Review & Install Video
I'm Ryan from extremeterrain.com, and this is my review of the ARB traction pack fitting all 2007 and up JKs. There are two different versions of this traction pack, one for those of you with the Rubicon, and one for those of you without, so make sure you pick the right one for your Jeep. Today we're going to talk through the installation of this track pack, which is a three out of three wrench installation. This is something that the vast majority of you guys are going to want to take to a shop to have them install. This is not something that you can simply open up the differential, and throw in like a lunchbox locker, or something that's easy to do in your driveway. You are going to have to completely reset up your gears, and even if you are comfortable setting up a differential, the intricacies of an air locker do make it even that much more difficult. So, for the vast majority of you this is going to be something you're going to be taking to a shop to have them install. We're also going to talk through the construction of this setup, what it comes with and the big benefits and features of a traction pack setup like this.
This traction pack is for those of you who want to add lockers front and rear of your Jeep, and also add on board air at the same time. This package is going to give you all of that. Now for those of you who aren't familiar with what a locker is and specifically an air locker, a locker will connect the two wheels on the same axle together so that they are always spinning at the same speed, at the same time. An air locker uses air to actuate that mechanism. Some of you might be thinking, "I already have four wheel drive, why do I need a locker?" Well, if you don't have a Rubicon you do have four wheel drive, but only one tire on each axle is going to be receiving power at one time.
If you have an open differential when one tire is up in the air receiving very little traction, that's the tire that gets power. If you have a posi rear, you're going to be getting all of the power to the tire that has traction, but none of the power to the tire that has less traction. So, the locker is a way that's going to completely lock that axle together. If you have front and rear lockers like this, all four tires are going to be spinning at the same time. So, it makes it much more difficult to get stuck. Obviously, this is called a traction pack. This gives you a ton more traction. You have to be high centered in a position where most of the tires aren't touching the ground, or at least don't have enough weight on them to pull you forward to get stuck. You're going to put yourself in a situation where you can get over a lot more obstacles when you have lockers installed, especially when you have front and rear lockers installed.
One of the big benefits to installing an air locker or really any selectable locker is that you can turn it on and off whenever you need to. When you're going around a sharp corner on a trail, you can very easily kick off your front locker, or your front and your rear locker to make it around that corner a lot easier. If you have the lockers installed, your turning radius is definitely a lot worse, so having a selectable locker like this is a really nice option. The fact that this also includes because it is an air actuated locker, basically an onboard air system for you, you have your compressor that's going to run these lockers, but you also get included an air hose with quick disconnect fittings on it, and a fill gauge so that you can easily air up your tires after you're done out on the trail. This is a really complete kit.
If you've been doing some research on lockers for a while, you'll know that ARB has a really good name in lockers because they build a very strong mechanism. In fact there are a lot of manufacturers out there from overseas that have been trying to copy this mechanism for a long time, obviously not doing it as well because they're trying to do it cheaper, and they end up breaking. This is a very, very strong locker mechanism. That being said, just because you have a set of lockers, you have a lot more traction and your locking mechanism is very, very strong, that's not to say that the rest of your setup is going to be able to handle being locked up. If you have 37s and you have lockers, chances are you're probably going to break something along the way. You're going to break an axle shaft. You're going to bend an axle housing. So, it is important to remember that when you get to the level of installing a pair of lockers like this you have big heavy wheel tire combinations, you do have to be careful. You have to remember that there are other mods that are going to come along with these lockers to make sure that the rest of the drive train can hold up to it.
The traction pack I have in front of me is designed for a non-Rubicon JK. This is going to fit your Dana 44 in the rear and your Dana 30 up front. What this locker is going to do is completely replace the carrier mechanism inside of your differential, getting rid of the spider gears in their more traditional sense, and replacing everything in the differential with this new carrier, this new air locking carrier. You're also going to have to drill a hole in your differential so that you can get the air supply into this new carrier, so that you can lock and unlock the differential at will. You have your compressor over here, which is a high output compressor, which allows it to not just be used to run your air lockers, but also to be used for your onboard air system. These lockers need a certain psi to engage, and they really don't need any volume. They just need that pressure to hold them in the locked position. You don't really need this high output compressor to run these lockers, but this kit does come with a high output compressor because it also comes with the air line and the fill gauge, so that you can use this system to air up your tires when you're leaving the trail, which again is a really nice feature.
This system is really going to come with pretty much everything that you need. It's going to come with your air switches, so that you can independently switch your front and your rear locker on. It's going to come with an independent switch to turn your compressor on and off. That's important because you might want to turn your compressor on so that you can fill your tires up, but not have your axle locked. This is going to come with all of your switches, your wiring harnesses. This really does come with everything you need to get it installed, however, as I said before this is not an install most of you are going to want to tackle. This is something that you're going to want to take it not just to a differential shop, but if you can find one to a shop that is experienced in installing these ARB air lockers. Because there are some intricacies when installing a system like this that you don't want to get wrong. Because you want to make sure that your locker is going to work. If you're in a situation where you're on a tough trail, you want to make sure that the locker locks so that you can get through the obstacle and stays locked without causing you any sort of issues.
Again, I've hit on it a couple of times. The installation for this setup is a three out of three wrenches. Now, if it saves you some money, if you are handy, if you do want to install part of this system by yourself, you can certainly install your compressor. You can run your air lines. You can do all of your wiring. You can get all of that done, however, the vast majority of us are going to want to take our Jeeps to a shop to have them actually install the locker in the differential, get the rear setup properly, bore the hole in the housing, do all of that heavy lifting work. This is not a job that a lot of you guys are going to want to tackle in your driveway. There's just a lot that goes into the installation.
As far as tools you're going to need, it's really everything that you have in your toolbox, and some specialty tools that you're going to need for setting up rears, for setting backlash. You're going to need to be able to set all of your pre-loads. You're going to need calipers for measuring shims. There's really a lot that goes into installing the locker portion of this. Again, if you want to install these other parts and do part of it to save yourself a little bit of money, you can certainly do that. But, these you're going to want to leave to the professionals.
I said before I think this system is a fairly priced system for everything that you get. It's going to be around $2,000 but when you get both lockers front and rear and you get an on-board air system, I think that that's a pretty good deal. Granted this is a tankless onboard air system, but if you're familiar with on-board air systems you can purchase a tank. You could certainly add a tank if you wanted to have that as part of your system. You can still do it for less than it would be to piece together a system like this. This is something that is going to save you some money. It is going to be an easy one stop shop. One box has everything you need in it. I think that this is a really good deal. Granted when you're budgeting for lockers, I wouldn't just budget for this $2,000 kit, and say, "Oh, I'm done now I have lockers." You are going to have to budget to beef up the rest of the drive train as I mentioned before to hold up to the added stresses that a set of lockers will put on your drive through.
If you're serious about off roading, if you want the maximum amount of traction possible, locking up your axle both front and rear is the way to do it. Having not just a selectable locker but an air locker like this makes it very easy to kick your lockers on and off when you need them, still get around tight corners on the trail by being able to turn them off, but turn them on very easily from inside the cab when you want to get up an obstacle, and because you have to have an on-board air system in order to run these lockers, you automatically have a way to fill up your tires when you leave the trail. This in my opinion is a really fairly priced system, that is one of the highest quality sets of lockers that you can get that is going to turn your Jeep into something that can conquer pretty much any trail you point it at. That's my review of the ARB traction pack fitting all 2007 and up JKs that you can find right here at extremeterrain.com.