Manual hubs get rarer to find on vehicles every day. 4wd systems have gotten better over the years but the new ones rely on pesky electronics, cables, and/or vacuum lines. Read more to see what parts I used and lots of pics on how I swapped to manual hubs on my Suzuki Vitara.
Once we start lifting offroad trucks and messing with driveline angles it is beneficial to be able to unlock the front hubs so the front driveline is not constantly spinning causing unnecessary wear and vibration. It is also good to be able to unlock the hubs if you break something such as an axleshaft so it doesn’t cause further damage on the drive home.
When I was searching for info, there didn’t seem to be a lot of good info or detailed pics of installing manual hubs on a Tracker/Vitara. Here is my attempt to explain it with LOTS of pics.
FYI – some of the links below are affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, we will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase. This helps us keep the lights on and we appreciate your support!
To start with, you need the manual hubs. After some research I found that the Mile Marker 436 hubs fit ’82-’98 Samurai’s and ALL Geo Trackers. There are also Warn 34581 Premium hubs made for these but I found them to be prohibitively expensive. Also, factory Samurai Aisin hubs can be used but they were set up for cone washers so you would have to obtain those as well.
But I have a Suzuki Vitara or Chevy Tracker and it is newer than 98? Doesn’t matter, they are all the same axle shaft and spline count through 2004 as far as I can tell. My Vitara is a 2003.
Below are the Mile Marker 436’s that I bought. I also looked up and listed some other options at the end of the post.
The hubs came with locking tabs for the bolts but as I said earlier, I ditched them for some blue locktite instead. The cutouts around the hub are large enough that the tabs even properly installed could just spin around and the bolt could loosen anyways, so I saw no point in using them (or maybe I just didn’t understand how to use them).
Pirate 4×4 discussion about the manual hubs:
MileMarker website describing the 436 hubs:
The exact hubs I bought:
Other options that should work:
This is one of those mods that was almost too easy. I spent more time researching it to make sure I got the right part then it actually took to install them. Half the battle is just making sure you get the right parts.
If you want to take your Tracker/Vitara’s dependability to the next level, bypass the air actuated 4wd actuator in the front differential. I explained this in detail in another article: Vitara Tracker Permanent 4wd differential actuator fix
Now YOU, go outside and work on something!