We demonstrate the fast-axis instability in mode-locked fiber lasers numerically for the first time. We find that the energy of the fast mode will be transferred to the slow mode when the strong pump strength makes the soliton period short. A nearly linearly polarized vector soliton along the slow-axis could be generated under certain cavity parameters. The final polarization of the vector soliton is related to the initial polarization of the seed pulse. Two regimes of energy exchanging between the slow mode and the fast mode are explored and the direction of the energy flow between two modes depends on the phase difference. The dip-type sidebands are found to be intrinsic characteristics of the mode-locked fiber lasers under high pulse energy.