Locking Hubs

Warn - new hubs.jpg (33346 bytes)

Need New Hubs?

Warn - old brkn dust cap.jpg (55346 bytes) If you're out in four-low and you hear an odd sound coming from your front wheel, you may want to read on!  The stock locking hubs on my Jeep had this tendency to have the bolts come loose.  Until one of the bolts eventually broke off leaving only four to hold the stock hub on the axle, the torque of the locker overwhelmed the ability of the locking hub to contain the stress.  The sight wasn't too pretty six miles off the pavement!

So, with one remaining front locking hub and an air locker to drive that wheel, my day of Jeeping wasn't totally shot.  After returning home, I ordered a new set of Warn "standard" locking hubs with the plan to toss the remaining good stock locking hub assembly into the box in the back of the Jeep so I could have a spare if ever needed.  Warn does not make a direct "Premium" locking hub for those CJs built after 1981 (5-bolt).  Instead, you would need to convert the CJ's hubs over to the a matching 6-bolt format that will add considerably to the cost (about two and a half times the cost).  After which, you could not use your old hub(s) as a spare.  Since Warn has a great warranty, I felt comfortable sticking with the "standard" unit.  And for what it's worth, unlike the stock locking hubs, the new Warn hubs only require a quarter turn to spin from Free to Lock!


Upgrade projects don't come any easier than this!  Follow along and see for yourself...

Warn - old brkn drive flange.jpg (71811 bytes) This was all that was left after the old dust cap "grenaded" into multiple pieces along the trail and leaving only two twisted bolts (which were removed before this photo was taken).
Warn - snap ring removal.jpg (69084 bytes) The old retaining ring is removed and the remaining clutch and bearing assembly and drive flange can be pulled off the axle.
Warn - bare hub.jpg (74589 bytes) Removing the drive flange will leave the center of the hub exposed.   Note the large locking nut used to hold the wheel hub onto the axle.  Don't worry, you won't need to remove this, but it would be a good time to check that it's tight!
Warn - drilling bolts.jpg (64667 bytes) If you're just replacing your stock units, or if you can access all five bolts, you won't need to do either of these next two steps.  If you sheered-off your locking hub (like me), chances are good there are a few broken bolts left in the hub!   If so, drill a small hole in the center of each remaining bolt (approximately 3/16ths of an inch).
Warn - extracting bolts.jpg (64650 bytes) Using an E-Z Out tool, extract the remaining threaded part of the bolt(s) from the hub.
Warn - blow-clean.jpg (79247 bytes) Once everything is removed, clean off all the exposed parts.  With a rag and compressed air, remove any dirt, metal shavings, and grime from the axle shaft and inner hub assembly.  Then lightly grease the parts as needed.
Warn - new drive flange.jpg (54063 bytes) Take the new locking hub and separate the Clutch and Bearing Assembly (shown) from the locking Cap Assembly.  Slide the new clutch and bearing assembly onto the axle shaft.  Using the new retaining ring (provided with the kit) lock the assembly to the axle shaft by making sure the retaining ring has snapped into the groove on the axle shaft.
Warn - lock tight.jpg (61437 bytes) Now the Cap Assembly can be inserted on the axle shaft over the Clutch and Bearing Assembly.  Apply the provided locking washers to the bolts (I recommend using new bolts) and apply a thread locking compound (LocTite) to the threads.  This will help insure they won't come loose!  Insert the bolts with your fingers to make sure they thread properly.  (You should never use a wrench to start the bolts or you'll stand a greater risk of cross-threading them.)
Warn - torque.jpg (69924 bytes) Once all the bolts are in place, tighten them down in a cross pattern to evenly set the locking hub.  Then torque the five bolts to 27-31 pounds. (3.7-4.3 Kg.m.)

Then move to the other side and start over!

The whole job can be done in about a half-hour!

IMPORTANT TIP:  After driving the Jeep for a day or two, check the five bolts on the locking hubs!  After less than one week (but after one four-wheel trip) every one of the bolts on each hub was loose.  By not running a center cap on the wheels, it is easier to check the bolts without having to touch the wheel.  Eventually, a better way to secure the hub will be necessary.  Check this sub-link to see the solution!