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Thread: Electronic Diff Locker ???

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    Electronic Diff Locker ???

    Hi Everyone. I am a newbie to the off road world so my question may be purely naive. I just bought a 2008 Rubicon Unlimited that was stock with front and rear locking differentials. When I press the button twice to engage both lockers (while in 4wd low) the lights on my instrument cluster flash until the lockers are engaged (presumably). As soon as I slowly move either forward or in reverse the lights just begin flashing again. Does anyone have any idea why the lockers would not stay engaged? Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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    Dro-ster (JPClark)'s Avatar
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    Electronic Diff Locker ???

    While I don't have a Jeep (I've a 4runner) I do occasionally experience the same thing with my locking center differential. (It's an AWD / 4WD capability). Sometimes I'll need to move the truck up or back again to get the differential to lock up permanently. In doing a quick search on the Jeep forums, it looks like thy have a similar matter on the front and rear. Do you have separate lights for front and rear, or just one? There are Quire a few Jeepers here so hopefully thy can offer a bit more input.


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    m1009krawler's Avatar
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    Hello Michael!

    I have some info for you. My brother has a 2007 Rubicon and had a similar issue, since he cares not for learning anything about 4x4 and loves to go wheeling, I am left fixing his Rubicon more often than not. Therefore, I know more about the Rubicon than I need. Just note, I am no expert on specific Jeep components or operations.

    To explain a bit. When the locker button is pushed the locker light starts flashing immediately. This is to let the driver know that an electrical signal has been sent to activate the locker. There is a separate sensor that detects when the locker is truly engaged. When that sensor detects that the locker is fully engaged, the locker light then glows solid and remains solid as long as the locker is engaged.

    If the sensor is faulty, a condition could be created where the locker is engaged, but since it can't be confirmed, the locker light continues to flash, even though the locker is actually engaged.

    I have fought this twice see below.

    Lucky Brother – His front locker was not engaging and the light would continue to blink the entire time he was in 4lo. Turns out it was a sensor in the front that had gone bad. As he has long since voided the warranty it cost out of pocket to fix, I don’t know how much.

    Unlucky Brother – His rear this time was flashing and not stay solid. It turned out his rear locker gears had somehow been damaged and the locker would not lock. The entire locking differential had to be replaced. He abuses his jeep in more ways than one, yet refuses to learn anything about how it works… that’s a rant for another day After replacing his differential he stated "cool the strange noise is gone!"

    Another issue I have read about but not run into is in relation to the usage amount. I have read that if the lockers do not get engaged on a regular basis then over time is can cause a "sticking" issue preventing them from engaging properly. When I asked the dealership they denied this was a possibility. I cannot speak to the validity of the claim as I have not seen it in person.

    Some questions I have:
    Are the lockers disengaging or are they never fully engaging? (if they are engaging more likely a sensor issue, if they are not engaging or disengaging then there may be a differential issue)
    Are the lockers locked when the light is blinking?
    Are there any strange noises?
    How often do you engage the lockers?
    Did you buy the jeep used?

    Solutions:
    Troubleshoot to see if your problem is the light or the locker. Again if they are engaging but the light is blinking then it may be a sensor. If they are not engaging then there may be a differential issue or they are sticking.
    If it's still under warranty take it to the dealer! I have heard of a number of issues with the lockers
    If there is no longer a warranty and you feel like getting dirty open the differential cover and take a look around.
    Try to engage them a couple of times, idle around a parking lot slowly to see if they work loose or if they are engaged.

    Lessons learned on my brothers JK
    Always check to ensure your lockers, 4wd, and other essential components are working properly before hitting the trail.
    Engage the lockers every now and then when not frequently wheeling to keep them moving freely.

    That’s a lot of words! I hope it helps! And always remember JEEP = Just Empty Every Pocket!

    I hope this isn’t too confusing to follow

    See you on the trails!
    Alex

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    Thank you for your reply JP. There are separate lights for the front and rear lockers. Does moving straight forwar and backwards help to lock up or does steering side to side during make any difference?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thank you for your reply m1009krawler. How would you recommend I go about testing the lockers to see if it is only a faulty sensor?

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    m1009krawler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dro-ster (JPClark) View Post
    While I don't have a Jeep (I've a 4runner) I do occasionally experience the same thing with my locking center differential. (It's an AWD / 4WD capability). Sometimes I'll need to move the truck up or back again to get the differential to lock up permanently. In doing a quick search on the Jeep forums, it looks like thy have a similar matter on the front and rear. Do you have separate lights for front and rear, or just one? There are Quire a few Jeepers here so hopefully thy can offer a bit more input.
    JP you are correct about the center differential, I beleive Jeep's MUST be moving slowly to lock it into 4wd (or you break a little plastic clip and get stuck in N, my brother learned this as well). However, the axel differentials and lockers function a bit different. He should be able to lock those without having to move, I could be wrong.

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    m1009krawler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Cisneros View Post
    Thank you for your reply m1009krawler. How would you recommend I go about testing the lockers to see if it is only a faulty sensor?
    Take it out to a parking lot and drive in a circle

    If you don't know how it should feel drive a tight circle in 2wd, shift to 4hi and do it again, then 4lo and again. Between 2wd and 4wd/4lo you should feel a difference as the front wants to push through the turn.

    Next lock the axels and drive the circle again. You will notice a significant difference if the lockers are engaged. The inner wheel will turn a tighter circle than the outer wheels. Since they are locked and will try to turn the same distance the tires will push and hop.

    Your turning radius will reduce significantly as well, so don't force it. Keep it slow as with speed damage can occur.

    Where do you live? If you want to meet up I can help?

    There are other ways to tell by turning u-joints etc.. but this seems to be the easiest.

    If there is an easier way that I am missing someone else please chime in!

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    Mudhog1977's Avatar
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    It may be better to engage it in dirt, so u dont put too much of a bind on the drive line on the concrete
    Live to ride, Ride to live ,That's how I roll

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    Dro-ster (JPClark)'s Avatar
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    Electronic Diff Locker ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Mudhog1977 View Post
    It may be better to engage it in dirt, so u dont put too much of a bind on the drive line on the concrete
    Oh yes... Driving anything other than a straight line in 4wd, let alone locked diffs. while on concrete, is an instant recipe for a repair bill.


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    Thank you all for the great advice. I will be giving all a try tomorrow. I will post the my findings asap.

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    Never hammer on them untill they are fully locked. running a 75-90w full synthetic oil will help with the sticky ness and change it twice a year and no less than once a year.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    "Just because someone goes fast doesn't mean you should do whatever you think they did.
    This path assumes they knew what they were doing, which isn't necessarily the case. Take this path and you will be guaranteed second place."

    Originally Posted by PondSkum
    I'm just a floater.

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