of a good doctor!
Too many conflicting inputs.

(1) Lockers are great for "hooking up" at the track. However, the Dana 35 axle is not. You're gonna break it.

(2) Lockers are not recommended for towing. Let me repeat that, in case you missed any of it: LOCKERS ARE NOT RECOMMENDED FOR TOWING.

The XJ was intended as an all-purpose (or "multi-purpose" vehicle. The problem as well as the advantage to a multi-purpose vehicle is that it needs to accomplish many tasks. Since the optimum setup for some tasks is diametrically opposed to the optimum setup for other tasks, any multi-purpose vehicle is a compromise. You can increase its performance of one or some of the tasks, but only by degrading the performance of other tasks.

You need to decide what's most important for you: daily driving, drag racing, or towing the boat. Then build toward that, but always keeping in mind that every improvement in one area is likely to hurt you in at least one of the others.

The Dana 35 is a light- to medium-duty axle. It won't last long doing full blast runs with gas, even with just stock tires. It also won't last long trying to tow with a locker. Lockers don't like to go around corners. Under power, they are locked and the axles don't differentiate, which means the tires have to skid (squeak) to allow for the differentiation. Because the weight on the trailer tongue when towing loads the rear tires, the tires can't slip -- which puts a tremendous strain on the axle shafts and differential.

You can't have it all. Sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
So I take it the ARB air locker would not be helpful to me at all and would be a complete waste of time?
No, the locker is great for your plans, you just can't used it to put more power to your towing intentions.

Besides that the Dana 35 ist still too weak for the track.
I agree with Eagle and the others...the combo you laid out would be fairly unsafe as well as a likely dissapointment to you later on.

The 35 is fine in a grocery getter mode, marginal in other modes

IMHO find an 8.8 axle out of a 95+ Ford Exploder...31 spline shafts, factory disc brakes, 'correct' width and lug pattern for an XJ. If you are persistent in your hunting, you can find one with factory 4.10 and limited slip diff. You would need to have the spring pads and shock mounts relocated...might need a resized driveshaft.

I suspect that (if you shop smart) for the cost of an ARB and compressor, you could have an 8.8 up under your XJ, with enough $$$ left over to get a pair of drag slicks or aggressive off road tires for the back.

:dunno: JMHO
I agree with most of what is said but wouldn't the new Eaton Electric Locker better suit his application? It is a LS ( good for towing) and a Locker ( good for woods)!
Or you could go with a D44 and an OX?? You didn't really say ( or I missed it) that money was an object, just weight. Or an e-locker and a Toy 8", strong and LIGHT. Ford 9" would be a good option also. You'll definately need a selectable locker or limited slip with whatever axle you end up using.
Looks like I am going to have to do some head to head comparisons with the e-locker and ARB's air-locker. I also don't know about that Dana 35 I have in there , I mean it's a fairly new axle and I have had it since new, but those Dana 44s are damn sexy. Thanks for the advice fellas.

If you really want to drag race your XJ I would avoid the "selectables".They're not designed for that kind of "shock" loading.You need to lok at a "spool".
Ghost said:
I agree with most of what is said but wouldn't the new Eaton Electric Locker better suit his application? It is a LS ( good for towing) and a Locker ( good for woods)!

The Eaton is not a limited slip. It's either open or locked. Don't know if that one's available for the Dana 35.

The one you're thinking of is the Trac Tech "ElecTrac," which is the electric locking version of the TrueTrac. This one does defualt to a limited slip when not locked. It is very pricey (over $800), and as far as I know has not yet been released for the Dana 35.