Why do you need an Air Locker?
When driving off road on the tougher tracks, at some point you will end up with either a front or a rear or even both front and rear wheels lifting off the ground or just losing traction. When that happens the power will always take the path of least resistance leading to one wheel having all the power available. This can also lead to tyre damage, CV/axle damage and occasionally putting the car and its occupants into a dangerous position.
There are 2 ways to solve this problem:
One is momentum which will get you through in some cases but places extra stress on the vehicle and may cause damage. It can be, depending on the situation, unsafe and cause loss of control.
The other way is to install a Locker.
Having a Locker will allow you to tackle the obstacle at a slower and a more controllable speed. It gives both wheels equal power, and locking them in to spin at the exact same speeds.
In rocky terrain, you will often find your car being flexed to its limits. This will expose a cars lack of traction, especially when it starts to lift wheels. This is especially exaggerated in an IFS and/or leaf springs vehicles which usually struggle to flex in mild to stock configuration.
A locker will allow both wheels to have traction, which even when lifting wheels, the car will continue to track forward.
In muddy terrain, often tracks will be softer or more slippery on a particular side. Having a locker allows the wheels to spin at the same speed, and not allow all the cars power being transferred to the path of least resistance. Lockers can also be used in a downhill descent. In a situation where your car is tracking down a really steep downhill descent, you will find when engine braking, some wheels will slip and cause the car to speed up on one side. If lockers are activated, the wheels are locked to the same speed as each other and don’t allow this slippage. This then gives you the option of two different styles of selectable lockers. E Lockers and Air Lockers.
E Lockers have their merits, but personally we aren’t a big fan of them. Air lockers are much easier to fix out on the tracks, due to only being one air line, vs trying locate the issue and fix wiring. Air lockers also have a stronger case and design, allowing more power and better reliability.
Lastly, and the main reason, is that E Lockers have slack built into their design in the forward and backwards motion. This causes issues when out 4x4ing, mostly when in a boggy situation. Usually when you are bogged, you’ll be trying forward and backwards gears to see if you can get out. An E locker has that built in slack, which allows a particular amount of rotation before it locks back in.
This allows a large amount of driveline momentum before locking back in, which usually leads to broken parts or loss of control. Air lockers do not have this slack, and stay locked in.
How does a TRE Air Locker work?
Firstly, you need to turn the TRE air compressor on, inflating the built-in air tank. Then you turn on the Air Locker switch to inflate the Air Locker. The seal housing assembly pushes the locking ring to lock the side gear, so that the left and right half shafts are connected to form a whole. This makes sure that both shafts have the same maximum traction and ensures that both wheels have traction enabling the vehicle to move. To disengage, you simply turn the air locker switch off, which will release the air pressure and disengage the locker.