4WD Question - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 01-20-2020, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation 4WD Question

Just a quick question about engaging my 4WD. I have a 2001 that has the knob inside that says 4HI and 4LO. On the front wheels I have the hubs that say "free and lock".

Is the proper way to utilize 4WD to turn the knob inside the truck to 4HI and then turn hubs outside or the other way around? Does it matter? Is it true I have to lock the hubs for true 4WD? I am a newbie with this truck so sorry if this is a stupid question.

Also can I turn the switch from 4HI to 2WD and leave the hubs locked for an extended period of time?
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post #2 of 18 Old 01-20-2020, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bjblackout View Post
Just a quick question about engaging my 4WD. I have a 2001 that has the knob inside that says 4HI and 4LO. On the front wheels I have the hubs that say "free and lock".



Is the proper way to utilize 4WD to turn the knob inside the truck to 4HI and then turn hubs outside or the other way around? Does it matter? Is it true I have to lock the hubs for true 4WD? I am a newbie with this truck so sorry if this is a stupid question.



Also can I turn the switch from 4HI to 2WD and leave the hubs locked for an extended period of time?
I don't think the order matters but yes you have to lock the hubs. As for leaving them locked when in 2wd my understanding is that it doesn't matter. With that said, I wouldn't drive around in 2wd with locked hubs all the time but doing it for a few miles until you stop and get out won't hurt anything. I got stuck in the mud, got out and locked, then 4wd until I got out of the mud then back to 2wd and when I got home 10 miles later I unlocked them. I think this is perfectly ok.

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post #3 of 18 Old 01-20-2020, 06:38 AM
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Only other option would be to replace them with the factory auto lock hubs. They use vacuum when you switch to 4wd they lock the hubs. They have a lock setting and an auto. So you leave them in auto.

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post #4 of 18 Old 01-20-2020, 11:13 AM
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You have to have the hubs locked and the switch in 4x4 for your 4x4 to work, and yes you can drive in 2wd with the hubs locked, I do it all the time.
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post #5 of 18 Old 01-20-2020, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Kyle_KleinSS View Post
Only other option would be to replace them with the factory auto lock hubs. They use vacuum when you switch to 4wd they lock the hubs. They have a lock setting and an auto. So you leave them in auto.

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If he has the knob doesn't that mean he has the auto hubs? I have a shifter.

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post #6 of 18 Old 01-20-2020, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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I originally was thinking the same thing but I guess not. I am not the original owner of the truck so maybe these hubs were put in by someone

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post #7 of 18 Old 01-20-2020, 01:38 PM
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I originally was thinking the same thing but I guess not. I am not the original owner of the truck so maybe these guns were put in by someone
Yes you can lock your hubs and forget about them. We lock hubs on all of our trucks in November and never unlock them until April unless we going to run 50 miles or more down the highway in good weather. No need to lock and unlock them every time you want to go from 2wd to 4wd.

Possible that the truck just had the wrong hubs from the factory? Maybe you took it in for service at some point and forgot they changed them?

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post #8 of 18 Old 01-22-2020, 05:13 AM
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As others have said, you should have "auto" hubs so yours have been switched at some point, which is no big deal. Just turn it to lock when you think you might need 4wd and use the dash switch to toggle the transfer case. You could switch to the auto hubs but they're $500+ a set from Ford and any vacuum leak will cause them not to engage (but you always have the manual override). You can leave the hubs locked all the time as long as your front driveline is in good shape, just be aware this decreases your gas mileage and increases wear on the front driveline components.

It's worth nothing that you can only engage 4wd in SLIPPERY conditions. If you have 4wd engaged (hubs and switch) on clean pavement, you will break things. The tires need to have some slip on the road or else you will find the weak link in your driveline which is always expensive.

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post #9 of 18 Old 01-22-2020, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Lt.Dan View Post
As others have said, you should have "auto" hubs so yours have been switched at some point, which is no big deal. Just turn it to lock when you think you might need 4wd and use the dash switch to toggle the transfer case. You could switch to the auto hubs but they're $500+ a set from Ford and any vacuum leak will cause them not to engage (but you always have the manual override). You can leave the hubs locked all the time as long as your front driveline is in good shape, just be aware this decreases your gas mileage and increases wear on the front driveline components.



It's worth nothing that you can only engage 4wd in SLIPPERY conditions. If you have 4wd engaged (hubs and switch) on clean pavement, you will break things. The tires need to have some slip on the road or else you will find the weak link in your driveline which is always expensive.
Well said. It's not like these new ones where you can be in 4wd all the time.

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post #10 of 18 Old 01-22-2020, 04:26 PM
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If you have the knob on the dash, the hubs will auto lock provided the hoses to the hubs aren't broken and your vacuum pump is working which you would know if it wasn't. Your hubs can leak vacuum too but more often than not, if the vacuum doesnt work you have a torn hose going down along the brake lines to the hubs.

The free/lock is a manual override in case the vacuum doesnt lock the hubs. You would have to lock the hubs before moving switch when no vacuum.

The 4x4 light will come on the dash even when the vacuum doesnt lock the hubs. I learned that on a nice icy twisty road pulling a trailer.
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