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Nuts & Bolts: Toyota Pickup Regularly Breaks Locking Hub Studs

Posted in How To: Transmission Drivetrain on September 20, 2016 Comment (0)
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Breaking Toyota Revisited
I just wanted to comment on Andrew F’s "Breaking Toyota" question in the July 2016 Nuts & Bolts column. While I do agree that his current hub probably has the stud holes and dowel pin holes wallowed out and needs to be replaced, I wanted to suggest another more permanent fix to his problem. Trail-Gear offers a studless hub conversion that eliminates the locking hub body completely.
Gregg H. via nuts@4wheeloffroad.com

Great tip! We didn’t see the Trail-Gear (trail-gear.com) Longfield Studless Hub Conversion when we did our initial research, but it seems like a great solution for those who consistently break factory Toyota locking hubs. The Trail-Gear kit includes new wheel hubs, bearings, races, and drive slugs. Depending on the year of your Toyota, new rotors may also be needed. Although they might not be a great solution for a street-driven Yota because they eliminate the locking hubs, they are a great option for a dedicated crawler.

For everyone’s reference, here is Andrew F’s letter and our response from the July 2016 issue.

Question: I have a Toyota pickup that regularly breaks locking hub studs. All six go at the same time, including the dowel pins. I have ARP super metal studs in there now, and I have broken them three times. Prior to this I had broken stock ones twice, and I have literally blown a hub off the truck. The truck has 35-inch tires (that actually measure out to 33s), 22RE, 4.7-geared t-case, 5.29s, high-pinion and a Grizzly locker in front, a Detroit Locker in the rear, Bobby Longs, and hi-steer, just to paint the picture. We wheel hard, but my buddies have never broken these the way I have. I have a ladder-traction bar on the rear axle to prevent axlewrap. It works great. Could it be stressing the front end somehow? All our brains together and this is all we can come up with. Andrew F

Answer: You didn’t mention if it’s the same side that’s always breaking, but even if it’s not, that’s a lot of broken hub studs! Assuming that you’ve been installing everything properly (cone washers on all the studs, new dowel pins, and so on), we suspect you have something else going on. We posed your question to a couple of Toyota axle experts to see what they had to say.

A technician at All Pro Off-Road (allprooffroad.com) suggested inspecting the hub stud holes in the wheel hub, especially if it’s the same side that keeps shearing the studs. If the hub was run loose at one time, those holes could be wallowed out and causing the studs to work themselves loose. He also recommended closely inspecting the holes in the hub body where the cone washers install. Again, if the hub was run loose at one point or the hub was repeatedly removed improperly, those holes could become egg-shaped and prevent the hub assembly from maintaining a consistent torque.

The guys over at Marlin Crawler (marlincrawler.com) said that because you’ve broken so many stud sets (including multiple ARP sets), they would be willing to bet money the dowel pin holes in the body of the locking hub or the wheel hub have gotten wallowed out. When this happens, the dowels can’t do their job and all of the torque load transfers to the studs. This is especially true when all six studs and the dowels fail at once. They suggested that new locking hub bodies and fresh hardware (including dowel pins) should solve the problem. Although it’s not on the company’s website, Marlin Crawler does offer a six-pin hub conversion, which adds four dowel pins per hub assembly and makes the assembly virtually bulletproof. The conversion would require you to send in your wheel hubs and locking hubs to be drilled to accept the additional dowels. Although this conversion is only needed for really extreme use, it is another potential solution. Good luck, and let us know what you find.

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