I had quite an experience coming home from vacation this year, and I'd like as
many people as possible to be aware of the problem, and how to avoid it.
Briefly, the automatic front hubs on my 2000 F-250 failed, and were stuck in
locked position. This happened once before, and the hubs were replaced (10k
miles and well over the 12-month warranty period). This places a lot of stress
on the drive train, and in my case the CV joint (on the front axle) failed.
This caused the crank-case and transmission to literally explode, sending chunks
of metal flying all over I-80 in Wyoming. One chunk, in fact, struck the
under-side of the pontoon boat I was towing; had the boat not been there, it
might have been somebody's windshield.
This pickup has almost always seemed to bind in turns. I was aware that this
happens in 4wd (no positraction up front, which is normal). I was not aware
that the hubs might be stuck, nor was I aware of the potential consequences.
Since the dealer had told me everything was OK a couple of times I complained, I
just assumed that was the way the pickup drove. Wrong!
From the Internet searches I have done, as well as talking to some repair shops,
it appears to me that Ford's are especially bad for this. Apparently the hubs
use some type of vacuum to disengage, and that's what people seems to fail.
What I would REALLY like to have happen is everyone with a 4wd pickup, with auto
hubs, go out and make a couple of hard turns (cranked all the way). If there's
any binding, and it kind of jumps through the turn, you should have the hubs
checked immediately. If you want to know what the "feel" is I'm trying to
describe, just put it in 4wd and try a hard turn or two.
Note that if your hubs ARE defective, a REALLY good thing to do would be to log
it on the NHTSA's web site. You can file a complaint here:
If enough people do that they will investigate, and potentially issue a recall.
What I did (besides "invest" $5,500 in a new crank-case an tranny) was to
replace the Ford hubs with Warn manual hubs. I will never have the same issue
again -- besides, the Warn hubs are a lot cheaper.
For Ford's part, they have taken the stance that all parts are out of warranty
(which is true), so they have no financial responsibility. I feel that NO
vehicle should EVER scatter metal on a highway (an opinion also expressed by the
NHTSA investigator I talked to), and that Ford should acknowledge that and at
least help me out. I'm probably going to see how hard they decide to fight me
I would be VERY interested in hearing from anyone else that's had their hubs
fail to unlock (or lock, for that matter), especially if it caused additional
problems. I created a yahoo account just to keep replies separate, and would
greatly appreciate any feedback or ideas.
Rob ( firstname.lastname@example.org)