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  #1  
Old 01-16-2009, 07:29 PM
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IWE's: Removal & Replacing

Tomorrow I plan to change the bad IWE on my truck and document with pictures and diagrams along with a list of tools needed. This has been one of the least documented repairs that I've had to do, so I plan to change all that for the next guy. (it might be you... ) I recently found on the net www.helminc.com for subscription factory service manuals and bought 72 hours use to get the pages I needed for the repair. This is a great service if you just need quick a look at the manual for reference or repair. (You get access to the full manual as well as wiring diagrams and can save as PDF's).

I happened to decide afterwards with the market like it is with used cars right now, I plan to keep this truck a long time, so I found a set of factory Ford F150 service manuals on ebay for $59! (cheap compared to $30 for a crappy Haynes manual and the like) and a factory Ford wiring diagram book for $9. If anyone is interested, this is the link to the F150 section of Helm.http://www.helminc.com/helm/search_s...RKB2BBWBU23CJ0

Once I get done and get my pictures and diagrams together, I'll post a site for all enterity.

Stay tuned.


**UPDATE**

I now have the files up for download here:


Driveline System Diagnosis
IWE Replacement Instructions
System Description and Operation
TSB 06-08-15


**UPDATE**


**NEW 6/8/2011**
Diagnosis and Testing
**NEW 6/8/2011**


**UPDATE**

edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by TN-F150 View Post
"I plan to keep this truck a long time"
Never say forever or "a long time"...the truck is gone.
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Last edited by TN-F150; 02-21-2013 at 01:47 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2009, 08:22 PM
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That would be great! I am interested in seeing the process, because mine make some noise when engaging, when the temp is 25 or below, leading me to believe there is some moisture in mine. What are yours doing that requires them to be replaced? I look forward to your how-to on this, and thanks in advance!
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2009, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbo45 View Post
What are yours doing that requires them to be replaced?
It started out a faint whine as it got colder to the point of when I needed 4WD it would not engage. Now if it's below freezing, I have to drive in 4HI even though the front wheels are not engaged to stop the noise and further damage. I changed the vacuum solenoid per the TSB but that pretty much did nothing different. I took it in to my local dealer and they said it was the RF IWE. Actually they said HUB but so far I have seen no one with the same issue that needed a whole hub. I think the dealer was trying to make some extra cash in a slow economy.
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  #4  
Old 01-16-2009, 09:41 PM
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I just had the solenoid replaced on mine and the dealer said the problem was fixed. I left the dealer and within two blocks could tell the problem was still there. They tell me the next step is to replace the hub actuators. I have the feeling that isn't going to be cheap.
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  #5  
Old 01-17-2009, 12:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjr8214 View Post
I just had the solenoid replaced on mine and the dealer said the problem was fixed. I left the dealer and within two blocks could tell the problem was still there. They tell me the next step is to replace the hub actuators. I've have the feeling that isn't going to be cheap.
My dealer quoted $592 for one... yeah right...

I bought the parts from Tasca Ford for $73 plus $9 shipping and a few hours of my time.
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  #6  
Old 01-17-2009, 11:37 PM
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Mission accomplished

OK...Well I decided to just post the pics here with the write up since I didn't get a WHOLE lot of pics but there wasn't much to take pictures of. We all know how to remove the wheels and the rest is just a matter of removing the outer CV center nut, tie-rod nut and the upper ball-joint nut and separating both. After this there is 3 small bolts holding the actuator on the hub that get removed. Then we see inside the actuator and what I was not finding here or on the net to get my head around how this system worked. I kinda had an idea but seeing is priceless.

So once the shaft is out of the hub, the actuator comes right off it. The CV has a gear the contacts the actuator all the time and when switched to 4WD it is released into the hub where it grabs the hub gear.
Click the image to open in full size.

You can see after I cleaned all the old grease and particles of actuator gear off that the hub gear DOES take some damage from this issue. The actuator gear is made much softer so it takes the majority of damage. I'm assuming the gear was already slightly beveled so the actuator gear can click right on but it did have some burrs along the gear teeth.
Click the image to open in full size.

Next we see the difference new to old and what happens to it when you hear the noise. The new gear has a flat edge to the hub side of the gear and you can clearly see that on the old one this has been ground to about a 30 degree angle shorting the gear to the point of nothing more to engage, so with the open diff taking the path of least resistance that half shaft will spin when in 4WD and the other, even though it works, will not do anything. No 4WD...
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

Bottom line, if you hear the noise immediately try to switch to 4HI and try to make it engage, get it in to be fixed before the actuator or hub gear are damaged or do like I did and take 2 hours and about $130 ($43 for vacuum sol. (the cause of the malfunction) and $83 for act. (the victim) ) worth of parts and fix it yourself. That time includes rotating my tires, testing the 4WD system to see which actuator was bad and changing it. I could do one now by itself in probably less than 45 minutes. If anyone would like, I have the PDF's of the manual for several pages regarding the front diff. including the pages for the replacement procedure for the IWE's. Email me and I will send them.

**UPDATE**

I now have the files up for download here:


Driveline System Diagnosis
IWE Replacement Instructions
System Description and Operation
TSB 06-08-15


**UPDATE**


**NEW 6/8/2011**
Diagnosis and Testing
**NEW 6/8/2011**


**UPDATE**

Click the image to open in full size.
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Last edited by TN-F150; 12-21-2011 at 09:35 PM.
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  #7  
Old 01-18-2009, 10:06 AM
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I forgot!

Tools used:

once you remove the wheel...
13mm socket for outer axle nut
21mm wrench and socket for tie-rod and ball joint
24oz hammer to separate the above
(I also used a 10mm and 3/8" wrench on the above end of threads hex to hold them from spinning)
15/16" wrench or socket for the IWE bolts
elbow grease
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  #8  
Old 01-18-2009, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james-06scl View Post
Great write-up TN-F-150,

I'm going to bookmark this one. Nice to see the pics, I wasn't sure exactly how this worked.

Do you think that the wear on the hub and actuator gears could be decreased, or their life extended, by only switching into 4wd at a standstill rather than on the fly?
Funny you mention that. I was thinking the same thing during this repair. I looked at the manual and it recommends only switching to 4HI at basically 45mph or less so I would say that, yeah, If you can stop to switch it I would. I think other brands and pre-2004 F150's who still use the old way I don't think it makes much difference. Systems on the pre-2004 F150 and Chevy for instance (not sure about the new ones) work differently.

The 2004-> use this system to reduce moving parts while in 2WD to save fuel. Nothing up front turns till you turn the switch. It engages the front axle actuators and the front shaft at the same time when switched. The older F150, Chevy and prob Dodge (never looked at Dodge) front axle systems all turn all the time by splined outer CV's that turn as the wheel turns and the switch to 4WD engages only the front shaft at the transfer case. IMO, ours has an Achilles heel that would be the vacuum solenoid. When this fails, it costs money down the line. It's pretty smart engineering but there is just more room for failure with the solenoid, vacuum lines, and the actuators.
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  #9  
Old 01-19-2009, 11:07 PM
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yesterday i was stuck in some snow and hammered it in reverse while in 4hi and the front left started to squeel a bit so i stoped and then went at it again and it was quiet then today i was in 4hi and had my foot on the brake and i heard a vibration kinda noise also from front left dont think the last one could be my iwe because i wasnt going anywhere, not sure why it was squeeling when i was stuck though? any thoughts?
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  #10  
Old 01-19-2009, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fx4_613 View Post
yesterday i was stuck in some snow and hammered it in reverse while in 4hi and the front left started to squeel a bit so i stoped and then went at it again and it was quiet then today i was in 4hi and had my foot on the brake and i heard a vibration kinda noise also from front left dont think the last one could be my iwe because i wasnt going anywhere, not sure why it was squeeling when i was stuck though? any thoughts?
Wow! No offense but that was hard to follow. Use punctuation next time.

Ok...if you hear squeal, I'm not sure what you're hearing. The IWE makes more of a high pitched gear grind noise.
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Old 01-20-2009, 12:41 PM
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Ok, So i picked my truck up last night after having this same problem and believe it or not, the dealership got it right on the first try!!! TN-F150 they confirmed what you just said about it being the other side causing the problem.
I was hearing and feeling the grinding noise on my passenger side but they told me the problem was actually the solenoid on my driver's side. The noise was caused by the failed solenoid causing the drivers side 4x4 to engage and leaving the passenger side to grind and probably cause more problems for later.
As for our Temp related theory, it was 9 Degrees when i left the house this morning and i had no issues. I'm glad to say i think i finally got it fixed, atleast until the next time this happens. Probably in another year or so. I'm glad you figured it out on your own! I'm looking you up the next time i have issues with my 4x4.
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BG-BULLY05 View Post
Ok, So i picked my truck up last night after having this same problem and believe it or not, the dealership got it right on the first try!!! TN-F150 they confirmed what you just said about it being the other side causing the problem.
Not to confuse but mine was the passenger actuator first, as evidenced by the pics, and possibly the drivers side now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BG-BULLY05 View Post
I was hearing and feeling the grinding noise on my passenger side but they told me the problem was actually the solenoid on my driver's side.
You mean drivers side "actuator" right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BG-BULLY05 View Post
The noise was caused by the failed solenoid causing the drivers side 4x4 to engage and leaving the passenger side to grind and probably cause more problems for later.
As for our Temp related theory, it was 9 Degrees when i left the house this morning and i had no issues. I'm glad to say i think i finally got it fixed, atleast until the next time this happens. Probably in another year or so. I'm glad you figured it out on your own! I'm looking you up the next time i have issues with my 4x4.
I'm confused...if you mean actuator then the passenger side would be failing if IT is grinding. If you mean solenoid, I don't think it controls D/P side independently.

I'm not so sure on my solenoid being the "weakest link" in the system theory now though. My drivers side was fine until the first really cold day AFTER I fixed the passenger side, and I have a NEW solenoid (on the passenger side firewall BTW). I think these actuators may actually be a large part of the problem. My current theory: When I changed my old one Saturday it had A LOT of metal laden, gritty grease all in the area where the gears mesh and the surrounding area. They aren't water tight so dirt, water, mud anything can get in there and eventually make the gear "stick" (especially when really cold) when you start up and the vacuum draws the gear back. I think it might be a good idea to either have a couple of these on the shelf (I know I plan to) or take the time every so often to clean and re-pack the gears with new grease. I'm not so sure now the solenoid is that much of the problem. At least in my case, I changed it per the TSB and nothing changed. I think like I said before, there are so many places for failure in this system we could see any number of scenarios. I've read about melted vacuum lines, bad solenoids, bad actuators, bad TC shift motors, bad dash switches. Now granted the last two could happen on any SOTF system, the others are isolated to our trucks.

This is definitely a peculiar system.

BTW, it was 8 here this AM and no noise what so ever.
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:46 PM
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I dropped the truck off at the dealer this morning to replace the actuators. I don't have the time to do it myself right now and it is too damn cold to be hanging out in the garage.

The dealer suggested that I replace both actuators even though I was getting the sound from only the driver's side. He said that in the past they have replaced only one side and then within a span of a few days to a couple of months they have the truck back in replacing the other side.

I had both actuators replaced for $400. I was expecting it to be quite a bit more. The service manager did cut me a break on the labor since I had to bring the truck back again after they replaced the solenoid.

They also told me that they were blowing out the vacuum lines to make sure they were free of debris and moisture and the tech blew air in the wrong spot and the vacuum canister exploded. Luckily the Ford dealer 20 miles away had one in stock so they had to send someone out to get that.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjr8214 View Post
The dealer suggested that I replace both actuators even though I was getting the sound from only the driver's side. He said that in the past they have replaced only one side and then within a span of a few days to a couple of months they have the truck back in replacing the other side.
I can vouch for that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjr8214 View Post
I had both actuators replaced for $400. I was expecting it to be quite a bit more.
Mine quoted me $592 for one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjr8214 View Post
They also told me that they were blowing out the vacuum lines to make sure they were free of debris and moisture and the tech blew air in the wrong spot and the vacuum canister exploded. Luckily the Ford dealer 20 miles away had one in stock so they had to send someone out to get that.
Whoops!
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:10 AM
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I had to replace my passenger side IWE. I found a good way to test the IWE was to use a brake bleeder http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/pho...2499/92474.gif. I just disconnected the IWE black rubber hose and put on the bleeder hose and applied some pressure. Most of them have vac gauges on them so you can see if you have a leak in the diaphram like I did. To test I just Jacked the front of the truck up and put the bleeder on each side and if it holds vac and alows the wheel to spin free of the axle then you can eliminate the IWE as the problem.
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