Questions in prep for an offroad trip (air lockers, etc.) - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old June 5th, 2012, 11:23 PM
Brian95D90
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Brian
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Questions in prep for an offroad trip (air lockers, etc.)

Hi all,

I recently purchased a '95 Defender. White, hard top, V8, 117k miles, no A/C, 4 sideways seats in the back, some rust, bunch of dents, coolest thing I've ever seen. I don't know a great deal about the trucks, but I saw it for sale at what I thought was perhaps a steal of a price, so I bought it. I think whomever owned the truck prior to me probably used it a bit, as it has front and rear air lockers, a winch, and 2 sets of offroad lights (and dents, lol).

I had the truck inspected and was told that it looked to be in good running shape except for a manufacturing issue that causes a kind of clunking noise when the clutch is pushed in or if the truck is under engine braking (in gear decelerating). Apparently there was a bulletin from the factory about this. They suggested that as its run this way for 117k miles I may as well leave it be until it breaks, if it breaks. It has a couple of minor oil leaks, one from the transfer case, but these amount to a drip now and again.

I was planning an offroad trip to Appleton OHV park in Minnesota to get a feel for the truck off road, and took it out on some gravel to try to assess whether the lockers are functioning properly, and experienced this:

(I have never had a truck with airlockers before, just e-lockers)

- I engaged the compressor and let it build up about 50 psi of reported pressure
- I engaged the rear locker, I couldn't discern any audible evidence of engagement, but when i dis-engaged it a whooshing sound was heard
- I engaged the front locker, which seemed to cause a "whoosh" of air that didn't stop - sounded like a leak somewhere

I then drove around a bit and... these 3 questions came up

1. I could not tell if the lockers successfully engaged. Does anybody know how one could discern this without ready access to a slippery surface to drive on and watch the wheels?

2. On the dash a red light came on showing 4 connected wheels once I put the truck in low lock. This stayed illuminated until I'd driven in high open for about 2 blocks, then it shut off.

3. The steering apparently went out for a brief period of time. The truck became incredibly difficult to steer for about 2 minutes, and I briefly wondered if I could get it a few hundred yards home. Then it suddenly functioned normally again.

If anybody has any insight into those, I'm all ears. I tried to replicate the steering situation, but have not yet been able to do so. I am most interested in making sure that the lockers are functioning before I need them, lol. If I took it to a mechanic could they divine this?

Thanks, and one last question

4. I have a Hummer H2 that I've taken to Moab a few times, the first time being in 2007. Do Jeep guys go all berserk over Defenders the way they do over Hummers? That trip in 07, and again in 08, it seemed like the H2 had a crowd of Jeep guys cheering for it to fail almost everywhere it went. They'd clap and hoot if I failed an obstacle and everything. That happen to Land Rovers too?
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  #2  
Old June 6th, 2012, 12:37 AM
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Cred
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Clarence
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When your front locker is working it should be difficult/ or impossible to turn the steering wheel. Both wheels in the front will be gripping and rotating evenly. You should be able to feel that your forward momentum has increased. The statement you wrote that says, "The steering apparently went out for a brief period of time. The truck became incredibly difficult to steer for about 2 minutes, and I briefly wondered if I could get it a few hundred yards home" . That sounds like a front locker that briefly functioned and then stopped.
My rear locker feels like I am getting pushed up the trail. It should make a discernible difference in your momentum. I have no whooshing sounds that are associated with me air lockers.
Sounds like you need to get your air lockers checked and fixed.

Search air locker problems and you will find plenty of threads with lots of info.
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Old June 6th, 2012, 01:42 AM
Brian95D90
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Brian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cred View Post
When your front locker is working it should be difficult/ or impossible to turn the steering wheel. Both wheels in the front will be gripping and rotating evenly. You should be able to feel that your forward momentum has increased. The statement you wrote that says, "The steering apparently went out for a brief period of time. The truck became incredibly difficult to steer for about 2 minutes, and I briefly wondered if I could get it a few hundred yards home" . That sounds like a front locker that briefly functioned and then stopped.
My rear locker feels like I am getting pushed up the trail. It should make a discernible difference in your momentum. I have no whooshing sounds that are associated with me air lockers.
Sounds like you need to get your air lockers checked and fixed.

Search air locker problems and you will find plenty of threads with lots of info.
A locked front would make sense. What is peculiar is that the steering problem popped up when, in theory, the lockers were disengaged.

It needs a look. What kind of mechanic would you look to to dig into airlocker issues (a non standard problem)? A dealership I'm a customer of, or a specialist of some kind?

------ Follow up post added June 6th, 2012 12:47 AM ------

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSBriggs View Post
Sounds like spline wear on the transmission output, Tcase input. When it 'breaks' you are dead in the water and will need to rebuild you Transmission and replace the input gear on the tcase.

Id suggest going through a few things mechanically before you take it out in the wilderness.

-Jeff
Yes, exactly what it is, the factory bulletin I was given relates to spline wear. If it breaks offroad... I can live with the pain of getting a broken truck back to civilization and then having the fun of a good story for the rest of my life. I've done it before... A few times.

The dealer didn't seem to think that breakage was imminent...

Thanks for the input, though, I'll grill them tomorrow about the odds of breakage if I go 'wheeling.
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  #4  
Old June 6th, 2012, 08:35 AM
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Dave Sherwood
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The are in St. Louis Park and have a ton of experience with ARB Lockers.

2. On the dash a red light came on showing 4 connected wheels once I put the truck in low lock. This stayed illuminated until I'd driven in high open for about 2 blocks, then it shut off.

This is normal.
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Old June 6th, 2012, 09:06 AM
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Charles Galpin
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For the front locker, follow the woosh sound. If it's an external air leak in one of the lines or fittings it should be an easy fix. If inside the axle, you will need to remove the third member and investigate further.

I've seen a bit of the behavior you describe from other brand owners. It's pronounced "jealousy".
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Old June 6th, 2012, 09:38 AM
Roverlab
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Trevor Griffiths
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When the lockers are deactivated, the air is vented through a solenoid, probably mounted on the compressor, so a brief release of air is normal upon deactivation. A constant flow of air is not correct.
If you have to make a line repair consider that ARB makes a heavy duty air line that attaches at the diff and is about 2 feet-maybe more- long. Gives you the option to run the slighltly less durable blue plastic line in a less vulnerable route.
The red warning light (some are amber) is the indicator that the center differential lock is engaged. My feeling is that proper rovers are somewhat "agricultural" in their origins and turning something off or disengaging a system isn't as immediate as a more modern, less agricultural Rover....
Lack of PAS: any chance the belt was wet and slipping?
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Old June 6th, 2012, 11:17 AM
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#3, If the front locker had not disengaged completely and driving at speed it would feel as tho the steering was tight as the truck would try to drive in a straigh line
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