Auto vs manual hubs - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 12-24-2012, 10:52 AM
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Auto vs manual hubs

I have manual hubs on my 96' cc 4x4 and they work just fine however I dont like the fact that you have to get out in winter to lock them in if you need 4x4. Obviously i can leave them locked in but that leaves drag on my front end and takes away mileage. My question is whats wrong with auto hubs that everyone always changes them out? Seems like just being able to pull the stick without getting out of my truck would be easier? Keep in mind i daily drive my truck and only use 4x4 for snow and light occasion in summer. Thanks for you input.

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Old 12-24-2012, 11:01 AM
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The auto hubs on those trucks don't engage when you pull the lever. You physically have to be rolling for them to engage. If you're already stuck, you'll remain stuck and if they do engage while the rear tires are spinning, you'll grenade the hubs. Not bad units as long as you are prepared and have in 4x4 before you need it. Would also have to replace the nut kit since they are different from auto to manual hubs.
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:09 PM
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Vacuum actuated hubs have a couple downfalls. First one, already being mentioned is the fact that you need to have momentum for the hubs to engage. Second is that vacuum actuation is somewhat unreliable. If the truck spends the majority of it's time on the street it may not be an issue, but the last thing you want when you're out bush-whacking is for a vacuum leak to take out your 4WD system.
Superduty hub setup is the better combo, IMO. Instead of having "Open" and "Locked" they have "Auto" and "Manual". In automatic mode, the hubs operate under vacuum actuation. In manual, they have the ability to be locked in by hand.
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:09 PM
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They are also good for staying engages JUST enough to spin the axles(and kill fuel milage), but then when you need 4wd they just slip and all you have is 2wd

And FYI, the oBS does NOT have vacuum operated hubs, that is a SD thing

Last edited by Diesel_brad; 12-24-2012 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:03 PM
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I have the auto hubs on my 97 and they work just fine. I have a extra pair in case I break one but 9 yrs after I bought the truck and many hard uses later still working perfectly. I stayed with the auto's for a couple of reasons. First with the terrain around here at 2000 ft it will be dry but 50 miles up the road and at 7000 ft it will be snowing like crazy. It doesn't snow here enough to leave the hubs locked in. Second is my wife drives the truck more than I do and I don't want her stopping alongside the road to lock in hubs if needed.
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:17 PM
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I prefer manual locking hubs simply because they are more reliable than any automatic hubs I'm aware of. I can think of four different friends rigs off the top of my head that had automatic hubs fail when we needed them the most. I've never had a problem with my manual hubs on my truck or my old bronco, and I use my 4x4 a lot more than they do.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:20 PM
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Another issue with the auto hubs is when you get stuck and have to rock the truck back and forth to get out. The auto hub will unlock then re-lock when you change direction, the stress of locking back up under a shock load is what usually blows them.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:39 PM
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We had auto hubs on our work truck and they would never disengage, you would have to stop and back up and it was just annoying, switched to manual and no more problems. I hate auto hubs.
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Old 12-25-2012, 06:04 AM
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I've never had the auto hubs disengage when they shouldn't
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Old 12-25-2012, 07:30 AM
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I had autos on my 01 lariat. Changed them out to warn premium the day I bought it and never looked back. Factory hubs had poor maintenance and leaked.
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