We visited the
2001 SEMA Show for four fun-filled (work-filled?) days and one of
the first things that caught our eyes was a 2002 Nissan Xterra.
The Xterras and their line-mate the Frontier are now getting accessories
made for them, such as suspension lifts, and what drew us in to
this particular truck was its custom graphics and lift.
gives the dunes all she's got with both ELockers in the
to look at new vehicles, I wanted to know what was underneath
the Nissan. I crawled under it and noticed "Eaton ELocker
Differential " written on the rear axle skid. Known as the
G-80 option, Eaton provides over 1.2 million mechanical locking
differentials annually to GM for their trucks, however, I was
not aware that Eaton was making an electric locker or anything
for Nissans, so we made it a point to visit Eaton's booth during
finally came on Friday. On the table was an ELocker demonstration
setup. We stared at it and played with for a while, pondering
and asking questions. After discussing the new locker and watching
a video, we were asked if we'd like to head out to the desert
and try it out for ourselves. Would we ever!!!
An hour or
so later my phone rang and we were told to go and meet the driver,
Tom Keefe. We climbed aboard a 2002 Chevy Avalanche for our practical
demonstration. The "Avalanche SS" was fitted
with a 4" Rancho lift, oversized Pro Comp Mud Terrain tires,
and a supercharger. Tom, my wife, Jenifer, and I headed toward
to get up the hill without locking the ELockers, but to
no avail. One wheel stays put while the opposing wheel does
all the work. Locking the ELockers got him up the hill.
Once we hit
the sand, Tom explained the ELocker to us and how it operates.
Similar to some other lockers, the ELocker is controlled by a
dash-mounted switch. In this case, the switch allows an electrical
signal to go by wire through the differential housing and into
the locker. In normal circumstances, the ELocker is "open"
and is invisible to the driver. The rear end has full differentiation
between the left and right wheels. Upon detecting the signal,
the ELocker connects the right and left axle shafts and is fully
"locked." The rear axles do not differentiate at all.
They act as if they were one single shaft.
had both a front and rear locker, so there were two switches on
the dash. Tom took us over sand dunes and through crevaces in
all four modes; open front and rear, locked front, locked rear,
and fully-locked front and rear. Whenever he got stuck, it was
obvious. The wheels with no traction would spin like crazy and
throw sand rooster tails high into the air. With a quick flick
of the switch, the ELockers would silently engage and Tom would
continue his forward movement.
I both got our chances to drive the Avalanche in different situations,
including steep sand dunes, crevaces and hills. In all cases,
the ELocker worked as expected. Having lockers does not always
mean you can tackle anything you point your truck at, but it sure
is a night and day difference having them. Being able to switch
your lockers on and off can prove invaluable on the trails and
having the ability to have them off while on the road, well, it
just doesn't get any better than that.
GM 9.25", 9.5"
Ford 8.8" (front/rear)
Dana 35, 44, 60
GM 8.25" front
Dana 30, DCX 8.25, DCX 9.25
is in the final stages of development and will begin appearing
in OEM applications in the 2003 model year. In addition, many
popular applications will start hitting the store shelves by summer
of 2002. See the sidebar chart for upcoming applications. We're
told that more popular sizes will be coming soon, so you can bet
Eaton will be bringing out the ELocker for Jeeps soon.
switchable lockers that require air, the ELocker won't fail due
to air leaks and we're told that it has worked just fine even
with the axles completely submerged in water.
in the market for lockers, than we would strongly recommend that
you consider the Eaton ELocker. We've tried it and it works. Stay
tuned for more on the Eaton ELocker!
To find out
more about Eaton ELockers and other Eaton traction devices, click
here to see photos and descriptions