Carrera4 Reader
Nov. 29, 2009 10:27 p.m.

Need to change the ball joints on my 1994 F-150. Any one know how to remove the lock ring that holds the automatic locking hub in place? It seems like a real PITA!!! It's not a typical snap ring type deal. It's a lock ring inside a groove with about an eighth of an inch of room to actually get in there and attempt to get it out. I bent every pick I had trying to get behind it to pry it out so if anyone knows of some secret tool I'm supposed to use, I'm all ears. Manual basically says:

1) Remove cover 2) Watch out for stuff falling out

It makes no mention of the sumb!tch lock ring that I can barely see in there holding the hub in place.

Strizzo SuperDork
Nov. 30, 2009 7:21 a.m.

There was a lock ring on my Nissan that didn't look like a "normal" snap ring, but came off just the same with snap ring pliers

Carrera4 Reader
Nov. 30, 2009 9:01 a.m.

The problem I have with this ring is that it is inside the outer part of the hub between the hub and the locking mechanism. There is only 1/8" to 3/16" of room between them if I am lucky. I'd have to get a set of angled pliers in there somehow, but I don't have enough clearance to get any angled pliers I've ever seen in there. What kills me most of all is that there isn't even mention of this ring in the repair manual.

paulmpetrun New Reader
Nov. 30, 2009 9:33 a.m.

Carrera, good luck that snap ring almost made me sell my 95 F150! You had the right idea, the small pick, well actually a couple of them. I have a couple real good ones from snap-on for just such things. Basically used a small hammer to tap the the first pick to get under the snap ring. Don't be shy, it takes a decent whack to unseat it. Then quickly before the berkelying thing slides back off, get under it with the second pick(mine has a 90 bend on it) to start pulling and working it out of the groove. Once you get the first pick under it, its not to bad from there. Follow up question- do you have the special tool to remove the wheel bearing lock nut? Its an odd duck(literally)! It has six small flats around the outside diameter. You need a socket the basically has the matching flats/fingers sticking out from the end of it, and none of the local parts places had it. I used the caveman method with a sharpened screwdriver and a hammer. Give it a good smack to create a small lip, then angle the screwdriver and start tapping to work it off. Once its off, just file down the raised metal, or it will grind down the platic slider/actuator for the auto 4wd.

Good luck Paul

93gsxturbo Reader
Nov. 30, 2009 12:31 p.m.

A good pick will work. Other option that I have done in frustration (or lack of a good pick) is to drill a 1/8" dia hole in the hub right where the lock ring groove is, and press it out from the outside using a nail or similar. Then fill the hole with a little JB (or real) weld. Works great on a personal vehicle but wouldn't dream of doing it to a customer car.

As far as the nut, use the screwdriver/chisel method instead of buying the socket unless you can borrow one. Instead of damaging the nut though, you can jam a blunt chisel or small wrench between the nut and the OD of the hub, then spin the hub counter-clockwise to get the nut loose.

Its one of those jobs that takes all day to do one side and half an hour to do the other, once you get nuances figured out and all the "special tools"

Carrera4 Reader
Nov. 30, 2009 12:41 p.m.

I like the 1/8" hole idea a lot. I only put about 2500 miles on the truck a year. It's for going to the transfer station (about 2 miles away), plowing the driveway, going to the home center for anything that won't fit in a Miata or 911, and for really inclement weather. Would it be worth converting to manual locking hubs? Seems like those are much easier to remove.

I'll see if I can find a sturdier set of picks as well - I've pretty well knackered up the set I have trying to do this job.

93gsxturbo Reader
Nov. 30, 2009 4:32 p.m.

I wouldnt bother with the expense of switching to manual hubs if your auto hubs work fine. You have to remove the snap ring once no matter what.

Strizzo SuperDork
Dec. 1, 2009 7:10 a.m.

If you only use the truck when you really need the 4wd you might switch, ford auto hubs have a habit of breaking at the least convenient times. Like right as the rear axle starts to bury itself in some mud.

93gsxturbo Reader
Dec. 1, 2009 12:36 p.m.

I never broke mine, 225k HARD miles, half of it with 33x12.5s on it. All sorts of stupid truck tricks. What can I say, it was my first full size 4x4, and I used to drink heavily :)

Carrera4 Reader
Dec. 1, 2009 1:15 p.m.

Going to pick up a halfway decent set of picks ( as well as a set of lock ring pliers ( These are intended for the lock ring in question, but I doubt they will fit in to the space I need to get them into, in order to get the lock ring out.

93gsxturbo Reader
Dec. 1, 2009 6:42 p.m.

Those lockring pliers are for an outside lockring, not an inside lockring. Wont work.

Carrera4 Reader
Dec. 1, 2009 8:03 p.m.

Then I shall save $15.

93gsxturbo Reader
Dec. 1, 2009 8:12 p.m.

Are those picks "Hencho en China"?

Carrera4 Reader
Dec. 2, 2009 8:29 a.m.

The ones I have listed above are craftsman, so if they fail, back to the store they go.

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