Stuck in sand yesterday--4x4 did not seem to work - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
6.7L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain Discussion of the 6.7L Power Stroke diesel engine and drivetrain in the 2011-Up Super Duty trucks. No gas engine discussion allowed except on transmissions and drivetrain that pertain to all models. Please confine discussion of topics in this forum to those items that are specific to the 6.7L Power Stroke engine.

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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 05:41 AM Thread Starter
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Stuck in sand yesterday--4x4 did not seem to work

On the beach yesterday and sand was really loose in one section. I was in 4x4 high and the back end dropped like a rock. Switched between 4x4 high and low and nothing seemed to help. 3 guys manually pushed me out. I plan to bring it into the dealer soon to have it checked out. The strange thing is the 4x4 light was on as if it were engaged, but the behavior of the truck makes me think it was not working at all. i would have expected to see the front tires digging too, but they did not seem to pull at all.

Anyone have a similar experience?


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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 07:40 AM
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Should've tried manually locking the hubs.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 07:57 AM
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That and pull the e-locker.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 10:40 AM
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I would agree with 79 jasper. Most likely your front hubs did not engage. If you are going to go to a beach not a bad ideal to just manually lock them in when you get to the beach/unlock when you leave. My manual front hubs stay locked in from mid Sept until April.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
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I would agree with 79 jasper. Most likely your front hubs did not engage. If you are going to go to a beach not a bad ideal to just manually lock them in when you get to the beach/unlock when you leave. My manual front hubs stay locked in from mid Sept until April.
DENNY
Thanks both. I have not had that happen before. Is this a normal occurrence or just something that happens randomly? I switched to 4x4H several miles before I was stuck.


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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That and pull the e-locker.
E-locker was on. I guess (unless there is a bigger problem), the hubs did not engage.


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 02:08 AM
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I have old school manual hubs so if mine don't lock in I stand in a corner and yell at myself!!
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 01:40 PM
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My truck is older, 2001 and has the auto/manual hubs, vacuum operated. I too had the same issue twice, the first time the vacuum line steel fittings at the hubs were rusted and leaked not allowing the hub to be engaged, I switched those out with brass fittings. The second time it happened recently, I manually locked the hubs to get thru, but later, stopped and put them back in auto and tried it again, but this time after getting stuck I went in reverse a couple times to get them to engage. Of course i don't use them much so maybe they were just stuck in place. As the saying goes, use it or lose it. The steel fitting is a threaded hose barb, the barb portion rusted causing the hose not to seal around it. Driving thru flood waters can make them rust in no time and them add the beach = problems.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 06:07 PM
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Here's the rub: When using ESOF the front hubs require (most often) the front wheels to turn to allow the splines to engage. This means if you can't move at least a little bit fore or aft they will not lock in properly at all. Get out, lock the hubs, be happy. BTW that is why Ford designed the hubs and had them made by Warn.

To test your front axle and locking hubs I can give you a test process to use.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Here's the rub: When using ESOF the front hubs require (most often) the front wheels to turn to allow the splines to engage. This means if you can't move at least a little bit fore or aft they will not lock in properly at all. Get out, lock the hubs, be happy. BTW that is why Ford designed the hubs and had them made by Warn.

To test your front axle and locking hubs I can give you a test process to use.
Thanks for the input. I would have thought they would have locked in on the drive to our parking spot, but perhaps not.

Please send me the test process.
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All Stock except for a few accessories:
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- Ford Splashguard/Mudflaps
- Husky Rear Wheelwell Liners
- Bull Ring retractable tie downs
- Leer 700 Bed Cap
- Mag-Hytec Rear Axle Cover
- Mag-Hytec Front Axle Cover
- OEM Rear Sway Bar
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 08:25 PM
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To test your front axle and locking hubs I can give you a test process to use.
Why donít you just go ahead & post the test procedure so all of us can see it. That would be very much appreciated.

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-04-2018, 08:25 AM
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What has worked for me to "test" ESOF hub operation or troubleshoot issues. User cannot hold me responsible for your inability to prevent personal injuries.

Chock block the rear tires of the truck to prevent the vehicle from rolling. This should be to the front and rear of the rear tires.

1) Jack up the front of the truck. Both front tires off the ground.
2) Confirm/Set hubs to FREE(manual 4x)/AUTO (ESOF) (per style of 4x system). Ensure the ESOF/ Manual transfer case is in 2wd.
3) Spin tires in the forward direction on both sides. Ensure the stub shafts that feed to the center diff do not spin. Spin the front driveshaft and make sure the stub shafts spin.
4) Rotate hubs to LOCK. Spin tires in forward direction on both sides to engage hubs to stub shafts. Verify the stub shafts spin. Verify that the front driveshaft off the t-case does spin.
5) Rotate hubs to FREE/AUTO. Spin tires in opposite direction. Ensure the hubs disengage from the stub shafts. Spin the tires in the forward direction. Verify that the stub shafts do not spin. Front driveshaft should not spin.
6) ESOF trucks: Start truck. Shift transmission to NEUTRAL. Rotate ESOF to engage the transfer case to 4x. Once vehicle indicates the 4x is engaged: Spin tires in forward direction on both sides to verify/engage hubs to stub shafts. This is the point you may notice the tires need SOME forward movement to properly engage the hubs to the stub shafts. Verify the stub shafts spin. Verify that the front driveshaft off the t-case does spin.
7) Manual 4wd trucks: Rotate the hubs to LOCK. Shift t-case lever to 4H. Shift transmission to NEUTRAL. Spin tires in forward direction on both sides to verify/engage hubs to stub shafts. Verify the stub shafts spin. Verify that the front driveshaft off the t-case does spin.

For the ESOF you can pinch off the vacuum lines if you want to verify there is a proper amount at the hub. By doing this you should note that the hub will not work/engage properly.


If all checks out no worries. If there is an issue with a single hub, ESOF transfer case motor, or part of the vacuum it should be obvious at that point in the system check.

When I had ESOF hub problems it wasn't a vacuum issue. The internal springs that force the hubs to disengage the stub shaft were gunked up. As I started my troubleshooting the above process checked off the blocks for where to look for the problem. I replaced the problem hub with a new OEM hub, no problems using ESOF.

When I took the problem hub off I could see how it all operated. The vacuum "pulls" the hub internals onto the stub shaft engaging the tire to the stub shaft. Once the vacuum is released the internal springs push the hub internals off the stub shaft which is done easier once you back up about 3-6 feet. If you really look at the FORD logo on the hub it is a porous material underneath. The "seal" on the underside of the hub cap will move inwards as the vacuum is applied. Air must be able to pass thru the FORD logo. If this material is clogged the movement needed to allow the internals to engage will not happen.

Some people will report a "ratcheting" type of noise when ESOF is engaged. This is due to the hub internals trying to slip onto the splines of the stud shaft. As above a hub issue OR vacuum issue may be present. Some will find that rotating the hub between AUTO/LOCK will help keep the hub internals from binding up. Once you determine the hubs are operating as designed you can then go thru the vacuum side of the system.

If I need to change something above I will. I had the unfortunate situation to be up at 1AM, coffee is kicking in. Please bear with me...lol

BTW there is a reason Warn doesn't make a true OE ESOF style replacement. They make the OE ESOF hub for Ford.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-04-2018, 08:49 AM
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If you want to watch the full thing it's sort of plain but good for the ESOF hub disassembly and operation.. IF you get to about 14 minutes you can see how the internals work. How they engage the stub shafts, how the vacuum works , etc etc He spins the inner most section on his fingers then locks the hub and the inner section cannot spin. As always more grease isn't always a good thing.


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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-04-2018, 09:37 AM
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Thanks for the procedure. A quick check (although not as thorough as yours) is to go to 4X4 high range on a fairly hard surface & drive forward while turning the steering wheel slightly left & right. It will feel much different than it does in 2WD mode. Admittedly, it wonít tell you if both hubs are engaging. Like I said, itís just a quick check.

2013 F-350 Lariat 6.7 L PSD Crew Cab Dually, FX4, white platinum metalic tri-coat with black interior, N-Fab step bars, factory spray-in bedliner and 5th wheel hitch, trailer tow package, integrated brake controller, upfitter switches, Sync with My Ford Touch, memory group, remote start, reverse sensing with rear view camera, nav, satillite radio, Weather Tech floor mats, limited slip diff, moon roof, climate controlled seats, engine block heater and tailgate step.

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SOLD: 2005 F-350 Lariat, 6.0 PSD, Torqueshift auto trans, crew cab, SRW, short box, FX4, ESOF, limited slip dif., tow command, upfitter switches, 6 CD changer, Lariat Lux. package, camper package, engine block heater, triple A-pillar gauge set (Autometer) with pyrometer, trans temp & voltmeter, MBRP 4" cat back exhaust w/5" dual wall chrome tip, dark shadow gray/ med. flint interior.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-04-2018, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for all of the information and the tips. Moral of the story (at least for me); ALWAYS manually lock the hubs and you leave nothing to chance.
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2015 Tuxedo Black F-250 Platinum (FX4)

Currently running Chevron Delo 400 LE 15W-40 (CJ-4) oil and CQ Blue 84151 (Clarcor) oil filter

All Stock except for a few accessories:
- Rhino Spray-In Bedliner
- Ford Splashguard/Mudflaps
- Husky Rear Wheelwell Liners
- Bull Ring retractable tie downs
- Leer 700 Bed Cap
- Mag-Hytec Rear Axle Cover
- Mag-Hytec Front Axle Cover
- OEM Rear Sway Bar
- All interior & exterior LEDs including bed
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