Front hubs question 1999 4WD Ranger

I read that some of these vehicles are not equiped with locking hubs on the front. Does this mean they are connected to the front drive shafts / diff /
prop all the time?
I jacked up a front wheel today for another reason and as I turned it round be hand was suprised to see the shaft going round with it. They are solidly connected.
I was expecting with the truck sitting in 2WD that the hubs would be disconnected and leave the shafts stationary thus saving the weight of turning the front drive train and saving wear and tear on all those components?
Am I expecting too much / wrong thing?
Or is there something wrong with the hub?
I'll be grateful to anyone who can explain how the system works. Haynes manual dosnt describe what to look for from what I can see. Just says some have locking hubs and some dont.
Thanks for you time.
Andy
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Ford has had several different "flavours" of disconnecting the front axle on 4X4s.... I rarely work on Rangers so I can't tell you which you have.....
Some are connected all the time in such a manner that the front prop shaft turns whenever the vehicle is moving.... others have a disconnect located in the long axle tube - on both of these, the front halfshafts will turn with the wheels. Still others (though I don't think the system was offered on yours) feature a disconnect inside each knuckle... these can fool you as they default to locked in the abscence of vacuum...
HTH.

the
/
round
solidly
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your ranger is equipped with halfshafts from the front diff. to the hubs thus no locking hub device needed at the wheels. if 4x4 is controlled by a switch rather than a lever through the floor then there is a vacuum motor on right side of front diff. as previously stated that engages the front drive. also electric motor on transfer case to engage it.
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