"Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

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Marty, SoCal
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"Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by Marty, SoCal » Fri May 07, 2010 2:43 pm

I was reading the thread about Dualmatic hubs and since I didn't want to hijack the thread, I'll ask about them here!

My '43 GPW had these hubs on it when I bought it in 1984. They say "Free-Lock" "IN", "OUT" and Denver, Pat. Pending. There is a 1957 date stamped on them. They work like the common Warn hubs, but only need 1/8th turn to lock or unlock. I even have the original aluminum tool to help rotate the knob! They still work well!

There's a link for an original advertisement in "Popular Mechanics" magazine from 1957:

http://books.google.com/books?id=Ci0DAA ... &q&f=false" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

If the link doesn't work, Google "Free-Lock" Denver 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1959 to see 4 or 5 different original ads in Popular Mechanics. It seems they were available for Dodges, GMCs, etc, too.

Any comments?
Last edited by Marty, SoCal on Mon May 10, 2010 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by 49T&C » Sat May 08, 2010 4:09 pm

Hey Marty,

I just went thru this exercise last week with an M38A1 I picked up. It has the 'Free-Lock' named hubs. That name is a
re-branded Selectro Hub. Details & pic can be found on EarlyCJ5.com

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Re: "Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by Marty, SoCal » Mon May 10, 2010 5:41 pm

My hubs don't look like those Selectros shown on your earlyCJ5.com forum post. They have an inner dial held in with a large circlip, more like the Warn type hubs, They came with an aluminum spanner wrench to turn them, not a large hand dial. When you search out "Free-Lock Denver" on Google, a patent application date of 1955 comes up in one of the links. They seemed to have stopped advertising in 1959, at least in the Popular Mechanics magazine. One of the PM magazines linked shows a Warn Hub ad in the same issue!

My first pics posted on this site! Enjoy!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

They actually only need 1/8th turn, to go from in to out, that's why the wrench is useful.
43 Ford GPW 92098
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Sold: 61 CJ-5, 41 T207 WC-1 Dodge closed cab pickup
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Re: "Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by Joe Gopan » Mon May 10, 2010 6:39 pm

I remember them, nice hub, only drawback was they stuck out a ways. There were a lot of nice accessories when Jeep was most popular AWD in the 50's.
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Re: "Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by horrocks » Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:25 am

I hate those things. They stick out like an ugly sore thumb on so many otherwise beautifully restored MBs and GPWs, and really let the thing down in my view. They seem pretty unique to The States. You don't see them on restorations this side of the pond.
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Re: "Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by Joe Gopan » Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:33 am

Welcome to the world of obsolete Jeep accessories. The 50's were awkward years for Jeep Hubs, many disappeared when Warn became Jeep Factory Authorized Equipment.
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Re: "Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by Marty, SoCal » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:17 am

"I hate those things"

They are beautiful when you have to drive 150 miles at 55 mph + on the freeway to get to your favorite wheeling spot! :wink:

Besides, only the Jeep police seem to notice them when they are painted the same color as the jeep! 8)
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Re: "Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by horrocks » Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:43 am

Marty, SoCal wrote:"I hate those things"

They are beautiful when you have to drive 150 miles at 55 mph + on the freeway to get to your favorite wheeling spot! :wink:

Besides, only the Jeep police seem to notice them when they are painted the same color as the jeep! 8)
Crikey, I should think almost anything apart from sitting in a Jeep would be beautiful after driving 150 miles in one of the things!

I don't know how people don't notice them. The make a Jeep look club-footed... :(

People used to have them fitted to old series Landrovers here in the UK. I can't remember what difference they were meant to make. Is it just a matter of fuel consumption, or does the vehicle actually run a bit faster?
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Re: "Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by Marty, SoCal » Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:56 am

I notice alot less vibration, and the steering effort seems a bit easier. I can't say what the difference is in fuel economy with my jeeps, as I always have them unlocked until I hit dirt.
43 Ford GPW 92098
53 Dunbar Kapple M100
Sold: 61 CJ-5, 41 T207 WC-1 Dodge closed cab pickup
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Re: "Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by Herb Tate » Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:42 am

Marty, SoCal wrote:I notice alot less vibration, and the steering effort seems a bit easier. I can't say what the difference is in fuel economy with my jeeps, as I always have them unlocked until I hit dirt.
You might have other problems!! I just rebuilt my front axle and removed the lockouts and replaced them with the original flange. No vibrations and difference in steering, but I do have a slight drop in fuel milage which is a given. I will have to agree that lockouts look out of place. Just for fun look at the M38A1 in Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.

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Re: "Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by Marty, SoCal » Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:09 am

My "F" marked front driveshaft was built out of phase by Ford, plus the splines are a bit loose. (I actually have four f-marked front/rear GPW driveshafts, ALL of them are out of phase by 1/2 a spline!) At low, off road speeds, I don't notice the vibrations.

My mileage would probably drop, if I left the hubs engaged for long distances. I don't know firsthand, as this GPW has had these hubs since '57 (if the date on them means anything) and I always drive with them unlocked.

If I were to show it, I probably would install OEM "F" marked flanges to keep the jeep police happy, if I ever find some!
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Re: "Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by Herb Tate » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:06 am

Interesting thing about the driveshafts! I will check mine out. The F marked flanges are around through some of our venders. You might want to put some on a shelf before they get hard to find. Don't forget the F marked cap.

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Re: "Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by radiomog » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:07 am

I have some model WL-58 hubs on my MB.

they're coming off.

they're a bit different then those shown above.
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Re: "Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by Marty, SoCal » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:18 am

Radiomog, post some pics of them!

I repacked the right side knuckle on my GPW a couple days ago, will do the left side this weekend. Took some pics of the guts of these "Free-Lock" hubs, I'll try to post them this weekend. The date stamped on them was "11-57"
43 Ford GPW 92098
53 Dunbar Kapple M100
Sold: 61 CJ-5, 41 T207 WC-1 Dodge closed cab pickup
MVPA #8266
USMC Tanker (1811, 1812), 85-93
ASE Automotive Master tech, former Chrysler-Jeep Level 4 Mastertech, CA state EA smog license

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Re: "Free-Lock" Hubs, How common are these?

Post by Marty, SoCal » Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:22 am

Here's the pics of the disassembly and guts:

Take out the six flange bolts and two slotted screws:
Image

Outer half then comes off to access the axle nut:
Image

Inner half then comes off to access the wheel bearings:
Image

The inner drive gear is held to the inner half with a snap ring, there is a Torrington needle bearing pressed into the flange, dated 11-57:
Image

Brass dogs inside the outer half of the hub are what lock the hub:
Image

Unlocked position:
Image

Locked position:
Image

The brass dogs slide in grooves in the inner half. Takes about 1/8 turn of the hub to actuate them.
43 Ford GPW 92098
53 Dunbar Kapple M100
Sold: 61 CJ-5, 41 T207 WC-1 Dodge closed cab pickup
MVPA #8266
USMC Tanker (1811, 1812), 85-93
ASE Automotive Master tech, former Chrysler-Jeep Level 4 Mastertech, CA state EA smog license


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