The locking hubs of your vehicle either lock manually or automatically. If they suddenly don't engage, can't lock properly, and produce odd noises, then you might want to take a closer look because you might have a broken or damaged locking hub. The locking hubs are the little dials in the middle of the front wheels. They're basically like an axle that's been split in half, but they work and spin separately, allowing you to engage your vehicle's 4-WD mode. Newer vehicles are equipped with automatic locking hubs that can shift into 4-WD anytime with the help of the gear stick. This is achieved when the changing gears create inertia and the force locks in and connects the two halves of the hub. To know more about this component, here's a short that can help you out.
Signs and Symptoms of a Broken Locking Hub
Here are some signs that will help you find out if you have busted locking hubs in your system.
- Failure to engage
- Failure to disengage
This is the most obvious sign of having broken locking hubs in your vehicle. When this happens, one or both of your front wheels won't be able to pull and you'll have a hard time driving, especially if you're off-roading.
Though this problem is rare, locking hubs may fail to disengage and cause the vehicle will to run continuously in 4-WD mode. When this happens, loud, popping noises will be heard. To fix this, you need to back up your ride by about 6 feet.
Locking hubs that are not properly engaged will produce grinding or slipping noises that will alert you of the problem.
How to Fix a Broken Locking Hub
Here's a basic how-to that will help you replace your vehicle's busted locking hubs.
Step 1: Park your vehicle in a flat-level surface and place the gear shifter in Park (automatic vehicles) or Neutral (manual vehicles). After that, turn the engine off and engage the emergency brake.
Step 2: Next, loosen the lug nuts of the front wheels before raising and supporting the vehicle using the jack and jack stands. Once the vehicle is secure, take the lug nuts off and remove the hub cover.
Step 3: After that, get the snap ring holes of the hub out and remove the drive flange from the axle assembly.
Step 4: Next, remove the nuts that are holding the hub body to the axle and use a hammer to tap the locking hub and remove the gasket. After that, you should be able to remove the old hub without difficulty.
Step 5: Put some carburetor cleaner to the axle's mating surface and scrape off any remaining gasket material. Then, wipe the surface until it's clean and apply some silicon sealant on it.
Step 6: Next, get the new locking hub and coat its bottom part before you mount it on the axle. After that, secure it in place using nuts, making sure you apply just the right amount of torque.
Step 7: Lastly, reinstall the components that you removed earlier and make sure that you secure them in place correctly.