Real Time Help Needed: Major fluid loss at steering knuckle

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by BrettinSanAntonio, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. BrettinSanAntonio

    BrettinSanAntonio

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    While on a local run yesterday, things came to an abrupt halt after noticing major fluid loss at the right, front steering knuckle. Is this the result of a bad inner axle seal or am I looking at some kind of other failure? Notice in the photo how the steering arm and knuckle housing have a half inch gap.

    Any help appreciated.

    IMG_0020.JPG IMG_0021.JPG IMG_0014.JPG
     
  2. BrettinSanAntonio

    BrettinSanAntonio

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    Additional Photos

    More photos.
    IMG_0016.JPG IMG_0022.JPG
     
  3. -Spike-

    -Spike-

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    Do Not Drive That.

    You've broken or lost multiple bolts for your steering arm, and the grease/oil mixture in your knuckle is pouring out. Your steering knuckle could fall off at any time, which would be catastrophic for you, your passengers, and possibly someone else in another vehicle.

    You will need to repair the threads in the knuckle or replace it entirely.

    -Spike
     
  4. concretejungle

    concretejungle SILVER Star

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    Spike is on it.

    Don't drive it like that! It looks like the steering arm bolts are broken!!
     
  5. 98 SNAKE EATER

    98 SNAKE EATER

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  6. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    What Spike said.

    You'll be doing an axle job anyway 'cause you really need to get those studs replaced. Dan stocks the new style knuckle studs and the special nuts (hardened.)

    If you cannot do the work yourself then have that thing hauled on a flat-bed to the repair shop. You were lucky and the steering had to be extremely bad on the drive back to your house. If you absolutely must drive it somewhere then snug up the nuts on the remaining studs. They are torqued to 71 ft/lbs. Check both sides.

    Oh, one more thing. You will need an axle tube seal. :D

    -B-
     
  7. Darwood

    Darwood

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    Dammit, I should have looked harder at your studs when I was looking at your birf soup. I think we now know why your inner axle seal is leaking. Let me know if you want any help with that.
     
  8. BrettinSanAntonio

    BrettinSanAntonio

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    10/4 to that. It came home on a flat bed tow truck and I've not moved it.

    Do you think I can drive it 40 feet in to my garage?

     
  9. BrettinSanAntonio

    BrettinSanAntonio

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    I will take any help you can give. This is probably over my head to do it alone but I do provide BBQ and beverages to those that can help.
    Maintenance party at my house next Saturday?
     
  10. BrettinSanAntonio

    BrettinSanAntonio

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    You got me. I've had no major impacts on the front wheels and I've been good about PM's on the front bearings. Luck of the draw I guess.
     
  11. concretejungle

    concretejungle SILVER Star

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    Yes, you should be able to get it the 40 ft. to your garage. Snugg the bolts first.
     

  12. bpenn1980

    bpenn1980

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    Holy smokes batman!

    Seeing that pic makes me glad I just eyeballed and re-torqued mine this weekend....wow.

    Best of luck gettin er back up and on the road
    :beer:
     
  13. Atticus

    Atticus

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    Maybe this would be a good thread for the FAQ on the axle job, under retorquing the steering knuckle bolts?
     
  14. Darwood

    Darwood

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    Next Saturday as in the 23rd? I think I'm good for then. Have to work this Saturday. Looks like you need to order some parts first, starting with the knuckle studs. ;)
     
  15. Bear80

    Bear80

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    Ouch. It got a whole lot worse there Brett! Yep, let me get you new stud numbers and stuff....
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2008
  16. Bear80

    Bear80

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    This is probably close to ten times I've seen this on the forum now. I get the feeling this failure is mainly due to the studs losening when the nuts are pulled off during a birfield job. It should be noted that you DO NOT need to losen those nuts to do a birfield job and I always make that recommendation.
     
  17. Darwood

    Darwood

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    That is unless you are replacing the trunnion bearings at the same time, but yeah check them periodically.

    I can't remember, can you change out the wiper seals without removing the knuckle?
     
  18. Bear80

    Bear80

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    Nope you can completely leave those nuts/studs alone even when installing new trunion bearings. I've done two that way.

    It's not possible to change the wipers without pulling the knuckle housing.
     
  19. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    Not easily, and not recommended. You would have to cut the felt and the rubber seal then put the "cuts" at the top of the back of the knuckle (offset a little to minimize leaking).

    I think it is important to check those lower knuckle nuts routinely. I checked mine about 3 months ago and during the current project (gears+ F&R axle service) there was 1 nut that was very loose. I should have suspected something because the front would give a little shimmy sometimes... almost like a warped rotor but intermittent which is NOT like a warped rotor.

    We have heavier than stock trucks... with larger than stock tyres... many with 35" tyres... and the steering and knuckles take a beating on most off-road trails. I believe these are the reasons for the number of loose lower knuckles that we have seen. Maybe everyone should be checking these after ever wheeling trip and before every high speed trip.

    -B-
     
  20. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    Are you leaving in the old lower trunion bearing race? I don't see a problem with removing the lower arm as long as the studs are checked and the cone washers are back in and the nuts are torqued properly. Why do you leave it alone?

    -B-
     

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