Front Axle Lock

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Front Axle Lock

Contributed by jakkedeagle

I was amazed how easy this was. I found the post somewhere in the forum about using a hose clamp to hold the axle shift motor in the lock position, in order to keep the front axle locked at all times. I pondered for some time over whether this was a good idea or not.

The factory used the disconnect for a reason. The only two I could come up with is to decrease the drag that a locked axle would have, adversely affecting gas mileage, and to decrease the wear and tear on the associated parts that would be constantly moving while driving, i.e. the differential, the driveshaft/u-joints and the front yoke on the t-case.

The front axle on my Jeep had the disconnect, but I ended up changing it to a Posi-loc rip cord manuel shift, because I changed the shift motor twice in one year due to water damage. I thought about maybe using the same thing on the Eagle, but no Posi-lok is listed for "us". I compared a shift housing from an XJ Cherokee, but they are two different parts. Shiftmotor01.jpg

The one on the left is the Cherokee.

I thought about retrofitting the Eagle shift motor housing to accept the Posi-lok rip cord cable, but I finally decided, with the help of a certain moderator-IE ;), to go with the hose clamp solution.

Jeep did away with the front axle disconnect in recent vehicles - Wranglers, newer Cherokees, the Grand Cherokees don't have 'em, and it wouldn't surprize me if the Liberty is missing it. In fact, there was no axle disconnect when Jeeps were first produced, later on they started using manuel locking hubs.

I statred off today with picking up a new shift motor housing gasket, Jeep part no. 1-04137732. Last weekend I started by removing the housing, after disconnecting the vacuum lines. I didn't remove the skid plate at first, but it would have made it a little easier. I jacked up the right side of the Eagle, more so to get pictures, but it did make getting under there a lot easier.

There are four bolts, two top and two bottom. The two bottom bolts are easy to get out, the top ones are tucked way up and require a 7/16 wrench either open or closed ended. I was able to use a Craftsman rachet wrench with the lowboy socket inserts they offer, but the standard wrench would have worked fine.

This is what it looks like when you open it up.....................


Make sure you have a pan under the housing when it comes off, because gear oil [u]will[/u] spill out. My housing wouldn't come right off when the bolts came out, so I had to take a putty knife and carefully separate the housing from the axle. Don't rip it out, carefully pull it away. You will have to manuver it a little. At this point last week, I realized I should have taken off the skid plate.

Make sure both surfaces are free of any gasket material, just use a razor blade and clean 'em up. NO SAND PAPER! Nothing way to abrasive.

Slide the shift collar over both axle ends (to the passenger side). If the splines don't line up, rotate the tire untill it does.

Take the shift motor housing and slide the fork to align with the collar. The forks ride in the channel in the collar. Take a small hose clamp and attach as shown.


Make sure the fork is pushed as far away as possible, and the hose clamp is as close to the housing as possible. Tighten up the hose clamp so the piston doesn't move, but don't strip out the clamp.

It was at this point I realized I dropped one of the plastic pad things that are attached to the inboard side of the shift fork ends (you can see them in the above picture). They just snap on, so I just snaped it back on.

I grabbed the gasket, used some gasket sealer, reattached the housing, reinstalled the skid plate, and that was it. The whole thing took about 45 minutes, could've gone quicker if I didn't take pictures.

Now, I will not be able to field test this myself for a month or so, because I'm in the process of replacing the t-case, rear suspension, front suspension................and so on. I have full confidence that this a cheap and easy sollution.

If there is anybody that has field tested this in their own ride, please comment.................