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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I bought a 99 7.3 F350 with a front locker and when I want to use 4wd I need to lock my front hubs. Of course if my hubs are locked and say I'm on a snowy road that has some dry spots the steering wheel wants to rip out of my hands. Do I need to remove the front locker to drive in 4wd? I live in Colorado and drive mountain passes all the time and need to be able to put the truck in 4wd when the roads get bad. I have tried to just lock one side of the hubs but it still drives the same. Thanks for any help!
 

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Do you actually have a locker in the front end or do you just think that you have one because you have to lock the hubs in?

If it is a normal front end all that locking the hubs in is to engage the front axles. That way when you shift into 4x4 power will be applied to the front wheels. However if it is a stock 4x4 front end it is a limited slip so you can travel around corners and such like the rear end is.

If you have the front hubs locked in and the 4x4 shifter in 4 hi and go around a tight corner that is dry the front end is going to lurch with the tires trying to grab traction, this is normal.

If you actually did have a locking front end it will be great for going straight but will cause all kinds of problems on a curvy dry road.
 

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If you're locking one hub, you'll probably destroy something, either the locker or the axle or hub. I would be sure the locker is working correctly. It should still allow some differential action unless it's what's known as a Lincoln Locker. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Do you actually have a locker in the front end or do you just think that you have one because you have to lock the hubs in?

If it is a normal front end all that locking the hubs in is to engage the front axles. That way when you shift into 4x4 power will be applied to the front wheels. However if it is a stock 4x4 front end it is a limited slip so you can travel around corners and such like the rear end is.

If you have the front hubs locked in and the 4x4 shifter in 4 hi and go around a tight corner that is dry the front end is going to lurch with the tires trying to grab traction, this is normal.

If you actually did have a locking front end it will be great for going straight but will cause all kinds of problems on a curvy dry road.
Thank you for the replying. I'm familiar with manually locking the hubs and disconnecting a wheel from the axel. When I bought the truck the old owner told me he had a front locker installed to help from getting stuck in sand when he would take his boat to the beach in New Mexico. This is my 4th 7.3 and my 2nd with manually locking hubs but if I lock the hubs and shift into 4-hi you can feel the tires binding really bad unless I'm in really loose soil or snow/ice. None of my other trucks drive like this when locked into 4wd so I know the problem has to be that front locker. I've never had a front locker and really just want my truck to drive properly when in 4wd. I'm not into off roading, this is just my work truck so it seems like I just need to remove this front locker to have the truck drive properly for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you're locking one hub, you'll probably destroy something, either the locker or the axle or hub. I would be sure the locker is working correctly. It should still allow some differential action unless it's what's known as a Lincoln Locker. ;)
Thanks for the reply. The reason I tried to just lock one hub is a mechanic I know recommended giving it a shot and I tried for a very short time in my gravel driveway to see if there was a difference but no lock.
 

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You may have to find out just what type of a locker it is and how it is activated.

Take a look at the front end and see if you can see anything different from a normal one such as wires running to it that are activated by the 4x4 switch.

If it is locked all the time that the hubs are tuned in you may have to just remove it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You may have to find out just what type of a locker it is and how it is activated.

Take a look at the front end and see if you can see anything different from a normal one such as wires running to it that are activated by the 4x4 switch.

If it is locked all the time that the hubs are tuned in you may have to just remove it.
I don't see any wires running to it and I engage my 4x4 with a stick. Thanks
 

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So, unless you want to tear into it yourself you are going to need to find a shop that works on front ends to tear into it to take care of your problem.

The only lockers that I know of are E-Lockers and Air-Lockers. But that isn't saying that there isn't a locker that is permanently locked either
 
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So, that's the manual 4x4. You still need to know how to engage the locker, if it's there. It is possible a ******* locker was done...welding the diff together
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, unless you want to tear into it yourself you are going to need to find a shop that works on front ends to tear into it to take care of your problem.

The only lockers that I know of are E-Lockers and Air-Lockers. But that isn't saying that there isn't a locker that is permanently locked either
Yeah I think that is going to be my solution. Thank you for your help!
 

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Another possibility is when the locker was installed, they changed the gear ratio of the front axle. If it's not matched with the rear axle ratio, you might get the action you're seeing. If the front ratio is lower numerically than the rear, then the front wheels would try to spin faster than the rear wheels even when going straight. That wouldn't necessarily be a problem on slippery surfaces, but would definitely bind up on dry pavement. You might check by pulling the cover and looking for ratio stamping on the ring gear.
 

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Can’t you just pull the front differential cover and visually inspect/identify whats in there?

I always thought lockers were not to be used on front axles?

I didn’t know New Mexico had any lakes big enough for a trailerable boat...😉
 

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I didn’t know New Mexico had any lakes big enough for a trailerable boat...😉
A few. Navaho, Elephant Butte, Caballo, Lake Roberts, Bear Canyon. What we ARE known for is lots of beach.
 

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I always thought lockers were not to be used on front axles?
I agree it's not a great idea, unless you do a LOT of off-roading. For a street driven truck, crow hop in 4x4 is bad enough even with an open diff in front. I considered it after I bought my truck, but never did it, and it's been fine without one for over 20 years of winters. Most of the time I keep the hubs locked, but in 2WD (manual shift t-case). If things get squirrelly it's easy enough to reach down and pull it into 4WD.
 

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Can’t you just pull the front differential cover and visually inspect/identify whats in there?

I always thought lockers were not to be used on front axles?

I didn’t know New Mexico had any lakes big enough for a trailerable boat...😉
I have a Detroit locker in mine... never had any issues, you just don't engage the hubs till your offroad and need it... if im going down a trail, ive already got the hubs active and ready, but don't engage the 4x4 till the OX in the rear cant handle it, THEN I engage the 4x4 and get outa w/e im in
 

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I have a Detroit locker in mine... never had any issues, you just don't engage the hubs till your offroad and need it... if im going down a trail, ive already got the hubs active and ready, but don't engage the 4x4 till the OX in the rear cant handle it, THEN I engage the 4x4 and get outa w/e im in
It doesn't do much good if you want to run in 4x4 on snow covered roads like most of us that live in the Rocky Mountains do for quite a bit of the winter.

If we were to install a locker it would be one that was either air or electrically controlled so that we could lock it in when we needed it and not all of the time when we are in 4x4

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It doesn't do much good if you want to run in 4x4 on snow covered roads like most of us that live in the Rocky Mountains do for quite a bit of the winter.

If we were to install a locker it would be one that was either air or electrically controlled so that we could lock it in when we needed it and not all of the time when we are in 4x4

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yeah no, im straight mud and slop... im fine with snow, im just not fine with the other idiots on it...
our lovable red-necks think 4x4 means you can still run 80 mph up to a stop sign and stop on a dime in the powder

seriously red-necks is censored?
 

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yeah no, im straight mud and slop... im fine with snow, im just not fine with the other idiots on it...
our lovable red-necks think 4x4 means you can still run 80 mph up to a stop sign and stop on a dime in the powder

seriously red-necks is censored?
I caught that too, talking about the red - neck locker...see mine #9 above
 
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