Eaton Performance recently added new ELockers for the Jeep Wrangler JL and Gladiator JT to its extensive catalog of Jeep applications. The electronically controlled push-button-activated ELocker axle locker is now available for the 2018-current Jeep Wrangler JL and the 2020-current Jeep Gladiator JT pickup truck.
Let us face it. Not every Jeeper can afford the Rubicon or nor has the need for a Rubicon. With the Eaton ELocker, every non-Rubicon Jeep Wrangler JL or Gladiator JT owner can easily install Rubicon-level traction capability upgrades to their vehicles. These two new ELockers add to the extensive Eaton ELocker catalog now available for almost every generation and model of Jeep all the way back to the 1976 Jeep CJ.
The main features of the Eaton ELocker are what make this device the perfect choice for any pickup truck or SUV. The driver-selectable operation gives full axle locking ability and traction on demand. A four-pinion design and net-forged gears provide superior strength and durability. It also works in forward and reverse, with front and rear axle applications available.
By simply pressing a dash switch, the differential sends all available torque to all wheels equally, providing maximum traction to overcome challenging terrain.
How the Eaton ELocker Works
The Eaton ELocker is an electronically actuated selectable differential specifically designed to provide versatility, reliability, and traction on-demand. Eaton ELockers are activated by a dash (or console) mounted switch that is included. The wiring harness comes with a relay switch, a chassis electrical system protecting the diode, and a fuse.
During normal street driving or mild off-road conditions, the ELocker electric locking differential operates as an open differential. When an obstacle, steep climb, unstable terrain, mud, or any other challenge in the vehicle’s path is encountered, the driver can simply flip a switch on the dash. Once activated, the Eaton ELocker instantaneously turns into a fully locked differential.
When the electromagnetic mechanism locks, 100-percent of the available torque is delivered sending power equally to both wheels. Another flip of the switch will return the Eaton ELocker to a normal open-differential driving mode.
What’s Inside the Eaton ELocker
The Eaton ELocker uses a four-pinion-gear design to handle high-performance applications such as off-road trail driving, rock-crawling, and towing. The gear design enables the Eaton ELocker to provide smooth engagement and superior strength, making it the best choice for your Jeep if you are looking for maximum traction when driving over extreme and challenging terrain.
Net-forged (cold forged) gears are a big part of the reliability and sturdiness of this setup. Cold forging (forging with workpieces at room temperature) can create parts to the highest accuracies and tolerances that require minimal or no metal shaping or removal to create perfect geometry.
Jeep Eaton ELocker Instant Engagement
When the Eaton ELocker is engaged it instantly locks itself up. Eaton advises drivers to come to a complete stop before activating the ELocker. The ELocker can be locked on the fly at very very low speeds (5 mph or lower). But that is not the way it was designed to best operate, and not a recommended practice.
Eaton ELockers are engineered to be extremely sturdy and durable, but regular doses of abuse and high-speed engagement will very likely lead to a much shorter life span life. High-speed activation is not only harsh on the differential, but it can also place extreme levels of stress on the axle shaft and other driveline components.
We were connected with Eaton’s Vehicle Group Director of Aftermarket Product Strategy, Corneliu Bogdan. He stated “Jeep enthusiasts are devoted to their vehicles and many have a strong desire to customize them. Our new reliable ELocker differentials for the Jeep Wrangler JL and Gladiator JT models feature simple push-button operation, allowing drivers to quickly switch from highway cruising to off-road traction.”
Jeep Eaton ELocker Easy Installation
While installation of the Eaton ELocker is relatively easy, there are some unique installation instructions you should be aware of. All ELockers require a hole to be drilled through the axle housing or carrier for the power wire. The wiring harness is supplied with new Eaton ELockers. Wiring harnesses can also be purchased separately.
Be sure to carefully and completely read the instructions before beginning installation. Select models of ELockers also require the use of non-OEM bearing sizes, such as the Dana 30 and 35 models.
All Eaton ELockers require a relay (supplied with the harness) located in the wire harness. The current requirements of the differentials can range from 5 to 10 amps. Installers should include the relay for increased switch life and stabilized current to the differential’s electrical system.
Eaton ELocker Maintenance and Service
A high-quality petroleum-mineral-based oil is recommended for use in the Eaton Elocker. However, when operating in cold weather climates, a lower viscosity gear oil (equivalent to API GL-5 75W-90) is recommended.
When it comes to servicing your Eaton ELocker, several types of service kits are available. These service kits include gear service kits, locking mechanism kits, stator/armature kits, or a universal wiring kit.
Eaton Performance Information Hotline
In addition to its Jeep applications, Eaton has ELockers for almost every pickup truck and SUV. Eaton Performance also offers an extensive line of traction-improving differential products including several different lockers, limited-slip differentials, and spools.
If you’re not sure which Eaton Performance differential is right for your specific vehicle and driving needs, or you need help with specific component identification or installation questions, call the Eaton Performance hotline at 800/328-3850 or go to eatonperformance.com.