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The New Dana 44 Ox Locker

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Christian Hazel
| Brand Manager, Four Wheeler
Posted July 1, 2001

First Look!

Step By Step

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  • We were absolutely floored by the quality of the components. We’ve seen shoddier parts used on airplanes. The Ox Locker includes the locker itself, the differential cover, the cable, the shifter, and the best set of instructions we’ve ever encountered.

  • The differential cover is massively strong for a reason. Since it houses the shift fork, it needs to be rigid enough to prevent deflection and also strong enough so encounters with rocks won’t dent or distort it, sending the shift fork into the shift collar.

  • Here you can see the max-strength four-spider gear design. When the locker is engaged, the shift collar slides over the side gear and prevents the spider gears from turning. It’s the same traction as welding up your differential with the benefit of everyday driveability.

  • Barazza removed the stock differential, as well as the bearings, seals, and races. You can see here how the housing must be modified to provide clearance for the shift fork. Barazza stuffed some rags in the axletubes to keep out metal shavings and hit it with a cutoff wheel.

  • The ring gear can’t be installed with the carrier assembled. After the new Superior 4.56 ring gear is torqued down, the locking side gear and springs are installed.

  • 5Next, the locking ring is installed with the flat side facing up. The carrier cap can then be installed with the supplied Grade 8 hardware. Use high-strength Loctite and tighten the bolts to 12 lb-ft in a crisscross pattern.

  • With all new races and bearings included in the Superior installation kit, Barazza installed the pinion and carrier assembly and adjusted the pinion depth, bearing preload, and backlash. If you don’t have the experience, it’s best to leave this step to a professional.

  • With the locker installed, the differential cover and shifter cable must be set up. Begin by threading the cable rod through the cover and into the shift fork. The end should protrude slightly, as shown.

  • Next, route the cable close to where you want the shifter installed and bring it through the floor or firewall. Before installing the diff cover or mounting the shifter with the supplied template, you need to adjust the cable so the shift fork in the cover travels fully from lock to unlock. It’s a little tricky, but the instructions are very detailed.

  • With the shifter connected and in the unlocked position, install the cover, making sure the shift fork indexes the locking collar. Torque the bolts down and fill the diff with 90W.

That’s right, it’s a whole new animal—no pun intended. Ox Trax has developed a cable-operated locker that’s simple, well designed, and looks bombproof. Our sister magazine JpThe new Ox Locker works as an open differential until the shifter is thrown. This engages the cable-operated shift fork that’s housed in the differential cover and slides a collar over one of the side gears. The collar locks the side gear, preventing it from turning, thus making a spool out of the differential. The whole concept is easy, solid, and simple. It goes without saying that in harsh 4x4 environments where anything can go wrong, simple is good.

The Ox Locker is currently available for Dana 30 applications. The Dana 44 Ox Locker will be available by the time you read this, with ones for the Dana 35 and Dana 60 coming sometime in the near future. As soon as we can get our hands on a production Ox Locker we’ll run it through the wringer and let you know how it does under the harshest of test conditions. Until then, follow Drivetrain Direct’s Martin Barazza as he installs the Ox Locker in a Dana 44 rear housing along with a set of Superior Gear 4.56 cogs and install kit.


Drivetrain Direct
Corona, CA 92880
Superior Axle