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1987 - 1996 F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks 1987 - 1996 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 and larger pickups - including the 1997 heavy-duty F250/F350+ trucks

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Old 01-13-2015, 10:02 AM
50monte 50monte is offline
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Do I really want to replace my Autolocking hubs?

Hey Guy's, newbe to the site. I just purchased a old F150 4x4 beater, It needs some work but it has potential. It's a 4x4 and I not sure the front hubs are locking. They probably need to be taken apart and cleaned for maintenance. I like the Idea of auto locking! should I try to get these working or just replace with manual locking. It the past with my other 4x4's I was usually stuck in the mud before I had to get out in the mud and lock the hubs. Whats you opinion. thanks! Marty.........
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:18 AM
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all my vehicles have manual hubs and manual shift t-cases.
if i know i will be going somewhere where there is a possibility i may need 4 wheel, i lock the hubs before going there.
i do not trust auto hubs, and will not own a vehicle with them.
i have seen way too many vehicles that had to be towed out because of auto hub or electric shift t-case failures.
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:27 AM
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The auto hubs are great when they are working. It seems they don't work however when you really need them to.
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:39 AM
50monte 50monte is offline
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I see! Mine is a 1991 XLT with manual T-case. So my best option would be to purchase a manual kit for the hubs?
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:42 AM
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Also, Are all the brands about the same? or a special one to buy?
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:54 AM
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The reason many of us don't like auto hubs is because they tend to fail when you need them most. The hubs are 100% mechanically actuated with the rotation of the front axle shafts acting on a cam mechanism inside. The problem with this is when you change direction (forward/reverse gear) the hubs have to unlock and then re-lock in the new direction. Now if you're stuck and trying to rock the truck out of a rut or whatever, the hubs are constantly being slammed in and out of engagement. This usually grenades them, and even if you only break just ONE of them your front drive axle is now useless unless you have the differential locked (not a factory option).

The other problem is that there are more moving parts in there than manual hubs and any contamination usually causes them to stick.

I've personally had auto hubs fail on me and I've also watched it happen to other Fords of this era. If you like them then keep them on there, just remember that they ain't as reliable as manual hubs.
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:56 AM
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Oh and to answer your other question, everybody has their own preferences and thoughts on the various aftermarket hubs available. Factory manual hubs on your truck were Warn Standards. You can go with those, or Warn Premium, or whatever you think is best after doing your research.

I've been running these for over a year now and ain't had a single problem: 1980-96 Mile Marker Stainless Supreme Hub Conversion Kit-Broncograveyard.com
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:11 PM
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Warn are good and pretty much bombproof. They are expensive however.

Milemarker and Superwinch work well and are much more affordable. I have had both of these on some trucks that got abused offroad and never had an issue.
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:47 PM
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Wow! thanks guy's. You answered my question perfectly! thanks again.
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:58 PM
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I've had trouble with one set of Warn Standard hubs. They are spring-loaded to the "locked" position and use a detent to hold them in the "free" position. I had one hub that would frequently pop out of the detent and lock itself when I wanted it unlocked. I think I've only heard of this happening to one other person, so it doesn't seem to be a very common problem. And being stuck locked is way better than if it stuck unlocked, so it's not a huge deal anyway.

My preference is Warm Premiums, but as noted above, they are expensive. I don't have much experience with other less expensive brands.
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Old 01-13-2015, 01:30 PM
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i bought my first 9th gen truck in '99 when it was 3 yrs old.late one night i got stuck in the mud.i tried jacking up the tires trying to turn each wheel forward in a feeble attempt to try getting them to lock.after hours playing in the mud,they got replaced the next day with manual locking hubs and i never got stuck again for the years after i owned the truck.my father had one a year older than mine at the time.we went to test his and same results.he swapped his out for manuals with me.he never had anymore issues during his ownership either. the auto locking hubs are complete trash and should never been installed on these otherwise awesome trucks.should you replace them you ask.i say they should have never been installed in the first place.some claim they have their place and they're entitled to their opinion but i'll never agree.
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Old 01-13-2015, 04:00 PM
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I met a guy who was a Ford mechanic for like 26 years and he was looking over my truck and the very first thing he said was "I'd replace those hubs first chance you get". I couldn't believe it so yeah I'm going to do that at some point. Going w Warn or Mile Markers
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Old 01-13-2015, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FORDF250HDXLT View Post
...i tried jacking up the tires trying to turn each wheel forward in a feeble attempt to try getting them to lock...
Are you saying you tried to lock the hub by spinning the tire while the axle was not turning? If I'm understanding you correctly it's no wonder they didn't lock. That's what you do to UNLOCK automatic hubs.
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:09 PM
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well i was stuck and willing to try anything since the front tires were not doing anything.once i got the truck out the next day,i tried getting the truck into 4wd and it just wouldn't lock up in the front.
when i removed the hubs the parts were just cheap aluminum and all in pieces.that's when i ran down to the auto store and put manual lockers in.my fathers hubs were the same.all chewed up.they're just junk.even if they were built with good materials they'll still unlock on you if you need to backup in a sticky spot.you'd have to make sure you can get somewhere solid before turning around.just a bad bad deal.lock 'em in manually with quality built hubs and you know they're staying locked.a whole lot easier getting your boots muddy than your whole body rolling around in the mud trying to do the impossible.i can't believe people still have these on their trucks.it blows my mind.
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Old 01-13-2015, 09:05 PM
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I still have mine:confused
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Old 01-13-2015, 09:05 PM
 
 
 
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