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Locking Hub question for my 1990 Trooper

397 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Eric B
Hi guys,
So glad I found this community. I am riding in my 1990 Isuzu Trooper, inherited from my grandma in 2016 with 54k Miles. It's my baby. I'm at about 140k now and the right front locking hub has given out. I went to Saline Valley and the car handled so so well on some intermediate rock scrambling. But, I paid a price....

I'm in Lagunitas, CA and my local shop, nice guys, isn't being very helpful as to what is needed. It's not even clear to me what exactly is broken... They gave me a diagram and circled the complete set of components to get for this replacement.
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Here is my question. And its a total noob one!
I have found a Locking Hub, and I've found a Disc Brake Kit
But it's unclear to me if this covers all those other components in between the two (drive clutch assembly etc).
I'd be so grateful for any perspective! Oh and here's my baby!
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I would find a second opinion. The brake rotor has nothing to do with the locking hub. And while locking hubs do break, they are pretty sturdy. Either have them te you exactly what got damaged, or find another shop. Or better yet, fix it yourself.
There is normally confusion when it comes to the hubs of these vehicles. What parts you need to repair your vehicle is dependent on the symptom you are experiencing & how the failed part has broken.
Needed all the parts that the local shop has recommend is not consistent with any common failure.

If your auto-locking hub (1 - 6 on your diagram) is failing to lock you will notice a grinding sound when engaging 4WD.
The standard repair is to replace with manual locking hubs that perform better.

Or-less your wheel hub bearings have failed and your wheel is coming off the the vehicle then you shouldn't need the brake rotor or the auto locking hub.

A proper diagnost is needed to pin point what you need to properly repair your vehicle

In any case I have all these parts in stock in Reno Nevada, not too far form you. I will PM you my number, please feel free to give me a call to sort out what you need.
The most common problem with auto hubs (besides lack of maintenance) is the retaining circlip popping off the end of the axle. This is #4 in the diagram. When this happens, the axle pulls inwards (as Shawn described above), and the splines on the axle can pull away from the driven hub (which can make a grinding noise, too), then you get no 4WD.

You can check this by pulling the bolts that hold the hub housing to the main wheel hub. Then see if the clip is loose and the axle pushes inwards. The end of the axle should have only a few thousandths of free play, and there are shims show (see #4) for that adjustment, that go behind the clip.

The clip is a Royal Pain to get back in place, BTW! Takes a bit of practice but if you thread the correct-sized bolt into the hole at the end of the axle, you can pull on that bolt while pushing the clip in place, and it should go into the retaining groove on the axle.

The Idjits that just generically circled a parts breakdown of the auto hub don't have a clue how Isuzu auto hubs work. I would fire them immediately and seek someone with better knowledge. Sounds like these cretins are trying to rip you off.

If you're gonna drive in rocks etc and do some semi-serious off-roading, you'd be far better off with manual hubs. They are stronger and simpler in construction, and once you lock the hub in, it ain't gonna come unlocked unless you do it!

Aisin hubs are OEM and the Best. but are getting harder to find and quite expensive. Maybe troll your local yard and look for some on a Trooper, Rodeo, or Pickup '88-'91. IIRC some newer ZuZu rigs manual hubs may fit, too. I'll let the experts weigh-in on that.

Warn and Superwinch hubs are pretty good (Warn is probably better than Superwinch) and usually a bit less $$. I found an excellent article on Warn hub replacement on a Gen I Trooper here:

If you go to Nathan's Isuzu section you'll find a good article on doing your own brake job (if you really need brakes, that is).

I agree with Shawn, anyone telling you that you need a brake job just because an auto hub failed, don't know what they're doing.

Well, imagine my surprise when I did a search for some Warn hubs, they've been discontinued. And the last set on eBay sold for $370!

There are some Aisin hubs on eBay for $135 each in quantities of 2. $270 for hubs ain't exactly cheap, but less than those Warn Hubs!

There are some listed that are cheaper, but it makes me leery 'cause they're not in the factory box, they could be poor-quality knockoffs. The ones I linked are from the Aisin store, in factory boxes, so they should be legit.

Here's a big search for hubs, so you can see what's there:

Also, beware of very cheap hubs on eBay, lots of them are made of Chinesium and probably won't hold up to any abuse. Although I recall a few Trooper Dudes here mentioning they used certain ones and so far, so good. But who needs Chinesium, anyway! I'd get those Aisins for serious off-roading, you'll love 'em.

The parts breakdown of the Aisin manual locking hub, shown below, was taken from an Isuzu TSB. The new hub assemblies will of course come with all the parts shown in the diagram, plus bolts. You can use the writeup for the Warn hubs' installation as a guideline, if instructions aren't included along with the Aisin hubs.

HTH & Good Luck with the project................ed

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I bought Aisin locking hubs off amazon at $100 per side and I have never looked back. I have always had trouble with auto-locking hubs, doesn't matter the manufacturer. As long as you don't mind getting out and locking them when needed.

what symptoms do you have. I know you say one hub is not working, is it not engaging? sometimes they just need to be cleaned, re-greased (sparingly) and reassembled.
Good Tip, the AISIN Store at Amazon has these for $118.05 each. Hard to beat that deal!

And you can fashion a handy dandy little tool for manual hubs out of a T piece of PVC. Works like a charm! :p

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Haha that's genius. I have to admit I was using a hammer and chisel method before I rebuilt mine.
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Makes it a lot easier on the fingers, especially when it's 13 degrees out and snowing!! 🌨 ❄

I don't miss those days at all, glad it's sunny and warmer for a while! 🌞
You can run a breaker bar through there if you need extra umph. Or, you could switch back to the factory set-up and can just push a button from the warmth of the cab.
Tentin, the hub is actually very easy to work on. , with really just a few tools. Plus , now you have parts break down with the exploded diagram. All the important bits are right there on the outside. If you want to drive up to Mission Viejo when you get your parts , I can help you . Eric
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