Whats the difference between a Mechanical locker and a Selectable locker?
(Detroit, Powertrax, Lock Right)
- Mechanical lockers engage automatically when force is applied to the differential via the pinion and ring gear. While force is not actively being applied, springs in the locker allow the mechanism to disengage. That is to say that when you press on the gas it locks up, when you let off the gas and turn it unlocks.
- Mechanical lockers are well know for the popping and clanking noises they make when engaging and disengaging.
- Mechanical lockers can be installed in front differentials but you must have lock out hubs and they MUST be unlocked for on-road driving because of steering issues.
(ARB, TJM, OX, Auburn ECTED, Eaton E-Locker)
- Selectable lockers fall into 3 categories - Air, electric and manual.
- Air lockers use compressed air from a vehicle-mounted air compressor to engage the locking mechanism.
- Electric lockers use an electrical pulse to engage a magnetic locking device.
- Manual lockers (OX) must be engaged by pulling a cord, usually requiring the driver to exit the vehicle (although many OX can be upgraded to electric).
- Air and electric lockers can be activated by a switch inside the vehicle.
- Selectable lockers are fully locked when engaged and function as an open differential when not engaged.
- Some electric lockers function as a limited-slip differential when not engaged.