1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

True 4x4

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by weasel11, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. weasel11

    weasel11 Member
    from 5
    Messages: 59

    Not sure what forum I should ask this so I'll try here 1st. I'm at my mechanics today and he tells me that my older trucks would better to put the plows on because they are true
    4x4's. They are 95 f150's and you have to manually lock the hubs and both front wheels pull. Is it true that my push button 4x4's only 1 front wheel pulls? Set me strait.
  2. DCSpecial

    DCSpecial Senior Member
    from IL
    Messages: 408

    Depends on what differential they have.

    The fronts are all Open diffs from the factory.

    Rears have the Limited Slip option.

    Open diffs will send more power to the wheel with the least resistance. Limited Slip is designed to limit slip and transfer power to both wheels....some work better than others.

    You can install either an automatic or selectable locker in either axle. When engaged they lock both axle shafts together and transfer power equally to both wheels.

    If you want to upgrade you can install either a Limited Slip (Best aftermarket, IMO is the Eaton Trutrac) or a Locker in either axle.
    An automatic locker like the Detroit Locker can be tricky to get used to in the snow. A selectable Locker like an ARB (air locker) can be switched on and off so you only engage it when you need it.

    You can't turn all too well with the front locked (inner tire needs to spin slower than outer....not possible when locked) if you have good traction.

    An Open front makes it easier to turn and helps keep you on the road if it's snow covered, icy, etc..

    Locking hubs have nothing to do with it.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  3. artic429

    artic429 Senior Member
    Messages: 166

    Its funny you mention that because my f150 would seem like just one side was doing the work and then all of the sudden I would hear a big thunk sound and then both fronts would be grabbing together....? Then my four wheel crapped out on me so i am in the process of putting the manual hubs on the truck to get the four wheel to kick in and not have that damn problem with the front four wheel drive again. Not much help for you on your question but its kinda a coincidence that my truck did the same thing.
  4. MnDLawn

    MnDLawn Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    Your mechanic is an idiot. Like was previously said, it has nothing to do with the hubs. It's whether you differential is has an open carrier, limited slip, locker or spool. 97% of factory vehicles have open front ends. The only that have front lockers that I can think of are the Dodge Power Wagon and the Jeep Rubicon. Limited slip rears are common. I'd run from that mechanic as fast as I could, if he doesn't know that he can't know much else.
  5. Spitz

    Spitz Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    Its not the outer hubs that make the difference, its the differential that is going to determine what a "true 4x4" is. "Push button" 4 wheel drive is simply an electric alternative to the old manual lever on the floor.. That and the "hubs" are now usually replaced with auto lockign hubs or with an actuated differential that locks the front drivetrain in. Its the same thing, just more electronics. The older trucks arent better unless they have some sort of posi traction or limited slip. Usually putting sometihng like that will harm the front driveline components more than what its worth as any time you turn your straining something, the tires have to give because the driveline wont. Better left off just havign some sort of locker in the rear diff. and leavign the front alone..

    ps- They used "hubs" to unlock part of the driveline to save fuel and wear and tear on the front driveline.. On a 4x4 selectable truck your engaging the transfer case and the front axle or hubs, depending what it has. The auto hubs are junk and usually break easily, probably the large clunk you hear, if one hubs goes out, the other, even if it is ok, will help with nothing for 4wd, its the same as spinning one tire..
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  6. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,815

    i have a limted in the back i also have push button never had a problem and besides they all go into 4wd via solienoid
  7. sbt1

    sbt1 Member
    Messages: 59


    That mechanic doesn't know what he's talking about.

    The hub type (manual or automatic) has nothing to do with it. All std. differentials put power to only one wheel (the one with the least traction).

    If you need more traction look at a limited-slip diff. You can also get true lockers (both wheels locked meaning both get power all the time when locked) but you don't want that on a front axle.

    Chris, you are right for all electronic 4WDs... but there are still plenty of manual 4WDs being built that have no solenoids, only a manual transfer case shift lever (which I much prefer- much less to go wrong)
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  8. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,815

    i got a good deal on it i like the lever also
  9. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,511

    To answer your question
    Your mechanic is full of it.
    the only difference between the old trucks and the new ones is the way it goes into 4X4 mode. you still have 1 transfer case, 2 drive shafts, 2 differentials (one front one rear) 2 axles in the rear
    both have 2 axles in the front, 2 Ujoints or (in the case of independent front axle 2 CV shafts or 4 Ujoints )
    now, without a traction aiding device (locking or limited slip differentials) any 4X4 will get stuck with one front wheel on ice and one rear wheel on ice and one wheel chocked.
  10. 89smurf

    89smurf Junior Member
    from Sask.
    Messages: 13

    And 79% of statistics are made up on the spot! lol

    And yes, you're mechanic is an idiot. I would recommend never going to him again as he doesn't understand how a differential works. Pretty basic stuff if you ask me.
  11. Dustball

    Dustball Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    Ditto on the mechanic being an idiot. It's what's in the differential that determines how much each wheel sees in terms of power transfer.

    Open- both wheels see the same amount as long as both wheels have the same amount of traction. Power will be transferred to the wheel with the least amount of traction.

    Limited slip- both wheels will see the same mount of power up to a point. If one wheel has zero traction, the limited slip will pretty much behave like an open differental.

    Locker- Both wheels gets the same amount of traction at all times as long as the drivetrain is under load. Let off the gas and it will allow each wheel to spin independently. Example is coasting around a turn- you will hear a ratcheting sound when both wheels turn at different speeds. If you power through a turn, both sides lock together and it results in the inner tire scrubbing and extreme understeer.

    Spool- both sides are locked together at all times. 100% power transfer at all times, will get you going sideways if you're on the slightest incline (same goes for a locker under power).

    There are selectable devices such as the ARB- either have it as an open diff or fully locked with the flip of a switch.

    I prefer having a locker in the rear and leaving the front open based on my experiences.
  12. weasel11

    weasel11 Member
    from 5
    Messages: 59

    very clear info...Thanks
    What are most F150(1995) and Full Size Bronco's(1992)
  13. Dustball

    Dustball Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    Most are open front and rear. Look at the door sticker and look at the axle code- if it starts with an H, it has a rear limited slip.

    19= 3.55
    H9= 3.55 limited slip
    25= 4.10
    H5= 4.10 limited slip

    In all the 80's and 90's Fords, I haven't personally seen a front factory limited slip so I wouldn't know what the door sticker would say if the owner did order a front limited slip option.

    My current '97 F-250 has a rear limited slip but it's so worn out that it's basically an open diff.

    My '88 F-250 I use for four wheeling has a locker in the front and a spool in the rear.

    The '88 Bronco I had for four wheeling and daily driver use was open in the front and locked in the rear.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  14. weasel11

    weasel11 Member
    from 5
    Messages: 59

    Dang you know a lot about this. Thanks for the info. What's the best way to set up the
    F150-short bed, 302,manual 4sp, manual lock hubs, manual 4x4 shifter, BFG A/T 31/10.50/15, and Bronco Full Size,351cleveland, Auto locking hubs,Michelin A/T 31/10.50/15 to make sure that I get the most out the 4x4 in snow/ice.
  15. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,815

    i have a 4.10 locking rear end
  16. Dustball

    Dustball Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    DCSpecial in post #2 covered it pretty well.

    It depends on your budget and mechanical knowledge also. Easiest would be putting in a "lunchbox" locker in the rear such as a Lockright which does not require any work on your ring and pinion.

    I recommend going over to fullsizebronco.com and reading the forum there- tons of information on axle options.