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Finally blew my front diff. There is now a hole ~7" longX~2" wide, and its cracked all the way around. Luckily its covered under warranty, but I think its time for a titan swap! Also thinking about an automatic locker, that would get rid of the weak spider gears. I feel like that would help the diff out a lot. But then I run into a gearing issue. I want to regear to 4.56 but I cant find any aftermarket gears for the R180.
 

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Sorry to hear about your troubles! Lucky that your warranty is covering it; many fellow members haven't had the same experience, unfortunately.

You can't find aftermarket gears for the R180 because there aren't any. You're limited to factory ratios: 3.13, 3.36, 3.54 and 3.69 with a carrier split between 3.54 and 3.69. There was some talk about trying to get the good folks at Rugged Rocks Offroad to do a run of aftermarket ratios for the R180, but I don't think there's been any traction to speak of on that front. Call them up and talk to Steven if you're serious about keeping your new R180 and want to talk gearing/locker options.

I think the only automatic (non-selectable/lunchbox/etc) locker for the R180 is the Lokka ... there was a user here who installed one and did a pretty detailed review. A bit of surfing around the site will probably turn it up ...
 

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If you were to do the full titan swap, the titan diff (m205) would be a big jump from the r180.

ARB is in the process of making an air locker for the titan diff which would make it that much stronger. Also, gearing is available for the m205 unlike the r180. Chances of you blowing up a locked m205 would be pretty slim even if you were trying to.

It's not a cheap setup, but it's definitely worth the money if you're already blowing up the stock diff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sorry to hear about your troubles! Lucky that your warranty is covering it; many fellow members haven't had the same experience, unfortunately.

You can't find aftermarket gears for the R180 because there aren't any. You're limited to factory ratios: 3.13, 3.36, 3.54 and 3.69 with a carrier split between 3.54 and 3.69. There was some talk about trying to get the good folks at Rugged Rocks Offroad to do a run of aftermarket ratios for the R180, but I don't think there's been any traction to speak of on that front. Call them up and talk to Steven if you're serious about keeping your new R180 and want to talk gearing/locker options.

I think the only automatic (non-selectable/lunchbox/etc) locker for the R180 is the Lokka ... there was a user here who installed one and did a pretty detailed review. A bit of surfing around the site will probably turn it up ...
I've read the review on here and the review another guy did on frontier forum. It doesn't sound like its a bad setup, it just seems really cheap. I would love to do a TS, but its a little much for my wallet at the time. I'll more than likely make up my mind around tax season on what i'm going to do. Thanks for the input!
 

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This post and the Front Diff Poll really has me concerned about this. For a front diff to fail on a 2011 seems a bit strange. How hard do you wheel? How often? I am having second thoughts on modifying my suspension until my warranty ends due to the people getting denied coverage due to modified suspensions. Seems like you were waiting for this to happen, so is it that really of a common occurrence?
 

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This post and the Front Diff Poll really has me concerned about this. For a front diff to fail on a 2011 seems a bit strange. How hard do you wheel? How often? I am having second thoughts on modifying my suspension until my warranty ends due to the people getting denied coverage due to modified suspensions. Seems like you were waiting for this to happen, so is it that really of a common occurrence?
I believe the front diff problems are related to the spider gears. Not the ring and pinion or other components. If you're that worried, read up on the Lokka. It doesn't require taking the diff to a drive line shop to reset the gears. Actually, the install sounds pretty easy from what they described on the website and what the other thread says. The price is $349 delivered to the US. It replaces the spider gear set. Problem solved.

As far as its design, it's similar to the Detroit Locker. I may end up going the Lokka route simply for wheeling ability as I have open diffs now and a front locker with an open rear diff is better than a rear locker and an open front diff. I simply can't justify the $1400+ cost of an ARB Air Locker...

In the meantime, while there have been front diff failures, the number is pretty low ~50 failures out of 450 (on this site). Keep in mind that forums like this attract people that have had problems, so the percentage of failures listed here is going to be much higher than actual failure rates. Plus, who knows what the situations exactly were when the diffs blew. I'm going to guess that lots of throttle, maybe wheel spin and a little bad luck is needed to cause problems.
 

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As far as its design, it's similar to the Detroit Locker. I may end up going the Lokka route simply for wheeling ability as I have open diffs now and a front locker with an open rear diff is better than a rear locker and an open front diff.
Wrong. A rear locker is much more usable, as it's easier to control the vehicle in precarious situations. The vehicle is extremely difficult to steer with the front locked and often pulls the front places you don't want it to go with the front locked. If you only have 1 axle locked, rear is the way to go. There's a reason tons of 4x4 vehicles come with ony a rear locker, and none come with only a front.
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I am having second thoughts on modifying my suspension until my warranty ends due to the people getting denied coverage due to modified suspensions.

I haven't seen/heard of any of this? I have a pretty heavily modded truck and I had a rear ABS sensor go out and I went to the stealership and some yayhoo tried to tell me that the sensor went out because of the lift I had on it before they even looked at it. I told him that it wasn't the cause and that they have to at least look at it because it's under warranty and they called me back the next morning saying that it wasn't because of the lift, though the real cause was unclear, but they had to fix it anyways. So they replaced it and I was on my way.

I think they deny people of their warranties just because they think they can rip everyone off. If you get denied warranty for something that isn't obviously the cause, try a different dealership.
 

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If I do have any warranty problems after modifications I will be taking my truck to Boulder Nissan, mainly because they understand that the X crowd tends to off road their vehicles. Hell they install lifts on their brand new inventory. So I would feel like they would be the last dealership to deny coverage to an owner who modified their X.
 

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Wrong. A rear locker is much more usable, as it's easier to control the vehicle in precarious situations. The vehicle is extremely difficult to steer with the front locked and often pulls the front places you don't want it to go with the front locked. If you only have 1 axle locked, rear is the way to go. There's a reason tons of 4x4 vehicles come with ony a rear locker, and none come with only a front.
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You can argue with the manufacturer then... Here's right from the Lokka website under the FAQ's.

"Q10. Which end should I fit first? (if buying one)

This is dependent on the vehicle, its existing differential types, the type of suspension system, LOKKA model availability and the type of 4x4 driving you do.
However, often the front is the first choice.

If the vehicle is an IFS (Independent Front Suspension) model then the front fitment will result in the greatest increase in 4x4 ability. This is because many IFS vehicles have very limited suspension movement (hence limited wheel travel and articulation) resulting in easily lifted wheels and total loss of front traction. Fitting a LOKKA to the front will solve this serious deficiency.
If a vehicle has a good quality LSD in the rear, then a front fitment will obviously provide the best total traction ie. one locker and one LSD is better than one locker and one standard differential.
If a vehicle has a poor quality LSD then the issue becomes less clear and personal preference or ease of installation often become the more important criteria. However one LSD and one locker is still a better choice - if that is possible.
If the vehicle is a constant 4x4 then a rear fitment may be the easiest solution from a fitting perspective, but may not be the best solution from a traction perspective.*
A front fitment will actually yield the greatest improvement in off road ability. This is because, most vehicles require the increase in traction (that a locker gives) when hill climbing. Under hill climbing conditions, due to the angle of the vehicle, the rear wheels are carrying a much greater weight (weight transfer) and the front wheels are therefore carrying a lessor weight and tend to break traction more easily.
Once one front wheel starts to spin, the other front wheel stops turning and the front differential ceases to provide traction. At this point all power load is transferred onto the rear wheels as if it were a 2x4 and due to this increased load, the rear wheels are encouraged to spin and the vehicle stops.
If you can solve the problem of the front wheels losing traction, you have solved the traction problem.
Another advantage is that on road there are no changes to normal driving characteristics – assuming it has Free Wheel Hubs or a Disconnect Mechanism,



* Q10 d. - Extra info
A couple of things to Note: the front diff lock (any type) will give the greatest advantage off road, rather than the rear, assuming most vehicles have greater problems going up hill rather than down.
Two are better than one, but one in the front is better than one in the rear.

This is due in part to the transfer of weight onto the rear wheels, thereby providing greater 'natural' traction as the weight pushes the rear wheels into the terrain. The steeper the slope, the greater the weight transfer.

In addition the front wheels usually have less wheel travel than the rears, so they tend to lift off the ground as the rear drops into holes. As soon as they do, the drive load is rapidly doubled on the rear wheels, as all the front drive is lost to the wheel spinning in the air or on the loose surface, and the front wheel still on hard ground has no drive.
All the load of moving the vehicle is on the rear wheels. The rapid transfer of this load encourages the rear wheels to break traction - forward motion is stopped.

Also remember the front wheels get to the worst part of the track first - assuming you are going forward. The loose gravel, the sandy bit, the tree root, rock ledge, the slippery mud etc etc all these will get one front wheel spinning first, then the other front wheel not being driven, the load on the rear wheels rapidly doubles. The resulting rapid transfer of load encourages the rear to break traction again - forward motion is stopped.

Putting any locker into the rear does nothing to stop the front losing traction, it just makes the vehicle a lot better 2x4, better at pushing from the rear. Even if you can only keep one wheel driving at the front, you will probably have three wheels working and spreading the driving load over the greater surface area of three tires."
 

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well blow me down , right from the manufacturer!

there you have it! I'll sell my ARB stuff and go with Lokka.
hell , and to think all this time I was under the illusion that ARB was superior.
Little did I realize that they had made a colossal error in fitting rear lockers first.

Rockhnd you have set my world straight.
 

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"...The front wheels usually have less wheel travel than the rears, so they tend to lift off the ground as the rear drops into holes."
Look through this thread, are there more front or rear tires in the air?

The website makes a lot of good points, but Surf and Snow is really making a different point.
A rear locker is much more usable, as it's easier to control the vehicle in precarious situations.
Which is true. A front locker requires a little more caution to use properly and safely. The automatic front locker (Lokka) doesn't allow you to turn it off, so it can be a disadvantage in some situations.

The Front vs Rear Locker discussion will always come down to vehicle specifics and driver preferences.
 

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well blow me down , right from the manufacturer!

there you have it! I'll sell my ARB stuff and go with Lokka.
hell , and to think all this time I was under the illusion that ARB was superior.
Little did I realize that they had made a colossal error in fitting rear lockers first.

Rockhnd you have set my world straight.
Instead of being sarcastic, maybe you could reference something contrary to what I posted and have a discussion about it. That would help out. As it is, your post didn't help do anything except making it public that you're a :tool:
 

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I use my rear locker quite often to reduce wheel slip especially while climbing. Most of the weight is on the rear axle on a steep hill and with the rear locked makes for a very stable climb. Ive driven vehicles with the front locked and its only for extreme situations and its IMO a last case scenario. Having a rear locker is far more usable than only a front, being able to steer easily mid obstacle is usually very important. The manufacturer makes a good point about IFS; it sounds cool on paper but it isn't going to translate very well in real life. The part where the manufacturer is wrong is that added weight to the rear is not a detriment, weight on a locked axle=traction. An unloaded locked axle is less effective.

That being said having both axles locked is awesome, and a front locker is a great upgrade. It just isn't as useful as often as a rear locker.
 

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I use my rear locker quite often to reduce wheel slip especially while climbing. Most of the weight is on the rear axle on a steep hill and with the rear locked makes for a very stable climb. Ive driven vehicles with the front locked and its only for extreme situations and its IMO a last case scenario. Having a rear locker is far more usable than only a front, being able to steer easily mid obstacle is usually very important. The manufacturer makes a good point about IFS; it sounds cool on paper but isn't going to translate very well in real life.
Not trying to argue here, or be a :tool: I went to the ARB website and there's a post where one of their engineers wouldn't specify if "one was better than the other".

I'm trying to figure out how Lokka would come to their conclusion. Considering their unit is an automatic locker and not like the ARB (or a spool for that matter), and it's the job of a manufacturer to know more about their product than anyone else, I'd take their recommendations sooner than internet posters (not slamming you here at all).

I also read a ton of posts on wheeling sites and you get opinions split on this. Maybe this is best left alone, rather than jacking this thread into an "I know more than you" wank-fest.
 

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Perhaps you should stop trying to exert your own opinion on the matter, searching for support for your opinion on manufacturer's websites and actually get outside and wheel the thing.

I've built, and wheeled, Chevy trucks, Ford trucks, Toys and plenty of Nissans. I've run everything from a lunchbox locker (front and rear) to Lincoln lockers (usually just the rear, but I've had to weld some junk together to get out of Upper Heldorado once) and most everything in between.

I hate engaging the front locker if there's a turn involved and I'm not running either hydro-assist or full hydro. Even then, with either hydro setup, and depending on the "locker" (limited slips really aren't considered lockers), it's extremely hard on the locker and shafts. Case in point, Rusty Nail has several off camber, turning and climbing obstacles that are impassible without the front locker engaged and you have zero traction at the rear. If you're not running chromos and a locker that can handle the stress, you're going to be replacing a shaft at the minimum. But these are extreme trails, body damage isn't likely, it's mandatory.

Even backing up certain obstacles with the front locker engaged will blow a shaft. Backing up Dragon's Tail on Steelbender will result in damage if you're not fully chromo'd or running a D60 or something similarly sized. Again, extreme conditions where a front locker is key.

But putting a front locker in before the rear locker? No, not an ideal situation, especially with IFS. If you want to blow up your rack, overly stress the already weak CV's, place a camera and record the aluminum coming out of your front diff, then by all means, put the front locker in first and have at it. Just be sure to post the vids, you might make it on Tosh.0 or something. I'd love to hear his commentary on it!

But this is all from experience, just as chrishaynesusa has. And trust me, he has a lot, as does Surf and Snow and Skibum.

And for the record, I have a preproduction ARB sitting in my garage for my axle. ARB uses a lot of people for their knowledge, not just those in Australia.

Have you watched any of the ARB videos of their testing? Most of them are showing the rear lockers, not the front, being tested. While they don't say either way on their website, they're counting on the ability of the consumer to decide which one is best for their vehicle and needs. Although it is assuming that those wanting a locker already know how to drive and have pushed their vehicles to the point where a locker is the next logical step, not just something else to put on their credit card and put in the signature line on a forum to attempt to show off.

If you want to debate something, debate it, with your own thoughts and reasons. Posting the FAQ off a manufacturer's site isn't an argument, it's lazy.
 

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Maybe, just maybe, as someone that has worked for several manufacturers (not making this kind of product though), I have some insight as to how much information manufacturers have about their product. As far as I'm concerned, the people that know a product the best are those that design it, make it and sell it successfully. They know its design limitations. They hear about it when it works, or breaks. They are in touch with MANY customers at all levels, from beginners to those using the product professionally.

I'd take the advice of Chris at Nisstec, or Greg at PRG, or something posted at Lokka or ARB, WAY before going to an internet forum and blindly following the postings of someone that isn't making a living off the product in question. How many times have we all read "I spoke with XXX at XXX company, and this is what they said"? We all take that as gospel. But, me posting something up from a mfg gets questioned and I get slammed for doing it? Excuse me if I seem to be very confused.

Why go to a mfg and ask questions at all if they are not the best source of info?

Any one person using a product is going to have limited experience with it. It might be good, or bad. It might work great, or not. Don't you all think that the manufacturer's hear from these customers and are the ones eventually responsible for giving the best advice on their products' usage? That's how I see it. Bad advice from a mfg will kill sales... and their company. Bad advice from someone on the net doesn't hurt them at all.

I don't think it's "lazy" to post up something from a valid source... it's wise.

"A smart man learns from his own mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others."


BTW - this whole thing is an example of why many people get fed up with internet forums. I don't care if people agree with me at all. Honestly, this is NEVER about me being "right". It's about posting things that have some shred of credibility for others to read and maybe learn from. If other people have contrasting experience, they should post it up so we can all learn. Me included.
 
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