locking hub axle wierdness at the river

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What can this be?

Here's what happened this evening:

Since it's nice and dry and the waters low I've been taking my canoe down to the Pearl river (near my home in Jackson, MS) and fishing off and on the last few days after work. This afternoon I took some friends from out of town down there together with my two boys, the canoe and the dog. We drove through the usual up and down trails in the wood, managed to avoid the mud, then got out on the sand bar. I noticed the truck was laboring a little more than usual in the sand. I passed it off on the extra weight (5 adults, 2 kids oh, and did I mention canoe and dog--a little overloaded perhaps?). Still, we made it through, hung out, fished a little, drank some beer etc.

Then it happened. I decided to give my friends a little tour on the way back. Every thing was going fine till we hit the deep sand again. She started to lose momentum, slowed down, then finally stopped altogether. I asked everyone to hop out to reduce the weight to see If I could drive out. No deal. The rear wheels started to bury in the sand. I stopped revving for fear of going up to the axles. At this point I had my son Daniel recheck to make sure the hubs were locked. Yes, according to him. But when I revved, No front wheel action at all! Four wheel drive was definately not working. The rear wheel holes were getting deeper but the front wheels weren't moving. Its amazing how fast sand dissappears under your tires when your stuck! So I figured I broke my Tcase somehow. At this point I called Euclid, who said he be willing to come tow me out in a while (thanks man) and tried to figure out what was with the front axle. I checked the hubs again and behold! The left front hub was not engaged! Not sure how this happened. can they slip under stress if they're getting old? I reset the hub, put it in 4 low and DROVE IT OUT of two deep holes in 3 seconds, impressing my friends and myself. Awesome truck.

Here are my theories:

1) I bumped the left front wheel pretty hard coming out of the woods and it somehow unlocked the left front hub. We got stuck shortly after this. Can this happen when they wear?

2) some drunken riverats unlocked our hubs for laughs (not very likely considering what we had already gone through before we got stuck.

3) the hub was never unlocked in the first place but I lost power due to a vacumn leak which has suddenly resurfaced today after 3 months absence. My son accidentally turned it the wrong way. (also not very likely since I had power enough to get up a steep, sandy grade and some irregular terrain) The motor started to act funny as we left the river.

Looking for answers. I know it's probably time to rebuild the hubs. I definately need to deal with the vacumn leak. Anyone have thoughts about this? Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Sorry for the length of this post. I'm just trying to get all the facts straight before I tear into it.
 

Godwin

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Probably as simple as thinking the hub was locked when it wasn't May also be time to pull the hubs, clean and check them.

I had something similar happen once. Started across a creek that had a huge silt load and when I was 1/2 across the Cruiser just sank. I should have attempted the crossing in 4WD even though the streams in this area have hard bottoms, but the silt layer appeared shallow. I locked the hubs but the front would not engage because the passenger side hub was not locking. I had to pull the cap and manually slide the engagement collar inward to lock the hub. 4WD was then functional but I still had to winch out.
 
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Thanks. At this point we are thinking at least one them was only partially locked. I hit a rut pretty hard and knocked it out all the way. On to the next adventure.
 

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