Selectable Electric Locker
Part 2 - Hitting the Rocks
with Bill Johnston
Last month we installed the KAM Electric Locker into a stock Samurai rear axle housing. This month we finished up the installation by running the wiring harness to the dash board switch and then taking it to the trails to see how it would perform.
We ran the cabling along the emergency brake cable for added strength and the benefit of a predetermined route using stock brackets to get the cable to the tub.
|We installed the switch in the stock location for additional switches. That is the area to the left of the steering wheel. The switch was a little tall for the cutout, but you really couldn't tell once it was installed. As you can see, it is definitely visible when in use.|
seen from behind, you can definitely tell that something is different about
the axle. I had a 'Jeep' guy ask me what I upgraded to when I was at the gas
station, so even they notice it.
We didn't take it easy on the new components out there. We drug it over the rocks as much as we would on any other trail. We were also a bit more confident because we were using the new KAM axle shafts that come with the kit. Having spent 15 years manufacturing shafts they know exactly what tonnage they can take. Their strengthened half shafts are considerably stronger than the original Suzuki shafts by around 40%. The heat treatment has been perfected over the last 15 years. To date they have never had a KAM Suzuki Samurai, SJ413, or SJ410 shaft ever brake.
|We even used the extra traction to drag this unfortunate Jeep off the same rock pile we had just driven through. A locker makes all the difference in the world out there. And when you can turn it off for driving on the streets it makes it that much nicer! Selectable lockers are the way to go. You may notice that this Zook doesn't have much articulation... that's because the sway bar is still in place! Yup, these things are amazing.|
|Here we can see the beating the new differential cover took. If you only ran light trails or mud, you would never see a problem. But the rocks are not so forgiving. KAM has a heavier aluminum cover in the works to take care of that problem. They say it will look similar to their Land Rover version you can see on the right. They also spoke of possibly adding a small lip to the bottom of the base bracket to let the rocks slide past the new lid.|
Some Suzuki owners will attest that they only paid a few hundred dollars for their whole rig, and they won't spend the money it takes for a selectable locker. I can respect that. But others that want to do more with their vehicle usually spend what it takes to make their vehicle perform at a higher level. This is one of those upgrades. Take a long look at what you want to do with your rig, and determine for yourself if you are willing to take it to a higher level.