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Manual locking hub diameter/size?


CamTheHedgehog

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Hey all! I am looking to possibly do a (somewhat rare) conversion on my 2003 Ranger 4x4- going from the live axle setup found in the 01+ rangers to a manual locking hub setup that you could do to replace the PVHs in the 90-00. The main reason for this is a) fuel economy and b) I want to install a "lunchbox" style locker in the front to make it more capable off-road, without spending hundreds on a Torsen- while keeping the noise on the road going around corners to a minimum. (plus manual hubs look cool)

First off, is this a fool's errand, or is there a better way? Tell me, I won't get mad!

If it isn't, and is practical, can someone provide the outer diameter of the manual locking hubs for me? I have the more uncommon 16 inch wheels on my truck, the ones with exposed lugs and a traditional center cap. Due to this, I want to make sure the hubs will fit through the center cap bore, or else I will have to get new wheels.

Thanks!
 


00t444e

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Pretty easy swap and yes your wheels will fit. I am doing it to mine soon. However you are not going to gain much fuel mileage at all so don't do it for that, and you don't have to do that to install a lunchbox locker either, I have one in the front of my Jeep with a live axle and you don't even notice it in 2wd. I wouldn't put a locker in an IFS axle anyway. The main reason I am doing it is to have 2wd low range.
 

CamTheHedgehog

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Nice to know on all fronts!

And yes, low range 2wd is also something j want- good for slower maneuvering, hill climbing, etc.

Why would you not put a locker in an IFS?
 

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IFS (CV joint) axles tend to be weaker than the U-jointed axles found on solid & TTB axles (also the rack & pinion steering is less robust). If you drive carefully and know your limits, you should be fine with up to 32-33" tires.

Hub diameter = 2.75".
 

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Hey all! I am looking to possibly do a (somewhat rare) conversion on my 2003 Ranger 4x4- going from the live axle setup found in the 01+ rangers to a manual locking hub setup that you could do to replace the PVHs in the 90-00. The main reason for this is a) fuel economy and b) I want to install a "lunchbox" style locker in the front to make it more capable off-road, without spending hundreds on a Torsen- while keeping the noise on the road going around corners to a minimum. (plus manual hubs look cool)

First off, is this a fool's errand, or is there a better way? Tell me, I won't get mad!

If it isn't, and is practical, can someone provide the outer diameter of the manual locking hubs for me? I have the more uncommon 16 inch wheels on my truck, the ones with exposed lugs and a traditional center cap. Due to this, I want to make sure the hubs will fit through the center cap bore, or else I will have to get new wheels.

Thanks!
Not what you want to hear, but better answer is don't. I have a '99 that has the locking hubs. They are weak. I don't do much offroading, occasionally rough and muddy county dirt roads, I've broken two or three of them driving on ashpalt roads. One a limb thrown into the road by county moders popped up and hit it, watch the hub shoot off into the ditch, but never found it. One took a legitimate hit when a wheel fell off because the tire shop didn;t properly tighten it, but that a TTB hub wouldn't have broken. Can't recall exactly what happened with the first one, but it was on road as well. Can't wait to change over to live axles in the near future, but won't be able to compare MPG since a V8 is goin in around the same time.

On the MPG front I can tell you for certain that it is not a noticable difference. I've driven my 99 around for extended periods (tanks at a time) with the hubs locked, mostly during hunting season, and never noticed a difference between that and unlocked. Dad's '02 with live axles has always gotten better gas mileage regardless of which of us was driving it, but it's also got the SOHC instead of the OHV.

If you are running the wheels in your profile pic, they will not clear the earlier locking hubs. Dad's 2002 had the same wheels and they will not fit on my truck with the PVH hubs. He never liked those wheels and swapped for other Ranger wheels a time or two, but they ended up back on his truck because 16" tires were cheaper and more available. Somehow ended up with 32" tire as well which were taller than stock and than he liked (yet still got better mileage than my 99 with locking hubs). When I drug home my Explorer Limited donor and didn;t want the wheels he laid claim to them (look pretty good on there too), but they need new tires. Was going to give him my more stock sized tires and run his original wheels with taller tires, but they wouldn't fit my truck. My truck is set up for the tire size as I used to run 31x11.5, but the center bore of wheels wouldn't clear the locking hub. In a few weeks that should be fixed and we'll be playing musical tires again.
 

CamTheHedgehog

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Not what you want to hear, but better answer is don't. I have a '99 that has the locking hubs. They are weak. I don't do much offroading, occasionally rough and muddy county dirt roads, I've broken two or three of them driving on ashpalt roads. One a limb thrown into the road by county moders popped up and hit it, watch the hub shoot off into the ditch, but never found it. One took a legitimate hit when a wheel fell off because the tire shop didn;t properly tighten it, but that a TTB hub wouldn't have broken. Can't recall exactly what happened with the first one, but it was on road as well. Can't wait to change over to live axles in the near future, but won't be able to compare MPG since a V8 is goin in around the same time.

On the MPG front I can tell you for certain that it is not a noticable difference. I've driven my 99 around for extended periods (tanks at a time) with the hubs locked, mostly during hunting season, and never noticed a difference between that and unlocked. Dad's '02 with live axles has always gotten better gas mileage regardless of which of us was driving it, but it's also got the SOHC instead of the OHV.

If you are running the wheels in your profile pic, they will not clear the earlier locking hubs. Dad's 2002 had the same wheels and they will not fit on my truck with the PVH hubs. He never liked those wheels and swapped for other Ranger wheels a time or two, but they ended up back on his truck because 16" tires were cheaper and more available. Somehow ended up with 32" tire as well which were taller than stock and than he liked (yet still got better mileage than my 99 with locking hubs). When I drug home my Explorer Limited donor and didn;t want the wheels he laid claim to them (look pretty good on there too), but they need new tires. Was going to give him my more stock sized tires and run his original wheels with taller tires, but they wouldn't fit my truck. My truck is set up for the tire size as I used to run 31x11.5, but the center bore of wheels wouldn't clear the locking hub. In a few weeks that should be fixed and we'll be playing musical tires again.
Yes I am running the wheels in my profile pic- good to know it won't fit the manual hubs. I can afford new wheels, sure, but I cannot for the life of me find a style I like.

Also good to know that the hubs like to fall off- that is what I have heard elsewhere as well. Given all this, should I still put a locker in with the live axle setup, or just leave it open with my limited slip rear diff?

And yeah, I run 265/75R16s (basically 32") with no issues at all.
 

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It's your call... Do you already find yourself often struggling for traction in the places you frequent? Or are you just thinking you need a locker because you want to go someplace you haven't been to yet? If it's the latter, I'd say hold off until you actually go there and see if you infact need it or not. In the vast majority of cases, there are ways over an obstacle where you can make it through without a locker (it's all about proper tire placement on the obstacle). If you still really think you need a locker, I suggest put one in the rear axle first.

As for the hubs, somewhere I think I read someone had used a metal band clamp (like a zip-tie, but metal) around the base of the hub to help secure it. I'm about to throw a set of AVM hubs onto a '98 myself, and should have some insight on that issue soon myself and can report back (probably be next week, currently waiting for them to be delivered).
 

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Seems like hose clamp would work better for that...
 

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It's your call... Do you already find yourself often struggling for traction in the places you frequent? Or are you just thinking you need a locker because you want to go someplace you haven't been to yet? If it's the latter, I'd say hold off until you actually go there and see if you infact need it or not. In the vast majority of cases, there are ways over an obstacle where you can make it through without a locker (it's all about proper tire placement on the obstacle). If you still really think you need a locker, I suggest put one in the rear axle first.

As for the hubs, somewhere I think I read someone had used a metal band clamp (like a zip-tie, but metal) around the base of the hub to help secure it. I'm about to throw a set of AVM hubs onto a '98 myself, and should have some insight on that issue soon myself and can report back (probably be next week, currently waiting for them to be delivered).
Little bit of both, but more of the latter to be honest. I will take your advice and start with the rear locker first- my limited slip is starting to wear out anyways.

What style/brand of locker do you recommend?
 

CamTheHedgehog

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Also, didn't AVM stop making those hubs years ago? All I see now are Mile Marker, Rugged Ridge, and the millions of Chinese ebay/amazon clones.
 

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Seems like hose clamp would work better for that...
Hose clamp would have serious imbalance - otherwise it is good idea.

Don't you just have to pop the centers out of those wheels to have them fit over the manual hubs. I've run the wheels over manual hubs but they might have been TTB ones.

Given I've broken both the IFS and TTB hubs, I'm fan of the live axle. (Broke more TTB hubs, but was still living on parent's farm. They didn't like it when you had to rock truck back and forth in deep mud) The 5x4.5" bolt pattern just isn't large enough for either the spindle (which limits axle size), the bearings and/or the hubs when you start putting significant torque through. (Which is why Jeeps go to 5x5" pattern for the higher end models).
 

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Little bit of both, but more of the latter to be honest. I will take your advice and start with the rear locker first- my limited slip is starting to wear out anyways.

What style/brand of locker do you recommend?
My first suggestion would be the ARB Air Locker (RD82 for 28-spline, RD81 for 31-spline). 2nd choice, maybe the selectable Eaton offers (E-Locker, I believe).
For a non-selectable (automatic locker), go with the Detroit Locker. The Yukon Grizzly might be available too, though I haven't verified (since you have a limited slip, you would need to replace your differential carrier to install a lunchbox unit, so might as well get something good for it).
Also, didn't AVM stop making those hubs years ago? All I see now are Mile Marker, Rugged Ridge, and the millions of Chinese ebay/amazon clones.
Rugged Ridge and AVM are one & the same (made by AVM in Brazil). Not sure about Mile Marker.
Seems like hose clamp would work better for that...
The wheel won't fit over the screw of a hose clamp (the wheel is right where the clamp would need to be). I'm thinking the wheel may clear a metal zip tie, but I haven't got that far to find out for sure yet.
Hose clamp would have serious imbalance - otherwise it is good idea.

Don't you just have to pop the centers out of those wheels to have them fit over the manual hubs. I've run the wheels over manual hubs but they might have been TTB ones.

Given I've broken both the IFS and TTB hubs, I'm fan of the live axle. (Broke more TTB hubs, but was still living on parent's farm. They didn't like it when you had to rock truck back and forth in deep mud) The 5x4.5" bolt pattern just isn't large enough for either the spindle (which limits axle size), the bearings and/or the hubs when you start putting significant torque through. (Which is why Jeeps go to 5x5" pattern for the higher end models).
The 5x4.5" lug pattern isn't the issue, it's the materials the hubs were made from. Warn had their pt# 37780 hubs which it was exceptionally rare to hear of anyone breaking them.

Warn has since discontinued their locking hubs, however AVM picked up on this market by releasing their pt# 465XP (Xtreme Performance) hubs. So far I've yet to see any reports of them breaking, although I don't think they've been out for too real long yet either (I only became aware of them last year).
 

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Put a locker in the rear and leave the front open is what I would do. You could swap to an open carrier and put a lock right locker in or go with a Detroit or Yukon Grizzly locker. Don't waste money on a selectable locker.
 

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So I got the AVM hubs on... Turns out there's virtually no clearance at all between the hub and center of the wheel. I put a piece of Gorilla Tape around the hub, as that is all that will still allow the wheel to fit. The AVM hubs (and I assume Rugged Ridge as well) have four tabs held in place by a (weak) spring that help to lock the hub in place (this in addition to the 12 factory-style tabs). Hopefully the tape will be sufficient to keep the tabs from expanding, preventing the hub from detaching.

avm hub (1).jpg

avm hub (2).jpg

avm hub (3).jpg
 

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Do you have wheel spacers? Running lug nuts with that little of thread engagement would worry me.
 

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