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Auto vs Manual Hubs - Why Swap?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by prossett, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. prossett

    prossett 1/2 ton status

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    I've found some good info on the site on how to switch over from auto to manual hubs, but what I want to ask about is why?

    I have autos on my 1983 Jimmy 4WD 10-bolt and they work fine, and a friend has just given me a set of Spicer manual locking hubs.

    Why would I want to switch them out?
     
  2. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    If an autolocking hub goes bad, you are stuck. They are not as heavy duty. Thay can cause all kinds of problems because of the way they can break.
     
  3. prossett

    prossett 1/2 ton status

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    OK, that makes sense. I've looked at both and the manuals are certainly simpler.

    What conditions can cause the autos to break (besides just part failure) - I mean, are there any particular driving conditions or terrains or obstacles that cause the autos to fail?

    I drive on sand, lots of sand. Not rocks, not mud.

    The only reason I'm hesitating is these manual ones were given to me, and I can't tell if there's anything missing. Plus, my autos are working, so I'm thinking why should I change?

    Reliability, is a good reason. Thanks Leper.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2005
  4. WhiteBurb

    WhiteBurb 1/2 ton status

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    You have to back up to unlock your auto hubs. I read somewhere that its possible for them to unlock while you are backing up in 4wd. So if you need to back out of a hole you may be SOL.
     
  5. prossett

    prossett 1/2 ton status

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    Yep, backing up out of bowl happens a lot!!! :D

    OK, manuals going in.
     
  6. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Yep, do some searching. You won't know they aren't working until the front wheels are the ones you need doing the work. (the clicking noise is a dead giveaway)

    Plenty of us have BTDT. I used to like my auto hubs, now I just lock the manuals in and leave it in 2WD when I'm in potential 4wd territory. I don't wheel hard, don't have huge tires, and had fairly recently taken mine apart and cleaned/greased them when they failed me.
     
  7. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    Spicer hubs should have the big coil spring, a cog & hooked finger assembly, the cap, a dial, and two snap rings. The only problem I had w/ mine was one spring would no longer push the cog out to engage the splines in the hub. I really liked them, but got some new hubs in a trade so I never looked at finding replacement springs.
     
  8. prossett

    prossett 1/2 ton status

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    Yes sir, bigjbear, that's exactly what I've got!

    Now I just have to degrease the things...
     
  9. Chaddy

    Chaddy 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Also, auto's are always turning and so is all of your shafts, so it puts wear and tear on everything when your only in 2wd.
     
  10. prossett

    prossett 1/2 ton status

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    Are you sure? I thought my driveshaft didn't turn at all in 2WD even with automatic locking hubs... :confused:
     
  11. Chaddy

    Chaddy 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    nope. always turning.
     
  12. prossett

    prossett 1/2 ton status

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    Damn, you learn something new everyday - thanks!

    I thought the hubs' job was to disconnect the axleshafts when in 2WD. So what are they there for? They lock and unlock what?
     
  13. Chaddy

    Chaddy 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    they dont unlock. thats why they suck and wear parts out. they are just like having your locking hubs locked all the time.
     
  14. muddybuddy

    muddybuddy 3/4 ton status

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    my auto's died on me when i needed them....swapped in warn premiums, very happy with them. plus with manuals, keep them unlocked, put the shifter in Lo and boom you got 2Lo, too cool.

    my 10b warn premiums are for sale (parting out axle), check the axle threads :D
     
  15. prossett

    prossett 1/2 ton status

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    Oh, so what you're saying is that when automatic hubs fail, they might stay locked. But normally the front driveshaft and axleshafts do not turn when in 2WD.

    I was getting a bit confused there.
     
  16. Chaddy

    Chaddy 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    THEY ARE LOCKED ALWAYS. No confusion. Everything turns. You should go outside with a friend and have them get in your truck, put it in 2wd and slowly go and you will see that everything is turning.
     
  17. prossett

    prossett 1/2 ton status

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    Yep, I'll try.

    Howstuffworks says:

    Part-time four-wheel-drive trucks usually have locking hubs on the front wheels. When four-wheel drive is not engaged, the locking hubs are used to disconnect the front wheels from the front differential, half-shafts (the shafts that connect the differential to the hub) and driveshaft. This allows the differential, half-shafts and driveshaft to stop spinning when the car is in two-wheel drive, saving wear and tear on those parts and improving fuel-economy. (http://auto.howstuffworks.com/four-wheel-drive7.htm)
     
  18. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Locking hubs are not always locked.

    The stuff can spin from parasitic drag in 2wd, but they are not locked. Otherwise, what point is there to back up (like the factory tells you to do) to get out of 4wd with locking hubs? :)
     
  19. Thunder

    Thunder 3/4 ton status

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    Not True. You must be thinking of full time 4x4


    Auto hobs when working properly, unlock just like manual hubs when you put the xfer case in 2 wd and back up . When they are unlocked the axles,front drive shaft Ect do not turn. The do not put any more wear on your drive train than manual hubs.
    Problem with autos is they do wear out. When they get worn they will lock in and unlock at times when you dont want them to. Some times one will lock and the other wont. They are expensive to replace and rebuildoing them is a waste of time. Manuals are cheaper, stronger, and you always know if they are locked in or not.
    I swapped my autos out for manuals a long time ago and have never regretted it.
     
  20. Chaddy

    Chaddy 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    you are right. I was thinking full time ....sorry. :doah:
     

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