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The Truth About Air Lockers

Posted in How To on June 1, 2000 Comment (0)
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The first step is to pull off the flange cap and inspect the flange for wear. If there is a strange wear pattern on the flange, then your housing is probably bent. According to ARB, about half of the lockers returned to them are due to bent 35C housings. The first step is to pull off the flange cap and inspect the flange for wear. If there is a strange wear pattern on the flange, then your housing is probably bent. According to ARB, about half of the lockers returned to them are due to bent 35C housings.
Next, remove the bolts and locking tabs and take off the cylinder cap for access to the seal. Carefully inspect this area for any contamination. Most seal failures occur because of dirty gear oil. Making sure to change your gear oil after exposure to water and mud, and also keeping your axle seals in good shape will help keep your ARB happy. Next, remove the bolts and locking tabs and take off the cylinder cap for access to the seal. Carefully inspect this area for any contamination. Most seal failures occur because of dirty gear oil. Making sure to change your gear oil after exposure to water and mud, and also keeping your axle seals in good shape will help keep your ARB happy.
Remove the two (C-clip axles) or three (non–  C-clip axles) cross-shaft retaining pins with a 6/32 tool supplied with the ARB. The cross-shaft can then be walked out of the locker. Once the shafts are pulled, the gears will fall out the bottom. Remove the two (C-clip axles) or three (non– C-clip axles) cross-shaft retaining pins with a 6/32 tool supplied with the ARB. The cross-shaft can then be walked out of the locker. Once the shafts are pulled, the gears will fall out the bottom.
Here are the typical parts you’ll need to do a reseal. They include a new cross-shaft, cross-shaft retaining pins, thrust washers, and cylinder cap bolts. Also included are new seals and O-rings. Here are the typical parts you’ll need to do a reseal. They include a new cross-shaft, cross-shaft retaining pins, thrust washers, and cylinder cap bolts. Also included are new seals and O-rings.
The next part to come out is the piston. It is very important to pull up slightly, rotate it one-quarter turn, and then pull it out. Trying to pry it out will just lead to breakage. After the piston is out, the return springs can be removed. The next part to come out is the piston. It is very important to pull up slightly, rotate it one-quarter turn, and then pull it out. Trying to pry it out will just lead to breakage. After the piston is out, the return springs can be removed.
Now is the time to inspect the side gears and cross-shaft. This side gear was discovered to have a crack that indicates hard launches or severe bounces under throttle, and it needed to be replaced. While the reseal kit comes with a new cross-shaft, it is always a good idea to inspect the original. Funky wear patterns indicate contamination. Now is the time to inspect the side gears and cross-shaft. This side gear was discovered to have a crack that indicates hard launches or severe bounces under throttle, and it needed to be replaced. While the reseal kit comes with a new cross-shaft, it is always a good idea to inspect the original. Funky wear patterns indicate contamination.
The air collar housing also needs close inspection as wear patterns on it mean a poor installation. Patterns like this happen when the hole in the bearing cap for the air line is not completely centered, which cocks the seal housing to one side when the cap is torqued. This results in a poor seal that allows tiny droplets of oil to creep in, thus filling the air line with gear oil. The air collar housing also needs close inspection as wear patterns on it mean a poor installation. Patterns like this happen when the hole in the bearing cap for the air line is not completely centered, which cocks the seal housing to one side when the cap is torqued. This results in a poor seal that allows tiny droplets of oil to creep in, thus filling the air line with gear oil.
Closely inspect the O-ring grooves in the cylinder cap for dents or other damage, which can sometimes occur during installation. These dents cause the compressor to constantly run when the Air Locker is engaged. Closely inspect the O-ring grooves in the cylinder cap for dents or other damage, which can sometimes occur during installation. These dents cause the compressor to constantly run when the Air Locker is engaged.
While doing the inspection, another item to pay attention to is the ring-gear bolts. You can see on this ARB where a loose ring-gear bolt has hobbled out of its hole. According to ARB, this is a common cause of damage to Air Lockers. While doing the inspection, another item to pay attention to is the ring-gear bolts. You can see on this ARB where a loose ring-gear bolt has hobbled out of its hole. According to ARB, this is a common cause of damage to Air Lockers.
When assembling, it is important to align the relief of the clutch gear with the cross-pin hole. If the clutch gear is not properly aligned, it will not disengage when the Air Locker is first engaged. When assembling, it is important to align the relief of the clutch gear with the cross-pin hole. If the clutch gear is not properly aligned, it will not disengage when the Air Locker is first engaged.
The next step is to remove any burrs on the cylinder cap using steel wool. After deburring, make sure the cap is completely free of any dirt or other crud. The next step is to remove any burrs on the cylinder cap using steel wool. After deburring, make sure the cap is completely free of any dirt or other crud.
After the cap is cleaned, the lubed seal can be installed. The best tool to use is a seal installer or a feeler gauge. Other tools, such as screwdrivers, can cut the seal. After the cap is cleaned, the lubed seal can be installed. The best tool to use is a seal installer or a feeler gauge. Other tools, such as screwdrivers, can cut the seal.
When bolting on the cylinder cap make sure to use the new bolts and locking tabs supplied with the kit. Torque them to ARB specs using a criss-cross pattern, and use Loctite. Then install the locking tabs conical-side up. When bolting on the cylinder cap make sure to use the new bolts and locking tabs supplied with the kit. Torque them to ARB specs using a criss-cross pattern, and use Loctite. Then install the locking tabs conical-side up.
It is very important when installing the O-ring on the top of the cylinder cap to stretch it on. Lots of people roll it on, but this twists the O-ring, which leads to a poor seal and a short life. It is very important when installing the O-ring on the top of the cylinder cap to stretch it on. Lots of people roll it on, but this twists the O-ring, which leads to a poor seal and a short life.
When installing the air collar back on the cylinder cap, make sure to use assembly lube and to rotate the collar as you put it on. This will keep the O-ring from being cut. Next, test the O-ring out by putting air into the tube with a compressor. Rotating the collar slightly after applying the air will also help to seat the O-ring. When installing the air collar back on the cylinder cap, make sure to use assembly lube and to rotate the collar as you put it on. This will keep the O-ring from being cut. Next, test the O-ring out by putting air into the tube with a compressor. Rotating the collar slightly after applying the air will also help to seat the O-ring.
Another tip is to cut the air line in half and attach the two halves together with a tubing coupler. This makes bending the line much less of a chore, as the two halves are easier to manipulate. It also allows for less stress to be placed on the tube ends. Another tip is to cut the air line in half and attach the two halves together with a tubing coupler. This makes bending the line much less of a chore, as the two halves are easier to manipulate. It also allows for less stress to be placed on the tube ends.

If you have spent some time on the trail, then you have probably heard some of the comments about ARB Air Lockers. Some say ARBs leak a lot, while others say that they are too complicated. The rumors and gossip continue, and discussions of the pros and cons of the ARB unit versus other lockers have become as common as political debates. So what’s the deal? While you will never hear the truth at a political debate, you might hear some here. After years of testing, we have found that ARB Air Lockers are strong and can take a beating. Yes, ARBs are more complicated in design than other lockers, which has lead to some people fearing the Air Locker. However, no other currently available aftermarket locker allows you to change from an open differential to 100 percent locked at the push of a button.

So what causes an Air Locker to leak? Most of the time it is a poor installation job. Air Lockers require a little more care and attention to install than the average locker. Another culprit of leakage is contaminated gear oil. Like with anything a bit more complicated, Air Lockers require a little more maintenance. This means that gear oil needs to be changed after water and mud excursions, and that axle seals should be in good condition. Now, what do you do if you already have an Air Locker and it is leaking? ARB offers a reseal kit that allows you to swap in new O-rings and seals to fix leaks. The following shows what is involved in a reseal job, other causes of common problems with ARB lockers, and plenty of useful tips for ARB installations. If you feel the job is above your head, ARB can also reseal an Air Locker for you.

Sources

ARB USA
Renton, WA 98057
866-293-9078
http://www.arbusa.com

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