They aren't better necessarily. Certainly not as convenient.
The idea is that when you lift your truck, your CV axle's angle is increased, and being able to drive without spinning those components offers a little more longevity to them. Also, in theory it could save on fuel usage, less rolling resistance.
The OEM style ones are not electronically engaged on Isuzu's. They are essentially hubs that are always engaged (drive flanges) or the auto-hub that engages after you switch into 4WD.
I did see a fractional (1.2 mpg on a regular highway trip, no wind) increase in MPG when I switched to manual hubs. Of course that was more then counteracted by the fact that I'm forced to burn corn now :evil:
Really I just got them to save wear on my CV axles, and they do that well.
EDIT: nevermind, you've got a totally different setup in your Trooper then what I'm talking about. I had drive flanges, you've got real auto-hubs' Only advantage of manual over auto hubs, is reliability, and positive engagement when you lock them. (auto hubs sometimes have to spin quite a bit to engage)
If you have one of the older trucks where they are really auto hubs as opposed to drive flanges then to me unless you are a fairly hard core there is no benefit. On every truck like this I have had I kept the auto hubs.
On the trucks with drive flanges that is a different story. On these the CV shafts, differential and drive shaft for the front are turning all the time. By using the manual hubs you undo this which saves some wear and tear on the parts and also hopefully some fuel savings from not putting the effort into spinning these parts up.
I wish they had kept the auto hubs. To me was a much better arrangement than either the manual hubs or the flanges.
When the auto hubs go bad they can shear the splines right off the end of the CV where the c-clip mounts, making it virtually useless. I went with manuals on my Rodeo and VX to ditch the drive flanges, and got rid of the auto's on my Passport so I could have more control over them plus I ended up welding my front diff so I can unlock one hub if need be on the trails.
I hated the auto-locking hubs on my 94. I didn't trust them. Even after taking them apart, cleaning and lubing, they still wouldn't unlock all the time. Sometimes it took several tries. If they are working properly and you don't do any hard wheeling, they should be fine for general snow use. Now, on my 99, I wanted them to replace the drive flanges and save wear and tear on my front end.
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