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assessing Birfields without pulling apart

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by Riley, Jul 20, 2003.

  1. Riley

    Riley

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    I've got a 1995 80 coming in a couple of weeks. The PO has just had the front bearings repacked but (of course) I wasn't there to question the state of the nation. Truck has 68K miles.

    After reading this forum from back to front - I'm already thinking about what those bearing might look like inside. The dealer that did the noted that the repack was due but didn't write up anything else.

    Any harm in waiting say a year and then do another repack and assess the bearing at that time? I'm thinking I should just replace the bearings ect... anyway.

    Any harm in waiting a year to do this if everything inspects OK from the outside?

    Is there anyway to know if there's a potential problem in there without pulling it all apart?

    It appears that this is an area on the 80 that causes the most grief and I'd like to sleep at night. ???

    Thanks guys

    Ben
     
  2. moralien

    moralien

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    I did not know you could inspect a birfield from the outside. ::)

    The birfield repack is supposed to be done at 60k. Your 8k over that already and you wanna drive it for another year without fawking with it? Be my guest. You may get lucky, then again 10 thousand miles down the road they could dry up and go BOOM. When do you think you will get better sleep? Best to bite the bullet and do it now.
     
  3. cruiserman

    cruiserman

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    If you're not leaking goo from the inboard side of the knuckle, and you're reasonably certain there's some grease in the knuckle*, then I wouldn't worry about it. It's easy to break it down to the knuckle, or you could pull off the oil seal set from the inboard side and take a peek.



    *The Rub.
     
  4. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    Technically Toyota says 60k, however I waited until 100k. I've been on different boards for over 3 years now and haven't read anyone who waited for it to make noise first, get that noise before 115k. I also drive a lot of highway which is less turning which means less stress on the grease. The 100k actually came from servicing previous cars with repacking and replacing CV boots. Different joint but same grease.
    I'm probably standing alone here and I'm not saying you should not service the joints, but I don't think it would be a problem if you put on another 10k or so. I'd be more likely to inspect those diff breathers as they get clogged with dirt and can cause grease to get sucked into the diff area from the knuckles and cause alot of problems as well.
     
  5. sleeoffroad

    sleeoffroad Supporting Vendor

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    Just to clarify, the birfield will probably not break. The biggest problem we see is that the hub seal and inner axle seal fail. Then the little spring runs on the seal surface on the spindle or the inner axle. End result a nice groove. Problem, the seals will never seal properly again. Also, if the wheelbearings are loose, it agrevates the problem. Sometimes if the grease is old and contaminated, the wheelbearing spins on the spindle and you trash the spindle,

    the other problem is that the brass bushing inside the spinde wears out.

    So in short, you end up replacing expensive parts. It is not just the wear on the birfield that you have to be concerned about.

    We just did a 92 truck with 140k miles. Pretty badly neglected. Every single seal surface area was trashed, and the birfields were as well. Total parts cost would be in the area of about $1500. Cdan can make a parts list and post prices. :D

    On higher mileage trucks the the owner is then stuck with either replacing the parts, or we won't guarantee that they will not start leaking premarturely.


    Christo
     
  6. Riley

    Riley

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    Thanks guys - I think I'll play it safe and have them pulled apart and check everything out.

    The problem will now be finding someone I trust to do the work.

    Hey Simon - Are the guys at the North Shore Off-road center capable in this area? I assume so...

    Ben
     
  7. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Ben,

    Everybody who has posted to this thread (up to now anyway) ::) has made good points. I'll suggest this to you:

    1) Are the backs of the knuckles fairly clean?

    yes, go on to 2

    no, repack

    2) can you rock the wheel in and out with the wheel raised off the ground and grasping it at 6 and 12 o'clock?

    yes, repack

    no, go on to 3

    3) remove the screw plug on top of the knuckle and inset a piece of stiff wire as a dip stick. Pull it out and look at the condition of the grease. Is there ANY sign of dilution by, or odor of, gear oil?

    Yes, repack

    no, you are probably not in trouble right now.
    repeat all of the above steps Frequently
    looking for signs of failure.


    It is certainly possible for particuilar vehicles to travel further than others before problems arise. This is meant to assist one in pushing one's luck in a more informed fashion.

    Cheers, Dan.
     
  8. Riley

    Riley

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    Thanks Dan. I'll perform the above checks when I get the truck home.

    I guess I wasn't clear in my question - I know the repack service was just done at the dealer (have service record). Is having a $285 repack service good enough of a birfield service (no bearings replaced) OR should I have it pulled apart again and go deeper and check more stuff out. I guess I don't know enough on this. IS there different levels of service on these?

    1) just a repack AND
    2) tearing it down further and inspecting and replacing what's worn.

    Or would a good dealer have inspected and suggested replacing what's worn on just a $285 repack?

    Thanks

    Ben
     
  9. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Ben,

    I don't think 285 bucks bought a knuckle job/birf pack. That sounds to me like wheel bearings only. A "full" knuckle job easily passes a grand. Parts alone exceed what was spent here.
     
  10. Jim_Phillips

    Jim_Phillips

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    Another indication that you have work to do comes from inspecting the diff oil. If your inner axle seal has gone you will get diff oil and moly grease mixing. If your diff oil is contaminated with moly, it means your birfield is also contaminated with diff oil - that means you better get to work.

    I did the repack job at 95,000 miles - no problems up to then...

    JIm
     
  11. Eduardo96FZJ80

    Eduardo96FZJ80

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    3) remove the screw plug on top of the knuckle and inset a piece of stiff wire as a dip stick. Pull it out and look at the condition of the grease. Is there ANY sign of dilution by, or odor of, gear oil?

    Yes, repack

    no, you are probably not in trouble right now.
    repeat all of the above steps Frequently
    looking for signs of failure.

    Dan,

    Is the screw plug, just for inspection, or is it also for adding grease?? just wundering?
     
  12. Eduardo96FZJ80

    Eduardo96FZJ80

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    oops ment to quote step three :D
     
  13. Junk

    Junk

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    [quote author=BenieBJ60 link=board=2;threadid=3814;start=0#msg27975 date=1058677661]

    Is there anyway to know if there's a potential problem in there without pulling it all apart?
    [/quote]

    Hint: If you hear that horrible sound that makes you want to puke, and you know it's not B ripping off another [​IMG], then yes, you likely have issues. :flipoff2: :eek:
     
  14. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Eduardo,

    You can add grease through the hole.
     
  15. semlin

    semlin rocker

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    Dan on #3 I think it would not be trustworthy here. Given that the PO just repacked the bearings on this one I am guessing the dipstick test would find the reservoir full of fresh grease but this does not mean the contaminated stuff didn't leak out. .

    Benie, North Shore Off Road have no experience on these things but I am leaning more and more towards using them. I have located a "toyota genius" mechanic from a 4x4 club but he works in a shop south of marine drive in burnaby miles from anywhere and I can't seem to get the truck there, and he has a reputation of needing your truck for a few days for any job. PM me if you want his number.
     
  16. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Simon,

    I know what you are saying but I think #2 is the one to disregard. Most of the time the knuckle plugs are never touched. The dollar ammount mentioned wouldn't come close to any work on the knuckles. When a tech does a wheel bearing pack, he never gets past the backing plate. I also think that even if a bunch of grease was pumped into the knuckle one would still be able to at least SMELL the 90 weight. Of course this is just one man's opinion.

    Dan.
     
  17. Riley

    Riley

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    Well I've decided to do a full birfield job and replace most (likely all) bearings and pay special attention to the wear on the axle spindles (as per Sleeoffroad). I've kind off just figured into the cost of the truck.

    Simon - when I get back into town I'm PM you for the guys number in Burnaby (sounds good). :D

    Dan - I know everyone was hassling you over your avaitor (picture) but I liked the old one better (perhaps this one will grow on me)

    One other question I was thinking about - are the birfields and knuckles all that different on a TLC than on a TOyota pickup OR 4runner? I would think people would have lot's of experience on those. I guess it's the full-time 4WD thatr makes it different?

    Ben
     
  18. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    Ben,

    >> are the birfields and knuckles all that different on a TLC than <<
    >> on a TOyota pickup OR 4runner? <<

    No, they are basically the same. The difference is that the 80 series is full-time 4wd and therefore the birfields are "used" much more than in a part-time 4wd. With our 80s, the front axles are always spinning, the axle tube seals are constantly being worn, the drive flange, bushings, and all the other bits are doing their job all the time the truck is moving.

    In a part-time 4wd solid axle truck (Cruisers, early minis, 1st gen 4runners) maintenance on the birfields was more reactive than proactive and wear and tear was much less than in our full-time 4wd. "Much less" is kinda relative though because I don't think a front axle service every 60k miles is that big a deal.

    -B-
     
  19. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    One other difference is the 80 series components are larger that the other vehicles. They SEEM to be more robust than their smaller cousins. That being said, they can be broken by professionals ::)