Choosing the Right Locking Hub Conversion Kit
Most 4x4 trucks have systems that allow for an automatic switch between two- and four-wheel drive depending on what the needs of the driver are. It's intuitive and takes the guesswork out of the equation. If you're the type of off-roader that prefers to be in control, automatic systems can't be right all the time. You have to get yourself a locking hub conversion kit. Here are the things that you need to know.
Know Your Truck's Type
When it comes to shopping for a locking hub conversion kit, the most important factor is the type of the truck you're driving. All trucks might fit the bill for the category of "truck" but they're really very different from one another, especially internally. Luckily, for many of these trucks, shopping for a kit is made easier by brands that specify exactly what particular make that the kit is applicable for.
These kits are not at all interchangeable and if you make the wrong choice, the parts won't be compatible. You might cause more harm than good to the mechanism that controls the locking of the wheels.
Go for Standard or Premium
A lot of brands offer a choice of a regular kit and a premium kit. Most people will for the premium immediately because the name connotes a certain level of quality. The truth is, however, the choice depends entirely on the need and budget of the truck owner.
Premium kits are better and capable of handling nearly every driving condition. They are much more rugged too. If you're the type of off-roader likely to go where others wouldn't dare to go, then this is the one to get. Be prepared to spend a more money if you want a premium kit.
Standard kits are much cheaper, but don't let that fool you. They are perfect if you're idea of rough roads are bumpy byways and a rolling desert drive. They're not as rugged as the premium versions but they will still last a long time.
So the key really is knowing what you want for your truck. Whatever choice you make, we know it's for the best interest of your truck. Have fun!
4-Wheel-Drive Basics: Installing a Locking Hub Conversion Kit
Your off-road vehicle needs its hub to engage its four-wheel-drive and plow through difficult terrain. But what if you're driving in the city? Do you need to engage the 4wd? Well, if you install a locking hub conversion kit, you can now transform your 4WD into a 2WD vehicle. You will save a lot of gas when you can switch from a 4WD to a 2WD.
Here is a list of tools, steps and tips to help you install a locking hub conversion kit on your truck.
Tools that You'll Need:
- Blade screwdriver
- Lug Wrench
- Car jack
- Car jack stands
- A small pick
- 50-250 ft-lbs torque wrench
- Locking hub conversion kit
- Make sure that your vehicle's emergency brake is engaged before working on this project.
- When working with tools and chemicals, always wear the required safety equipment.
- Always check the parts list of your kit before proceeding with the installation process.
- For automatic locking hub replacements, you need to replace the wheel bearing adjusting nuts. Please refer to your vehicle's service manual for more information.
Step 1: Turn the vehicle's engine off and put the transmission in Reverse (for manual) or Park (for automatic).Place wheel chocks at the rear wheels.
Step 2: Use a lug wrench to loosen the front wheel's lug nuts. Position the car jack underneath the vehicle and lift the front off the ground. Place the jack stands at the vehicle's jacking points. Remove the wheels and set them aside.
A. Removing Manual Hubs
If your truck has manual hubs, please follow these steps:
Step 1-A: Remove the Tinnerman clips securing the hublock assembly to the vehicle's wheel studs.
Step 2-A: Then, remove the hublock assembly from the rotor and hub assembly.
B. Removing Automatic Hubs
If your vehicle has automatic hubs, please follow the following steps:
Step 1-B: Uninstall the Tinnerman clips securing the hublock assembly to the vehicle's wheel studs.
Step 2-B: Detach the hublock assembly from the rotor and hub assembly.
Step 3-B: Remove the steel and splined steel thrustwasher, axle shaft retaining ring, and needle thrust bearing (earlier pickup trucks have them installed).
Step 4-B: Remove the thrust bearing, thrust spacer, cam assembly, and thrust washers from the wheel bearing adjusting nut.
Step 5-B: Make sure to check if the locking key is binding to the wheel bearing adjusting nut. Locate the locking key and use a small pick to extract it. Once the key has been extracted, you can now remove the wheel bearing adjusting nut. Use a bit of penetrating lubricant if you're having trouble removing the locking key.
Step 3: Install the new locking hub kit. Then, attach the needle thrust bearing or axle shaft splined steel washer, and the axle retaining ring.
Step 4: Attach the hublock assembly to the rotor and wheel hub.
Step 5:Mount the vehicle's wheels and secure the lug nuts with a lug wrench. Place the car jack underneath the vehicle and remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle to the ground and check if the wheels are secure.
Installing a locking hub conversion kit will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes for an expert DIYer and around 2 hours for a beginner. Stay safe and enjoy doing this project!