OUR GIVEAWAY HiLux is a 2010 SR spec, so it predates electronic traction control (ETC), and while it might be okay off-road, the tractive ability of these early rigs is pretty average without some form of aftermarket help.
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Thankfully, the Australian 4x4 aftermarket industry is incredibly strong and turns out top-notch products that’ll transform your vehicle into whatever custom rig you desire.
A big player in the industry is Harrop Engineering. With a history in motorsport that spans decades, the Melbourne manufacturer is now turning its talents to the 4x4 game, and one of its key components is the Harrop ELocker. With proven reliability and a simplistic design, the ELocker is just the ticket for our HiLux.
Harrop makes the locker using technology from US driveline giant, Eaton. Eaton makes driveline components for heavy vehicles, and it originally developed the ELocker for use in the AM General HMMWV military vehicle. It was soon adapted for recreational four-wheel drive applications.
Harrop saw the potential of the Eaton ELocker in the extensive number of 4x4s sold here, and – Aussies being Aussies – thought it could improve on the product. This involved developing a stronger four-pinion-design differential, and casting and machining the carriers here to suit our vehicles. This also ensured the best quality control.
The simplicity of the Harrop-Eaton ELocker centres on its electro-magnetic actuation, which means there’s just one wire going to the differential. That means no air compressors or lines are needed, as with many other selectable locking differentials. The single wire comes from a relay in the engine bay, with its switch located in the cabin.
Once powered, the electromagnet locks the two sides of the differential together to send equal drive to both wheels. Simple, selectable traction!
The Harrop ELocker can be fitted to the front, rear or both axles of most popular 4x4 vehicles. When fitted to both axles they can be locked individually front or rear, or both together to provide maximum drive to all four wheels. Harrop recently fitted a trio of ELockers to a 6x6 Land Rover, with lockers in all three axles.
Being in Melbourne, we took the HiLux to the Harrop Performance Centre to install the ELocker in the rear diff. The ELockers are also sold through Opposite Lock stores and Terrain Tamer stockists nationally.
The HiLux looked a bit out of place in the Harrop workshop, where it was surrounded by supercharged Holdens and BMWs, but Kevin Braunton’s muddy TJ Wrangler sitting outside on 35s was reassuring. Kevin, who did the install for us, started by draining the diff oil, pulling the axles, dropping the tailshaft and removing the original LSD centre. It was then taken to a special diff assembly room where the carrier was removed from the pumpkin, the crown wheel removed from the OE carrier and all the re-usable parts sent off for a hot wash.
The ELocker is a fully assembled unit and comes with a wiring harness including the relay, switch and detailed fitting instructions. After checking that the original crown wheel and pinion gears were serviceable, Kevin fitted the former to the ELocker by heating it up in the parts washer and then torqueing it down. Before it was re-installed, a hole was drilled and the fitting inserted to pass the power wire through.
The locker was then placed back into the centre and the lash was set. It was then ready to go back into the car with fresh LSD oil.
With the mechanical parts back in the car, the wire was run along the top of the chassis rail to the engine bay, where Kevin picked up 12V from the Piranha Off Road fuse block we installed with the dual-battery system. The wiring was then passed through the firewall and along the back of the dash to where we mounted the switch within easy reach of the driver.
The ELocker installation took the best part of a day, but we messed around quite a bit with photography and video.
Aside from setting the lash on the crown wheel and pinion, the job is one that any competent home mechanic could carry out with basic tools and jack stands. But if you’re in any doubt, leave it to a qualified installer.
Available from: www.harrop.com.au
RRP: From $1500 (approx.)
We say: Fully assembled and easy to install, if you’re competent with a spanner.
96 Bell Street, Preston, Victoria
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