The Mahindra Scorpio CRDe 4WD came equipped with Borg Warner auto-locking hubs. Now these are seen by most as the weakest link in the four-wheel drive system of the Mahindra Scorpio. These auto locking hubs are imported components from Borg Warner, and I had the misfortune of having one of them, the front left, fail on me about four years ago. At that time, I was charged Rs. 14,500 by Mahindra to replace one hub. Yes, one. That's when I swore that the next time one of these things conked off, I would go back to full manual locking hubs. Before I get into the technicalities let me just explain what auto-locking or manual locking hubs do, for those who are not familiar with four-wheel drive vehicles. An auto-locking or manual locking hub fitted to the front wheels in a four-wheel drive vehicle will disconnect the front axle from the wheel hub, allowing the front wheels to spin freely reducing load on the transmission, as the front drive shafts, differential, propellor shaft and transfer case will remain at rest when the vehicle is driving in two-wheel drive mode. This allows for better fuel efficiency and less wear and tear on components, as well as less drag on the steering. The older Mahindra Scorpio and Thar have this jutting out auto-locking hub on the front wheels. The newer S10 has an electronic axle disconnect, that disengages the front drive shafts from the front differential itself. This time, on an off-road trip the previous weekend, I heard a loud snap and then a clattering sound when shifting into four wheel drive. My fears were right. The front right auto-locking hub had broken. These auto locking hubs work by having the axle turn a half turn within them to engage. To disengage them, you have to shift back to 2WD and reverse the vehicle a couple of feet. I excused myself early from the event and went straight to Zeus4x4 - Hitesh Madhok - who runs Made 4x4 Concepts. He stocks manual locking hubs from Lamda, which cost just about Rs. 5K a pair. Off came the auto-locking hub from Red Fox (my 2006 Mahindra Scorpio CRDe DX 4WD).
Take a look inside. The washer inside is broken and it's generally a mess. Off with this Rs. 14,000 piece of equipment.
And instead, it would be replaced with these tried and tested Lamda manual locking hubs. These hubs used to come with the first-generation MG410 Maruti Gypsy too (those were made by Aisin).
The new hub is a direct fit on the Scorpio's axle (same as Mahindra Thar). It's a 31 spline front axle (Dana Spicer design).
Before putting in the allen key nuts, we used some Loctite (to prevent the hub from coming loose, since I was now removing the centre cups on my alloys). In two-wheel drive mode, it needs to remain at "Free" and before shifting to four wheel drive, you need to turn the knob to "Lock".
The hub now sticks out neatly within the front alloys and actually looks good. It's fairly convenient to shift. And I get the added advantage of using two-wheel drive "low ratio" if I don't lock the hubs and shift to 4L.
Overall, a pretty good upgrade that's actually seen as a downgrade, but is definitely far more reliable than the auto-locking hubs.
Alright then! Red Fox is back in action with sturdier 4x4 components. It is a swap I would highly recommend to those who are hard core off-road enthusiasts. The auto locking hubs are weak and expensive. These are better.