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i have a 1987 ford ranger STX with 74k original miles (2.9L FI 4 spd manual) with dana 28 TTB front axle and yes, i have automatic hubs.

when i am in 4 wheel drive and the front spins, it makes a ratcheting and clicking sound then disengages throw it in reverse and then back into 1st it will engage then make the noise again, and this is in mud, not on pavement.

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Those auto-locking hubs have a very weak plastic "cam" inside them, and when that wears or breaks, the clicking and ratcheting sound you describe is one of the common symptoms of the slipping hub. For further diagnostic info, a little about how they work, and also recommendations for upgrading these to a manual locking hub, try:

http://therangerstation.com/tech_library/HubDiagnosis.html

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Tom Dayton
JS Auto Supply

 
 

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