Tech: ARB Air Locker Installation

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"Getting a Grip"

It only took one week-long trip to Moab to get me hooked. Ever since that fateful trip April of 2000 I've been talking about getting my Montero ready for Utah in 2001. Now it's February of 2001 and I've finally saved up enough moola to purchase an ARB Air Locker - the ultimate in offroad traction (at least that's what it says on the box, so who am I to argue?). I am fortunate to be an applicant in the Minnesota Trialriders Club and met up with John Nutter, a true off-road enthusiast who graciously offered to help me with the install. Of course I asked how many ARBs he's done, and his answer was one, but that he has done dozens of gear settings and has all the necessary tools. John's a good guy so that was good enough for me. All I had to do was set a date and time to show up at his ultra-clean and organized garage.

About the Author:
Jay Riggs previously brought us a great how-to article on replacing the auto hubs in a Montero Check out his tech article: Rebuilt Aisin Manual Hubs
An exploded view of the parts to be installed.

This installation was done on my beloved 1989 Mitsubishi Montero 4dr V6 with factory LSD. It has 149,000 miles on it and the rear diff had never been apart. The axles have only been pulled once when the inner rear axle seals were replaced in early 2000. We had the shop manual at our disposal, which helped tremendously. I will have to print it out again because now it's totally covered in grease.
What follows is a summary of the installation process of the rear ARB Air Locker (Part number RD46) from my perspective. What's my perspective? I am not a mechanic, but love to know how things work. I'm still striving to become an adequate bush mechanic so I can get home in the same vehicle I left with.

Diff Work and Air Line Installation

The "third member" of the installation team. The LSD prepares to get its bearings pulled. Can you see the difference? 
The factory LSD (behind) makes way for "air power". The ARB in the fore- ground wins the heavyweight title. Drill a hole in the top of the diff, but be sure to cover the pinion gear!
After dumping the shavings, tap the hole from the outside. A homegrown spanner wrench helps the put the ARB in its new home. Preload and backlash setting... its not rocket science, but darn close!
Bend the metal seal housing tube so it is exactly centered in the tapped diff hole - make sure it's routed about " away from the locker and does not press the seal housing at an odd angle with the locker - it should line up perfectly!

Compressor and Switch Installation
Switch mounting step one: console removal. Step two: marking the holes with the template The mounted switches look OEM
Keep the airline away from that hot muffler! The compressor sits in front of the battery tray. The finished install - like it came from the factory!


Notes: Torque all bolts to manufacturers specifications and use high strength lock-tight on all bolts in the diff. I also installed the ARB air-up kit and routed the chuck to the inside of the front bumper. That way I don't need to open the hood to air up my tires and inflatable toys. Don't ask . . .

Contacts: Related Links
  • Jay Riggs
  • ARB USA Air Locker Inc. Dept ORN, 20 South Spokane Street, Seattle, Washington, 98134, phone 206.264.1669, fax 206.264.1670

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