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Had a feeling one of my hub locks was broken so I lifted the truck and engaged the 4wd.. noticed only 1 front tire was spinning.

It'll take a week for the new one to come in but the NE is expecting snow. Can I use the 4wd with only 1 hub lock working ?

Thanks
 

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It won't hurt anything, but the open diff might not put much power down if one side is free spinning. I'm not an expert by any means on 4wd components. If it were mine, I would find soft ground or gravel, put it in 4wd and try to spin out to see if the front throws dirt or just rolls along. If it doesn't seem to be pulling, I would consider it a 2wd until repaired (obviously). Kind of a lame answer, but I saw nobody else chimed in...
 

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If you have an "open" differential, and only one hub engaged, it won't give you any traction. If you have a locker, then you can get away with one hub.
An open diff requires resistance at both axle shafts or the power is released through the spider gears. One hub disengaged would have the same effect as if you had one tire on ice and the other on a dry surface. The path of least resistance receives the most power. (or all the power)
 

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I just reread your post and I don't think I answered your question. Engaging the 4wd (transfer case) with one hub locked, won't hurt anything. It just won't provide any traction at the front axle unless you have a locked differential.
 

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100% correct. With open differentials 4WD is really 2WD. You will typically get power to the right rear and left front, but that's also because that's typically where the least traction is available. That can shift if the traction at the left rear or right front becomes less. I think most of these trucks have a limited slip differential in the rear (please no one use the "p" word). So to an extent you get traction to both rear tires. The front is always open unless you've installed something aftermarket. The problem with an LSD in the front is that it negatively affects your turning radius. A selectable locker is really best for the front, something like an ARB air locker. This allows you to lock the differential with full, equal power to both front wheels when not turning, and disengage the locker when turning so it steers like an open differential.

So, with a broken hub on the front the front axle is pretty much along for the ride with an open differential, even in 4WD. Don't expect it to do a whole lot for you. So long as you don't have nay steep grades to get up you should be fine with 2WD and an LSD in the rear. Load the bed down with snow. The weight will greatly improve traction. Snow is like mud. So long as you're moving you will tend to keep moving, but if you stop that's when you'll get stuck.
 

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Like the other guys said, unless both hubs are locked, an open (aka stock) front differential won't provide ANY traction.

Your hubs may be OK. If you had all wheels off the ground when you checked and found only one front wheel spinning, that may have been because of more brake drag on the wheel that wasn't spinning, routing all the spin to the other wheel thru the differential.

There's an easy way to check if the hubs are locked. With the wheels on the ground and the transfer case in 2WD so the front driveshaft is free, lock ONE hub, then reach behind that wheel and try to turn the axle with the u-joint. If the hub is locked, the axle won't turn. Then do the same on the opposite side.
 

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And you do indeed learn something new every day. Thanks for that test khansen!
 
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