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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased a '17 Rubicon and thought about equipping it with Manual Lockout Hubs to improve fuel mileage on the highway. Back in my younger days in the 1960's to 1990's almost all 4x4's had lockout hubs. I have never seen any modern day 4x4's equipped with them. I am curious why this is and what the pros & cons are to adding aftermarket locking hubs are?

I have found some websites that have hubs available for '17 Wranglers/Rubicons.

https://www.4wd.com/v/jeep-wrangler-jk/locking-hub-kit/_/N-1syotZcm0pz

I see references to 19, 30 & 35 spline axles. Can someone tell me what the standard # of splines the '17 Rubicon has?

Has anyone done this modification and if so have they realized any significant improvement in fuel economy?
 

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The real advantage of the locking hub design (for example look at an F350 D60 front axle design) is that the bearings are spaced further apart and on the spindle compared to the unit bearing design. This is a stronger arrangement. A conversion kit that retains the unit bearing design doesn’t offer this advantage. The other thing is not turning the front driveshaft on the highway which sometimes is prone to vibration on lifted vehicles. But, I’m of the opinion that this type of mod is expensive for what you get and does nothing to increase the resale value if that is a concern. Save your money for D60s.
 

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Here is a set from The Ran Man. Ram Man Locking Hubs
I did think about there for my Cummins Ram, but I do agree, not enough bang for the buck. The Cummins is getting 18-20 mpg, don't believe. there's enough gain with the power of this engine.
You might gain a little on the anemic 3.6, but imo, not enough to spend 2 grand.

 

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As odd as this will sound the one thing I hated about my ProRock 60's was the locking hubs. The thought of having to change a u-joint or a axle shaft on the trail.. was a time sink of doom. But with the unit hub, it was so much easier. Less stuff to keep track of, and the biggest joy, no grease. Thus to me I am willing to give up some strength and other features of the locking hubs for easy of use.
 

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While I like the idea of manual locking hubs, it is expensive. Not just for the parts to convert the hubs but for the new wheels that will mount to the new locking hubs. Even if the bolt pattern is the same you probably need a wheel with a larger diameter hole in the center for the new larger locking hub to go through.
The main reason it interests me is for driveline vibration. Being able to stop the front drive shaft from spinning whenever you are driving would allow less optimum drive line angles which could also mean more optimum caster angles when lifted. Or I could buy a stronger housing with more caster in it.
 

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As odd as this will sound the one thing I hated about my ProRock 60's was the locking hubs. The thought of having to change a u-joint or a axle shaft on the trail.. was a time sink of doom. But with the unit hub, it was so much easier. Less stuff to keep track of, and the biggest joy, no grease. Thus to me I am willing to give up some strength and other features of the locking hubs for easy of use.
I most likely don’t have as much experience as you do, but isn’t the point of locking hubs so you can still drive with a broken axle shaft? The rear axle shaft is certainly easier to remove.

If you’re breaking that many D60s on the trail maybe it’s time to get a Unimog.
 

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I have a F250 with manual locking hubs and T-case. One think I love about this set up is wear of the front end U-joints. In the summer, there is no mileage put on them. Also, late one winter I knew I had a u-joint going bad on my front drive shaft. With the hubs unlocked and T-case in 2WD, no worries. I could wait until fall time to fix it. Where with our jeeps you best hope you can make it home before it really goes south. I would LOVE manual lock hubs on my jeep!!
 

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I most likely don’t have as much experience as you do, but isn’t the point of locking hubs so you can still drive with a broken axle shaft? The rear axle shaft is certainly easier to remove.

If you’re breaking that many D60s on the trail maybe it’s time to get a Unimog.
Doh hit the edit vs reply..

correct you can unlock the front side that is broken.. and drive out. However all the things needed to then be removed and put back in the proper order is not there for a super fast trail repair like you can do with the unit version.. so for me sure the lockout hubs have some very strong pluses for sure, but at the same time I like how simple and easy of use the unit hubs are.
 

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Seems like a solution in search of a problem to me, at least for modifying a stock 30 or 44, which is what the Ram Man product apparently does. They neck down the outer stub shafts so much that I have to believe shaft strength is materially compromised. And you have that tiny needle bearing ... no thanks. And all for what, an extra mile per gallon? Maybe? I just don’t see the point.
 

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I would love them for the simple fact stated in post #7. most places you can get out of in 2wd if you have to and trying to remove a broken axle shaft stub on the trail is beyond most peoples capabilities.
 

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Doh hit the edit vs reply..

correct you can unlock the front side that is broken.. and drive out. However all the things needed to then be removed and put back in the proper order is not there for a super fast trail repair like you can do with the unit version.. so for me sure the lockout hubs have some very strong pluses for sure, but at the same time I like how simple and easy of use the unit hubs are.
The set I linked to in post #4 uses factory style, greasable Timken unit bearings.
 

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The set I linked to in post #4 uses factory style, greasable Timken unit bearings.
Well that does make it a bit less to take apart. Only issue I see there is stand alone parts right? Special stub shaft for example, but over all well done by them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
More Involved and $$$ Than I Realized

So from what I have discerned to add Lockout Hubs is far more involved that it apparently was back in the 1960's. I remember helping my Dad install Lockout Hubs on a '64 Chevy Surburban that came new with no lockout hubs. It was a simple matter of unbolting the end cap, removing a gear like piece that fit between the axle spline and the outside housing and installing the lockout hub in it's place. Now it appears you have to replace the entire axle, carrier and much, much more. Way more involved and costly than I had realized for limited returns.

Thanks for you all's comments.
 

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They put the CAD on the JL's and the front DS does not move and the drag from the front end is eliminated. I would do the TF hub kit but completed , doing it myself would be about $4K. It's worth it under certain conditions..
You Flat tow,,,, want to run 37's without going to a D60,,, You are lifted and can't get the castor needed to stop front DS vibes,,,,you want 8 lug rims so you have more nuts,,,BTW you will not get anything for this on resale.
 
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I’ve run Spyntec manual hubs on my 09 JKUR since 2009, about 80,000 miles. I added them because we simply could not get the front driveline vibrations out of the JK and angle corrected front housings were not yet available from Dynatrac, etc. Manual hubs were a 100% fix for the issue at hand, but were an expensive, complex workaround. The Spyntecs are essentially 1/2 ton size. Very high quality, but they require a change to 5x5.5” wheels, new axle shafts front & rear. In that regard economically they only make sense when you are doing your initial build.

Teraflex now makes a D60 size conversion matches to a rear full floater kit very expensive, also requires a switch to 8 lug wheels.
 

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Locking hubs

Traditionally I always used locking hubs to get the benefit of a full floating axle, I have not seen a full floater kit for anything under a Dana 60 usually with an 8 lug hub. With a full floating axle due to the extra bearings at the hub it releases the pressure /weight on the actual axles by distributing the weight to the housings. The other benefit is you can easily slide a broken/damaged axle out without having to remove the tire/hub/brakes etc. essential Full Floating! Without this benefit I could not justify the cost...
 

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All 4 wd solid/straight axle front differentials are technically full float.
 

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Response to JDINNY all 4WD NOT Full Floaters

Sorry JDINNY, that is common chatter but it is not even close to true. It is 2 different designs entirely with the exception of the center section of the axle housing. The c-clips on the carrier/axles are eliminated as a weak/ failure point and the entire outboard end of the housing is designed entirely different to support additional bearings. This design frees the axle itself from supporting the weight of the vehicle so you no longer have the axle under stress in multiple directions at the same time. The engineers can then focus on insuring the axle can survive much higher rotational forces without having to also insure the axle shaft has the ability to flex up and down. This is why you could technically put a non floating axle shaft in a full floater housing in a pinch if it will fit and it will get you home if you’re easy on the right pedal. If you were to put a full floater designed axle in a non-floater housing you run a high risk of shattering it as it is very rigid not designed to flex up and down. The full floaters are used in all kinds of HD pickups etc. and usually easily identified with a large hub extending out and an 8 lug bolt pattern. Hope this helps clarify why they can be much more expensive and considered “almost” bulletproof in a lightweight Jeep.
 

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It does not clarify anything, but I do hope this helps to clarify it for you my friend.
All 4 wd solid/straight axle front differentials(ie:steering axles) are technically full float.
There are no c-clips on front steering axle differentials.
Any drive axle must be capable of performing two functions: Support the weight of the vehicle safely and transmit power to the wheels for propulsion. By design, all solid steering (front) drive axles are full-floating, but rear drive axles may be semi-floating or full-floating.
A full-floating axle shaft does not carry the vehicle's weight; it serves only to transmit torque from the differential to the wheels. It "floats" inside an assembly that carries the vehicle's weight.

have a nice day
 
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