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Discussion Starter #1
So I've got an 09 F150 SCREW, about 3 months ago I replaced both IWE's and the driver side hub assembly. I noticed then that I could not tighten the driver side axle nut to 25#, if I did I could literally barely rotate the hub/half-shaft. I had to back the nut off a good 4-5 turns before it felt normal. At the time I thought this was weird but I was in a time crunch and left it.

Initial test proved good, hubs locked in solid.

Fast-forward to today.. we're in the middle of winter and I've started hearing that tell-tale clicking sound from the driver side. The other day I had a couple clunks reminiscent of before I replaced the IWEs. So I unplugged the solenoid and drove to work. No clunking felt or heard. This morning I was backing up (with solenoid unplugged) and hear clicking. Not in forward though, just in reverse. So I plugged back in the solenoid to unlock the hubs and drove a good 40 miles.. no issues. Coming back home, my gravel road is icy so I flipped it into 4w high, hit the brakes and slide maybe 20 feet and heard clicking the entire way.

So I've got the truck back in the shop, I've got the driver side disassembled again and again if I tighten the axle nut down I can barely spin the shaft.

What am I doing wrong?

The teeth are meshing as correctly as I can tell, hardly any play before the hub rotates the shaft but I can't tighten the nut. Please help!
 

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For you to be out that far, something couldn't have aligned, couldn't have meshed, couldn't have something, unless they changed the dimensions of something on the new (which I doubt). Did you ever take it apart to see why it might not be playing right?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I had it all apart again today, and after watching numerous 1AAUto videos on youtube to see exactly what they do. I cleaned off as much of the old grease as I could. (Old grease meaning what I put in there 3 months ago) , which was Red "N" Tacky form Lucas (https://lucasoil.com/products/grease/red-n-tacky-grease) and smearing much less generic axle bearing grease on the shaft end, and all toothed surfaces. And surprisingly, I was able to torque the nut down this time... I don;t know if I had too much grease the first.. which is possible because I loaded that thing UP with grease.
This time it torqued and I could spin it.During the test drive though.. it still made clicking noises when I braked hard on icy surfaces.
I think I'm going to end up replacing the actuator with the static ones from https://www.dormanproducts.com/pages/products/stories/hub-actuators.aspx
 

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I had the grinding problem with IWE's on my daughter's '05 f 150, but it was intermittent, and only seemed to occur when it was very cold or snowing (exactly when we need 4WD). And like you I also noticed that the axle nut didn't torque properly. I don't know what causes the axle nut torque problem, but after carefully cleaning and regreasing the assembly with lightweight moly grease (It's in the barn and it's cold out, but I'll check the type and brand later) all was well. The couplers work and the axle nut torque is at 25 pounds. I think they just need to be kept clean and lubed with lightweight grease. I don't like the Dorman solution. Driving the front axles full time will cause mileage to drop and unnecessary wear on the front axles and diff.
 

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I had the grinding problem with IWE's on my daughter's '05 f 150, but it was intermittent, and only seemed to occur when it was very cold or snowing (exactly when we need 4WD). And like you I also noticed that the axle nut didn't torque properly. I don't know what causes the axle nut torque problem, but after carefully cleaning and regreasing the assembly with lightweight moly grease (It's in the barn and it's cold out, but I'll check the type and brand later) all was well. The couplers work and the axle nut torque is at 25 pounds. I think they just need to be kept clean and lubed with lightweight grease. I don't like the Dorman solution. Driving the front axles full time will cause mileage to drop and unnecessary wear on the front axles and diff.
Yeah I think in my case the damn teeth on the new hub are worn enough now that I still get massive clicking. With the truck sitting on the ground earlier I pulled the dust cap and found that my nut was around 6-7 turns from making contact with the outer bearing surface. Every video I've seen the nut was torqued off the ground. I verified by checking the passenger. It had the same amount of threads on the outside of the nut as the driver side does right now (after tightening). So I drove it back and forth down the driveway.. still clicks massively when I lock up the wheels on ice.
I hear what you are saying about full time locking the hubs in.. but it's really no different than most Chevys, and Jeeps. Yesterday driving home from the office, about 20 miles) with cruise set at 60 I averaged 19mpg. So the mileage loss is negligible. And having reliable 4wd in Michigan in the winter outweighs the extra wear and tiny mileage loss to me.
 

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Maybe, if not in too bad of shape, get the old ones to lock (the default mode without vacuum), then disconnect the vacuum to keep them locked without the expense and trouble of the Dormans. I hear you about Michigan winters and snow. Two days of snow here (SoCal) and I'm ready for summer. Another thought is a small vacuum leak will keep them from fully unlocking, also a possible cause for grinding.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I havent swapped them yet. Beside if you pull the vac/vent hoses you risk getting waiting into the actuator diaphragm. The issue, as i can tell, from the OEMs is that there's one toothed ring thats supposed to engage and turn the hub right? It's no wider that either the half shaft or the hub 'gears'. So if you assemble the hub shaft together without the actuator you will see what I saw. The actuator ring physically touched just a smidge of both the half shaft and teh actuator teeth. Like.. I'm not engineer but seems to be the actuator ring should have been wider. The vac-less actuators have two toothed rings so you get a more solid and even engagement between the shaft and the hub teeth.

Look at the pics on Dormans website and tell me you wouldn't agree. I mean I get why Ford did it.. it' saves a fraction on gas efficiency but it leaves so much to the whims of engine vacuum.
 

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I was looking for an easier and less expensive solution, but the Dorman would absolutely fix the problem. However, I don't think disconnecting the vacuum line at the solenoid on the firewall, not on the IWE, would cause moisture problems. Perhaps simply disconnecting the solenoid plug and leaving the vacuum lines connected would also work, since the system defaults to 4WD, but you would still have to get the gears to mesh. Please let us know how this works out. I am not as familiar with the IWE system's problems as I would like to be.
 

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Just to jump in and pass on a thought . I have had a similar problem with other cars a few times over the years on torquing nuts and it was caused by having too much grease which would then hydraulic and prevent getting the correct torque . Took a while to figure out but an easy fix by removing excess grease . Might not be relevant .
 

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Just to jump in and pass on a thought . I have had a similar problem with other cars a few times over the years on torquing nuts and it was caused by having too much grease which would then hydraulic and prevent getting the correct torque . Took a while to figure out but an easy fix by removing excess grease . Might not be relevant .
Oh no I think its relevant. And I think it happened to me, but in teh case of how Ford designed these actuators.. I'm done messing with them. Many other auto makers full time lock the hubs in and I get why. But I want reliable and strong hub lockage and I want reliable 4wd that's not dependent upon engine vacuum and tiny plastic lines.
 
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