Originally Posted by jbeverly1985
Integrated Wheel End. I'm not sure how they work...All of the Ford's I've owned up until now have had manual hubs and the good old reliable shifter on the floor. I don't understand why it is such a hassle for people to turn hubs in and pull up on a shifter to get a vehicle in 4 wheel drive.
You don't sound stupid man. I wouldn't expect anyone to know how these newer 4x4 systems work. It's all new to me and it pisses me off that my 94 f250 (158,000mi) has a more reliable 4x4 system than my 2005 F150 (89000mi)
IWE works like this:
basically they are what joins the axle to the hub for 4wd, and then disconnects them for 2wd. they operate on vacuum. they have a spring inside them to keep them extended (engaged/4wd), and the vacuum will overcome the spring pressure to compress the IWE (disengaged/2wd). with the engine running in 2wd, you are applying vacuum to the IWE, and when you shift to 4wd, the IWE solenoid (behind the battery) will shift and divert the vacuum so the IWE doesnt get any, and the spring then takes over. the transfer case will also shift and allow the front drive shaft to turn.
with the engine secured, you wont be able to reach in and turn the axles..... the IWE will engage the hub to axle just as if you switched to 4wd. then if you start the engine back up, in 2wd you will be able to reach in and spin then. you shouldnt feel any binding, which would indicate either a faulty IWE, a loss of vacuum to the IWE, or possibly just a plugged vent line to the IWE. if you look at the vacuum lines going to the IWE, you will notice 2 lines together.... the larger line is the vacuum line, and the smaller is just a vent so the IWE can actuate..... it is possible that these get plugged and cause IWE problems.
a brand new IWE only requires about 5" of vacuum to fully compress..... and at idle, i measured about 21" from the engine to the hubs (plenty of vacuum to actuate even a slightly stiff IWE).
im pretty familiar with the IWE's since i had to replace both of mine last winter. as mentioned above, a hand vacuum pump will tell you if the IWE itself is bad or not. simply apply vacuum directly at the IWE and see if it holds. you may see a slight leak, but IIRC the acceptable leak down is no more than 1" per minute.
i hope this helps shed some light for you..... feel free to ask if you need any more help !!!