Locking hubs allow you to easily change your vehicle between a two-wheel drive and a four-wheel drive. After a few years of service, there may be a build-up of grease, rust, along with regular wear and tear that may require you to replace this part. Installation and removal of the new hubs is not as difficult as you think. Though these are a vital part in a car's drivetrain, it is a very feasible project that requires only a basic grasp of mechanical knowledge.
Required skill level: Novice
Needed tools and materials
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Wrench set (Allen, lug, ratchet, torque)
- New locking hubs
Preparing the car and materials
Gather the tools and materials needed for the repair. Inspect the kit of your new locking hubs to make sure it's complete and compatible for your car. A comprehensive kit should include all the necessary hardware for easy installation. Park your car on a level surface. Raise it with a floor jack and safely secure with jack stands. Use a lug wrench to remove the front wheels.
Removing the old locking hubs
It's advisable to work on one wheel at a time. Leave the other side to serve as a guide for proper installation. Use an Allen wrench to remove the six, small bolts securing the old hubs in place. This exposes the other internal parts that have to go as well. The exact parts to be removed depend on your car and the type of hub you will install (manual/automatic/flange). Refer to the locking hub's manual for specific instructions.
Installing the new hubs
Most replacement locking hubs are made of a cap and the main assembly. For the main assembly, install the o-rings, washers, bolts, and studs on the wheel according to the supplied instructions. There is an exact torque setting on the bolts that depend on your car's model. Cover with the cap and return the Allen bolts. Switch between free and locked position to try and mesh the hub properly. Return the wheel. Do the same removal and installation process for the other side.
Testing the engagement and disengagement
Put the hubs in the lock position and spin the wheels. You'll know it's properly on when the drive line turns as well. For disengagement, put the hubs in the free position. If the wheels are spun, the drive line shouldn't spin with it, and there shouldn't be any odd sounds.