Locking hubs and after-market auto locking hubs??

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Locking hubs and after-market auto locking hubs??

Unread post by Teamsherman » June 3rd, 2018, 9:53 am

Hi folks,

Couple of quick questions, I have a 2003 Hilux 3.0lt and was wondering if it would do any harm if I were to drive around with my hubs locked in 2wd High?

I want be able to just so on rainy slippery days I can quickly change to 4wd High range and if I decide to go off-road I dont need to get out and do the hubs.

Also, does anyone know if there are any after-market auto locking hubs I can get to negate the need to get out and lock them???

Thats all for now!



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Re: Locking hubs and after-market auto locking hubs??

Unread post by NZ LUX » June 3rd, 2018, 10:43 am

Absolutely no harm whatsoever driving all the time with your hubs locked. There will be a little extra wear and tear on the CV joints, but this will be minimal.

Peter Aawen
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Joined: June 17th, 2005, 8:01 pm

Re: Locking hubs and after-market auto locking hubs??

Unread post by Peter Aawen » June 3rd, 2018, 1:35 pm

If I'm heading off on a 'mostly 4WD' trip but have some bitumen to travel first & during, I generally lock the hubs at home & leave them locked until I get back! I've done quite a few 10,000km trips from near Adelaide up to Cape York & back via a mix of bitumen & dirt, mostly dirt, without any hassles... and I'd bet many others have done similar too - in fact, back before manual locking hubs became readily available & acceptable (which wasn't as long ago as you might think!!) MOST 4WD's ALWAYS drove with their front hubs permanently locked, they had no other choice! But if your hubs are locked, don't go selecting 4WD on the bitumen, even if it's wet!! :boggle: That's a surefire recipe for damage &/or sudden & uncontrollable direction changes & for Part Time 4WD's, doing that might even bring charges of Negligent or Dangerous Driving if (as becomes very likely) you have an accident!! :crazy:

Bear with me for a minute or two - some of this some of you may know, but there's a good chance that some readers DON'T know it & will benefit, so if you do already know, apologies, but read on, it might be enlightening!

Most readers here will know that Part time 4WD systems allow NO speed difference between the driven wheels at each end, so we don't drive in 4WD on the bitumen - the reason it's so dangerous on dry or Hi-traction surfaces is that you NEED your front & rear wheels to be able to be turn at different speeds & travel different distances (usually slightly different) while you negotiate corners or even just make minor steering corrections as you drive along on a seemingly straight road; this 'need' becomes more pronounced when you start climbing or descending hills, or even just putting one or two wheels over the hump that's a repaired pot hole.... and even more so if you are turning a corner at the same time as climbing a hill with lotsa repaired pot holes!! When this speed (& distance travelled) difference ISN'T allowed on a hi-traction surface (saaay, cos you are in 4H), firstly the driveline loads up & it gets harder to steer & drive and eventually, if you persist in driving in 4WD, something will break!! It could be a uni-joint, drive-shaft, or an axle that gives, or if the stresses are large enough, you might even bust a gear or chain in the diff or transcase, or you could (& this has happened) split your transfer case wide open & dump some of its contents onto the road!! :petrified:

So we know why you don't drive in 4WD on DRY bitumen, but did you know it can be MUCH WORSE driving in 4WD on a wet & slippery bitumen road?!? The reason here is that the surface is still a hi-traction surface, even if it's really slippery in patches. So as you drive along, if your front hubs are locked, your transcase STILL needs to allow the front & rear drivelines to run at different speeds - if it CAN'T do that, those axle breaking transcase busting driveline stresses can still happen, altho some of the stresses might be released as the wheels spin & slip on the sections of road surface with less traction or in puddles etc, but that also means you can have a suddenly spinning wheel move from a lo-traction surface onto a hi-traction surface & stop all that extra speed DEAD.... usually with a bang or a crunch as something breaks!! OR the extra traction under a spinning wheel that suddenly grabs could send the vehicle spearing off in a wildly different and unpredictable direction.... maybe into the bush or a guard rail, or equally as maybe straight into another vehicle, possibly even into that people mover full of young family or maybe even a B-Double coming the other way!!

So even tho it IS safe to drive on dry or wet hi-traction surfaces with your hubs locked (& remember, back before un-locking hubs became readily available, that's ALL that every 4WD ever did!!) it's still not safe to drive in 4WD on the bitumen even if it IS raining!! If you must do it to get moving on a very slippery patch of road, or to back a trailer up a steep driveway, keep it STRAIGHT & SHORT & keep it SLOW or risk the consequences - which can be seriously vehicle &/or life threatening!!

Hope that lot makes sense &/or maybe helped someone! ;)

Ps: there are very few if any after market auto locking hubs, and besides, auto locking hubs that don't have an over-ride manual lock feature tend to be a little 'unreliable' in staying locked; they are often (usually??) weaker than the equivalent manually activated hubs; and they can be somewhat unpredictable as to when they decide to lock & when or even IF they will unlock!! There have been a few accidents where auto locking hubs have suddenly locked while travelling at speed on the hwy, and a few more (& more often) accidents when auto hubs have suddenly & unwantedly UN-locked while the vehicle was doing something that really NEEDED them to stay locked!! So I'd suggest that you Lock your manually locking hubs at home when you leave on a trip that's gonna involve 4WDing or any driving that's off the bitumen, and unlock them when you get back, or at least wait until you've finished all the off the bitumen stuff. The extra wear, turning circle, & potential for greater fuel use etc is really minimal in the overall scheme of things, and if you do it that way, you don't hafta worry about jumping in & out to lock or unlock your hubs! It won't hurt the car or you, & it does mean that once you are on lo-traction surfaces you can grab 4H very easily just about any time you like!!
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