Ford F150 is equipped with different parts and systems to run smoothly on the road. IWE is one such system present in these vehicles to support their function.
What Is IWE on a Ford F150? IWE on a Ford F150 is used to switch the driving mode from 2WD to 4WD. It uses a vacuum to engage and disengage the front wheels from the system. Loud noises, tire wear, and difficulty switching drive modes are signs of bad IWE. Vacuum leaks and faults in the solenoid can cause it to wear out.
Ford introduced the IWE in 2004 in their models, which has enhanced its performance.
What is the function of the IWE system in the Ford F150?
All types of vehicles have drive modes to run smoothly on the road. Two and four-wheel drive are two basic drive modes of all kinds of pickups and automobiles. Ford F 150 also uses four drive-wheel modes, which are interchangeable with two-wheel drive modes in different conditions.
IWE is an abbreviation of integrated wheel ends that is found in Ford F150 trucks. This system allows the vehicle to change from four-wheel to two-wheel drive mode. It allows the front wheel to engage and disengage from the drive system.
When it is engaged, it delivers the power from the engine to the front wheels. It happens in four-wheel drive mode. But when it is disengaged, it allows the front wheels to spin freely without delivering power to them.
It enables the vehicle to save fuel by disengaging the front wheels. It engages all four wheels when more traction and acceleration are required.
How does the IWE system work in the Ford F150?
This system comprises a vacuum box, lines, solenoids, check valves, and actuators. The integrated wheel ends use wheel hubs to engage and disengage the front wheels from the system. It contains a vacuum box to apply vacuum to the wheel hub through vacuum lines.
In two-wheel drive mode, the vacuum pulls the clutch ring, disconnecting the axle from its hub unit and wheels. It allows the wheels to spin freely without any power.
In 4WD mode, the clutch ring is attached to the axle with the hub unit and wheels. This way, the engines power all wheels to get traction on rough terrains. The TCCM powers this system.
It engages one time in a cycle, and this strategy allows the lost vacuum to be returned from the engine to the vacuum box. The check valves are present to check the pressure of the vacuum inside the system.
How do I know if the IWE system is going bad?
IWE is also susceptible to damage and can fail in different situations. It can go bad due to various issues but like other systems, it shows clear signs of damage and deterioration. Here is a brief description of all the signs of a failing IWE.
The growling noise from the front wheels is an indication of bad IWE. It shows that it is not engaging and disengaging properly.
Tire wear and unusual patterns of tread wear, and difficulty in switching between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive mode also indicate fault in the system. Engaging the four-wheel drive mode even if it is not activated can also indicate a fault in the IWE.
What causes the IWE system to wear out?
Faults in different components and parts can cause it to wear out. Here is a brief description of all the causes that increase the wear and tear in this system.
Creating a vacuum is crucial to engage and disengage hubs in the system. The vacuum can leak from the vacuum reservoir or vacuum lines. It can happen due to present on holes or cracks in the reservoir or the lines.
It can cause the IWE system to fail. The best way to fix it is to fill up all the holes and cracks in the reservoir and lines. In case of severe damage, you have to replace the whole system.
You can check the vacuum by attaching the vacuum pump to the hose present in the IWE. Apply a 500mm-Hg vacuum; if it does not hold the vacuum, it indicates a leaking reservoir and lines.
Fault in IWE solenoid
Solenoid is an essential component of the system. It controls the flow of the vacuum while switching from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive.
Penetration of moisture can cause faults in the solenoid. Corrosion and humidity can cause it to malfunction. Any fault in it can hinder it from switching the driving mode.
You have to replace the solenoid to overcome the issue. You have to purchase a brand-new solenoid to do it. Repairing a faulty solenoid is not advisable.
Fault in the IWE components
Faults in the IWE parts, like actuators, vacuum lines, and locking hubs, can cause it to go bad. The parts can get damaged due to normal wear and tear. Frequent switching between the drive modes can accelerate the normal wear and tear process.
Environmental factors like dirt filth and excess moisture can cause faults in different parts. The best way to overcome all these issues is proper maintenance of the system.
You should schedule a professional checkup to keep it functional. Check it regularly for vacuum leakage or faults in the solenoid. Repair minor defects on time to save money and time.
Can you drive the Ford F150 with a bad IWE system?
I always wonder whether I could drive my Ford F150 truck without IWE. Driving your truck without or with a failing integrated wheel end system is not good. It can create many problems for the normal functioning of vehicles.
It can increase the wear and tear on the front tires. It causes the truck to lose its grip on the roads. The driver can feel difficulty handling the pickup on wet or uneven roads. It poses a threat to the safety of the truck and driver.
Losing traction on the road can cause mishandling of the vehicle and cause accidents. Failing IWE can put stress on other parts of the truck. Stress and pressure causes all the parts to wear out before they actually will.
The inability to switch from 2WD to 4WD can cause the truck to lose traction on rough terrains. Driving without switching to 4WD on rough and rocky roads will be difficult.