TESTED: HARROP-EA­TON ELOCKER

TWIN ELOCK­ERS EN­COUR­AGE THE AL­BINO BE­HE­MOTH TO GO FUR­THER.

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

CRoss-axle diff locks are un­doubt­edly one of the best go-for­ward ac­ces­sories you can add to your four-wheel drive. Sure, good rub­ber and sus­pen­sion, as well as in­creased power and driver abil­ity all help, but throw­ing in a set of lock­ers takes any 4x4 to a new level of ca­pa­bil­ity – es­pe­cially on a non-flex­ing Troopy.

Not that the rear leaf and front coils don’t flex at all, it’s just that they are no match for a su­per-flexy cus­tom-coiled job. Given this rel­a­tive lack of ar­tic­u­la­tion, a set of lock­ers will help not just when sus­pen­sion flex runs out, but also with gripfree sit­u­a­tions like mud, snow, up­hill and down­hill driv­ing. Even sand driv­ing will see some ben­e­fit, al­beit gen­er­ally less than other sur­faces.

I’ve opted for a set of Harrop-ea­ton Elock­ers for my long-term project. Ea­ton is a proven Amer­i­can-based com­pany that has been around for don­key’s years, while Aus­tralian-spe­cific mod­els have been de­vel­oped via Mel­bourne-based Harrop and sold via Harrop, Op­po­site Lock and Ter­rain Tamer out­lets.

The Elocker is man­u­fac­tured with pre­ci­sion-forged gears and four pin­ions, pro­vid­ing su­pe­rior strength and dura­bil­ity over standard equip­ment. There are both front and rear locker of­fer­ings avail­able for most Aus­tralian-sourced 4x4s.

WHY LOCK?

LET’S get one thing straight about dif­fer­en­tial locks: You don’t have to be a week­end war­rior, rock-hop­per or off-road racer to en­joy the ad­van­tages lock­ers of­fer. No siree – the av­er­age tourer, fam­ily 4x4 or long-dis­tance ad­ven­turer will see just as much bang for their buck thanks to the ‘get out of the muck free’ card that a locker of­fers. Heck, even try­ing to haul a boat trailer up a slip­pery ramp can be made so much eas­ier at the flick of switch – pro­vided you don’t wind the diff up by us­ing it too long on a hard sur­face.

The more dif­fi­cult the ter­rain, the more you’ll en­joy the ben­e­fits of a diff lock. How­ever, keep in mind that if you do get stuck with a locker (or two) en­gaged, it’ll prob­a­bly be a mas­sive re­cov­ery ef­fort given the ex­tra go-for­ward drive they of­fer.

WHY ELOCK?

FOR starters, an Elocker is sim­ple. Once the locker unit is in­stalled into the diff cen­tre, all you need to do is run a wire to each diff.

The Elocker is elec­tro­mag­net­i­cally ac­ti­vated, be­ing man­u­ally switched in-cab by the driver. Once it’s en­gaged, all the wheels will con­tin­u­ously drive un­til you’re con­fi­dent you can re­vert back to un­locked diffs, which is achieved us­ing the same switches (one for the front and one for the rear locker).

Lock­ers can also be used to help ne­go­ti­ate and tackle ob­sta­cles slowly with­out dam­ag­ing your 4x4. In­stead of us­ing mo­men­tum and crash­ing over rocks or ruts, you can se­lect a low gear and crawl over (al­most) any­thing with­out the (pos­si­ble) re­sul­tant dam­age.

ONE OR TWO?

ONE Elocker is great, but two is bet­ter. A great op­tion with the Elocker pair is you can use the rear, the front or both at any time – it’s your choice. How­ever, care must be taken when lock­ing the front diff, as you lose steer­ing abil­ity when you ‘power on’, cre­at­ing a ten­dency for the 4x4 to pull straight ahead.

Elock­ers can be fit­ted by com­pe­tent Diy­ers and most me­chan­ics. I opted for the pro­fes­sional ser­vices of Op­po­site Lock South Syd­ney to in­stall mine, as I knew they had all the re­quired spe­cialty tools on hand. They en­sured all set­tings were cor­rect

within the diff hous­ing, plus they used a Ter­rain Tamer bear­ing kit.

Sim­ple elec­tri­cal lines run from the in-dash switches to each diff, and I’ve fit­ted the two switches into ex­ist­ing ‘push-outs’ just to the right of the steer­ing wheel.

De­spite rev­el­ling in the ‘go-any­where’ abil­ity the Elock­ers pro­vide, I’m also cau­tious not to push the lim­its of grav­ity with such a tall and nar­row 4x4. How­ever, when the Troopy strug­gles for trac­tion, I’m con­fi­dent that at the push of a but­ton (or two) I’ll have the nec­es­sary trac­tion re­quired to pull and push the al­bino be­he­moth over pretty much any­thing in its path. Plus I’m con­fi­dent it can just as quickly re­vert back to un­locked open diff cen­tres for on-road mile-munch­ing – that’s a win-win all ’round.

Diff lash and preload need to be set by some­one who knows what they are do­ing. An ex­ploded view of the Harrop-ea­ton Elocker. Ter­rain Tamer bear­ings are used through­out the fit­ting.

RATED AVAIL­ABLE FROM: www.op­po­site­lock.com.au, www.ter­rain­tamer.com.au www.harrop.com.au RRP: From $1499 (model-de­pen­dent). WE SAY: Sim­ple; re­li­able; to­tal trac­tion.

To­tal se­lec­tiv­ity – front, rear or both.

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