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2005 Ford F-150:
4x4 IWE Solenoid and Hubs Bad

Alex Steele
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as seen in Truck Trend



I own a 2005 Ford F-150 SuperCab 5.4 Liter, four-wheel-drive with 42,000 miles on it. The four-wheel-drive went out and I came to find that the IWE solenoid and hubs were bad. The IWE solenoid went bad causing the hubs to not stay fully disengaged destroying them as well.


It was fixed at the local Ford dealership, and what strikes me as odd is that the new IWE solenoid has a rain guard over it. Seems to me that when they have a problem like this it should be considered for a recall, and the consumer should not have to pay for a faulty design. I contacted Ford and they said it was not a malfunction.




As a matter of fact, Ford Technical Service Bulletin number 06-8-15 deals with a similar condition -- water intrusion of the IWE (Integrated Wheel Ends) solenoid. The symptoms described in the service bulletin differ a little from yours, but it sure sounds relevant.


The described problem involves water intrusion through the IWE solenoid contaminating the rest of the vacuum actuated system, and causing noise while in two-wheel drive. There's also potential for the solenoid to short circuit, set trouble codes C1979 and C1980, and disable the 4WDH light.


The IWE solenoid normally applies vacuum to the Integrated Wheel Ends (locking hubs), and disengages the hubs while in two-wheel. In four-wheel, the powertrain control module commands the solenoid on, cutting off the vacuum supply and therefore engaging the spring loaded hubs.


It seems as though the water contamination can obstruct the flow of vacuum and lock (or partially lock) the hubs while in two-wheel drive, which may damage the splines on the hubs and/or CV joints.


The fix is to clear the vacuum lines of water, and replace the IWE solenoid with a modified unit which includes a bracket to shield the solenoid from future water intrusion.


This is a technical service bulletin, not a recall. It even stipulates that the condition is only "eligible under provisions of new vehicle limited warranty coverage". You're best case is show the TSB to the Ford dealer service manager and politely ask for restitution, seeing it is a known problem requiring a modified part to correct. He may be able to send it through under warranty with an OK from the Ford zone representative, or provide some kind of good faith discount. Being a previous cash-paying service customer wouldn't hurt.

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25 Nov 2016, 12:47
RE: Randy McGarvey, The problem you are experiencing could be related to water intrusion into the electrical area of the transfer case like wiring faults related to water getting into the shift motor and wiring connections. There also may be an issue with the vacuum lines where water could get inside the vacuum lines causing this issue.

The first thing to do is to get a scan tool on your truck and see if any trouble codes stored in the computer memory related to the four wheel drive system and repairing the codes that may come up.
Randy McGarvey
25 Nov 2016, 10:31
Im having trouble with my 2005 f150 4wd (5.4). I noticed when I put the switch in 4wd the indicator light on the dash will come on for a second and go off. I wasn't in a condition that I needed 4wd so I don't know if it goes into 4wd or it's just that the light is not on. Just wondering if you've seen that before.
17 Nov 2014, 12:33
First you should get the truck back to the dealer ASAP!

Then have them inspect the locking hubs for proper operation.

The vacuum line on the solenoid that was just replaced should also be inspected for a leak or blockage.
16 Nov 2014, 17:57
Help! I just had my 4x4 vacuum solenoid replaced in my 04 F250 6.0 diesel by the ford dealer. Now it is making a noise that it has never made before when I accelerate and its real loud when I switch it to 4x4.It almost sounds like when the power steering fluid is low but its not that. Any ideas???
22 Aug 2010, 21:39
The hubs may be making the noise, but not the cause of the problem. You may still be able to replace the IWE solenoid and save the hubs.

Have it checked out by a technician soon. It may save you money in the long run.
Andy Newman
21 Aug 2010, 18:25
I am have the same problem with the noise. My 4-wheel drive still works I just hope I caught this soon enough. If you think that my hubs are bad let me know. I have only had the truck for about 3weeks. The truck is an 05 f-150 supercab 4x4 w/ 68000 miles. Thanks for the Info
25 Mar 2010, 08:57
Hi Dave:

Not always, but most of the time, there won't be a recall unless the defect is safety or emissions related.

In this case you'll probably just get the technical service bulletin.

You can submit a complaint with the NHTSA if you feel it's a safety problem.
Dave Johnson
25 Mar 2010, 08:50
I too have the same problem on my 2005 f150. It seems to me that Ford should own up to this fix and have a recall on this problem.

Who should a consumer complain to?

Best Regards,
Dave Johnson


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