Battle Testing the Cable-Controlled OX Locker
We could have done a weenie step-by-step install of the OX Trax Locker from Superior Axle & Gear in the front Dana 44 axle of our Ford F-150. We could have shown you a regurgitated instruction sheet, but we had a better idea. It didn't involve guns (although we thought about shooting at the OX billet diff cover), but instead a long-term torture test. We cranked on down to Drivetrain Direct in Corona, California, and had an OX Locker stuffed into our fullsize test pig. What better way to try and break something than with a healthy V-8, 37-inch-tall tires, and plenty of fullsize weight?
Unless you've only recently come out of a coma you've probably heard of the cable-controlled OX Locker. It acts like a conventional open differential when unlocked, but with the flip of the small shifter you get spool-like traction and performance. There are no air lines to get damaged or solenoids on the diff cover to get crushed, only a large industrial cable that threads into the side of the 1/2-inch-thick machined diff cover. Almost every component in the locker is made from solid machined billet steel and is hogged out with CNC machines--no cast, no pot metal, and no cheese. Here's a couple of install ideas and what we found out during our six-month bout.
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More Than Rocks
A selectable front and even rear locker is big help for rockcrawlers trying to make sharp turns on the trail. With the lockers unlocked the vehicle will actually turn instead of pushing into a corner. But not everyone is into hard-core rockcrawling--shoot, less than half the country even has rocks in it.
Our F-150 was built for just about anything we can throw at it. But mostly high-speed stuff, hillclimbs, jumping, and sand dunes. If you have a similar rig that sees many kinds of 'wheeling, then you'll want a selectable front locker, hands down. Chances are you don't need it all the time. A full-time locker can cause some quirks at high speeds when in four-wheel drive or even in two-by with the hubs locked. Understeer can be a problem when sliding around a corner off-road. With the OX we can disengage the front locker and still bash around in four-wheel drive with little steering difficulty. But when we get stuck or want to climb we can lock it and hammer down.
If you have a vehicle with an axle disconnect system (some Jeeps and Dodges) or without locking hubs, a selectable locker is really the best way to go. Your vehicle will drive just like factory when disengaged. Non-selectable lockers and even limited slips will cause some torque steer when driving on the street in two-by.