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Old 08-06-2019, 12:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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ARB front locker, how much noise is too much?

Having a hard time finding an answer to this. There has to be a ton of people who've done it though.

If you have an ARB air locker in a front diff of most later model 4x4's with a front axle that disconnects only on one side (so one side shaft is always spinning the spider gears) - like any Toyota 4x4 since 1995ish - how much gear noise should you expect from the ARB? Would you expect it to be as quiet as OEM when unlocked and running in 2wd? Or do you expect to have a fair amount of gear noise/vibration at speed?

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Old 08-06-2019, 12:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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sounds like you should convert to manual locking hubs

edit: sorry for not being of any real help

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Old 08-06-2019, 01:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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sounds like you should convert to manual locking hubs

edit: sorry for not being of any real help
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Old 08-06-2019, 01:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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In my TJ (not a disconnect axle) with either the front Dana 30 or Dana 44, neither ARB made more noise than stock. These were older style ARBís. Because the with the front is open when they are unlocked, I donít see how you would have more noise than stock.
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Old 08-06-2019, 01:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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There's only two places the noise can come from that I can think of: the spider gears of the ARB are poorly machined so they run really noisy, or the dog clutch is not completely disengaged and the tips of the gear teeth are touching as they pass.

Here's a video of the first one (is removed and sent back, ARB replaced and the second one just installed sounds just like it). Now imagine spinning the one side input at 700rpms and you can get a good idea of the amount of noise it's making. I have not heard of this being an issue on other late model vehicles and I would think there would be a lot of complaints if it's normal. ARB says it's normal, but also replaced it. #2 is the same. If this is normal I'm done with ARB and will remove and replace with something that doesn't drone on the road and vibrate my feet. It's a daily driver, not a comp rig.

Functionally it works fine. I've cycled it a bunch of times in the hopes that it would help. The only thing I haven't tried yet is to apply a bit of vacuum to see if it helps pull the dog clutch back further - or put something like 140wt oil in it to see if it quiets down with heavy oil as a bandaid. Not thrilled about that idea.

Maybe I'm expecting something different from what is commonly known about them? I don't want to bash ARB if this is just normal and everyone knows it. If I'm the idiot here and this is just how they sound - I'd really like to know.

https://youtu.be/5EP7FIpebXo

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Old 08-06-2019, 01:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Huh, that is loud. I did recently get a screaming deal on a Dana 60 ARB because it made noise. I have not put it in the jeep yet so I do not know if it makes that sound. It was in a JK and I guess the sound was very noticeable. (Rear axle)
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Old 08-06-2019, 02:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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thanks. This is what it sounded like inside the diff when I pulled the first one out after about 500 miles: https://youtu.be/MYAcH464qXo The housing doesn't muffle it much. The second one I had put in a new diff with no shared parts from the old one to make sure I didn't have anything else causing it. And I had it installed by an ARB recommended shop. Same result. Not sure if it's a bad production run, bad luck, or par for the course. Just needed a reality check. Maybe they just mailed me another noisy one? I have no idea.

@justdifferentials you guys sell a ton, are you seeing a bunch coming back lately?

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Old 08-06-2019, 07:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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There's only two places the noise can come from that I can think of: the spider gears of the ARB are poorly machined so they run really noisy, or the dog clutch is not completely disengaged and the tips of the gear teeth are touching as they pass.

Here's a video of the first one (is removed and sent back, ARB replaced and the second one just installed sounds just like it). Now imagine spinning the one side input at 700rpms and you can get a good idea of the amount of noise it's making. I have not heard of this being an issue on other late model vehicles and I would think there would be a lot of complaints if it's normal. ARB says it's normal, but also replaced it. #2 is the same. If this is normal I'm done with ARB and will remove and replace with something that doesn't drone on the road and vibrate my feet. It's a daily driver, not a comp rig.

Functionally it works fine. I've cycled it a bunch of times in the hopes that it would help. The only thing I haven't tried yet is to apply a bit of vacuum to see if it helps pull the dog clutch back further - or put something like 140wt oil in it to see if it quiets down with heavy oil as a bandaid. Not thrilled about that idea.

Maybe I'm expecting something different from what is commonly known about them? I don't want to bash ARB if this is just normal and everyone knows it. If I'm the idiot here and this is just how they sound - I'd really like to know.

https://youtu.be/5EP7FIpebXo
It looks like the side gear is displacing towards the carrier bearing at each ratchet sound. Could be a visual artifact, but it sure looks like it is moving
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Old 08-07-2019, 09:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It looks like the side gear is displacing towards the carrier bearing at each ratchet sound. Could be a visual artifact, but it sure looks like it is moving
I don't think the side gear was loose - although as I think about it - they're usually free floating on the pin right? So it could move some and still be "normal" right? My guess is that it's just an odd artifiact in the video (I was holding my phone in one hand and using the stub shaft to turn the spider gears in the other). Could also be just oil on it. It had literally just been dumped out of the differential and the ring gear removed so it was still covered in gear oil other than what I had wiped off with a rag.

The shop that installed it does a ton of them and I dropped it back off this morning. They said it was not normal to make any noise when unlocked and leaving the gears running against each other would probably end up with them wearing and not engaging eventually. Getting two bad units is pretty unusual. I didn't check the serial number on the new one - I can't imagine that ARB just repackaged the same one and sent it back to me?

Last edited by jetboy; 08-07-2019 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 08-08-2019, 07:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Arb front and rear. Drive flanges. No noise
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:51 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Arb front and rear. Drive flanges. No noise
Thanks. That's kinda what I thought it should be.


I spoke with ARB and they're going to send me a third one to swap in. I guess I'll probably give it a try again. My gut says cut my losses and just put the open carrier back in and be done with it. But if they're willing to cover the labor, I'll give it another try.

Last edited by jetboy; 08-09-2019 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 08-09-2019, 09:44 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Arb front and rear. Drive flanges. No noise
His axle has a CAD system and is why he is getting noise, shouldn't be causing it because there is next to zero load on the spiders and the half axle shaft that spinning in reverse. Maybe a different grade of diff oil would quiet it down.
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Old 08-10-2019, 01:38 PM   #13 (permalink)
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So ARB says that's perfectly normal, but they're sending you a 3rd diff just to make a customer happy about something that isn't a problem? That's...weird.

What did they think of those vids?

Are they inspecting the returns? Seems like they should be able to pinpoint the noise from the first return.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:27 AM   #14 (permalink)
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So ARB says that's perfectly normal, but they're sending you a 3rd diff just to make a customer happy about something that isn't a problem? That's...weird.

What did they think of those vids?

Are they inspecting the returns? Seems like they should be able to pinpoint the noise from the first return.
It's kind of a long story, but basically the first response was - mail it back and we'll take a look. They also sat on it for almost a month - so you can imagine what that means for me with a diff removed from my daily driver... (I had to swap in a spare front and rear diff with matching ratios while I waited - not a cheap or easy situation for me - I fortunately had a spare front diff, but it was OEM ratio, so I also had to buy a spare rear OEM ratio diff to match and the 8.2 elockers are hard to find and not cheap, and the 4Runner rear isn't an easy swap like it used to be because the brake lines have to be removed so... it's not a trivial task to swap front or rear diffs on this thing and having to do it multiple times is not my idea of fun). After I starting pushing it along they said it was normal, but they sent a new one.

I had an ARB vendor/preferred installer install #2 and, although less noisy, still makes the same noise. This was installed in my spare diff with all new parts, so there is nothing shared with the prior one. Unless of course they boxed up the first one and sent it back. I don't think they would have done that though. It looked like a new product in a new box.

This time they're at least sending #3 without making me remove #2 and wait another 4 weeks. I'm out of spare differentials, money to waste on this goat rope, and I'm quickly running out of patience. They said that they (the ARB USA folks in Washington) would open the box and check that the next one isn't having any gear interference internally before they ship it. That's why I was asking about what should expect. Maybe I'm the idiot expecting Toyota E-locker type quality gears that run quietly on the road. I've never had an ARB locker before. So I just don't know. Maybe they're not really a good choice for axle disconnect front applications. Had I known they were normally noisy I never would have put one in my daily. But it sounds like this isn't normal. If it's on me - so be it. I can accept that. I just need to know. The install shop does a ton of Tacomas with the same setup and said they shouldn't make any noise. They suggested just driving it for a while and see if it wears in, but were open to trying to figure it out if it was something they could fix. I don't think it's an install issue though.

I think I've got a pretty good guess of what the issue is - manufacturing tolerance problems where the dog clutch teeth aren't clearing the side gear when open. So they're clicking as they go past. My guess is both units I've had were the same production run and there's a problem with the machining in this run. But I have no way to know that other than just a guess. It sounds in person a lot like the free spooling of a detroit when the gear teeth click past each other. I've cycled it a bunch of times and the lock/unlock works fine. I was hoping that it just needed some use to wear in, but it doesn't seem to help.

Last edited by jetboy; 08-12-2019 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:18 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I think I've found the issue with the noise and it's not the engagement clutch. It's the bushing tolerance.

This is the new one with ~ 100 miles. Already making noise - because the bushing (part of the carrier on these) is not holding the CV shaft. The limit on movement is mostly from the seal - not the internal bushing that needs to locate the shaft so the spiders align properly.

Axle shaft looks perfect and measures identical to my new spare shaft. This is on a 4Runner with 50k miles and about a 2" lift. Nothing extreme in any way.

https://youtu.be/xmuY5MeC8Uw
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