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Another hub problem

n0c7

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93 Explorer XLT, automatic hubs. Been reading as much 4x4 info as I could off of this forum for the last 4 days or so. Basically what started happening is this wicked clanking/chattering/buckling noise along with a winding spring sound, especially around corners, along with a few thumps. If you press 4x4 on, the noise goes away but if you continue to drive with the 4x4 button pressed on I'll get a nasty thump going around corners, scared the tranny is going to collapse.

I believe the culprit to be bad automatic hubs. I took them off last night and let them soak in ATF as there was a crap load of wheel bearing grease in all of the parts from the last packing job. Cleaned them up and noticed that the "teeth" on the hub, both the part that lifts off the tire and the part that it joins with inside the plastic spring cam are worn. Is this my culprit? Also, the nut that is the weird 1 5/16" size has a hairline crack in it - can these bind hard enough to crack that nut??

How can I rule out the other suspect - u joints?

It's scary to drive...

* correction - the nut I mentioned is alot bigger than 1 5/16, its the one that you need a special socket for or a screwdriver/hammer to remove.
 



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DeRocha

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'93 XLT 4x4
93 Explorer XLT, automatic hubs. Been reading as much 4x4 info as I could off of this forum for the last 4 days or so. Basically what started happening is this wicked clanking/chattering/buckling noise along with a winding spring sound, especially around corners, along with a few thumps. If you press 4x4 on, the noise goes away but if you continue to drive with the 4x4 button pressed on I'll get a nasty thump going around corners, scared the tranny is going to collapse.

I believe the culprit to be bad automatic hubs. I took them off last night and let them soak in ATF as there was a crap load of wheel bearing grease in all of the parts from the last packing job. Cleaned them up and noticed that the "teeth" on the hub, both the part that lifts off the tire and the part that it joins with inside the plastic spring cam are worn. Is this my culprit? Also, the nut that is the weird 1 5/16" size has a hairline crack in it - can these bind hard enough to crack that nut??

How can I rule out the other suspect - u joints?

It's scary to drive...

You should never drive for more than short distance (several hundred feet) on pavement in 4x4.. You are correct in assuming the problem lies within one or both automatic hubs. When they are worn or packed with grease they can chatter and pop as they try to lock... By pressing 4x4 you are forcing the hubs to lock and the initial noise/problem goes away. but if you keep 4x4 engaged you will hear other noises associated to torque wind up because the tires have way too much traction. When driving on dirt/wet/snowy roads traction is much less and the extra torque will cause a tire to break traction and spin slightly.. What happens if you shut off 4x4 (without reversing direction)?
 






n0c7

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DeRocha - if I continue to drive and turn 4x4 off, the previous noises return. I've tried reversing up to 10 feet with and without 4x4 on, etc trying to get them to engage/disengage as well. It's not moving another foot(except around to the garage). Don't want any further damage.

Which parts should I replace - the hub that slides onto the rotor, the plastic cam with the gear inside, etc?
 






91exploreron37

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You can replace the cam thats sits on the spindle and that should stop the noise..well it did on mine along time ago. Or you can replace everything with a manual hub setup if your budget allows
 






n0c7

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You can replace the cam thats sits on the spindle and that should stop the noise..well it did on mine along time ago. Or you can replace everything with a manual hub setup if your budget allows

It has 248,000km, we always wanted to get 250,000km out of it. Looking for the most economical solution at this point. If the cam is replaced but the other hub part is worn won't I still have issues?
 






93explorer4life

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i would highlt recomend manual hubs, had the same problem with my first ex i had, it had autos on it, kept hearing a grinding/popping noise frome the front, didnt think to much of it, till i needed my 4x4 and then BAM! they went out, lost 4x4, replaced with manual WARN brand hubs never had a problem!

the autos are cheep and imo JUNK!
 






troy11556

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do yourself a favor and put manual hub on it sounds like the hubs are going out, the manual cost around 150 for everything needed
 






DeRocha

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Since the problem is your automatic hubs I would try and clean them first (after all its free and they are already not working correctly). When I clean mine I pour several ounces of paint thinner into each hub. I then let them soak for a few hours while periodically rotating the inner splines to help speed things along. I will then turn the hubs upside down and let them drain for 15 min or so over a drain pail. I then repeat the process with fresh solvent for maybe an hour or so (depending on how cruddy it looks). I then drain the hubs for several hours to get as much solvent out as possible. I then pour a few ounce of ATF into the autohubs and let it soak for a 30min or so while periodically rotating the inner splines. I will then drain the ATF from the hubs for maybe 10-15 min and then put then back on the truck..

Also take a peek at threads like:
Servicing Autohubs
4x4 Troubleshooting guide
Non working Auto Hubs
 






n0c7

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Since the problem is your automatic hubs I would try and clean them first (after all its free and they are already not working correctly). When I clean mine I pour several ounces of paint thinner into each hub. I then let them soak for a few hours while periodically rotating the inner splines to help speed things along. I will then turn the hubs upside down and let them drain for 15 min or so over a drain pail. I then repeat the process with fresh solvent for maybe an hour or so (depending on how cruddy it looks). I then drain the hubs for several hours to get as much solvent out as possible. I then pour a few ounce of ATF into the autohubs and let it soak for a 30min or so while periodically rotating the inner splines. I will then drain the ATF from the hubs for maybe 10-15 min and then put then back on the truck..

Also take a peek at threads like:
Servicing Autohubs
4x4 Troubleshooting guide
Non working Auto Hubs

Hey, thats exactly where I started as mentioned. I let them sit in ATF overnight, cleaned them the best I could with brake cleaner after, they look shiny but very very worn and it made things worse after I put them back on.

BTW for everyone recommending manual hubs, I've been calling around for quotes on new auto hubs and most part stores here don't even care those little lone manuals. Can't believe it. I'm gonna head to the junkers today and hope I find something that will get a few more months outta the truck before its time to retire it.
 






91exploreron37

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The manuals are quite a bit cheaper than the autos. Also first try backing up without 4x4 engaged for as long as you can(more than 10ft) When mine was doing this I had to back up about a block for the hubs to finally disengage because whats going on is the hubs are trying to engage but they're not so they just keep trying.
 






troy11556

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look online you can buy them and have them shipped to you cheaper than putting the automatic back on. online retailers will send them to you. warn makes a decent one but it is a little expensive. but remember that there are numerous companies that make the conversion kits.
 






n0c7

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Found the Warn ones with conversion kit for $300 CDN both sides in stock in the city if it does boil down to a brand new replacement option. I went to the junkers and found a complete set of auto hubs with cams that still have the teeth intact in pretty decent looking shape for $50 total. I'm about to go clean them up and give them a try - will keep you guys posted. :salute:
 






n0c7

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Hey everyone - here's the resolution.

$50 at the wreckers for 2 used hubs that sit on the rotors, and a handful(6 I think) cam's. After testing everything, the best result I achieved is this:

- In 2WD mode, no noises and everything sounds great.
- In 4WD mode, it engages. You can hear the motor click, drive a few feet and you feel the hubs engage and can feel the power of 4x4. Turn off 4x4 and the wizzing starts. Stop, put 4x4 back on, reverse for 5-10 feet, hubs disengage, noise goes away.

This was done for my dad - he uses it on the weekends to run errands, and we do the occasional building supply haul here and there. It's the weekend beater. He's happy with it and said that if the problem reoccurs and the exploder is still around, he'll gladly pay the $300 for the new manual hub set.

Only thing that I'm pondering is - why do I have to reverse to disengage? I read a few other threads of people mentioning this, including this thread, but no explanation why.

Also, how do you know if a cam is bad? Why do some of the metal pieces with the 3 triangles spin freely in the cam, and others get caught up and take slight force to move them? Is that the sign that they're bad?
 






91exploreron37

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Thats the way ford designed them, If you read the 4x4 section in your owners manual it tells you to back up to disengage the hubs.
 












n0c7

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Thats the way ford designed them, If you read the 4x4 section in your owners manual it tells you to back up to disengage the hubs.

I bought this Explorer in 2004, I was probably the 4th owner, I then passed it on to by dad, the original manual disappeared along time ago. Do you have a reference to these pages I can see?
 






DeRocha

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Locking hubs are a way to save some fuel economy (1-2mpg) when they are unlocked. When the hubs are locked (and 4x4 is off) the wheels are rotating the front axles shafts and differential which is a slight drag on the system. When unlocked the wheels are disconnected from the axle shafts thus saving some mpg because of the reduced drag..
 






91exploreron37

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I bought this Explorer in 2004, I was probably the 4th owner, I then passed it on to by dad, the original manual disappeared along time ago. Do you have a reference to these pages I can see?

Here ya go
Its kinda hard to see but its the second paragraph on the first page.
 

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n0c7

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Here ya go
Its kinda hard to see but its the second paragraph on the first page.

Thanks! One thing though - assuming you turn 4x4 off by pressing the button and the hubs don't disengage until you reverse, should it be making the winding noise without them disengaged(as mentioned in my steps above)?
 



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91exploreron37

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Yea because the cam or hub is worn out and its trying to engage buts its not so it just keeps making that racheting noise
 






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