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General Articles - Product Reviews

OX Locker ? Maintenance?

Article written by Moab Man

Date Added: 10/24/2010

"With no seals to leak or solenoids to break, the zero-maintenance OX Locker ??

Yes, that?s my quote from the OX Locker website. And if we?ve met me on the trail, then you know I am an OX Locker enthusiast. Scratch that; I?m a fanatic. My OX is the perfect child. Always does exactly what it?s supposed to? right up until the day it didn?t!

To say that I was shocked would be an understatement. There I was minding my own business, crawling up an obstacle in Moab when I heard those famous words ARB owners are familiar with, ?YOU?RE NOT LOCKED IN!? (And before you start spamming me with hate-mail ? I told you I was bias.)

Yes, it was true. For the first time in the seven years that my OX has resided in the front axle of my Jeep, it had failed me. A quick inspection: cable into the OX ? check, cable secure at shifter ? check, must be a burnt or broken OX cable ? nope. Everything checked out.

If this were any other man's OX Locker, I would know exactly what the problem was. You see, it's a proven fact that men cannot follow instructions. So when the OX installation manual calls for a 5/8" gap between the piston and cable housing, generally men aren't going to bother with any kind of actual measuring device and just eyeball it close enough. Then sure enough, out on the trail their locker's don't engage because of it. I am, of course, no exception to the rule; but every once in a while I do follow directions... at least the important ones.

Way back when I installed the locker was one of those times. I actually used a real ruler with real 1/8? markings and set my piston to exactly the right spot (which is why it had worked so well for so long). So you can imagine how ridiculous I felt when I pulled the cable out of the shifter and saw this obviously incorrect gap. The piston had worked its way down the cable, which explains why my locker didn?t engage, but how the heck did it happen?

It actually didn?t take much to figure out. Time, vibration, and some pressure from the spring in the shifter caused the piston to very slowly thread further onto the cable. This closed the gap well past the specified 5/8" and caused the locker to stop engaging.
This is what it should have looked like.
The fix? We have a couple of options. First you could disassemble your OX every five years or so to reset the gap.
Or, because I like the idea of zero maintenance, you could simply add a touch of blue RTV to the final few threads when assembling your shifter. Of course this is the idea behind Loctite, but you really don?t want that kind of ?lock? on the piston in case you ever damage the cable and need to replace it. You can see the piston only moved a few full turns in 7 years, so a slight bit of resistance is all it takes to prevent it from working its way down. by using RTV instead of Loctite, we can still easily remove the piston if we need to.

Final Thoughts

The purpose of this tech article on the OX is not because we have found the chink in the armor of the OX Locker, or that the OX needs regular maintenance. With that said, I still stand by my quote, www.ox-usa.com , "With no seals to leak or solenoids to break, the zero-maintenance OX Locker is the most reliable locker we have ever tested. Not to mention by far the strongest!" ~ George Pandoff, President, MOABJEEPER.com Magazine"

What I want you, the reader, to take from this is how we can all make our OX?s 100% "install and forget". That way you will never have to feel like an ARB owner and hear ?You?re not locked in!?

Our Thank You's!

Thank you for reading.

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