hub conversion question...locked IN 4x4 - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 07-15-2011
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hub conversion question...locked IN 4x4

i was confused about the vacuum hub to manual locking hub conversion. im going to buy the hubs so i can shut off my front hubs. the thing is im not locked out of 4x4, im locking in. so my front hubs are always spinning even tho my transfer case isnt engaged. will these hubs work still? will they unlock my hubs so there is less resistance?
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Old 07-15-2011
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Ummm what?

Your vacume hubs lock together when you turn your four wheel drive switch on. When its off they should be unlocked and the front cv shafts and drive shaft shouldnt be turning. The reason people replace the vacume hubs with the manual ones is because they are more reliable in the fact that they dont have to rely on the vacume system to lock them. Thats why i replaced mine because i would get vacume leaks and then not have 4wheel drive. Not sure if this clears it up for you.
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Old 07-15-2011
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yea the hubs are currently locked in. when i turn the wheels the shafts also turn. the mechanic told me the vacuum failed but the hubs are still locked so i can still use 4x4 i just cant unlock the hubs so the front is always spinning.
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Old 07-15-2011
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interesting. I was under the impression that when the vacume system fails they unlock since there isnt any vacume on them holding them on the shaft. There is a mod that can be done to the vacume hubs to make them locked all the time and maybe the person that owned the truck before you did that but im not realy sure. I will wait for someone else to chime in.
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Old 07-15-2011
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i think it failed while in use. this past winter the vacuum just wouldnt unlock my hubs when i turned the 4x4 off. brought it to the shop and he told me to just put manual hubs on because new vacuums are like 700+.
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Old 07-15-2011
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Well if you get the manual ones (there is only one kind) then you will be able to lock and unlock when ever you want to and just do away with the vacume hubs. im not sure if the hubs being locked in now will cause any problems when you go to take them off or not. But that sounds damn expensive for a set of hubs.
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Old 07-15-2011
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right!!! i think the manual locking hubs are like 170 for the pair so at least give it a try. thanks man!
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Old 07-29-2011
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i went with the manual locking hubs on my 98 ranger.... i did the mod on auto locking hubs for a few months... no negative effects that i'm aware of... ran it that way for probs 4 months and 5,000 miles... however fuel econ went down.

when i did the conversion it only took as long as it took to take the wheels off.

that 170 seems steep... i found mine brand new from some online jeep store for like 145 shipped.

they do fail though.... took mine apart today and on one all the plastic in it had been destroyed by the friction and melted, and the other was rusted in the open position.

i recomend taking them off and inspecting them every so often to check functionality



Those auto locking hubs shouldnt fail and stay engaged... only reason i can think they are is either A: they were modified or B: you got lots of water in there and all the pieces rusted together... take it apart and look at it all.. to remove all you need is a flat head and patience

happy days
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Old 07-29-2011
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haha yea i thought it was weird that they are stuck on too. ill have to take it apart and check it all out. thanks man. and as for them failing....thats not good. but i definitely am a believer in preventative maintenance.
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