I hate starting new threads but couldn't find this exact problem here. I took my new-to-me truck (F250, see sig) to a local dealer for my 4x4 not working. It just would not engage. When I manually lock them they would go in but would get stuck in 4x4. They diagnosed the problem as a vacume leak. However once they opened it up they needed to replace the entire hub assembly because the previous owner got bailing twine wrapped up in it and it broke the seal for the hub bearing ($455.00). They called said it was going to me $808.63 parts and labor. I told the service advisor that is a lot more then we had first discussed for just the seals but if that was the problem and you guarrantee that my 4x4 will work fine just go ahead. They called said it was ready. I went over there and their "Senior Master Mechanic" was feverishly working on one of my hubs. The plastic piece was not freely sliding in the hub. He also tried a used hub he had laying around and nothing. Auto just is not engaging. 4x4 now works but only by manually locking the hubs. So they quoted me another $300+ per hub (you have to change the pair) no labor and they garrantee that the 4x4 will work perfect in automatic or manual. I am loosing patience with this and the great deal I got on this truck has been long gone. I am now invested at almost $16,000.00 for a truck I paid $12,000.00 + TTL. I believe I was also suckered by a different dealer into replacing my upper and lower ball joints just after purchasing the truck which this dealer said with the condition of the truck it was highly unlikely they needed replacement.
My question to you guys is buy the Ford hubs and have the dealer slap them on with a guarrantee that the 4x4 works flawlessly or are there some aftermarket hubs that I should buy, slap them on myself and hope it works right. Also on the aftermarket hubs do they have the autolock feature or if not do they at least eliminate drag for longer life of components along with better fuel milage?