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  1. #1
    Elite Member AlanB's Avatar
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    Default 99 F350 4X4 engagement

    Hi, just bought a 99 F350 4x4 Lariat. Not sure what other specs are relevant.

    I have not bought the owners manual yet (Looks like they are going about $50 on e-bay, ouch)

    On the front hubs, (or in maybe more accurately) there are the lock in switches. They say "auto" to the left, and "lock" to the right.

    Do I have to manually engage the hubs each time I want 4wd?

    My dash has a switch 2h, 4l, 4h and the 4x4 light comes on, but the front's did not start pulling till I got out and manually engaged the hubs.

    Is there a "trick" or a number of revolutions or a speed or etc. etc. to get the front hubs to auto engage?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Runner's Avatar
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    John Deere 2520, 1989 John Deere 185, 1960 Panzer T70B

    Default Re: 99 F350 4X4 engagement

    You have the ESOF (Electronic Shift On the Fly) transfer case and 4WD should be engaged when you have the hubs set to "Auto" and the switch on the dash to 4 Hi or 4Lo. However, the auto locking hubs are vacuum operated and have been known to be problematic, which is one reason Ford still put the "Lock" setting on the hubs.

    I don't have them on mine, so don't know much about fixing the problem, but if you go to Ford Truck Enthusiasts, 1948-2009 Ford F150, Super Duty & SUV owners community and information source. Covers F100, F-150, F250, Bronco, Ranger, Explorer, Expedition, Lighting, Escape and More and search, you'll find TONS of posts on the subject and potential fixes. Usually involves taking the hubs apart and cleaning/regreasing and putting in new seals to get a vacuum-tight hub.

    I should add, I have read that some people get them to work, like to disengage, by stopping and backing up a little, or just letting the vehicle roll forward a little to engage. Also, sometimes, they seem to just take awhile, but do engage eventually, if they aren't in too bad of shape.

    Best of luck.

    Runner

  3. #3
    Super Star Member Diamondpilot's Avatar
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    Jinma 254/284 Ford 861 Powermaster at work

    Default Re: 99 F350 4X4 engagement

    The previous post is entirely right. Like he said in "auto" they should engage. They are vacuum so check the front hub area for broken vacuum hoses going to each front wheel. This is a common problem although I have had 11 Ford 4x4's with this system and have never had a single problem. The "lock" selection is a backup, just as in your case to get you out of trouble if stuck. It should be a simple fix.

    As a side not to get into 4L, you need to first be in 4H, stop the truck, shift to neutral, place your foot on the brake pedal, then select 4L. This is a safety to keep you from putting it in going down the road at high speeds. To get out of 4L just reverse the process.

    Chris

  4. #4
    Elite Member AlanB's Avatar
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    Default Re: 99 F350 4X4 engagement

    Thanks guys, it is amazing to me the help I get off these pages.

    Will go look for the vacuum lines, and read that other forum.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 99 F350 4X4 engagement

    My Ford hubs never seemed to engage the front axle when in the auto position unless the wheels were slipping. Whenever I was stuck without being able to move the truck (parked & stuck) I had to manually engage the hubs.

    I replaced 2 sets of stock hubs from premature failure. Both times they became difficult to disengage. I was surprised that they were all plastic inside!

  6. #6
    Elite Member AlanB's Avatar
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    Default Re: 99 F350 4X4 engagement

    Oh, and as a follow on, at some point I am very glad we spent the extra and went with the 4X4 truck.

    We have owned it less then a month, and twice, we have had to lock in the hubs and to pull ourselves out. Yep, probably money well spent.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member crashz's Avatar
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    Default Re: 99 F350 4X4 engagement

    If you do have trouble with the lockout hubs, do yourself a favor and buy some Warn Premium hubs and replace them. The Warns are built very well and are very reliable. The only stipulation is that you'll have to get out and manully lock the hubs in when 4x4 is needed and manually disengage them after.
    I've had a wonderful evening, but this wasn't it. ~ Groucho Marx

  8. #8
    Bronze Member richtidebruin's Avatar
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    Default Re: 99 F350 4X4 engagement

    AlanB,

    Have you had any luck solving your issue? I had the opposite problem on my 2000 F350...

    After being in 4WD, the 4WD would not fully disengage from the front -- even though the hubs were in the AUTO position. A local dealer (Madison) identified a bad solenoid that was part of the vaccum system previously mentioned. It was about a $250 fix, but I have not had any problems since.

    I have questioned several Ford mechanics regarding the 4WD system on the F350s and have consistently been told that hub replacement is rare because they are sealed system that doesn't require regular repacking.


    Rich
    TC34DA, 14LA, Markham toothbar, BH RDTH 72, BH SBX 650, 20' H&H tilt trailer

  9. #9
    Elite Member AlanB's Avatar
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    Default Re: 99 F350 4X4 engagement

    I have not messed with it much yet. I have been trying to get the mulch bins done before Hanna drops mulch on the ground.

    As long as I can manually lock them in, it is fine with me for the moment, I hope to not need it too much, but with the loaded dump trailer on the back, and all the recent rain, it has happened twice so far.

    I made a wrench from a PVC pipe to reach in and lock them in and stuck it in the door so it is handy. I hate to say it, but half the battle for me is just "knowing" what is wrong more then needing it fixed.

  10. #10
    Silver Member
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    Default Re: 99 F350 4X4 engagement

    Hi,

    I have an 02 f 350 with only the manual hubs, but I keep them engaged most of the time.

    I do disengage them before getting on the highway for a long trip, but My dually seems to spin if the only the humidiy rises, so I am always pulling the joystick. BUt I also was under the impression that keeping them locked keeps the front hubs and driveshaft lubricated.

    Am I an idiot? I have done this for 4 years.
    Shinnlinger

    34 horse Kubota L2850, JD 690B excavator,
    52 GMC Dump Truck, Turner Bandmill

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