Spartan Locker post install, pictures and videos to come. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Spartan Locker post install, pictures and videos to come.


Well-Known Member
August 3, 2012
Reaction score
City, State
Upstate NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
04 Explorer XLT
Before I start I would like to give Ronin8002 on here a big shot out. He helped answer all my dumb questions that were mostly buried in the Aussie locker and Spartan locker install threads that I was in too much of a hurry to read. He also led me in the direction of a locker in the first place. Lastly, even though he was trying to sell his he practically forced me to buy one I found for a great deal on Amazon. I felt bad about buying one out from under him like that so I felt bad but he was really cool with it.

Alright to the locker...

Install: hardest part honestly was getting the diff out of the truck. My friend and I started at 8:00 at night and it isn't hard to do, it just takes a lot of time to get the diff out. Lots of disassembly is required. That being said honestly if you can change brakes and ball joints you will pretty much have the skills to do this whole project. It's pretty straight forward so don't be scared.

Result: Don't expect your explorer to drive like stock. This locker is VERY good. It will keep those tires locked under almost all circumstances even on sandy roads even if you hardly touch the gas around a turn. Only clean wet pavement and dry pavement will force it to ratchet fully. That being said on adverse surfaces it by no means is 100% locked in, it just ratchets a limited amount. Very drivable, just something you will notice and have to be OK with. Finally, the ratcheting is hearable but not too loud. About the loudness of someone tapping their finger on the outside rear door or something not bad at all.
As for off roading I didn't get to do too much as we have so much snow I was getting bottomed out but it will basically never come unlocked in mud or snow. It was 100% power to both tires l the time. As for crawling over rocks and stuff I can't tell you as there is too much snow. I will try in the summer though.
Driving on the road in snow was what surprised me. I thought it would be really prone to pitting you sideways in 2wd but it's not at all. It is wicked stable and allowed me to drive in some pretty sketchy conditions in 2wd perfectly fine. It was a really pleasant surprise. This being said, when you go around turns you do have to be more careful as that is when it will send you sideways easier. Keep the throttle down though and driving in snow won't be any more dangerous than before... Also 4x4 eliminates basically any hindrance of the locker in snow.

Because you are all wondering..
Yes it will do wet pavement doughnuts no problem in 2wd. Yes it will light em both up without a brake stand on a wet road. Carefully though you will get wheel hop... And yes, drifting in parking lots is 10x better with a locker!

In conclusion: this is not a product for a stupid driver or someone who is a sissy and can't take a little jolts and tire scrubbing here and there. This is a pretty dang serious locker and is made to function really well off road at some cost to the street ability of the vehicle. That being said, you will not be put in danger or ruin the daily driveability in any way with this locker. It will become something you learn to drive with and can driver much smoother with as time goes on too.

If you are on the fence like I was just think about the last time you were stuck in the mud or snow and all the reversing and putting it into drive you had to do to get out. Then think about how much wear and tear a locker could save you. I don't off-road a ton but when I do sometimes I get stuck and sometimes I get stuck towing a trailer... If I can eliminate all that wear and tear and make my life easier plus have the rear end functioning as it is in my opinion supposed to, it's worth it to me.

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Here is some video of me beating on the Explorer. Normally I wouldn't do this but considering the occasion I did. I will have to take it offroad when some of the snow clears it is way too thick now. My friends with lifted jeeps were even having a hard time through it.

Now that I have had a chance to really drive the Explorer with the locker I can report more thoroughly on the operation.
After all the driving I have done I can say that this locker is WAY overkill for a stock Explorer. It is awesome, but you really simply just don't need it. I can park with one tire on ice and the other tire on dry pavement and roast the tire on pavement....which is awesome, just not particularly necessary. A G80 type locker that is in alot of Chevy pickups would be very adequate for this vehicle. This being said I personally love the ratcheting noises it makes and get into a nice sandy turn and poke at the gas and you can send the dam thing sideways like a muscle car..which is very flippin cool!!! I'll warn you though these things body roll like crazy so don't baby it. If your gonna be stupid keep the tires spinning until you are straight or you could catch dry pavement and possibly flip it lol.
The lockers operation is 100% there is no questioning whether or not it will lock. On road off road I have NEVER spun one tire. Those days are over...which is good.

What I do wish was that it could ratchet just a little more. I guess I wish they made a severe duty and light duty one that had different spring rates. Uphill on sandy roads intersections are just kinda clunky which is annoying. Any other type of turn though is fine.

As far as snow goes this is where the performance was better than expected. I can actually drive around in straight lines in 2wd with more stability. That being said in the turns it will send you sideways ALOT faster than open diff in 2wd. That being said when you put it in 4X4 these differences are mitigated. Let me put it this way, I wouldn't hesitate to let an inexperienced driver drive my Explorer because of the locker. I would just give them a brief warning and if I didn't tell them about it I bet they wouldn't notice.

the only thing I REALLY don't like is the wheel hop that I have. This isn't a fault of the locker, rather a result of having the power split and likely worn struts and stuff. I thought the hop was only on the road but it does hop a bit off road as well if I really get the tires spinning so that is something that I will have to do something about at some point.

Overall I give it a 10/10 for a lifted true off road vehicle. VERY cheap way to get great traction

for a stock Explorer I say 7-8/10 just because it is overkill and not worth the disadvantages over a posi system...that being said it is a lot easier to install and half the price so it is worth it in that regard.

I have 0 regrets about installing it and I would do it again because it is badass, pure American and sending your truck sideways listening to those Detroit horses breathing as it pulls 4k rpm is a pure American feeling.

Since it snowed today I can finally give the locker a true snow review.

When I first bought the locker I was pretty concerned that I was going to hurt my drive ability in the snow. Out of all of the 4x4's I have driven in my life (probably 20-30 as pretty much anyone I know has a 4x4) I have always seen my Ex with the discoverer at3 as one of the best vehicles I have ever driven in snow on the road. It is stable, not too tail happy and can climb snowy hills like a boss...

I was worried the locker was going to make it tail happy like crazy. I'm finding that the OPPOSITE is quite true. Around turns you will never notice it if you are driving normally. It just doesn't hurt you any I'm shocked to say. Now, if you want to make it drift it will,,,and it will kick right out which is cool heheh. But I can affirm for sure that I can drive exactly the same speed as I did before....but here is the kicker...

wait for it....

IN TWO WHEEL DRIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was amazed! Around the turns light on the gas I got zero understeer whatsoever from the locker. Using light throttle it either ratchets a little or the turns just didn't require it to. Even if I stabbed the pedal a bit I could induce oversteer but nothing unexpected or uncontrollable. To be dead honest it felt alot better than with the open diff. The open diff once it broke free seemed to give me zero control to put the truck straight again.

Finally in a straight line the open diff would always push the truck to the left or right in 2x4. If you stabbed the gas in a parking lot I could do a 180 without even touching the wheel. It makes sense when you think about it. If you push a shopping cart from one side it is gonna go the opposite direction..physics!! The locker keeps you straighter and again, when it does break free it is slower and more expected. More controllable.

Overall I am SHOCKED to say that I actually like the locker in snow MORE than the open diff...I don't know how but I do.

On a nice side note too the acceleration in 4x4 is unreal on snow with three tires digging.

If you are stopping yourself from getting a locker because of snow...I wouldn't. Honestly I think you will love it.

That's it, I'm taking mine off the for sale forum and installing it. :D

For the love of God do it!!! It is so friggin awesome! It is everything I dreamed and more...I didn't have traction control though so since you have that I am sure you don't get the crazy "one tire fire" like I did.