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Old 08-08-2013, 09:04 PM   #1
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Default 4 wheel drive question

2004 Ranger 4X4 hubs are locked in. Won't come out. Dash switch works. Transfer case ( with shaft removed) will lock in and out with switch but when you put front tires off ground the front axles turn

What do I check to unlock hubs? Both axles to hubs turn as well as the front axle

Did we mess up the transfer case by driving it slow (under 35 mph)?

I appreciate all help and advice

Colin
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:55 PM   #2
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Nothing is broken at all. All 2001+ trucks are live axle front ends. The axle shafts are splined directly to the wheel bearing/hub assembly. There is no unlocking them.
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:06 AM   #3
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Default Now I am really confused

So the axles from each front tire always turn and the front (rear end? for lack of a better term) also turns the axle to the transfer case? In 2 wheel drive?

I am totally confused now. I thought the switch activated the hubs and the transfer case to engage?

Thanks
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:38 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Colepop View Post
So the axles from each front tire always turn and the front (rear end? for lack of a better term) also turns the axle to the transfer case? In 2 wheel drive?
Yes, that's correct. Everything is supposed to always be engaged, even in 2 wheel drive.

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I am totally confused now. I thought the switch activated the hubs and the transfer case to engage?

Thanks
No, the switch only engages the transfer case. It does nothing with the hubs.

All 2001 and newer Rangers are like this. Ford could never figure out how to build a reliable automatic locking hub, and customers are too lazy and don't want manual hubs, so Ford finally said, "screw it, leave 'em locked in all the time."
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:50 AM   #5
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unless you put the tcase in 4wd, everything will spin but it's not being given any power. some jeeps are the same way
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:49 AM   #6
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The front axle is a "live axle" meaning even in 2WD all of the front drive train components are still spinning. This kind of helps give you the shift on the fly 4WD setup without breaking the auto-locking hubs. Jacking up the front end and spinning the wheels, yes the front axle shafts will spin as well as the front drive shaft to the t-case.

Pressing the 4x4 button or turning the knob will just engage the transfer case. There are not any hubs in the front end as you would think in a conventional 4x4 truck.

The problem with this system is all the drive train components in the front end are always spinning creating drag and reduced fuel economy, I believe somewhere in the tech section there's a write up on converting this system to manual hubs (which makes more sense to me).

Yep people are so lazy today that heaven forbid they had to turn 2 knobs and pull a lever to engage 4WD. I personally like this system much better, no relying on electronics.
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:08 AM   #7
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The problem with this system is all the drive train components in the front end are always spinning creating drag and reduced fuel economy, I believe somewhere in the tech section there's a write up on converting this system to manual hubs (which makes more sense to me).
Dude, it costs like .2 MPG. The drag factor adds up to insignificant losses over the life of the vehicle.
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:26 AM   #8
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Dude, it costs like .2 MPG. The drag factor adds up to insignificant losses over the life of the vehicle.
Really? I figured spinning all the other components would really drag down fuel economy. So is it the same for say an older ranger with manual hubs and leaving them locked in which so many people say is an absolute no-no? I find it funny I ran around in my 88 Ford F-250 with the hubs locked in all winter and never had a problem. And never noticed any huge loss in fuel economy. Someone told me one time that leaving the hubs locked in caused horrible fuel economy loss spinning all the front drive train components. Who knows, all I know is its a truck its not a fuel saver LOL. I guess it may make a slight difference but at less than 1mpg I don't see why people complain about it.

Thanks for the enlightment adsm08. Makes sense now, never thought of really figuring up the difference.
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:42 AM   #9
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The newer trucks have CV joints instead of u joints, they take it a lot better for the long term.
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:48 PM   #10
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They've pretty much covered the question, but I just wanted to clarify the below quote.

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Originally Posted by wildbill23c View Post
I believe somewhere in the tech section there's a write up on converting this system to manual hubs (which makes more sense to me).
The 1998 through mid 2001 Rangers had the failure prone Pulse Vacuum Hub system. If they are working they are great, but when/if they fail it'll probably be in the middle of nowhere exactly when you need them. It is possible to modify those hubs to be permanently locked in or to be manually lockable, but once the modification is done it can't be reversed without replacing the hubs. The instructions in the Tech Library are for doing these mods, and they are very handy to get your 4wd back working when you are stuck out in the middle of nowhere. They will not work on the mid 2001 and up Rangers with live axles.
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