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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1997 XLT automatic 4x4. I have looked online for manuals, but there are quite a few depending on the model of F-250. Difficult to know that I am for sure looking at the correct manual....

Can anyone help me out with the intended procedure for operating the 4x4? Can it go from 2 wheel to 4 while driving, etc? Neutral first? Do I need to worry about auto locks, driving in reverse to unlock things, etc, and how does that work on this model, etc?

A link to the correct owners manual would be great. Thanks much all
 

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Instead of looking at the 97 year look at the 96 year, same with parts. In 97 Ford offered two different F250's a light duty one and the heavy duty diesel..

On the 4x4, I always just pulled the lever on mine from 2 hi to 4 hi and back at anytime that I wanted. Moving or not as long as my manual hubs were locked. I believe that automatic hubs will be the same. To go into 4 lo you need to be stopped and in neutral or park to go into it with a automatic I believe. With automatic hubs I have always backed up a short distance to unlock them. I'm not sure if that is needed with Fords or not but that is what I did.
 
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For the factory Four Wheel Drive Owner's Supplement check here: 1997 F250HD & F350 Owner's Guides | The Diesel Stop
I saved it from the old FAQ section and reposted it there. I do the same as bugman with mine (Warn manual hubs after the auto hubs grenaded). If I know the weather will be bad, I lock the front hubs and then go in to/out of 4wd Hi moving or not. You have to be stopped to enter 4 Lo. Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Instead of looking at the 97 year look at the 96 year, same with parts. In 97 Ford offered two different F250's a light duty one and the heavy duty diesel..

On the 4x4, I always just pulled the lever on mine from 2 hi to 4 hi and back at anytime that I wanted. Moving or not as long as my manual hubs were locked. I believe that automatic hubs will be the same. To go into 4 lo you need to be stopped and in neutral or park to go into it with a automatic I believe. With automatic hubs I have always backed up a short distance to unlock them. I'm not sure if that is needed with Fords or not but that is what I did.
Thanks much for the great info, when you back up can you hear them unlock or in any way know that they did? I read that it can be really bad to drive with them locked so I just want to make sure I understand.
 

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There is no real problem running with the hubs locked if they are manual hubs or with the automatic hubs locked except for extra wear on the front end parts that are turning.

I used to turn in the manual hubs on my trucks at the first snow storm and wouldn't turn them out until the roads were staying ice and snow free in the spring, perhaps 4 months of running with them locked and ready to go.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
There is no real problem running with the hubs locked if they are manual hubs or with the automatic hubs locked except for extra wear on the front end parts that are turning.

I used to turn in the manual hubs on my trucks at the first snow storm and wouldn't turn them out until the roads were staying ice and snow free in the spring, perhaps 4 months of running with them locked and ready to go.
One more somewhat related question that I'm wondering about... why does it say that driving on dry flat pavement in 4 wheel will damage it? Why does that damage things?
 

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If you were just driving on straight sections of road then you won't notice where the problem would happen at but if you try to make sharp corners you will feel the front end gripping and jumping all over the place if you are in 4x4 and on dry pavement.
 
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why does it say that driving on dry flat pavement in 4 wheel will damage it? Why does that damage things?
Because, to make steering more responsive on low-traction terrain, Ford makes the front tires spin SLIGHTLY faster than the rears. That "pulls" the truck through turns in 4WD, which is very helpful. But because there is no differential between the axles (it's 4WD - not AWD), it means that, on high-traction surfaces (where you DON'T NEED 4WD anyway), it would cause the front axle to try to drive away from the rear, which puts a LOT of stress on the t-case chain & other drivetrain components. Ford calls this effect "torsional windup". So if you're using 4WD, and you hit a patch of high-traction (like hard-packed dry dirt, solid stone, dry pavement, etc.), simply reach down & bump the t-case shifter to 2H. When you get back on a slippery surface, bump it back to 4H, like the owner's manual says.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Because, to make steering more responsive on low-traction terrain, Ford makes the front tires spin SLIGHTLY faster than the rears. That "pulls" the truck through turns in 4WD, which is very helpful. But because there is no differential between the axles (its 4WD - not AWD), it means that, on high-traction surfaces (where you DON'T NEED 4WD anyway), it would cause the front axle to try to drive away from the rear, which puts a LOT of stress on the t-case chain & other drivetrain components. Ford calls this effect "torsional windup". So if you're using 4WD, and you hit a patch of high-traction (like hard-packed dry dirt, solid stone, dry pavement, etc.), simply reach down & bump the t-case shifter to 2H. When you get back on a slippery surface, bump it back to 4H, like the owner's manual says.
Wow awesome answer thank you. Would never try to do anything so prohibited, was just really curious why it was the case! And was wondering about surfaces that vary a lot, like snowy mountain roads, FS/BLM roads, you can hit deep snow in the shadows but it's clear and dry in the sun. I want to treat the vehicle as kindly as possible.
 

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4-Wheel Drive Operation

Locking Hubs

There are two types of front hubs available for 4x4 vehicles.
  • Manual (or free-running) that require the driver to get out of the cab to either lock or unlock them.
  • Automatic locking (which lock automatically when the axle shaft begins to turn).

Manual (free-running) hubs feature seals that prevent entry of dirt and moisture and are very simple to operate. Automatic locking hubs use the front axle shaft rotation to actuate a cam that locks and unlocks the hub. Locking hubs may be locked at any time, and can be left in the locked position all the time, if desired.

On vehicles equipped with a manual shift transfer case (7A195) and manual locking hubs, low range can be selected when the vehicle's front hubs are unlocked. This is useful for short distances if very low, creeper gearing (but not 4WD) is needed. Refer to «Section 04-01B» for diagnosis, testing and repair procedures.

If the front hubs are locked (either automatically or manually), and either 4H or 4L is selected, the front wheels are no longer free to turn independently. The front and rear driveshafts are also now locked together and must turn as one.

In 4WD, just as in 2WD, each front wheel travels further than the rear wheel on its side. But this time, the front wheels aren't free to turn independently of the rear wheels. They are linked to the drivetrain by the transfer case and front driveshaft.

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Item . Part Number . . . . . . . . Description
1 . . . . . . 4602 . . . . . . . . . . . . Driveshaft
2 . . . . . . 7A195 . . . . . . . . . . . Transfer Case
3 . . . . . . 4602 . . . . . . . . . . . . Driveshaft
4 . . . . . . 3B366 . . . . . . . . . . . Locking Hub
5 . . . . . . 4026 . . . . . . . . . . . . Differential
6 . . . . . . 4841 . . . . . . . . . . . . Driveshaft Slip Yoke
7 . . . . . . 3010 . . . . . . . . . . . . Front Axle
8 . . . . . . 4841 . . . . . . . . . . . . Driveshaft Slip Yoke
9 . . . . . . 4841 . . . . . . . . . . . . Driveshaft Slip Yoke
10 . . . . . 4026 . . . . . . . . . . . . Differential
11 . . . . . 4006 . . . . . . . . . . . . Rear Axle Assembly

Even though difference between the inner and outer front wheels is compensated for by a front differential, torsional windup between the front & rear axles is still going to occur.
- Anytime one driveline component travels further than another without a differential or clutch between them, there will be driveline or torsional windup that must be released.

4WD in a 4x4 provides increased drive traction and performance in off-road situations and when driving on snow or ice. It is not designed for operation on dry surfaces and when traction is good. It is not suitable on dry paved roads or dry parking lots. Where 4WD should and shouldn't be used gives us the answer as to what releases the driveline or torsional windup.

When a 4x4 is driven off-road in 4WD, the wheels are in contact with dirt, sand and sometimes mud. The vehicle is also likely to bounce over bumps and ruts.
- Under these conditions, driveline or torsional windup will occur. If it does, the loose dirt or sand or the slippery mud will allow wheels to slip a little, limiting the windup. Tension is also relieved when the wheel bounces in the air going over a bump. Snow and ice will also allow the wheels to slip and limit the windup.

When operating in 4WD on dry hard pavement, even more torsional windup occurs which is not easily released. When the windup becomes great enough, the driver will feel the vehicle hop, skip or bounce. This is caused by the front or rear wheels slipping as the windup is released. Whichever wheels have the least traction are the ones that will slip.
- The tighter the turn, or the greater the traction, the greater the hop, skip or bounce. This torsional driveline windup is the cause of many owner complaints concerning the performance of their 4x4 vehicles.

The following illustration shows that tires of even slightly different sizes roll different distances every revolution (see A). The same effect is true for tires that are the same size but inflated or loaded differently (see B). Operating a 4x4 in 4WD with tires of different size or inflation will produce driveline or torsional windup, even when driving straight ahead. If the vehicle is being driven in 4WD on dry, hard pavement, the driver will notice drag and may experience the hop, skip, bounce effect as the front or rear wheels release the windup.

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4x4 Vehicle -- Driveline Windup

Driveline windup does more than just produce hop, skip and bounce. It can also cause delays in shifting out of 4WD. Vehicles with electronic shift transfer case (7A195) permit shifting from 2WD to 4WD and back on the fly. The vehicle must be stopped and the automatic transmission (7003) put in neutral (not park) or the manual transmission clutch depressed in order to shift from 4H to 4L or back.

Windup and Delay -- Shifting Out of 4-Wheel Drive

Note: To determine if driveline windup is causing delayed shifts to 2WD, jack the vehicle or lift it on a hoist with the wheels free to rotate. This should release the driveline windup, if it is present, and the transfer case (7A195) will complete its shift, if windup is the concern.
Note: Vehicles vary in terms of how "tight" they are. Some vehicles have a lot of "give" in the system. Softness in suspension and mounts will allow the driveline to absorb more windup before it affects performance. If driveline windup occurs, the system will tighten like a giant rubber band until the tires start slipping. A "tight" vehicle will signal the windup sooner, usually by a lot of chattering noises.

A delay or a failure to shift out of 4WD may be the result of driveline windup or extremely cold temperatures. In 4WD, windup can develop, especially if the vehicle is operated on hard, dry surfaces or in tight turns. The driver may select 2WD, but the shift doesn't take place even though the 4WD light goes out. Also, as long as the transfer case doesn't shift, the hubs remain locked and the vehicle remains in 4WD. If windup in the transfer case is severe, even backing up may not release it.

In order to return to 2WD under these conditions, two things must happen. First, if the transfer case doesn't shift right away, the vehicle will have to be driven in 4WD until the windup is relieved or until the axle warms up. Second, when it does make the shift, the driver will have to stop the vehicle and go straight in the reverse direction for at least ten feet to unlock the hubs.
 
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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I have been so busy with other mods, and getting my gear sorted, I never went out and really looked, just wanted to learn all about it.
I guess I have manual hubs! Which most people seem to prefer, though some do not. I definitely don't mind switching them.

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If anyone is interested in the hubs with some visuals check this out locking hubs - to lock or not to lock, how to use manual locking hubs
 

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I have a 1997 XLT automatic 4x4. I have looked online for manuals, but there are quite a few depending on the model of F-250. Difficult to know that I am for sure looking at the correct manual....

Can anyone help me out with the intended procedure for operating the 4x4? Can it go from 2 wheel to 4 while driving, etc? Neutral first? Do I need to worry about auto locks, driving in reverse to unlock things, etc, and how does that work on this model, etc?

A link to the correct owner's manual would be great. Thanks much all
Sooooo much misinformation about 4x4 shifting. I've been driving a variety of brands of 4X4 pickups for 50 years. I have yet to find one that shouldn't be shifted at any speed in and out of 4-wheel drive. I have met people that actually stop and shift (trying to explain to them how gears work is a waste of time). They need severe mental help. What good would it be if you had to do that. Feel free to shift in and out as you see slick spots ahead or whatever. It should be noted that you need to be at a constant speed when doing so. Operator manuals for some reason unknown to mankind suggest a top speed to use 4x4. All I can say is Huh? If it's slick use it, if it's not slick don't. Manual hubs? If you need 4x4 year-round on occasion just leave them locked in. Unlock them if you want to save some fuel but otherwise, a good set of manual hubs last 200K miles easily locked in or not. I've actually known people who stop on the side of the road to lock and unlock hubs as they drive between patches of snow? I unlock my manual hubs to use low-range 2-wheel drive on long steep boat ramps where gearing is an issue but not traction. It should be obvious not to shift between low and high range when moving. Yes on occasion you may need to back up slightly to unwind the driveline if you can't shift between two and four-wheel drive. You will know it when the vehicle is hopping around. And no this doesn't hurt the vehicle but it is hard on tires.
 

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I have been driving F350's for the last 20 years. Lock my hubs in the fall unlock in spring. I usually stay in 4x4 unless I am turning sharp on dry pavement or the road is dry all the way to work. I have never felt any skipping or hoping in 4x4 even on dry pavement unless I am turning sharply.
DENNY
 
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