Off-roaders are a crafty bunch. Whatever it is, we want to know if we can do it ourselves. A good example of this? Figuring out whether we can install ring-and-pinion gears and lockers on our own. Whether trying to compensate for bigger tires or simply increase trail performance, swapping out gears and installing lockers is all part of a vehicle buildup. But is this really something you can do yourself? To find out, we went to the pros at Drivetrain Direct and followed along as they installed a set of Superior 4.88 gears and a Detroit Locker and ARB Air Locker in a Dana 44 and Dana 60 to see if it was possible for the do-it-yourselfer.
So what was the verdict? Installing ring-and-pinion gears is like building an engine: Experience is a big plus. However, there is only one way to learn and that is to dive in and do it. But we cant recommend trying it for the first time on your sole daily driver, the rig thats got to be running by tomorrow so that you can get to work. If you have the luxury of having more than one vehicle, plenty of patience, a good manual, and the right tools, doing your own installation might be worth a shot. Otherwise it is probably best left to the pros. The following will give you a good idea of what is involved. This is not meant to be step-by-step instructions (we wouldnt have enough pages for that). Read it over. If it seems way over your head, then it would be wise to have a shop handle your install. But if it looks like something you can handle, and youve got a spare set of wheels that you can use if things dont go as smoothly as planned, then go for it.