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04 SD, 215K miles, pretty much stock. Thanks to the folks here, I have done most of the "bullet-proofing" and am very happy with my truck. Time to re-hab the front drive line now. Going to replace front U joints, tie rod ends, idler arm, pittman arm, ball joints. I have maintained the front hub bearings as recommended here and have not had an issue. That being said, since I am doing a tear-down to replace U joints, now would be the time to replace hubs. I need some advice here. Stick with the OEM hubs and front axle stub assembly (with the pain in the backside needle bearings) or go with aftermarket like Dynatrac or Warn? I am after reliability, don't care if I keep the vacuum operated hubs or not...What are the opinions of the experts here? Anything else I should be looking at to replace/upgrade on front end?
 

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IMO, autolocking hubs belong on SUVs driven by soccer moms. A real 4X4 should have manual hubs and a manual transfer case. Why? Simplicity breeds reliability. When I lock my hubs I know they're locked. When I shift into 4WD I know I'm in 4WD. There's very little to break or fail. Vacuum systems and electronics are notorious for failing, and they will fail when you need to drive through 12" of snow, not when you don't need them. I had to get my truck shipped in from over 150 miles away and ended up with a silver truck instead of white because I would not take an autolocking system. So yep, I'd swap those hubs out for manuals.
 

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215K miles on the stock hubs sounds pretty reliable to me.

I don't go off-roading but I have a 1-mile long driveway with 4 switchbacks due to steepness, not too mention the steep county road after that so I rely on 4x4 most every day all winter.

Tuen a dial and its 4x4. Turn it back and its 4x2. Never have to get out of the cab. Never risk popping my back out bending over 8 times a day to unlock hubs (and thats if I only need to go to town once).

Sure, I miss the feel of a manual transfer case but it comes down to what your application is.

.
 

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Yep, and it works great until it doesn't. I've dealt with the auto systems from all three of the big three, and they all eventually failed, or developed glitches. To each his own, but my truck works for a living, and having it sidelined because the 4WD decided not to work today is not an option. KISS continues to be my philosophy of choice.
 

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Yep, and it works great until it doesn't. I've dealt with the auto systems from all three of the big three, and they all eventually failed, or developed glitches. To each his own, but my truck works for a living, and having it sidelined because the 4WD decided not to work today is not an option. KISS continues to be my philosophy of choice.
KISS is good...and alot of folks think "Simple" is a 2-second dash switch.
I was just pointing out a system that has worked for 215K miles is hardly unreliable.
:winking:
 

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Opinions... and preferences. From what I have seen the auto hubs are more reliable than ever. The most common problem is the hubs get hard to turn... this happens to both manual and auto hubs alike. I have seen more than one truck come in with Warn hubs replacing the OEM and work fine. I am guessing that price also played a factor in the purchase.
 

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Also, the WARN hubs are a very recent option. For years the only option for these trucks was stock, so with the cost through Ford most people opted to simply keep what they already had.

Also, with no detriment to just keeping the manual hubs locked all the time, simple can be the yank of the t-case lever too. The auto system is pretty reliable, but if you do a search here you will see plenty of posts with guys having issues with it. Individual results may vary, much the same way that some people had a 6.0 that has not needed HGs yet, whereas others had one let go at 40k.
 

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TKO,

Good points. I hear what you're saying.
 

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Just responded to that thread, thanks for the heads up.
 

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I have the dynatrc free spin kit and although very beefy the do require maintenance , once a year I tear down and inspect and repack the bearings , in 150 k miles I've replaced a set of bearings and seal , cost was about 60 bucks , so I like them but you need to maintain
 

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Is there any danger on keeping the hub lock all the time? Any difference in fuel milage?


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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No danger, and from my experience no difference in mileage. You may get a bit of clicking in really, really tight turns, that's about it.
 
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Also, the WARN hubs are a very recent option. For years the only option for these trucks was stock, so with the cost through Ford most people opted to simply keep what they already had.

Also, with no detriment to just keeping the manual hubs locked all the time, simple can be the yank of the t-case lever too. The auto system is pretty reliable, but if you do a search here you will see plenty of posts with guys having issues with it. Individual results may vary, much the same way that some people had a 6.0 that has not needed HGs yet, whereas others had one let go at 40k.

I don't think the Warn hubs are that recent of an option. I have been seeing customers roll in with them on their trucks for quite a few years now. I will admit however I do not pay too much attention to the aftermarket.


As far as the electronic shift goes you are right. It is much less problematic than the auto hubs are. The hub issue has more common problems: the hubs locks tend to stiffen and seize so you cant turn them, vacuum pumps fail, pulse-vac solenoids fail, vacuum lines leak and hub/knuckle seals leak vacuum as well.
 

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I just had my auto hubs replaced with the warn manual three lobe design. Was told they were the best and they are very easy to engage.
 

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These trucks are getting older, and recent is a bit of a relative term. They may have been around for 5 years at this point, but when these trucks were still relatively new there was no aftermarket support hub wise. Now that the newest 6.0 trucks are approaching the decade mark a lot has changed due to the sheer number of these trucks on the road. Sometimes the aftermarket lags, other times they offer seemingly instant support. In this case there was a lag, but it was eventually rectified. I think that initially when the factory systems were still working well there was no real demand, but as the trucks aged and stuff started to fail, coupled with the cost of the dealer only hubs companies like WARN started to step in seeing a profitable niche to be exploited. The good news is that now there are aftermarket parts available, and with a company like WARN you're certainly saving over OEM, and almost certainly improving durability as well.
 
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