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1999-2007 Upgrades and Aftermarket - General Upgrading or adding OEM or aftermarket equipment to your 1999-2007 Super Duty. Please confine discussion of topics in this forum to those items that are not engine-specific.

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Old 08-23-2009, 09:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Esof Hubs

My knuckles are leaking vacuum and I was thinking about rebuilding them along with re lubing the needle bearings as per Guzzle's page. I am pretty busy so I called a local Mom & Pop 4WD shop that has a very good reputation. He recommends replacing the factory hubs with Warn premium manual hubs and plugging the vacuum lines.

I did like the idea of ESOF, but what he says makes sense, that the factory ESOF hubs were a bad idea. I am wondering how much crap gets sucked in when the vacuum seals leak anyways.

Any opinions or recommendations?

He wants $740 for the whole job (Parts & Labor) which includes replacing the Torrington bearings, which I am assuming are the needle bearings. I am pretty busy right now and it seems like a fair price for a job that could take me 6 hours or more, plus the parts.
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Old 08-23-2009, 11:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The factory ESOF hubs are largely misunderstood... and they can be grossly underserviced...

Our area features an abundance of red clay and a healthy moderate season rainfall every year... Our customers work in the Alberta wilderness... muskeg, clay, unimproved roads (little better than cow trails through the bush), no roads... this is the Alberta oil patch... this is the home of clear cut logging... I can't recall the last time we stocked or sold a 2WD SuperDuty.

Now that we have laid some groundwork, most all of our customers have ESOF and most all of them have ESOF that works... If you have a leaking knuckle seal that allows vacuum to draw contaminants into the hub cavity, you have a knuckle seal that will allow contminants into the hub cavity WITHOUT applying vacuum.

Our customers often have their safety depend on the operation of their 4WD systems... and they love the idea that they can engage 4WD without getting out of the truck.

What I do find amusing, though... the number of owners that swear up and down that they "take good care" of their trucks... yet the only time they'll service the front hubs is after something breaks...
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Old 08-23-2009, 12:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrampyJim View Post
The factory ESOF hubs are largely misunderstood... and they can be grossly underserviced...
What is your service recommendation?
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Old 08-23-2009, 06:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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" If you have a leaking knuckle seal that allows vacuum to draw contaminants into the hub cavity, you have a knuckle seal that will allow contminants into the hub cavity WITHOUT applying vacuum. "

Good point. So I presume you would be from the "Keep the OEM setup" camp.

I can still go with option 1 and rebuild/reseal/relube the hubs. I like the option of not getting out of the cab myself, but it wouldn't be terrible if I did have to get out.
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've enjoyed not having to get out to lock mine all 4 times they have been locked in the last ten years. Still, if I was going to lose my automatic hubs it would take something like a Dynatrac hub kit to make me do it.
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think that local mom and pop shop is looking to make some money at your expense. why would you install manual lockouts when you already have manual lockouts? My ESOF hubs haven't worked in over a year, i just haven't gotten around to doing the job, I have plenty of other projects but when I do I will use the step by step instructions laid out on this website, it seems like a pretty simple job to me. $700.00 seems like an aweful lot of money for something you already have. My 4X4 works just fine when I get out of the truck and lock my hubs in manually. Why would you put Warns in instead of the lockouts you already have? I think the hubs they used back in the 90's (pre-superduty) were not a very good idea because you couldn't manually lock the hubs in but you have manual hubs already.
I also take exception to their comment about the ESOF being a bad idea, I think it's a great design. They are easily serviced and have a manual option so what's so bad about it?
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Exactly, our hubs are manual, when in the lock position. And I LOVE the idea I shouldn't have to get out and lock them when I need 4x4. BUT I have the piece of mind that they will lock without vacuum.

With that said, they do require some maintenance. I have taken mine apart and cleaned and lubed them. They were pretty stiff and gunked up on both my trucks when I bought them. Took apart, cleaned and lubed them. They work smoothly now.
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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See that's why I posted here. Seems you guys are steering me in the right direction, I am going to start looking for the parts to re do the ESOF hubs right now. IIR Guzzle's page has all the part numbers.
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I got the balljoint kit from powerstrokeshop.com that included new seals. Just fix'em. They work great.
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It's a simple thing to do....but make sure the vacuum lines aren't cracked and leaking where they hook up to the knuckle. When I replaced my hubs I had to trim about 2" off where they were cracked right next to the knuckle.

Also to check the vacuum engagement I would lift the wheel up, engage the 4x4 inside and check to make sure the wheel engaged the axle. I only replaced the seals and hubs on one side and afterwards when I checked both sides they both engaged right away. What I noticed was it took a while longer for the side with new seals to disengage, which made sense as it was holding the vacuum longer.
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Old 08-29-2009, 11:51 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Well I did it. I got all my parts and the knuckle seal tool and replaced eveything today. My needle bearings were in good shape, but I had new ones so I put them in anyway.

The hubs work great now. Both my knuckle seale and my axle tube dust seals were in two pieces, with the outer rings just hanging on the axle.

The only thing that pissed me off was the pass side dust seal, after I was finished assembling eveything I noticed the axle side didn't stay pushed onto the axle all the way. I tried to work it back on with a small screwdriver with no luck. It is still sealing as much as the design allows, maybe it will work itself on when I drive it in 4x4. The inboard side just presses up against the axle flange, doesn't really fit inside of anything.

I did the pass side 1st, took me almost 3 hours by the time I figured it all out. The drivers side only took an hour. Driving the knuckle seals out was hard, the drivers side wouldnt push off the axle. By the time I got it off I had it all bent up and full of holes.

Thanks for everyones advice, I am really glad I did it and it cost me under $300 and that includes $75 for the seal tool.

I am glad I bought the tool, it has steps on it to set the seal at the proper height. You really need to smack it hard, I used a small sledge hammer.
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