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Old 08-17-2010, 04:10 AM   #1
jake_blue
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Detroit Soft Locker versus Eaton E-Locker?

Actually, it looks like Eaton and Detroit are both made by Eaton, but the real question I'm wondering is what if any is the difference between a soft locker and an e-locker? I know the e- in e-locker stands for electric locker (in contrast to an air locker or mechanically actuated locker) but the description I've seen of the soft locker is that its passive instead of selectable by the driver. Is this correct? And based on that, does anyone have any feedback one way or the other? I'm just trying to determine which would suit my lifestyle which is daily driver plus regular offroading (nothing too extreme, still sitting stock).
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:43 AM   #2
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The detroit will lock whenever power is applied to it and then unlock when there is no load. The e-locker locks fully when you push a button and unlocks when you push it again.
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:16 AM   #3
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If you are running an automatic and put a detroit in the rear it will be unnoticable as long as you don't get on the gas during sharp turns. If I was doing it over again I would get a detroit for my rear.
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Old 08-17-2010, 09:51 AM   #4
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I'm running both in 2 jeeps. E-locker in the rear of my JK and TJ. Detroit Locker in the front of my JK with selectable hubs and in the front of my TJ without selectable locking hubs. I was running Detroits in my old Suburban too, which I just sold.

Remember, all Detroit lockers are "soft lockers" now, and they do behave a little better than the Detroits of old. The Detroit requires no switches, electric devices, air, or input of any kind. It does its own thing; fulling locking the axle when needed, and unbinding during turns (but not always in the dirt or on slippery surfaces like icy or wet pavement).

My thoughts on the Detroit in the front: Absolutely awesome off-road, I very rarely engage my rear locker anymore. Your ability to make tight maneuvers off-road is not diminished at all. Some claim that they can't feel it up there on the street, but that has NOT been my experience. With the manual hubs on my JK, its not an issue. But on my TJ, you can feel it on the street while making tight turns - my wife will not even drive the TJ anymore.

My thoughts on the Detroit in the rear: Once again, good off-road, but it does slightly limit maneuverability in tight spots. For mud bogging, sand, rock climbs, and most trails it is OK, but it kind of sucks in the technical stuff. I don't think that there is anything stronger and maintenance free you can use than a Detroit. In the rear, the Detroit is fine on the street. It will push a little bit when going into a turn, but really not that bad. The rear detroit in my Suburban was flat-out DANGEROUS on icy roads. If you live in a place with heavy winters, I would consider a selectable in the rear too.

Eaton e-locker: I have wheeled mine in two vehicles over the toughest trails in the west, including the hammers and have never had an issue. Nor have I ever seen an issue with anyone else's Eaton e-locker (and a lot of folks are running them now). If you do the research, you will find that about 99% of people who have them are happy with them, and 99% of people who don't like them do not have them. The design is not as beefy as an ARB, but they seem to be more trouble-free IME. The only drawback to the e-locker is that is takes several feet more than the ARB for the locker to engage/disengage. If I wanted to run on-board air, I would get the ARB. But since I had no desire to go with an air system on my current 2 builds, I went Eaton e-locker.
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:31 PM   #5
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All detroits are softlockers only if they do not have C-Clips
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:11 PM   #6
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Loads of good info - thanks to all for your feedback!
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgkjeep View Post
If you are running an automatic and put a detroit in the rear it will be unnoticable as long as you don't get on the gas during sharp turns. If I was doing it over again I would get a detroit for my rear.
Full carrier auto lockers are great, seamless with an auto and a longer wheelbase.
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Old 08-18-2010, 03:27 AM   #8
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Full carrier auto lockers are great, seamless with an auto and a longer wheelbase.
Good point, I guess it would have helped to provide a little info about the intended vehicle. This is a 2008 Unlimited 4-dr with an automatic, so it is the long wheelbase and it sounds like auto would be preferred to stick in this instance.
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:27 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by jake_blue View Post
Good point, I guess it would have helped to provide a little info about the intended vehicle. This is a 2008 Unlimited 4-dr with an automatic, so it is the long wheelbase and it sounds like auto would be preferred to stick in this instance.
I have a 4 door 08 jk unlimited with an auto and a detroit in the rear. You barely know its there. We don't have ice or snow, so I have no worries with that. My wife drove my jeep before the detroit and after the detroit was installed, and she never knew the difference in driving on the street. She hates driving the thing, so if there was any difference I would hear about it.
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Old 08-18-2010, 11:27 AM   #10
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So it sounds like the concensus is that a Detroit in the rear would be unnoticable in standard conditions yet provide the positive traction desired and even in the front it would be useful since it would only be engaged when in 4WD anyways. If this is the case, I could skip selectable locking and let this locker just do its thing! Unless there's some negative I'm overlooking.
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Old 08-18-2010, 11:56 AM   #11
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Turning on the trail with both front & rear locked is kinda a PITA unless you have an atlas.
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:58 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by desert dog View Post
I'm running both in 2 jeeps. E-locker in the rear of my JK and TJ. Detroit Locker in the front of my JK with selectable hubs and in the front of my TJ without selectable locking hubs. I was running Detroits in my old Suburban too, which I just sold.

Remember, all Detroit lockers are "soft lockers" now, and they do behave a little better than the Detroits of old. The Detroit requires no switches, electric devices, air, or input of any kind. It does its own thing; fulling locking the axle when needed, and unbinding during turns (but not always in the dirt or on slippery surfaces like icy or wet pavement).

My thoughts on the Detroit in the front: Absolutely awesome off-road, I very rarely engage my rear locker anymore. Your ability to make tight maneuvers off-road is not diminished at all. Some claim that they can't feel it up there on the street, but that has NOT been my experience. With the manual hubs on my JK, its not an issue. But on my TJ, you can feel it on the street while making tight turns - my wife will not even drive the TJ anymore.

My thoughts on the Detroit in the rear: Once again, good off-road, but it does slightly limit maneuverability in tight spots. For mud bogging, sand, rock climbs, and most trails it is OK, but it kind of sucks in the technical stuff. I don't think that there is anything stronger and maintenance free you can use than a Detroit. In the rear, the Detroit is fine on the street. It will push a little bit when going into a turn, but really not that bad. The rear detroit in my Suburban was flat-out DANGEROUS on icy roads. If you live in a place with heavy winters, I would consider a selectable in the rear too.

Eaton e-locker: I have wheeled mine in two vehicles over the toughest trails in the west, including the hammers and have never had an issue. Nor have I ever seen an issue with anyone else's Eaton e-locker (and a lot of folks are running them now). If you do the research, you will find that about 99% of people who have them are happy with them, and 99% of people who don't like them do not have them. The design is not as beefy as an ARB, but they seem to be more trouble-free IME. The only drawback to the e-locker is that is takes several feet more than the ARB for the locker to engage/disengage. If I wanted to run on-board air, I would get the ARB. But since I had no desire to go with an air system on my current 2 builds, I went Eaton e-locker.
Great info for the OP. I agree with your assessment of the Suburban in the ice. Handling would be a little better if you had a Sof-Locker but it's still not a great idea for rigs that see a lot of time on icy roads.
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Old 08-18-2010, 02:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Prope View Post
Turning on the trail with both front & rear locked is kinda a PITA unless you have an atlas.
Agree you will not be able to make as tight as turns, but where i wheel we don't have switchbacks or alot of tight turns. Don't know about OP.
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