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New Cruiser: Expeditions

The travels of an all aluminum Land Cruiser and its owners…

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Locking Differentials

Written by Robin on Tuesday, January 6, 2004

The original ’86 HJ60 did not come with factory differential lockers. We wanted them, and they had to be manually actuated. That left us with either an ARB solution, or installing Toyota lockers. I didn’t want the ARB’s – the air compressor is an extra thing to go wrong and they whole kit was expensive. So we contacted Greg Bowie at gscruiserparts.com and asked what he could get find for us. It turned out he had a set of Japanese spec axles sitting on his rack, straight out of an HJ61. These had a full floating rear, cable lockers, and 4.10 ring gear -just what we wanted.

It was an easy swap to bolt the new axles on. We rebuilt the front birfields, replaced seals in the rear, and bolted the axles on. I went to a local industrial supply and had some heavy duty push-pull cables made, with aluminum t-bar handles. I ordered stainless steel cable, teflon encased, with stainless steel balls on the end. We made sure they could handle the compression (a locker can be pretty tough to engage), and checked the radius of the cable to be sure that it wouldn’t interfere with anything under the truck. After drilling two holes in the floor, running the cables through and fastening them to the linkage, they worked like a charm.

So we were out on some ugly west coast rocks. We were locked up front and rear, one rear wheel wedged between two rocks, both front wheels looking straight at the face of two 0.5 m tall boulders, and the other rear free to spin. What a great way to test the lockers. And here’s where the slippery slope of upgrades gets you:

The 100+ Hp trying to move 5000+ lbs of aluminum and steel, well wedged in just couldn’t do it. We either stalled out or slipped the clutch. If the cluth had engaged there would have been little control as the speed over the obstacle would be too high. More power? Lower gearing? Both?? All the traction in the world just doesn’t help when you don’t have the power plant to move it! But that’s another upgrade on another budget, in a land very far away from here…

I’ll be adding some photos of the axles and actuators shortly.

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