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Old 11-01-2018, 12:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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So how bad are the JK Rubicon lockers?

What sort of max tire size and power can they take? What part of them fails first? Are the failures the fault of the locker, or is there more to it?


Was at the junkyard looking for some axles for my (in project status, to be) DD. The guy mentioned he gets Rubicon axles in fairly often and quoted me a price that didn't seem that bad given that my other DD has a $2000 D44 in the rear that's still a piece of shit. Not sure if I want to go this route or not, since all I ever heard was "those lockers suck" and "the axles bend like wet noodles."
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Old 11-01-2018, 03:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I was considering buying a complete front axle new since they're only like 1700 but I've read they're only slightly stronger then a hp30 and the lockers like to break when they're not locked smh. And iirc you hafta use jeeps compressor as it only uses like 5psi or some such nonsense. I think the main benefit (for me anyways) was being able to go a little farther with gearing which just wasn't worth it
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Old 11-01-2018, 08:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I was considering buying a complete front axle new since they're only like 1700 but I've read they're only slightly stronger then a hp30 and the lockers like to break when they're not locked smh. And iirc you hafta use jeeps compressor as it only uses like 5psi or some such nonsense. I think the main benefit (for me anyways) was being able to go a little farther with gearing which just wasn't worth it
That's the TJ Rubicon crap. The front is a LP D44 center section with basically D30 parts otherwise. I guess you got 30 spline shafts with it?

The JK Rubicon front crap is an electric locker, 30 spline shafts, high pinion, bigger u-joints, and the gearset is different from an old HP D44 with a larger pinion shaft, larger bearings, and different cut angle (supposedly a lot stronger because of this). The rear is a LP D44, slightly bigger ring gear, bigger pinion and bearings, 32 spline shafts. Both axle used .250 wall tubes, which is one of the big weak points.

Everything I posted might be wrong because I referenced a magazine article.

I'm worried about the locker itself. I won't break the other parts, especially not if I put sleeves in the tubes or truss them.
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I believe both the front and rear shafts on the JK Rubicon axles are 32 spline. Would make zero sense for Jeep to make 2 different lockers for F&R spline count. Pretty sure the front outers are where the 30 spline # comes from.
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I believe both the front and rear shafts on the JK Rubicon axles are 32 spline. Would make zero sense for Jeep to make 2 different lockers for F&R spline count. Pretty sure the front outers are where the 30 spline # comes from.
Makes more sense. Like I said, I referenced a magazine article so you know it's almost guaranteed to be wrong.
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I had a 2013 JKR on 37 Nittos for about 4 years. The only issue I've ever had with the locker is the little plunger that tells the computer the locker is engaged failed. It didn't prevent the locker from working.

I now have a TJ sitting on JK 44 axles (stock for now) running 37 PBRR. I bought the axles used, so I don't have a lot of knowledge on how the PO ran them, but so far, they're both holding on pretty good. And I'm not easy on it.

I'm not saying they're indestructible, but if you're smart with the skinny pedal, and understand they are not 60s, they should last a long time.
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SLOWPOKE693 View Post
I believe both the front and rear shafts on the JK Rubicon axles are 32 spline. Would make zero sense for Jeep to make 2 different lockers for F&R spline count. Pretty sure the front outers are where the 30 spline # comes from.
I have been researching this, and I just built an axle to take Rubicon shafts. A lot of the Internet says that the inners are 32 spline but that does not seem to be true in my experience. The outers are 32 spline and the inners are 30s spline Seems to be what I have found. I guess I can count my splines when I assemble my front end.
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Old 11-01-2018, 12:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have been researching this, and I just built an axle to take Rubicon shafts. A lot of the Internet says that the inners are 32 spline but that does not seem to be true in my experience. The outers are 32 spline and the inners are 30s spline Seems to be what I have found. I guess I can count my splines when I assemble my front end.
Huh, weird.

But thinking about it, the carriers are likely different (in ways other than spline count) front to rear anyways? Since all these axles are odd hybrids and not the same as anything else?

Maybe I should venture to the dark side and ask on JKowners.
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Old 11-01-2018, 12:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Huh, weird.

But thinking about it, the carriers are likely different (in ways other than spline count) front to rear anyways? Since all these axles are odd hybrids and not the same as anything else?

Maybe I should venture to the dark side and ask on JKowners.
I have been asking and cannot get a definitive answer. The rear is 32 spline for sure and so are the outers.
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Old 11-01-2018, 04:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have a brand new F&R set of Carbon JK cromo axle shafts at the shop waiting to go in my wife's 16 Rubicon. When I get back there on Saturday I will confirm with pics what the spline count is for all of them.
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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This thread regarding the lockers says that basically they're strong enough, but they wear out?

https://www.jkowners.com/forum/stock...r-study-2.html
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Old 11-02-2018, 12:35 AM   #12 (permalink)
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They are an electromagnet, your diff is full of metal things rubbing against eachother constantly shedding microns of metal. The biggest thing you can do is keep youre oil changed regularly .

But as said above, theyre still weak housings. Unless you have some bizar hardon for 5x5" pattern, unit brgs, and "hardcore jeep parts", you can do better with craigslist deals and older housings

The plungers server a few functions, light and logic. no in whiskey breaths case the single button and computer will be eliminated so they would be nothing more than a light "on" if he wanted. But with the single switch and ecm they only come on with sequential button selections, and the front wont come on until the rear has been engauged, which uses the plunger for verification.

I did find a housing plug/eliminator kit for $5ish to plug the plunger hole.
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Old 11-02-2018, 01:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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But as said above, theyre still weak housings. Unless you have some bizar hardon for 5x5" pattern, unit brgs, and "hardcore jeep parts", you can do better with craigslist deals and older housings
I guess if I explained the project it might make more sense.

I want to build a replacement for my daily driver. Basically it will be exactly the same, except I will address all the things I don't like about it, one big thing was the axles. Currently I used a set of XJ axles (D30 and D44) which I put some significant turd polish on. There's some issues with these axles, and they cost me a fair amount of money despite having both of them lying around when I started the build. They're too narrow, so I had to run spacers to use the wheels I wanted, which means the scrub radius is a little meh, the JK axles look like they'd be perfect at about 65" wide. The brakes suck on XJ axles, with the fronts being some little itty bitty shit, and the rear having a home brewed fully mad scientist disk brake conversion using Explorer rotors and Isuzu calipers; the JK axles are a clear winner here with having much larger brakes, and a parking brake that works when adjusted correctly, most JK owners bitch about their brakes because their rig is 6000lbs dry and the ECS and traction control beat the living shit out of the brakes trying to keep them on the road.

I'm torn on if I want selectable hubs or if I don't care. I believe FCA would have included them if they really made a significant difference to fuel economy, as the concept of a unitized selectable hub is certainly not new. If I go with these axles I have 3 sets of wheels (or so) that fit them, and they're wheels that I like (stock JK Moab wheels, they're not flat-biller douche wheels). With the front elocker these axles address one of the things I don't like about my current axles, being there's a Lokka in the front and it makes noises like all lunchbox lockers do. I don't really give a shit that it makes noise from the perspective of it being annoying or whatever, but it's one more strike if the police want to give you an inspection order (even though it is normal and not a defect).

The JK axles seem like they basically come as the package I want already, and despite being 'weak' offer a significant amount more strength than I actually need.

Current DD:


Basically building one of those, but with less bondo and some better parts. Or so is the plan. I change plans like I change underwear, which is randomly.
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Old 11-02-2018, 03:09 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Fair enough.

The only thing i see as a meh is jk rear brake pads are very small, so im not sure i would much of an improvement over the hodge podge you have now. But they seem to work just fine in all the jeeps ive been workong on recently
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Old 11-02-2018, 03:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Fair enough.

The only thing i see as a meh is jk rear brake pads are very small, so im not sure i would much of an improvement over the hodge podge you have now. But they seem to work just fine in all the jeeps ive been workong on recently
Interesting point.

JK: https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...47265&jsn=1481

Trooper (go to picture 3): https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...77152&jsn=1678

They're basically the same size.
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Old 11-02-2018, 06:17 PM   #16 (permalink)
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If your worried about the size of the brakes, Mopar and other companies make big brake kits to solve that problem.
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Old 11-02-2018, 10:23 PM   #17 (permalink)
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If your worried about the size of the brakes, Mopar and other companies make big brake kits to solve that problem.
Yeah, I'm aware. I doubt it would be an issue. The rotor is at least a little bit bigger than what I'm using. The big upgrade is the front brakes, and early XJ front brakes fucking suck.

I will likely try to cram hydroboost or something like that into the thing too. The "upgrade" dual diaphragm XJ booster still sucks.

But this is all thread drift. I was more curious about the lockers themselves.
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Old 11-04-2018, 05:26 AM   #18 (permalink)
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The front Jk 44 has 30 spline inners and 32 spline outers. The rear axle is 32 spline. You can put an ARB in the stock front if the factory locker ever wears out or breaks. If you truss and gusset the housing it will be fine.
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Old 11-04-2018, 08:39 AM   #19 (permalink)
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The front Jk 44 has 30 spline inners and 32 spline outers. The rear axle is 32 spline.
This is correct info. I counted the splines on the new shafts this morning. Strange that they didnt just use 32 spline inners in the front. I assume internally the lockers are the same F&R...... Then again, its Jeep so who knows.

I'm getting ready to fully test the JK Rubi 44s out and see how far I can push them. Axles are getting full Artec armor F&R, Carbon cromo shafts, Reid knuckles, RPM Fab steering and a set of 40" Cooper STT Pros. Jeep has been running around on 2.5" lift and 37's for 40k miles and the axles haven't been an issue yet.

Yes it gets wheeled!
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Old 11-04-2018, 08:59 PM   #20 (permalink)
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This is correct info. I counted the splines on the new shafts this morning. Strange that they didnt just use 32 spline inners in the front. I assume internally the lockers are the same F&R...... Then again, its Jeep so who knows.

I'm getting ready to fully test the JK Rubi 44s out and see how far I can push them. Axles are getting full Artec armor F&R, Carbon cromo shafts, Reid knuckles, RPM Fab steering and a set of 40" Cooper STT Pros. Jeep has been running around on 2.5" lift and 37's for 40k miles and the axles haven't been an issue yet.

Yes it gets wheeled!
Iím interested to see how they hold up. Also the clarify the rubicon rear 44 is 32spline, other models are only 30.
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Old 11-04-2018, 09:58 PM   #21 (permalink)
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A friend of mine ran 40’s on his 07 JK for a while. He now has one tons. He did all the turd polish and sold it for pennies on the dollar.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:29 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I work on a few JK Rubicons on 37s. With upgraded shafts and C gussets they seem to be holding up pretty well. Most of them broke the original shafts the first trip out with 37s if they hadn’t already upgraded.
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Old 11-05-2018, 08:32 AM   #23 (permalink)
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A friend of mine ran 40ís on his 07 JK for a while. He now has one tons. He did all the turd polish and sold it for pennies on the dollar.
Did he actually break the Rubi 44s or did he just swap to tons because it's what everybody else is doing? All the reviews and threads I read about JKs swapped to tons have people wishing they stayed with the 44s & 37s. The weight factor plays big time when tons are swapped. Most people hate the new lack of power.


Should have bought your buddies axles instead of buying a brand new "polished turd".? I bet his came with outer knuckles.
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:24 AM   #24 (permalink)
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The weight factor plays big time when tons are swapped. Most people hate the new lack of power.
That's part of what draws me to them.

I've got a HP D60 and a 14 bolt sitting in the shop, but I don't want to build another fat turd if I don't have to.
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Old 11-05-2018, 10:44 AM   #25 (permalink)
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That's part of what draws me to them.

I've got a HP D60 and a 14 bolt sitting in the shop, but I don't want to build another fat turd if I don't have to.
Plus you have to run bigger tires to get the same axle clearance with tons and that adds weight and leverage against the motor which really kills the power.
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