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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
All stock 4x4 models of 1st gen frontiers come with Automatic hubs. There is a shift lever inside the truck to shift from 2 HI, 4 HI, 4 LO.

What are Automatic hubs?
Auto hubs allow you to engage and disengage the 4x4 without getting out of the truck and manual engaging the hubs.

How do I engage them?
At a stop use the 4x4 shifter to put the truck into 4x4 HI mode.

How do I disengage them?
The automatic hubs will stay engage until you backup 10 - 15 ft straight backup.

How do I know Auto hubs are on?
There is no indicator so there is no way of knowing if they are on or off.

Is it ok to drive with the auto hubs on and in 2HI?
Yes, however, you should expect lower gas mileage and it will wear out the auto hubs sooner.

With Auto Hubs engaged can I shift into 4 HI at any speed?
Yes, and no. Yes at speeds lower than 45 mph. With that said it is always better to engage a 4x4 unit at the lowest safest speed possible. It is not recommended to engage 4x4 at higher speeds.

Your automatic hubs are engaged once you put it into 4WD once. A light will come on, on the, dash if the system checks out. Do the first engagement while stopped. If you try the first engagement while moving you will hear a clicking sound form the automatic hubs trying to engage. This clicking sound is not good and you should stop and try to engage the 4x4 again.

To easy your mind. Your first gen is tried and true method (except auto hubs). You pull the stick you get 4wd. If something is wrong diagnosis is pretty straight forward unlike push button 4x4.



FROM A 2003 OWNERS MANUAL

1. Move the transfer case shift lever to 2H. This can be done at any speed, and it is not necessary to depress the clutch pedal. Perform this operation when
driving straight, not while cornering.
2. Disengage the AUTO-LOCK hubs following the procedure outlined below.
NOTE: The 4WD indicator light may not turn off immediately under certain driving conditions, such as when the vehicle is driven uphill.
This is normal and it will shut off as the vehicle is driven further.
AUTO-LOCK HUB DISENGAGEMENT (FREE MODE)
The AUTO-LOCK hubs will not disengage until the vehicle is completely stopped and is then moved in a straight line, approxi-
mately 7-10 ft (2-3 m), in the opposite direction of travel. For example:
If you were driving the vehicle forward, stop and move the vehicle 7-10 ft (2-3 m) backward.
If you were driving the vehicle in reverse, stop and move the vehicle 7-10 ft (2-3 m) forward.
It is not necessary to immediately return the AUTO-LOCK hubs to FREE MODE when shifting from 4H to 2H. The vehicle may
be operated under normal 2H conditions with the AUTO-LOCK hubs engaged. However, disengaging the AUTO-LOCK hubs
will allow for better fuel economy, quieter ride and less component wear. Leaving the hubs locked while driving in 2H may be
desirable so that you can easily shift to 4H at speeds greater than 25 MPH (40 km/h)
 

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the auto hubs on frontiers only take about 3-5 feet before they disengage. I think its 1 meter. so like 3.1 is the number nissan gives. at least thats what my 01 visor says.

i would NEVER shift my truck into 4 wheel at 45 mph whether the hubs are in or not. heh, the gears in the t case grind at 15.
 

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Yeah my Dad got all gung-ho in the first winter I had my truck, and he yanked the 4x4 shifter into 4HI while I was going 40 MPH -.-

It blew the exhaust flange somehow, cost me a bunch of money. I wasn't happy.

I have an '01 that came with no manual, but I found that if you're going less than 10 mph, or equal to, then it will shift with no problem, but anything above that, it'll clank and make a racket.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Guys I have shifter into four HI at 45 MPH and no problem.

HOWEVER, You first need to engage the auto hubs. In order to do this you need to stop first in then go into 4HI. Take it out of 4HI and drive around. Then when you want to engage 4HI your hubs will be set.

Here is the misconception.

1. Hubs need to be engaged first before putting into 4HI
2. Hubs do not disengage when putting your truck into 4LO


@Yellowsnow01

Your dad assummed that you go and throw it into 4 HI whenever. This will start making nasty clicking sounds at both wheels. This is not grinding in the gear box this is telling you the auto hubs are not engaged.
 

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nice post my friend. now i understand it. my auto lock hub on left side are busted i guess, it engages when i shift to 4hi or 4low. but when i put much power on it skip and not a good sound coming from it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The auto hubs have a life span and need to be replaced just like other parts. But they are easy DIY job.


The auto hubs wear out sooner if you just slam the shifter into 4HI whenever or if you run around with them engaged.

Remeber: You do not have to necessarily be in 4HI all the time to have the auto hubs engaged. The only way to disengaged auto hubs after being engaged is to back up the truck about 10 ft or 3 meters.
 

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now im looking for a warn or aisin manual locking hub for a most off road capable 4x4. just like one of my 4x4 rig
 

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I never have a problem putting my truck into 4 hi, I just don't do it above 40 and I always put the transmission in neutral. (if you need to engage 4x4 I doubt you are doing anything above 40 mph)
 

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yeah, you dont have to stop to engage the hubs, just be coasting while you do it and not on the gas.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No your hubs will not engage the first time if your are moving. They will click and clack till you stop.

Oh and one note I do take my foot off the gas when engaging 4x4 mode with auto hubs already set.


I rarely engage 4x4 mode over 40mph. However, here is a senerio in which you may need.

I live in Michigan and you can litterly go from one county being dry to one county being snow covered and or slippery or drifted roads. So on the highway you are not going to stop and put your truck into 4x4 mode. You can just slow down to about 40 and pop it into 4x4 mode. Then you take it out when traffic and conditions pick up.
 

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No your hubs will not engage the first time if your are moving. They will click and clack till you stop.

Oh and one note I do take my foot off the gas when engaging 4x4 mode with auto hubs already set.


I rarely engage 4x4 mode over 40mph. However, here is a senerio in which you may need.

I live in Michigan and you can litterly go from one county being dry to one county being snow covered and or slippery or drifted roads. So on the highway you are not going to stop and put your truck into 4x4 mode. You can just slow down to about 40 and pop it into 4x4 mode. Then you take it out when traffic and conditions pick up.
My hubs most certainly do engage and without any click clack, I've had to do it multiple times over the last couple months. *shrugs*
 

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first tip.....fit manual like the stock ones on the navara. no more hubs coming out while doing a tricky 4x4 manouver, no more waiting for hubs to click in.

having hubs engaged all the time doesn't wear out the hubs, it wears out the tires and the driveline (cv's, diff, driveshaft etc). not to mention adds a fair bit of fuel usage.
 

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how can you know if your hubs are on when in 2HI?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Your hubs should be in after you stop and put your truck into 4x4 mode. However, the hubs should stay engaged until you backup about 7-12 feet.

Your hubs if not engaged should make a clatter sound if you put your truck into 4x4 mode without first stopping.

Your hubs are not engaged if you are in 4x4 mode and you make a turn and you do not feel your truck binding on itself when turning.

Did that answer your questions?
 

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i may be confused but i have a 98 fronty that has manual locking hubs..meaning i have to get out twist to 4x4..get back in and shift to 4hi/4lo...very irritating. if there is a way around this...HELP
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Did someone add these manual hubs or is this standard on the 98? If you have manual hubs then you will have to get out and set them.
 

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as far as i know it came with manual locking hubs. how hard is it to switch over to auto locking hubs and is it worth it?
 

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Discussion Starter #19

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The only Frontiers that had auto locking hubs in 98 were SE KC 4x4s, all the other had Warn-manufactured manual locking hubs standard. 99/00 manuals were only on the XE 4-cyinders. All the V6 Frontiers have always had auto hubs. Those manuals made one re-appearance in '02 on the Xterra with the Enthusiast package.

I run a set of the 98-00 manuals on mine and love them.

as far as i know it came with manual locking hubs. how hard is it to switch over to auto locking hubs and is it worth it?
It is about a 20-30 minute job total. You need a metric allen wrench (dont remember the size), lock-right pliers (or a pick and screwdriver), and some patience. Worth it? Depends on how aggravated you get with locking your hubs. If you are driving in wintry weather you can always just lock the hubs and leave them locked. Shift into and out of 4wd when you need it. The only downside to this is slightly degraded fuel mileage when driving around in 2wd. Mine also makes just a tiny bit more drivetrain noise due to all the additional parts spinning around.

If you are looking for a set of autos and really wish to get rid of your manual hubs I am sure someone on here or another board would trade you. If I had a set I would trade you for sure.
 
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