Toyota E-Locker for Our Sami

We Install a Toyota E-Locker in Our Sami

It's hard to remember a time before Ford had the Raptor, Jeep had the Wrangler Rubicon, Chevy had ZR2s, or some other time before any OEM off-road performance packages. A time before automotive suits realized folks were using 4x4s for more than just the occasional dirt road or snowy hill. A time before the OEM's realized that we, as off-road enthusiasts, spend tens of thousands of dollars outfitting our 4x4s for extreme use. Time-warp back to around 1994 1/2 when Toyota was the one and only OEM selling a 4x4 in the United States with an electric locking rear differential (available in the Tacoma and 4Runner models). Slightly before that (1991 to be exact) a similar electric locker was available ... albeit a somewhat rare option in expensive 80 Series Toyota Land Cruisers.

Toyota axles have always enjoyed reputation for strength in a relatively small package, and the Toyota electric locker in the 8-inch high-pinion Land Cruiser carrier, and later the Tacoma electric locking rear differential, are no exception. Both make for viable and reliable selectable locking differentials, especially in lightweight and lower-powered vehicles.

Our 1987 Suzuki Samurai is definitely light and low-powered, a perfect application for the on-demand traction afforded by a selectable locker. Plus, a Toyota factory E-Locker came with the project, albeit uninstalled.

The Sami also had an IFS Toyota rear axle that was narrowed on one side to make it fit better under a Samurai (which has an offset rear T-case output). This axle uses the venerable 8-inch Toyota carrier, and is called an IFS axle despite its solid, semifloat nature (because it came out of a 1986-1994 Toyota DX pickup or 4Runner, both of which come factory with independent front suspension). Lucky for us with a few modifications we were able to modify our rear axlehousing to hold a Tacoma/4Runner E-Locking differential with 4.30:1 gears. Add this in with the automatic locker from Lock Right front differential we are going to run in our Sami, and you have a perfect combination of constant front traction (until you pop the T-case into 2WD) and selectable rear traction (for tight turns).

With help from a Low Range Off Road Toyota E-Locker wiring harness and skidplate our Samurai is just about ready to hit the trails. Check it out.