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PLEASE READ THIS IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PURCHASING ONE OF OUR FORD 8.8 TJ AXLES OR ALREADY HAVE ONE:
There is a vast amount of information and questions that go along with a custom axle so we will do our best to answer most of them here for your reference. We will start with the options or the drop down tabs listed online.
LOCKER OPTION: You have a choice of lockers. If you would like something not listed we can still install it in your axle, but we do not stock it. Any option not listed in the drop down box will require a few more days lead time.
POSI OPTION: If you think a Positraction/Limited slip fits your needs better than a locker we have some options. Again, if you would like something else we can install it. However, if it is not a stocked item it may require a few additional days lead time. All items listed in the drop down box are in stock. The factory limited slip is a good, cheap option for traction. We rebuild them using the most efficient clutch stacking to give you better performance and longevity over the stock setup. If you choose a used factory unit non-rebuilt we do not inspect clutches, only the spider gears, as these are visible from the outside.
ADPATER FLANGE/YOKE OPTION: The stock Ford 8.8 uses a flange style yoke, while your jeep uses a conventional style u-joint yoke. In order for your driveshaft to bolt up you will need to purchase a new U-bolt style conventional yoke or you will require an adapter flange. The U-bolt style yokes are American made forged yokes and are of the highest quality available. This eliminates extra pieces in your already short driveshaft and gives you a new yoke versus used components. It also will give you 3/8” more driveshaft length.
BRAKE OPTIONS: We offer new brakes to you at a very low cost and put them on for free. The prices listed should be the same or lower then what you would pay at your local auto parts store. Remember, the base axle comes with used brake parts and although sometimes they are in good condition, your axle will look so much better with new brake components. We do highly recommend new e-brake shoes as moisture gets trapped inside the rotor and will cause the stock shoes to rot. It is difficult to install the e-brake shoes with the shafts installed so if we are replacing parts inside the diff now is the perfect time to install the shoes. If you choose the used brake option we will make an attempt to give you good used parts but they are used. We will not change e-brake shoes for other used parts, only new. You may be contacted, when your axle is ready to be built, in order to discuss additional brake parts that may be required.
DRIVESHAFT STYLE: The answer to this option will determine the pinion angle your 8.8 is set at during assembly. We will go further into this later.
ADD EBRAKE CABLES: If you want a functioning e-brake with your new disc brake set-up. These cables are required and will swap right in.
ADD DIFF COVER: We have 2 aftermarket options for differential covers. The SOLID covers are heavy duty cast pieces, carry a lifetime warranty, and are of great quality at a very affordable price. Our second option is the 1/4" bent and welded steel cover. These are also great covers with a lifetime warranty. Both covers will offer you ample protection and give you additional fluid capacity. For the money the SOLID covers are a great value. The steel covers are very useful if you need to weld to the cover for any reason (hydraulic assist ram mount, 4 link truss with cover tie-in, etc.). ***Please always fill Ford 8.8 through factory fill plug in front of differential not through an aftermarket cover fill plug.***
FINISH: We have 2 Paint options - Flat Black and Rustoleum Hammered Finish. The flat black gives a nice, clean look and is functional. The Hammered Finish is more glossy and will be more rust preventative.
FACTORY GEARS: We have three factory ratio options available: 3.55, 3.73, and 4.10. The 4.10’s are getting difficult to source so you may want to call on availability this ratios. By choosing the factory ratio, you will be getting a used gear set. If you do not purchase the "Freshen Up" option: We do not inspect the gear or open the cover. Axle will be a used no warranty axle. No aftermarket parts will be installed, this includes: rebuilt limited slips or aftermarket posi's, lockers, yokes, etc. However if the gear turns out to be in poor quality we will ship you a good used replacement gear. We do not cover any labor related to swapping the gear set.
FRESHEN UP FACTORY GEARS: If you choose the used gear option then please consider this option as well. We will totally disassemble the axle. Install new differential bearings, new axle bearings, check the axle shafts for run out, inspect spider gears, and ensure the ring and pinion is in good condition. The only thing we do not inspect is the clutches in a used limited slip if that was an option chosen.
REMAN UNIT W/ NEW GEARS: If you choose the "Reman" option with new gears, you will receive new gears, new differential bearings, new axle bearing and seals, spider gears inspected (if applicable), shafts checked for runout, and the labor to set up your new high quality ring and pinion properly for years of service. This option is covered by our five year warranty parts and labor warranty on all replaced parts. Our Warranty Policy will be covered in more detail below.
SHAFTS: You have three options for shafts 1. Good used shafts: these shafts are inspected for runout and for pitting around the bearing surface. Typically the used shafts will give years of service and take serious abuse off road. We believe that they will hold up to 35 inch tires with little issue. 2. Aftermarket 1541H axle shaft: This is a high quality aftermarket shaft made of a stronger alloy then the stock shafts. It is not chromoly, however, they are induction hardened (a heat treat process that insures long life and strength). Currently there are no aftermarket c-clip chromoly shafts on the market. These are the best c-clip axles available. 3. ECGS C-clip Elimination Kit: This is a great kit that offers 4340 chromoly induction hardened shafts as well as upgrading your wheel bearings to Set 20 bearings. These are the same bearings that are used in the big bearing 9” housings commonly found in heavy duty semi float axles. Each bearing is rated to support the entire weight of you jeep. These shafts have a lifetime warranty and do away with the C-clips as the axle retention method. The shafts are now bolt in assemblies similar to other heavy duty semi float axles. This kit will also widen your axle by 1.5 inches over stock. If a full spool is chosen this option is required. We believe these shafts will hold up to a 37 inch tire with little issue. If you would like to run a tire bigger than a 38” we have Dana 60 and other options available.
SUSPENSION LIFT: This option combined with the D-shaft option will determine the angle we set your pinion which affects the trac bar placement and your link geometry. The stock pinion angle of a TJ is around 6 degrees this means your spring perches are at zero and your pinion is pointing 6 degrees above zero. If you lift your jeep above 3 inches the lift manufacturer will likely include a trac bar relocation bracket. As you lift the frame of the vehicle the trac bar effectively gets shorter and out of alignment ideally the trac bar should be within factory spec to control body roll and to keep the axle centered. There are 2 common trac bar relocation brackets one is 2 ¾ inches higher than stock the other one is 3 inches above stock and is bent forward towards the front of the vehicle. The forward mount trac bar brackets are typically include in the 4 inch plus kits with adjustable upper control arms. The adjustable upper control arm lifts are designed for use with a CV driveshaft. With a CV driveshaft your pinion angle needs to be about 1 degree lower than your driveshaft angle. On a 4 inch lift w/ CV driveshaft the pinion angle is usually between 17-19 degrees. With a stock axle you would need to rotate the pinion angle 10-12 degrees up. This will roll your trac bar bracket backwards and the stock mounting location will now place your trac bar on your gas tank skid, roll your shock mounts underneath your axle. It will affect your spring perch mounts and control arms as well. The bent forward trac bar mount will move the trac bar bracket off the gas tank skid typically but leave the rest of your geometry off of factory spec. In order for you not to have to get an adjustable trac bar and uppers and keep your stock geometry we set your pinion angle as close as possible to what it should be with your current suspension and driveshaft set-up. We error on the low side for a few reasons. If you already have adjustable uppers they can be the same length totally collapsed as stock uppers so if we set your angle to high you would not be able to rotate it down. Secondly if you do not have adjustable uppers and pinion angle is slightly low there is a good possibility you won’t have any noticeable vibrations with a CV driveshaft and will not require adjustable uppers. If you do not have an SYE (Slip yoke eliminator kit w/ CV driveshaft) but anticipate installing one in the near future depending on your lift we recommend splitting the difference in the angles. This way you will probably have light vibrations without a slip yoke shaft and then when you upgrade to CV Shaft you will only need to rotate the pinion angle a few degrees and not disrupt your geometry as dramatically.
**** As with any custom suspension and axle packages we cannot guarantee that you will not need adjustable Uppers and a trac bar to completely center and get your pinion angle perfect. Every suspension system is different, however we make every feasible effort to make these bolt in to complete stock components or aftermarket parts***
COT: Continuous output torque rating
MOT: Maximum output torque rating
Dana 35 rear axle COT: 870 MOT: 3480
Dana 44 rear axle COT: 1100 MOT: 4460
Ford 8.8 28spline COT: 1250 MOT: 4600
Ford 8.8 31spline COT: 1360 MOT: 5100
Dana60 semifloat COT: 1500 MOT: 5500
Ford 8.8 WMS is 59 5/8 - Stock TJ is 60.5
Pinion Offset of a D35 TJ is .75 and the pinion offset on a Ford 8.8 is 2.75
SHIPPING AND HANDLING: We charge a flat $200 dollar fee for palletizing and shipping your axle. If you provide a commercial address for us to ship the axle we will charge you actual shipping charges and no handling fee which is typically less than $200. The $200 dollar fee does not include lift gate service. The axle weighs 260Lbs so they can be unloaded by two people from a freight truck. If you require lift gate service or cannot have anyone available to assist the driver for unload a $60 dollar lift gate fee can be added at your request.
WARRANTY: Our NEW or REMAN differential units carry a 5 year warranty on all new parts i.e. bearings, ring and pinion, shafts. This is a parts and labor warranty. Used shafts are not covered. Used Spider gears or case assemblies are not covered though we will provide good used replacement parts in the event of a failure. Axle housings or brackets destroyed do to abuse: ECGS is not liable for damage caused by excessive use though we will work with the customer on a replacement unit. All aftermarket lockers and Positractions carry the manufacturer’s warranty only. Used or Rebuilt positractions carry no warranty. In the event of a failure the customer will be required to ship the axle or differential to our location at their expense and we will repair and ship back free of charge. If the failure was a manufacturing defect ECGS will reimburse the customers shipping expense. Lack of oil will not be covered under warranty or improper break in, abuse of components is not covered, if there is a ring and pinion failure do to excessive abuse we will replace free of charge but we will not reimburse the shipping cost to our facility. In special circumstances ECGS will aid customer in having a repair done outside our facility, after which time all warranty claims are void. In short we guarantee that this axle will be set up to the highest quality specifications in our control. .
INSTALLATION: The Ford 8.8 axles are a bolt in axle, the brake lines are already plumbed for you to connect your center axle brake line. Please check all connection points for brake lines to insure they are tight before bleeding brakes, these fittings are often left loose for you to finish exact routing and insure the break lines do not rub any components. Your factory breather was mounted in conjunction with the center brake line mount, breather is now just under the track bar mount and a mounting stud is provided for your center brake line. Installation requires Installing springs, connecting control arms, trac bar, sway bar, bleeding brakes and adding gear oil. It will also require the installation of the adapter flange to your driveshaft, if purchased instead of a u-bolt style yoke.
GEAR OIL: THESE AXLES ARE SHIPPED WITH ASSEMBLY LUBE ONLY. FAILURE TO ADD GEAR OIL WILL CAUSE IMMEDIATE FAILURE AND BE VERY EVIDENT. ALWAYS FILL FROM FACTORY FILL HOLE NOT AFTERMARKET COVER FILL HOLE. We recommend Lucas 85w/140 gear oil, Lucas 80w/90 gear oil is also acceptable. We do not recommend synthetic fluids. IF you have a factory limited slip or any clutch style limited slip a limited slip additive will need to be added. DANA SPICER makes a good additive that we have available for purchase, and may be available at some auto parts stores.
QUESTIONS COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: If you have further questions and require assistance in purchasing or installation do not hesitate to call us we make every attempt to answer the phone from 8AM- 6PM M-F or later Eastern Standard time. We are also available via email firstname.lastname@example.org We understand that this is a large purchase and will make every attempt to insure the process is as smooth as possible.
Dear ECGS Customer (Past, Present, and Future): This message is in response to all inquiries requesting a discount on Complete Axle Assemblies, and Complete 3rd members. All of our promotions exclude these items and is specifically stated in the advertisement and online when the code is used. We do not discount these assemblies from their advertised price. Our standard advertised price for the assemblies already includes a significant discount on the parts that we are installing. Therefore the remainder of the price is labor. We have calculated the labor rate on these assemblies to be as low as possible. For us to further discount these assemblies we would have to sell the parts under cost or cut our already low labor rate. In addition ECGS offers the Nations best 5 year warranty on these assemblies. The price of the units are specifically designed to provide the customer with the absolute best price and the best quality. The good news is you don't have to wait until a specific time to purchase or have regrets that you spent too much. Our assemblies are always advertised and sold at the very best price that we can produce them.
We personally do not like coupons and discounts. We prefer to sell all the products and services we have at a price that allows ECGS to stay solvent and yet offer the customer the best price and absolute best quality every time. In an effort to keep up with our competitors we will offer sales from time to time. These sales apply to parts only. ECGS currently has 6,000 sq. feet of warehouse space stocked with over 5,000 part numbers ready to ship. We currently do not have the resources to increase the volume of custom assemblies. This is not to say that we can not accept orders it is merely stating it would not be wise or beneficial for us or the consumer to discount these assemblies in order to increase the volume sold. We are working to add qualified staff to our manufacturing team but in an effort to produce only the best quality only the best techs produce your axles!
Hopefully this provides some insight on how and why we make the decision we make. I am very proud of our team of 23 and we very much appreciate any and all orders received, we look forward to serving any future customers to the best of our abilities. Please take advantage of any discounts on parts offered, and please accept our apology for not being able to discount our custom built products.
New gear sets MUST be broken in correctly to prevent damage. Not following proper break-in procedures will lead to overloading and overheating the ring and pinion as well as breaking down and ruining the gear oil. Not following proper break-in procedures can be determined during inspection and will void the warranty. Please follow the below guidelines to ensure a proper break-in and long life of your gears. • Only use high quality gear oils. ECGS recommends Lucas non-synthetic 85W-140 • On initial run, drive lightly for 15 to 20 minutes then stop to allow differential to cool completely for 20 to 25 minutes. • Avoid towing and heavy acceleration, as well as vary speeds every 5 to 10 minutes while driving on highways. • Drive conservatively and do not drive more than 50 miles at a time without allowing a cool cycle during the first 500 miles following installation. • After completing initial break-in, change gear oil at 500 miles. Small metal particles are normal and gear oil will typically be black. Excessive metal in gear oil should be reviewed by a competent differential mechanic to ensure safety of internal parts. Post gear oil change and initial break-in: Towing. • First time towing should be limited to light load for no more than 15 miles, then allow differential to cool completely for 20 to 25 minutes. • Repeat this procedure for first 45 miles of towing for full break-in of gears for towing vehicles. PREMATURE OVERLOADING AND IMPROPER BREAK-IN WILL CAUSE GEAR OIL BREAKDOWN AND MAY RESULT IN RING AND PINION FAILURE VOIDING THE GEAR WARRANTY!
The reason behind this warning is the axle's have been modified from their intended use to fit your application, therefore it is not a DOT approved product. Our insurance company has instructed us that the axles be listed for off-road application. Obviously many are using them on the road with the no problems. This warning is for liability purposes.
Most of the rears are the big spindles and can run 35 spline shafts without being bored, not all check them to be sure before getting to involved! Most of the 61's we have seen come with 3.07 gears, in order to run the 3.07 gears and fit the monster pinion head in there dana changed the offset of the pinion by changing the housing not the carrier. Dana 61's did however come w/ 3.55, 3.73 and 4.10 gears. The best advatage to these: they are cheap because the question of whether or not they can be geared is a bit mystical. And the good news is they can be regeared!
This is how you get one to work. There was a a dana 60 spacer made by Reider that allowed you to run the lower ratio gear ie 4.56 and up. I believe this spacer was 1/2 thick (UNVERIFIED). It required the 4.56 and up dana 60 carrier and the ring gear spacer to get the offset needed. This said spacer seems to be just a legend now and has Been discontinued. However their still is the Mr. gasket dana 60 spacer (.160 thickness) that just about every drivetrain company sells. This spacer is designed to allow you to run the 4.56 and up gears on a 4.10 and down carrier for a regular 60. This spacer does come into play but need not be confused w/ the legendary Rieder spacer, they are of different thickness.
Alas there is a dana/spicer Dana 61- 3.33 and up carrier part# 706400x. This carrier is 2 5/8 tall (UNVERIFIED). Where as the dana 60 4.56 and up carrier part# 706041x is 2 7/16 tall. So what combination do you need to run which gear ratio? If you have a dana 61 that has 3.07 gears in it and you want to run 3.33-4.30 gears, you will need to run the dana 61 3.33 and up carrier part# 706400x (ONLY AVAILABLE USED) or the dana 60 4.56 and up carrier with a .160 ring gear spacer WITH A 382A narrow race and some outside shims. This is popular for people who are trying to regear a 3.07 dodge cummins and the like front 61 that has a non overdrive auto, If you switch to a manual or to an overdrive auto transmission, you will likely want some lower gearing that is how you get it.
If you have a dana 61 with 3.33 or higher gear ratio you need a .160 ring gear spacer, 382A race and outside shims to run 4.56's and up.
If you have a dana 61 with 3.07 gears and you want to go to 4.56 or numerically higher gear ratio you will need to obtain a dana 61 3.33 and up carrier part# 706400x and a .160 ring gear spacer to achieve the desired offset. Or have a .437 ring gear spacer custom machined. OR AND MOST USEFUL FOR READILY AVAILABLE PARTS AND ABSOLUTELY VERIFIED: D60 4.56 AND UP CARRIER/LOCKER, .160 RING GEAR SPACER, THICK CUT DANA 60 GEAR (4.56,5.13,5.38, 382A NARROW RACE AND SOME OUTSIDE SHIM SECTION. This is popular for the guys trying to score a cheap front or rear 60's and gear it for offroad use.
Ford (78-79) Shaft Lengths- 18.66"(Short)- 34.56"(Long)- 11.40"(Outers)
Ford (83-91) Shaft Lengths- 15.98"(Short)- 36.86"(Long)- 11.40"(Outers)
Ford Unit Bearing Shaft Lenths - 9.39"(Outers)
Chevy/GM Shaft Lengths- 17.67"(Short)- 35.07(Long)- 12.00"(Outers)
Dodge (79-93) Shaft Lengths- 15.98"(Short)- 35.10(Long)- 12.00"(Outers)
E14 interior torque
Tie Rod separator
Misc basic tools Remove Front wheels: Remove Skid Pans: Drain Diff fluid 10mm Allen: Separate Tie rod ends, a cheap tierod separator can be purchased or rented from an auto parts store or alternately one can use a hammer and give a good smack to the spindle tierod body. Tie rod separator is easy and cheap. Do not use a fork tool, you will ruin the boot. Hammer method:
Remove Spindle cab with a small screwdriver or chisel, work around the edge slowly and don't beat it to death because they damage easily, once separated use a prior bar to pop it off: Remove Cotter pin and lock retainer: Remove axle nut 36mm w/ impact gun. My battery powered electric took these off, if they are stuck or don't have power tools have an assistant hold the brakes while you put a breaker bar on it, if no assistant is available the nut can be broken loose by setting the tires on the ground in park and using a breaker bar, this should be done early on obviously. Remove Sway bar link nut and pull link away from spindle. This will free up more travel: Remove lower ball joint Bolts: There are only 2. The early trucks had 4 bolts The spindle is now ready to be pulled away from the axle shaft giving you room to swing it out away from the CV, this allows for CV removal. The splines of the CV can be fairly seized in the internal hub splines. Screwing the axle nut back on shaft and popping the end of it with a dead bow will free it up. Getting the spindle away from the shaft is much easier with an assistant but possible by yourself, pull rotor spindle assembly away while pulling CV shaft back towards diff. Position spindle to the rear and secure or have an assistant hold out of the way while shaft is being removed. Remove CV shafts- use a pry bar to pop shaft out of tube and diff. Internal c-clip is holding shaft in. A big brass drift can also be placed where pry bar is placed and can be knocked out with a hammer. I actually used the drift method as there is a metal dust seal on inner side of shaft that slightly interferes with pry method. Unplug ADD motor harness. Be careful not to break the plastic securing clips. After all this is a 05+ truck lets keep it NEW! I like to go ahead and loosen the ADD tube retaining bolts, these are fairly tight and with the diff installed its a reasonable holding fixture. The tube can be fully removed now as well. But the tube serves as a useful place to grab when removing diff, and retains a bit of diff fluid that will surely drain all over you when you remove. I like to just break the bolts loose and leave it attached until its on the bench. There is a 12mm bolt on top of the diff that holds the diff breather and vacuum line retainer bracket, go ahead and back this bolt out and disconnect the two lines. Now time to remove the mounting bolts and drop the diff, remove the allen nut 17mm, and the other 2 bolts as pictured. Remove allen nut completely remove one bolt completely, and back out last bolt almost all the way out, so diff is still hanging, diff will be rotated forward/down. Position self to support and remove diff, rotate diff back up and remove last bolt while supporting diff, allow diff to rotate down and raise up until rear allen mount stud is free and lower. The 05+ diffs have more room than the early truck to get the diff out so that is a plus. Diff can be removed by one person and only weighs about 35-40 lbs.
We find this question coming up a lot, so here is what we have learned from our own experience and what customers have told us. Remember you get what you pay for and each locker has its own advantages and disadvantages we will try to list all the advantages and disadvantages of each. Also this should be stated: before getting into locker choices if you daily drive your truck any locker that is not select-able will diminish on road driving characteristics. If you have a newer vehicle that you drive every day and expect to use your 4 wheel drive in the snow and ice on the road, consider a select-able locker as the only way to go. Full non select-able lockers can be dangerous in the snow and ice. Both tires turn at the same speed which results in the vehicle wanting to go straight even when you have the wheels turned. Also in a icy conditions with both wheels spinning at the same rate it causes the vehicle to slide and spin that much faster. For snow and ice using a limited slip or select-able locker is a much better option. So onto the advantages and disadvantages.
Lockright, Spartan, Aussie Lockers (AKA Lunchbox Lockers):
Advantages: Cheap, easy to install for backyard mechanic (in theory we will get into this in detail in the disadvantages) gives full traction when you need it, yet still allows you the ability to turn on the trail as it will unlock when you need it. We really think this is a good option in a front 60 for trail use. The Dana 60 carriers are very strong and can handle the load of hardcore use. Lockrights come with a 2 year warranty and Richmond is good about getting these warrantied. Spartan Lockers come with a 1 year warranty and are very good at being warrantied. Aussie Lockers carry a 2 year warranty and as of yet we have not warrantied one. Pins can break and the springs do wear out but they are easily replaceable and cheap to do so. For the price lunchbox lockers are are a great product they offer full cheap traction but will also unlock to aid in steering.
Disadvantages: The lunchbox locker relies on the strength of the carrier a weak carrier will literally rip in half. If your already overloading your current set-up with big tires and high horsepower, the carriers can fail. Ford 8.8 carriers and ten bolt carriers are good examples where we have seen this happen. Lunchbox lockers have poor street manners; not terrible, and each person has there own limits of acceptability, but we are building trucks to do awesome things offroad so sacrificing ride quality on the road is a fact of life. We do not recommend lunchbox lockers in any trucks that are used for towing. Reason being, a lunchbox locker unloads when off the gas and then relocks when you get back on the gas. This transfer translates to a slight to heavy pull to one side. The magnitude of this pull is really determined by suspension and wheel base. With a very loose suspension and short wheelbase this pull is very noticeable. And frankly sometimes dangerous if one is not accustomed to driving with one. With a tight suspension and long wheelbase it may be unnoticeable. As far as installation goes, some vehicles require the ring gear to be removed from the carrier in order to drop the crosshaft out. On vehicles with side adjusters such as 14 bolts, Chrysler rearends, and Toyota 3rds; the backlash will need to be reset to the factory specifications. In order to do so a dial indicator is required. For Toyota's, the ring gear needs to be removed to install the lunchbox locker and the backlash will need to be reset. In this case it is truly easier to put a full carrier locker in it.
Detroit lockers are tried and true, and they are extremely strong. They offer you full traction and come with a 1 year manufacturer warranty. They also unlock when turning allowing you turning ability on road and offroad. These lockers have built a great reputation because they are so tough. This is a true upgrade for a weak case. If your carrier is the weak link in your axle, after adding a Detroit it won't be.
Disadvantages: Much like a Lockright, Detroit have the same poor street manners, depending on application they can be very noisy when they unload, usually in a parking lot or when doing tight turning maneuvers. They will load and unload on the street, when you are on and off the gas. They are however usually less noticeable then Lockright's and suspension and wheel base play a large roll in the severity of the effect. The biggest downsize to the Detroit is if you break a shaft 90% of the time the clutch plate on the side of the broken shaft usually breaks from the recoil. This leaves you with a broken shaft and a broken locker. The locker can be repaired but these pieces are very expensive in relation to the cost of the locker, they are not proportional. A clutch plate usually is in the $160-$200 range. Another note is Detroit's customer service is sub par. Their warranties are usually very slow and parts can be very hard to come by, if you need a part you will need a very motivated vendor to get it for you. If you break a case on a Detroit, not real likely, but possible, just the case portion will cost you close to what a new locker will cost. Again Detroit's have a great reputation for being strong b/c they are but if your treading on weak axle shafts think about upgrading your shafts with the locker or you might be in very bad position ( broken locker+ broken shaft). These lockers are not highly recommended for tow rigs or vehicles driving in snow/ice road conditions.
Auburn: Just a blurb here since we do not have a whole lot of experience with these. Here is what we know: They are a great idea, and when I say great I mean great. Having a full time limited slip that transforms to full locker with a flick of a switch is an awesome idea. Auburn makes a great limited slip and makes some fantastic products. Their warranty programs are top notch and they typically have great customer service. The problems we have heard is when the locker portion of the differential is engaged it slides the side gear over towards center this takes away form the spline engagement of the axle shaft to side gear and stripped shafts is the result (This may be hearsay). They are priced right but their true worthiness is still in question with us. Don't count auburn out though, we think they will correct this problem and manufacture a better differential. They are again a great company that manufacturers awesome products right here in the USA.
Advantages: They are one of the toughest lockers ever built and are a 100% forged differential. The mechanical linkage with the cable is simple and effective. You can engage and disengage when you need to, making them useful on road and offroad. Go to the track or offroad, pull cable for full traction. Drive home push it in for an open diff. A properly routed cable that is maintained(oiled much like a motorcycle throttle cable) can give you many years or quality service.
The cable can be problematic and they do require maintenance and or replacement. A properly routed cable is essential. It needs a fairly straight shot, and can absolutely not be routed near any heat source. The cable sheath will act like heat shrink if routed to close to the exhaust and the cable will seize in the sheath. Their expense is a disadvantage but this comes from it being a very well built differential.
Advantages: We are not going to hide the fact that we think this is the best locker on the market. Of course it is also one of the most expensive. It is the fastest locking and unlocking differential on the market. If you are offroad and need to make a tight turn flick it off make your turn and flick it back on. They are extremely strong; as strong as any differential on the market if not the strongest. We have never seen one break. If your case is the weak link in your axle, with an ARB lock that will no longer be the case. If you have a newer vehicle that you drive everyday, installing the ARB will not impair its road qualities at all, just leave it off. In snow/ice conditions on the road an open diff is the safest way to travel, the ARB allows you to have that open diff. If you need to pull someone out of the ditch lock it in. If anything does go wrong with your locker or the accessories, replacement parts are easy to get and relatively cheap. ARB's customer service and warranty programs are awesome (2 year warranty). If you buy an ARB compressor with the locker, between the two purchases you have everything you need to actuate the locker. The compressor is very easy to install. Simply mount the compressor in the desired location and wire it with the provided harness. The electrical harness is pre-built for you to run the compressor switch and two locker switches, so you can easily add another locker later if you so choose. ARB's come with vehicle specific instructions that are easy to read and very explicit. If money is not a factor ARB is the only option for strength, reliability and safety. There is no downside to an ARB locker if installed properly.
Disadvantages: The ARB needs to be installed by a quality professional with experience installing diffs, a do it yourself-er can install and we will answer tech questions, but realize this is not a slap it in and go locker. If an ARB is installed properly it will outlast your truck problem free. The airlines need to be routed as to not get caught by rocks, suspension travel, ect. The air lines also need to be protected from chafing and direct heat sources. Their expense is also a downside, we know about budgets, but usually doing it right the first time saves money in the long run.