Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Sidekick Gets Its Rear Locker Installed

Suzuki Sidekick third member
The third member from my 1995 Suzuki Sidekick.
Not too long ago, I got a Lock-Right rear locker for the "Teal Terror," project '95 Suzuki Sidekick. As I'd previously mentioned, the rear locker allows for power to be transferred equally, 50/50, to the rear wheels when slippage occurs. This is ideal in off-road situations. And while it will affect the on-road driving characteristics, it will be worth it off the pavement.

Seeing as though how I had never installed a locker or pulled a "third member" (e.g. the part you're looking at above; the back side of which bolts to the drive shaft), I looked to an expert. That expert would be Eric Bewley who runs the Suzuki site, It just so happens Eric lives about an hour away and is an expert on all things Suzuki 4x4.

I began the night before by giving all of the bolts we'd be removing from the axle flanges and third member a liberal dousing of WD-40, which made them much easier to remove. Pulling the axles required some heavy-handed hammering, but they did eventually pull out. Thankfully, Eric had air tools which made the job go much faster. However, the disassembly and subsequent reassembely were the parts that actually took a lot of time.

Inside the Suzuki Sidekick's differential before the locker.
Inside the Sidekick's rear differential. This is
before the Lock-Right locker was installed.
Once the third member was out, we put it into the vise. Eric checked the backlash on the gears. We then then removed the adjusters on the side, the bearing caps, then disassembled the ring gear. Once inside the differential, you simply pop out the spider gears, insert the included springs in to the Lock-Right, remove and ad some pins, and begin reassembly. Once reassembled, backlash was checked again, and the whole thing was bolted up again. In went some gear oil and Lucas Oil Treatment, and new fill plug replaced the old stripped-out unit, and it was off for a test drive.

Almost immediately, the locker was noticeable. I backed the vehicle up, then went to make a tight circle in Eric's gravel driveway. Both tires kicked up a bit of gravel as you felt both tires get traction. There is also some apparent banging/clanking when you go around a tight turn with the vehicle in gear. This is what it's supposed to do (e.g. it's the Lock-Right allowing for a bit of movement vs going into full lock). I've put about 60 miles on the thing since having it installed, and you have to learn how to drive with it. It helps to be in neutral around corners, and you don't want to "give it" in tight turns.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how it performs off the pavement. I'm sure it will aid in getting the Teal Terror over obstacles in an easier fashion. I can't wait!

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