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Tire Liars, Pants on Fire: A Rant Then a Review of Some Tires and Wheels

I don't have any experience with OX lockers, but it seems strange that running the cable in that arrangement is the best option. Don't they make a cover that engages from the other side? Is there a driver or passenger side diff option?

Unfortunately, the cable has to approach from that side or it wouldn't be positioned to do its job. That's the "non-ring gear side" of the differential, and the cable pushes on a piece under the diff cover that fits into a grooved collar on the differential that in turn pushes a locking piece into engagement with the spider gears to prevent them from turning, thus completing the locking action. The ring gear would be in the way if the cable came from the other side.

OX also sells air- and electric-activated systems that do the same thing and wouldn't be as hard to route as the cable, but my cable lasted 5 years before it got crushed by something that prevented its movement and necessitated its replacement. I wheel over discarded treetops every now and then since the loggers leave them in the woods, and some of the "woods" seems to include the trails they (and I) use. The way I see it, a wire or air line probably will suffer damage more easily than the cable, which is actually quite robust, under such conditions.

Some people say that they have trouble setting the cable up. I've done it twice with two different cables, and I've had no problems. I just followed the instructions. I did end up stuck in a big freakin' puddle when the OX cable went bad, though. Kind of ruined my carpet, but life goes on. I bought a "drive-away lock" when I ordered the new cable. You can screw that in after removing a faulty cable and manually lock the differential that way in a desperate situation. Hopefully I'll never need it.
I found and hopefully eliminated the terrible cracking noise that occurred when I would turn the steering wheel, particularly in 4 low. My 2.5 year old was able to turn the steering wheel just far enough for me to see that the axle end track bar bolt had some movement to it. I tightened that back up but now I can hear an unrelated cyclical metallic noise that tracks with vehicle speed. I'm pretty sure this is a never-ending process, chasing down these noises and their dysfunctional causes. I'm always amazed when a stock Cherokee slinks by noiselessly. . .

I've also had an annoying mechanical noise for a very long time that sounds like something is loose and clunking around whenever I hit even the slightest bumps. It's coming from the front passenger side, and is super evident whenever I drive even on smooth pavement because the flat-spotting of these bias ply tires create temporary "bumps" and shake around whatever is loose even at very low speeds. While I was laying under the Jeep tightening the track bar bolt I thought I'd nudge some things around. I found that the passenger side caliper had some up and down play, and then discovered when I went to tighten the bolts down further that the lower caliper bolt hole on the knuckle was almost completely stripped out. I'm going to heli-coil that as soon as I can get to a parts store. The nearest anything is half an hour away so probably will get the kit when I visit civilization on Monday. I'm tempted to pull a knuckle off a low pinion D30 sitting in my garage in the meantime, but most likely I'll just wait the couple of days since it would be a lot more work to do that.