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Old 10-30-2017, 10:51 AM   #1
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Automatic Hubs

So I've got a 2014 ford Dana 60 under the front of my van with OEM manual hubs. For several places that I'd like to go with it, having automatic hubs would be super convienent. This would either be not wanting to get out and lock them in the cold, or having the ability to use 2wd-low for steep, dry switchbacks... again without getting out. I'm struggling to find good info so I figured I'd ask a few questions in the event anyone here has some experience with this for the newer ford axles.

So far I gather that I'd need the hubs, a vacuum actuator valve, and a vacuum source. The knuckles have barbed fittings installed already. Is there any reason I wouldnt use manifold vacuum on a V10 van as my vacuum source?

I've read the actual vacuum application is a pulse rather than a continuous application. Is the timing/logic for this built into the ford actuator valves for trucks or are they just "dumb" valves?

Do the '05 and up ford auto hubs require backing up or any other special vehicle manuvers like some older hub systems i've read about?

Thanks.
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Old 10-30-2017, 11:03 AM   #2
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I don't know the inner working or anything but my experience with Auto Hubs has been that eventually they stop working. Granted, it took 10 years for my 06 F250 hubs to work intermittently, but one night on an icy highway they stopped working and could have caused a scene. Had I known, I would have manually locked them long before I need 4WD. Late at night with wife and kids in the truck is no time to find out your hubs are letting you down. And with an unweighted pickup bed, I was fishtailing like crazy.

Had them fixed on my 96 Bronco as well, should have just put manuals on there as they loved to either not engage, or not disengage.

Also, you might have to bypass something to make the 4x4 engage without the hubs engaging.
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Old 10-30-2017, 12:43 PM   #3
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If you want to use 2WD low, you need manual hubs, otherwise you'd have to add a switch and solenoid to keep the hubs from engaging when you put the T-case into low.
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:06 PM   #4
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Auto locking hubs are a great selling point when trucks are new, push button 4x4! But in practice, the inner seals go bad, doesn't take much of a leak to make them to longer work, and you loose 4x4 ability with no real advanced warning.
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomsBeast View Post
Auto locking hubs are a great selling point when trucks are new, push button 4x4! But in practice, the inner seals go bad, doesn't take much of a leak to make them to longer work, and you loose 4x4 ability with no real advanced warning.
Picture a frozen highway high in the mountains and going to pass a semi and your ass end just lets loose when you get on the gas a bit. So you settle on just driving 20mph behind the big rig for the last 5 miles so you don't wreck with your wife, kids, and dog in the truck. That night will stick in my mind pretty good. First guy to find out the road was frozen at the top of the pass buried his dodge in about 5 feet of snow.
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Old 10-31-2017, 01:12 PM   #6
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My advice would be - just lock the hubs if there's even any hint of needing them. What does it hurt?? A tiny bit of wear and tear on components, a tiny drop in fuel mileage? The van drives no differently whether hubs are locked or unlocked. I mean, Ford is the only one that even offers hubs on their solid axle vehicles. There's millions of Dodge trucks out there without hubs and they do just fine - I've owned a couple.

My dad would lock the hubs on his truck in November and unlock them in April. I'm not as bad but still, locking the hubs is easy and doesn't really affect anything else. Certainly, much better than going to auto hubs and then not having 4x4 when you need it.
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