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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi Guys,
I have an '84 W-150 4 X 4 and the front hubs have a simple chrome cap on the ends, no locking dial. I always assumed they were a for a part-time system whereby the only time the front axles turned was after engaging the transfer case, which would then lock the wheels to the auto hubs. Are these trucks a "full time or "semi-part time" system? I notice one of the front axle seals is leaking. I thought this was odd, since I rarely engage four wheel drive (I do on occasion to keep the front U joints from seizing up). I tried to turn the axle and it wouldn't turn, as if 4 X 4 was engaged. Another strange thing is when I turn tight at low speeds, I get an odd feedback through the steering wheel, as if something's going to snap (not the intensely bound up feeling as when 4 X 4 is engaged on pavement). I do believe the front drive shaft will turn freely, but my '86 F-150 with locking hubs would allow the front axles to turn freely as well with the hubs unlocked.
 

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We all know assumptions may be hazardous, this one's true to your fuel mileage, I'm 99% certain that you have a full time front differential, with no hubs of any kind, they're direct drive, and to ease your fuel mileage, you'll need to hit up ebay or rock auto or somesuch for a set of lockouts... you're probably turning some things that are causing a fair amount of parasitic drag... as far as the hercky jerky in the front end while in a sharp bend, those are your axle joints struggling to bend enough to comply with your turn commands... inherent to most ujoint style axle joint front axles... I don't believe the lockouts are all that expensive, so if you're keeping the 'ol girl around awhile, they may save you money. You'd notice, immediately, the difference in turns, otherwise, you'd have to get a truck with the constant velocity type axles. You see, ujoints, when in a sharp bend, do not turn at a constant rate, they do some extreme motions due to having two places only, to adjust to the rate of flexibility commanded. the newer constant velocity joints are far superior in flexibility, however some people would consider them much less capable in transmitting torque, at least in a straight line configuration. Stick a big screwdriver between your hubshells and axle housing, where the axle joint is, and see if there's any slop in the joint by prying in all directions of design movement, if there's ANY slop, lose the joint and install a new one, ASAP, as once they're worn and sloppy, torqueing them up in a turn will probably destroy the ujoint, and generally speaking, the spindle yoke and axle yoke, causing great discomfort in your checkbook. Telltale signs of wear are a click- click, or clop- clop when rolling slow, like 10 MPH, as well... An 86 F-150 generally has automatic hubs, and generally speaking, people replaced them with manual lockouts, 'cuz the automatic ones were garbage...
 

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I have auto hubs (84) It says back up a ways to UNLOCK the fronts.

U can go manual hubs but why ??? Fix whats broke and roll with it.

What U feel is wind up, DON"T EVER, EVER do this on DRY pavement !!


Go play in some dirt, gravel to get a feel for your system.


See the front drive shaft DOES NOT spin while driving, HENCE when you shift it to 4H it spins the front shaft and lock the hubs in...................

All this info is on the web, owners manual.


For me it fun to go play in 2wd and NEVER leave the cab when things get slick.

Long story short, went to wedding the long muddy way. Groom get stuck in 2wd, jumps out to LOCK his hubs in (FORD) and well U can figure out what happened to the TUX !!! ROFL !


Sorry for long post, been up 20 hrs straight.


Congrats on the best yrs built, strong simple trucks
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We all know assumptions may be hazardous, this one's true to your fuel mileage, I'm 99% certain that you have a full time front differential, with no hubs of any kind,
There is a typical old style hub that sticks out through the wheel, like my old F-150. But instead of a hub locking dial like my Ford had, there is simply a chrome cap. I had thought Dodge was using some kind of centrifugal locking mechanism so the wheels only lock to the front axles when the front driveshaft gets them spinning via the transfer case shifting into 4 X 4 mode. But the strange sensation when turning (which is much worse when 4 X 4 is engaged) and the fact that when I looked at the leak and couldn't turn the front axle by hand, made me think these hubs aren't unlocking.

otherwise, you'd have to get a truck with the constant velocity type axles.
Weirdness...the truck is stock, and has open U joints in the front, but understand what you're saying.
Telltale signs of wear are a click- click, or clop- clop when rolling slow, like 10 MPH, as well... An 86 F-150 generally has automatic hubs, and generally speaking, people replaced them with manual lockouts, 'cuz the automatic ones were garbage...
My '77 F-150 lost bearings in a front U joint and made the clickity click in 4 wheel drive, but so far this one's quiet. I'll crawl under sometime this weekend and have a closer look, maybe jack it up and see if spinning one front wheel will spin the front driveshaft. I'm sure there's no power going to the front wheels in two wheel drive, but if the front wheels are locked to the differential, that's not cool:smiledown:
 

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You might want to consider buying a good quality #7 drill bit and a 1/4 nf starting tap and 2 straight grease fittings, and installing a fitting in one cap on each axle joint and pumping them up with grease, they may be extremely dry, and resisting bending to accomodate turning... Most of the gov't trucks I drove that were Dodges of that era were lockout-less, and the axle stubs were longer than hub equipped stubs. That may be an indicator, and the 4wd lever indicated, if I remember, 4hi and 4 hiloc, as selections, as well as 4lo. My 86 Bronco and 82 Chev and 86 Chev, all had the same automatic locking hubs, and they all failed to work as advertized, The 86 got recalled for it, as I remember, and they installed different units, which also failed, they could be noisy little devils, giving a light grinding noise above 25 MPH or so, and they refused to lock up when commanded, was the drivers side on all 3 of my buggies, don't know why, so they all ended up with manuals... Everyone I knew with em, got rid of em, very undependable. I don't think that your Dodge has axle disconnect, either vacuum or electric. My 90 Chev had a big electric dog male sex organ looking thing which screwed into the passenger side of the differential, and my Dodges have a vacuum deal which disconnects the collar which engages the diff.Needless to say, if you have 2 wd selected, and you cannot turn the front driveshaft, you are locked to the differential, which in turn is evidently locked to the hubs... there goes some fuel mileage... Yeah, it's gonna bind up even tighter with 4wd selected, cuz the only relief in the mechanism is the viscous damper or wheel slippage, I'd guess your axle joints are tightening up, via corrosion, and if I were you, I'd stick a grease fitting in an end cap on each joint, for starters, certainly can't hurt!!! I've always leaked a little gear lube out of my front ends, especially if parked on a slant, my private little rule has always been to only service the diff to where I can reach lube with a fingertip, any more and it comes out, one other thing, ensure that the breather isn't plugged up, should be a little hose hooked to it, to keep water out to a pretty good depth, I'd bet you have mud sealing it off, if it is, the weakest point in the mechanism to relieve pressure is axle seals. breathers are cheap, clean or replace the one you have, if its suspect, don't forget the rear axle, as well!!! Good luck!!
 

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We all know assumptions may be hazardous, this one's true to your fuel mileage, I'm 99% certain that you have a full time front differential, with no hubs of any kind, they're direct drive, and to ease your fuel mileage, you'll need to hit up ebay or rock auto or somesuch for a set of lockouts... you're probably turning some things that are causing a fair amount of parasitic drag... as far as the hercky jerky in the front end while in a sharp bend, those are your axle joints struggling to bend enough to comply with your turn commands... inherent to most ujoint style axle joint front axles... I don't believe the lockouts are all that expensive, so if you're keeping the 'ol girl around awhile, they may save you money. You'd notice, immediately, the difference in turns, otherwise, you'd have to get a truck with the constant velocity type axles. You see, ujoints, when in a sharp bend, do not turn at a constant rate, they do some extreme motions due to having two places only, to adjust to the rate of flexibility commanded. the newer constant velocity joints are far superior in flexibility, however some people would consider them much less capable in transmitting torque, at least in a straight line configuration. Stick a big screwdriver between your hubshells and axle housing, where the axle joint is, and see if there's any slop in the joint by prying in all directions of design movement, if there's ANY slop, lose the joint and install a new one, ASAP, as once they're worn and sloppy, torqueing them up in a turn will probably destroy the ujoint, and generally speaking, the spindle yoke and axle yoke, causing great discomfort in your checkbook. Telltale signs of wear are a click- click, or clop- clop when rolling slow, like 10 MPH, as well... An 86 F-150 generally has automatic hubs, and generally speaking, people replaced them with manual lockouts, 'cuz the automatic ones were garbage...

Total BS post...............WTH are U saying ????


The manual TELLS U to back up to UNLOCK the hubs ??? So how in the hell is full time like a 78 Chevy Blazer ????

Turning tight turns in 4X4 on DRY pavement is BAD news on lots of trucks, like my factory LOCKED bronco.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
.Needless to say, if you have 2 wd selected, and you cannot turn the front driveshaft, you are locked to the differential, which in turn is evidently locked to the hubs... there goes some fuel mileage... Yeah, it's gonna bind up even tighter with 4wd selected, cuz the only relief in the mechanism is the viscous damper or wheel slippage, I'd guess your axle joints are tightening up, via corrosion, and if I were you, I'd stick a grease fitting in an end cap on each joint, for starters, certainly can't hurt!!! I've always leaked a little gear lube out of my front ends, especially if parked on a slant, my private little rule has always been to only service the diff to where I can reach lube with a fingertip, any more and it comes out, one other thing, ensure that the breather isn't plugged up, should be a little hose hooked to it, to keep water out to a pretty good depth, I'd bet you have mud sealing it off, if it is, the weakest point in the mechanism to relieve pressure is axle seals. breathers are cheap, clean or replace the one you have, if its suspect, don't forget the rear axle, as well!!! Good luck!!
Front drive shaft turns fine in 2wd, but not the front axle. It seems like the front hubs aren't disengaging after the front drive stops spinning from being in 4wd. It just feels different in 2wd on the pavement than my old '77 F-150 with similar front end (and manual locking hubs). Also seems like getting 4wd to disengage in Drive takes more effort. Used to pop out in a few feet. Now I almost have to put it into reverse.

I'll take a look at the breather for the front diff and see if it's plugged.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have auto hubs (84) It says back up a ways to UNLOCK the fronts.

U can go manual hubs but why ??? Fix whats broke and roll with it.

What U feel is wind up, DON"T EVER, EVER do this on DRY pavement !!


Go play in some dirt, gravel to get a feel for your system.


See the front drive shaft DOES NOT spin while driving, HENCE when you shift it to 4H it spins the front shaft and lock the hubs in...................

All this info is on the web, owners manual.


For me it fun to go play in 2wd and NEVER leave the cab when things get slick.

Long story short, went to wedding the long muddy way. Groom get stuck in 2wd, jumps out to LOCK his hubs in (FORD) and well U can figure out what happened to the TUX !!! ROFL !


Sorry for long post, been up 20 hrs straight.


Congrats on the best yrs built, strong simple trucks
Thanks ;-). One thing I wish it had were EFI and more HP:i_rolleyes:.

I like the theory of auto hubs, as long as they work properly. Having manual hubs have two advantages though - I KNOW they're both locked in when I turn the dial, and if for some reason you get stuck and can't move in 2wd, I can still lock them.

Since I don't get the opportunity to go wheelin' in the dirt very often, I follow the advice of the guy I bought my first truck from, which is to engage 4wd on pavement once a month or so, in a straight line and not too fast. This keeps the front U joints from drying out and siezing up. I know turning on pavement in 4wd is a big No-No.
 

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Thanks ;-). One thing I wish it had were EFI and more HP:i_rolleyes:.

I like the theory of auto hubs, as long as they work properly. Having manual hubs have two advantages though - I KNOW they're both locked in when I turn the dial, and if for some reason you get stuck and can't move in 2wd, I can still lock them.

Since I don't get the opportunity to go wheelin' in the dirt very often, I follow the advice of the guy I bought my first truck from, which is to engage 4wd on pavement once a month or so, in a straight line and not too fast. This keeps the front U joints from drying out and siezing up. I know turning on pavement in 4wd is a big No-No.

Tell U what, I just got this rig and I am going to fix this auto hubs issue or manual hubs it is..


I think most auto hub issues are from poor maintenance (like too much grease/cold stiff) So will look into it.

IMOP getting out to lock something in is a PINA, so will to fix what is the issue.


Sorry, was not saying U did not know about the dry pavement thing, so so confusion as my old 78 Blazer was full time 4X4 and BOTH of my trucks are dirt only 4x4 !!! LOL Hard to get used to !!


My truck see's heavy camping and logging roads only. Not a mud hole guy LOL


Love the internet !!

A good read:

http://www.aa1car.com/library/4wd_locking_hubs.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wanted to confirm both front axels do not turn when parked, so the hubs are either simply frozen (seems too coincidental for both), or they are the type that don't unlock from the ends of the axels. I looked into a set of Warn Standard Duty hubs or $30 more for the Premium version. Installation looks pretty straightforward.
 

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You do not have auto lock hubs, you have c.a.d. (central axle disconnect). The hubs are engaged with the front axles at all times, unless manual hubs have been installed.

You will notice a "hump" located on the long (driver side on older trucks, passenger side on 94+ trucks) side of the front axle housing. It has a vacuum actuated motor mounted to it with two vacuum lines, and an electrical connector for the 4wd indicator light in the dash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
You do not have auto lock hubs, you have c.a.d. (central axle disconnect). The hubs are engaged with the front axles at all times, unless manual hubs have been installed.

You will notice a "hump" located on the long (driver side on older trucks, passenger side on 94+ trucks) side of the front axle housing. It has a vacuum actuated motor mounted to it with two vacuum lines, and an electrical connector for the 4wd indicator light in the dash.
Looks like that's exactly what I have. I called Warn and sounds like it's a simple swap. Do you think it's really worth it to spend $25 more for the Premium hubs over the OEM style Standard hubs for a truck that may see 4 x 4 once a year? Anything I should know about the CAD system?
 
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