Locking Hubs ...
Superwinch makes manual locking hubs for the front of the Montero xx-'92-3 - can't remember which year the catalog listing ends at. There was conjecture on whether they'd fit on the 1997-99 Montero Sports. This has since been cleared up and confirmed to fit at least these three years.
My set ran $110 - yes, too much, but I was in a hurry - I've seen them for $85 elsewhere but SuperTrucks USA assured me I could return them if they didn't fit. Sometimes you pay a bit extra for the assurance.
Unlike Warn or Ramsey hubs these are what Superwinch calls "quarter-turn" hubs. These are much easier to engage then my Chevy's Warn hubs especially in the freezing cold of Colorado winters. So far I've had to re-oil them once but otherwise have had no problems.
Installation is child's play. It took fifteen minutes in the four wheel drive shop's parking lot. You'll need a large screwdriver, a 3/8" ratchet and extension and a 13mm (I used a 9/16". Yea, I know that's stupid but it fit), a small pick to pull the snap ring out and a small needle-nose vise-grip to hold the axle shaft when you put the snap ring back on.
Take the wheel center cap off. Remove the axle dust cap. Remove the snap ring and shim. Put the dust-cap back on lightly. Remove the six bolts from the hub assembly. Follow the instructions on the Superwinch sheet for re-assembly. A thin coating of Permatex gasket sealer/gasket tack - the red stuff in the spray can - wouldn't hurt. Repeat for the other side.
A nice perk was picking up some power to the rear wheels. This is achieved by no longer turning the half-shafts, differential carrier, etc. Noticeable enough that I could tell before I even go out of the shop parking lot. I consider this to be a necessary change if you're planning on running 33x12.5" tires. Every little bit of reclaimed power is a plus. Also noticed that my LS 4x4 Sport now steers like a an ES 2-wheel drive. Several others have remarked on this so I know I'm not imagining things.
This should be a no-brainer. Along with the increase in usable HP and torque at the rear wheels came an improvement in gas mileage. Between two and three MPG. I've heard different reports, either possitive or negative, from others running these hubs but as I'm the only one I know of running 33x12.5"s I can't say much more.
Also, now I can run the hubs unlocked and put it in 4-Low for the gear reduction. This is usually discouraged as the 1997-present Montero Sport uses a locking transfercase which prohibits use of 4-High or 4-Low on pavement or any other hard packed surfaces. But, the extra gear reduction is helpful occasionally. Such as when backing up with or when attaching to a trailer. Now with the hubs unlocked I can use 4-Low without fear of damaging the drivetrain.
I consider this modification to be required for anything beyond occasional fire road running. I have never had problems with the front drivetrain on my Sport, but I've seen a Toyota blow a CV Joint and end up stranded because there was no way to disconnect the wheel from the trashed joint. The result would be the same if an axle shaft broke. If something like this does happen even shifting out of 4-wheel drive will not allow you to move the vehicle as the CV Joint assembly and axles will still turn irrespective of whether the transfercase is in 2- or 4-wheel drive.
Superwinch has since discontinued the following hubs
Superwinch Manual Locking Hubs
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