How to Install Manual Hubs on Vitara / Tracker


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.

Vitara Tracker How to Install Manual Hubs
zip out the 10mm head bolts. I LOVE my 1/4″ drive Ryobi impact for these types of jobs.
Vitara Tracker How to Install Manual Hubs
Vitara Tracker How to Install Manual Hubs
Once the bolts are out you can GENTLY tap around the edges with a hammer and/or try a small pry bar to get them loose.
Vitara Tracker How to Install Manual Hubs
Vitara Tracker How to Install Manual Hubs
There is a snapring on the end of the axleshaft. You do NOT need to remove it to install these hubs.
Vitara Tracker How to Install Manual Hubs
MMMmmmm fresh parts…
Vitara Tracker How to Install Manual Hubs
Short instructions. The only confusing part was the locking tabs that I ended up not using.
Vitara Tracker How to Install Manual Hubs
The new hub slides right on.
Vitara Tracker How to Install Manual Hubs
The hubs came with some locking tabs but I ditched them in favor of some blue locktite instead. Don’t forget to install the rest of the allen head bolts on the chrome selector part of the hub.

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).

Vitara Tracker How to Install Manual Hubs
Don’t show this kid how to do anything unless you want it to be taken apart/messed with for the indefinite future 😛
Vitara Tracker How to Install Manual Hubs
All done!
Vitara Tracker How to Install Manual Hubs
Close up of the hub installed.

Resources

Pirate 4×4 discussion about the manual hubs:
https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/suzuki/588441-vitara-manual-hub-conversion.html
MileMarker website describing the 436 hubs:
https://milemarker.com/product/436-hubs/

The exact hubs I bought:

Other options that should work:

Offroad Trip to KS Rocks for Midwest Krawlers Sunflower Ride 2019
They work pretty good!

Conclusion

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!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.