FOUR WHEEL DRIVE DOESN'T WORK

1999 Ford Ranger

Tiny

thayersteraker

January, 2, 2009 AT 4:00 PM

Drive Train Axles Bearings problem
1999 Ford Ranger 6 cyl Four Wheel Drive Manual 120000 miles

I had to replace the wheel bearings this summer (came with the whole hub assembly). Before I did that, my four wheel drive worked fine. I bought my wheel bearings from Ford, so they should be a perfect fit. Now, with winter snow, I turn the 4x4 on and my front wheels don't move. I've lifted the truck up and engaged four wheel, the front drive shaft and axles spin, but not the wheels. So, I took the wheels off to see what was up. The inner gear/cog of the bearing was spinning.
Now, I am not positive on how the hubs work, but from looking at it (maybe I'm wrong and someone can correct me), but their are two gears in the wheel bearing. The outer one spins with the wheel itself. The inner one is controlled by the axles, driveshaft, and transfer case. The purpose of the hub, is to relay the motion of the inner gear/cog and axle to the outer gear, and turn the wheel.

Now based on my observations, I'm assuming there must be something wrong with my automatic hubs, but they seem fine and my 4x4 worked fine before the new hub assembly was installed. I really don't want to go buy two hubs at $160 a piece or try to find one in a junkyard.

I've read from other sources about o-rings that keep contamination out. If contamination occurs, 4x4 could be lost. But I've also read that the hub Ford used starting 1994 doesn't have this o-ring. I don't know the validity of these sources and I haven't gotten to check the hub for an o-ring either, but it's a thought.

Any suggestions?

FOUND 1910 RELATED QUESTIONS

9 Answers

Tiny

Jack42

January, 3, 2009 AT 8:45 AM

Not sure of the exact production date of your Ranger, but my software says it has vacuum operated auto locking hubs. If that is the case, be sure the vacuum lines are good to the actuator and that they are getting vacuum signal when you shift to 4wd.

Tiny

thayersteraker

January, 7, 2009 AT 12:53 PM

The door jam sticker says the truck was build in February 1999. Does that help?

Also, what other types of four wheel drive actuators. Are there? I'm not sure, but I don't think mine has vacuum lines (haven't gotten to look yet because of the crappy weather). And if it isn't vacuum actuated, what do you think the problem could be (besides the hubs because I am pretty sure they are fine)?

Tiny

Jack42

January, 7, 2009 AT 1:21 PM

Im pretty sure it is the hubs, since the front driveshaft is turning, and it worked before they were replaced

Tiny

thayersteraker

January, 9, 2009 AT 5:42 PM

My terminology may be off. But isn't the hub the outer piece (which on non-auto locking ones is the piece that has knob that needs to be twisted)? (Noted '2' in picture)If so, it wasn't the hubs that were replaced. I replaced the hub assembly (noted as '1' in the picture).

So considering that the 4x4 worked before the hub assemblies were installed - it makes sense that they would be the problem and maybe they are. But, with the truck in the air and the wheel off, spinning the drive shaft spins the inner gear on the hub assembly. Should it? Should is spin the outer gear as well?


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/295552_Front_Axle_1.jpg

Tiny

Jack42

January, 9, 2009 AT 7:24 PM

So the front inner spline is spinning, but the hub assembly wont lock the wheel in?I just want to be sure that the front diff is working and this is a hub problem. Have you looked to see about the vacuum lines? Im pretty sure the wheel has to able to roll to make the outer gear engage

Tiny

PACGDC

January, 11, 2009 AT 10:56 AM

I had the exact same problem with my 1999 ranger there two o rings that you need one go just behind the lock out the other seals on the in side of the hub this is what makes your vacum work call ford and tell them you need the o rings for your front hubs if they give you any trouble contact me and I will see if I can find the part number for those orings

Tiny

thayersteraker

February, 26, 2009 AT 8:31 PM

Sorry I've been incognito. I've been super busy and haven't even really gotten to look at the truck. Until this week.

So. There is line going into the axle that I assume is a vacuum line. Assuming it worked fine before, there is a problem in the hub - whether mechanical or pressure, I don't know.

PACGDC - you say there are TWO o-rings. I could only locate 1 (before I read your message). Since I didn't know about a second set when I bought the first set, I didn't ask about it. But the Ford Parts person had trouble locating the first - so I am unsure about the second. I am going to drive down there tomorrow and check.
This site directfordparts. Com/ has the Ford parts listed. Maybe you can find the part number there before I go and buy new hubs. The picture I posted above is the best I can do from that website.

Also, in taking the hubs off w/o the special Ford tool, a couple of the little tabs broke off (the hub is held on only by the tabs and then the wheel covers the hub). I know the repair manual and ALLDATA suggest that that could cause the air leak. But it seems improbable to me. Any thoughts?

Tiny

thayersteraker

March, 10, 2009 AT 11:19 PM

Just like PACGDC said, there are TWO o-rings. Lovely for Ford to help me out with that. I went in there specifically asking for the o-rings - it took them like 25 minutes to find it.

And it only took about 4 hours to jack one wheel up at a time and replace them - I hate those snap rings they have on there. Those are a pain to get off!

Thanks all! (I love 4x4 in New England)

Tiny

chrisleebotten

March, 29, 2010 AT 6:10 PM

It sounds like a pain but I had the same problem and instead of buying the expensive hubs I bought the rough ridge manual locking hubs they are only like $150 for the set of two, you can find them by searching them on google, good luck

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