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Hey there.

I have a 2006 f250 xl edition and it features the manual locking hubs. My last ford had automatic hubs so I am very new to these.

when they are unlocked (free) and I engage it to 4x4, only the rear tires spin.. It is like 4x4 is not even on.. Is this normal?

Thanks
 

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Yes it is normal.
With manual hubs you have to turn them to "Lock" in order to use 4 wheel drive.

If you know that you will be using 4wd fairly often, you can just leave them locked in. This way you won't have to get out each time to lock them. Then when you know that you won't be using 4wd for a while just switch them back to "Free".
 

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If you have manual hubs they have to be turned to lock for four wheel drive. If you have the four wheel drive switch on the dash then you have vaccum hubs and will lock automatically, no need to turn the hubs in.
 

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Yes it is normal.
With manual hubs you have to turn them to "Lock" in order to use 4 wheel drive.

If you know that you will be using 4wd fairly often, you can just leave them locked in. This way you won't have to get out each time to lock them. Then when you know that you won't be using 4wd for a while just switch them back to "Free".
You beat me to it. Lol
 

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Other than a reduction in fuel mileage, is it harmful to leave them locked in all year. Does anyone know how much fuel mileage is affected?
 

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Other than a reduction in fuel mileage, is it harmful to leave them locked in all year. Does anyone know how much fuel mileage is affected?
You can feel more drag through the front end when the hubs are locked. The only time I leave mine locked is when it's snowy outside and usually that whole time I have it in 4x4 and the fuel mileage is terrible. So I don't have a real solid answer for ya, but I will say the my truck gets about 10mpg at best when it's in 4x4.
 

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Just a little extra wear and tear probably, but not alot to worry about. I would not do it year round. I had a F-150 once that would push diff fluid out the vent hose when I drove on the highway with hubs locked. Maybe it was overfilled. My 2000 with stock tires would skip when I turned tight on concrete with hubs locked. Of course it is good to drive with them locked every now and then to lubricate everything.
 
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