4x4 locking Hub Failure

mrgem

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City
Golden
State
CO
Country
United States
What I Drive
1994 Ranger XLT 4WD
#1
We own a 94 Ranger 4x4 with the 4.0 engine and a 5-speed manual. It's exclusive use is to keep the long drive to our mountain cabin cleared of snow using tire chains and a 6-foot plow. It's given me good service for the last 15 years - despite being asked to push hundreds of pounds of wet, heavy snow -- often uphill. It's a workhorse.

It failed a couple of weeks ago when one of its 2 aftermarket locking hubs (manual) literally exploded while I was pushing a 6-foot-- high pile of snow-- causing the front wheel drive to quit. I had to call in a local excavator to clear the road with his 4x4 front end loader. That was not cheap and I don't want to rely on doing that in the future. I need my truck back in service.

What I found when I checked it out was not only the manual hub housing (Mile Marker) breaking, but 3 of the 5 wheel lugs on that wheel had backed out from the splined holes on the back of the hub/rotor.

When I tried to remove the wheel in the conventional manner, the 3 studs simply spun. After that, I attempted to remove the entire wheel and hub, using the special socket with 4 tangs to engage the outer wheel bearing nut. I got a 1/2 inch ratchet, and turned and turned on that nut -- to no avail. Aside from backing off the spindle 1/8 inch, it just stopped loosening -- even after an hour of wrenching. I suspect, but do not know for sure, that someone at some point, installed the manual hubs using an air wrench and cross threaded the threaded some of the threads.

I'm stuck -- I've got 3 lugs that cannot be loosened and an outer wheel bearing nut that refuses to loosen so I cannot remove the hub and wheel as an assembly.

Any ideas as to how I might get this thing apart to replace the hub, rotor and bearings?
 

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