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1997 4 Runner front hubs

Has anyone ever replaced the[ 4x4 ]front hubs??

I’m sure someone at some point has. Why do you ask?


I wondered what theirs was doing when they decided the hubs needed replaced…

Ah ha. Well, firstly, one reason why people take the hubs off is to replace the automatic locking hubs with manual ones.

So, just so you’re clear, the purpose of what most people call “hubs” on a 4x4 is the hub locking/unlocking assembly. They allow the front wheels to disengage from the drivetrain when the 4wd is not in use, which has the advantage of reducing rolling resistance and front axle component wear. The older ones you had to actually get out and flip a little toggle before you used the 4wd, but newer vehicles use various different methods to get them to lock up automatically.

When these have problems, you can get problems with the truck pulling to one side and/or ticking or other strange noises coming from one of the wheels. If the noise happens only when in 4wd, the problem is that they’re not fully engaging but if the noise happens all the time they could be stuck on a little. To test them is pretty easy, just crawl under the truck with the transfer case in 2H and the transmission in park or reverse if a manual. You should be able to grab the front drive shaft (which is the part that runs from the transfer case to the front differential) and you should be able to turn it by hand and the two CV halfshafts (the parts that go from the front diff to the wheels) should turn when you turn the driveshaft. If one of these doesn’t turn, that hub is probably stuck.