Axle Knuckle Pushing Wheel Right?

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Aug 22, 2022
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Texas
I just took ownership of this 94 and bought it knowing that I have to pull about 15-20 degrees left to go straight, thinking that it would be a simple alignment issue.

I had new wheels and tires put on today and the shop called and told me they couldn't align the vehicle because the driver front wheel is being pushed to the right pretty significantly by what they believe is the king pin knuckle.

I plan on tearing the knuckle apart and trying to figure it out myself, but I wanted to ask on here to see if anyone could tell me what could be causing the rightward push and what I need to adjust?

The shop kept using terminology like, "tighten the king pin," but I wonder why a loose pin would be causing a push at all? Wouldn't it be that there is pressure or tension causing the push? I am completely ignorant and new to all of this.

Any help is appreciated.
 
Joined
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The design of this axle is pretty simple and your "adjustment" is most likely the previous owner not maintaining this cruiser like they should have. Take the wheel off and start shaking things down and inspecting items for looseness. I imagine you will find multiple things wrong which most likely can be remedied with a front end service kit from a reputable place like cruiseroutfitters.com

Feel free to look on youtube for Otramms video walking you through rebuilding the front knuckles on your 80.

Welcome to the MUD and the search function is your friend.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2022
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The design of this axle is pretty simple and your "adjustment" is most likely the previous owner not maintaining this cruiser like they should have. Take the wheel off and start shaking things down and inspecting items for looseness. I imagine you will find multiple things wrong which most likely can be remedied with a front end service kit from a reputable place like cruiseroutfitters.com

Feel free to look on youtube for Otramms video walking you through rebuilding the front knuckles on your 80.

Welcome to the MUD and the search function is your friend.
Dude! I literally just watched Otramms video! It was crazy useful!

So, the looseness of any of these items could be causing a push? That part still confuses me a bit. I feel like looseness would cause more of a loose walk in the steering either way, rather than a clear rightward push in the steering? So confusing to me

I was planning on taking the cruiser to Red River, NM starting tomorrow. Would be about 4.5-5 hours up there, some light to moderate trails, and then 4.5-5 hours back. Do you think it is safe to drive it as-is for now until I can start doing an inspection on the knuckle next week? It drives fine as long as I get the steering wheel in the right position.
 
Joined
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Kansas City
Yes depending on what components are loose they can cause a pull or push effect while driving. Jack your 80 up on the driveway and look for issues. I would never recommend driving with loose parts on the driveline not even one mile. You are putting your life and others at risk if something were to fail.

I’m not sure of your mechanical skill, but it’s free for you to go outside and jack up the vehicle and check for issues. Do not drive it until it’s safe. You even have a shop telling you it’s not safe.
 
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Yes depending on what components are loose they can cause a pull or push effect while driving. Jack your 80 up on the driveway and look for issues. I would never recommend driving with loose parts on the driveline not even one mile. You are putting your life and others at risk if something were to fail.

I’m not sure of your mechanical skill, but it’s free for you to go outside and jack up the vehicle and check for issues. Do not drive it until it’s safe. You even have a shop telling you it’s not safe.
Shop told me only thing I need to worry about is tread wearing oddly on that tire while driving with it, not that it was dangerous. No one has really told me if it was dangerous or not to drive it with that push. That's why I was asking.
 
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Just fix it right before taking it on any kind of trip. I would never take a 20+ year old vehicle I just purchased on any kind of long trip before owning it for a few months and baselining it.

You are asking for a major breakdown, a major pita away from home, and a super expensive bill to get it sorted and driving.
 
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they couldn't align the vehicle because the driver front wheel is being pushed to the right pretty significantly by what they believe is the king pin knuckle.

There is no king pin on 80s. There are trunnion bearings, and you don't adjust anything on them.

If you haven't already, rebuild the front end. Inspect the wheel bearings and trunnion bearings. Realistically, just order them and replace them all, along with the full hub rebuild kit (axle seal, Birfield wipers, etc.).

I wouldn't drive it at high speeds or long distances until you figure out what's going on. You didn't say what you've done since taking ownership, but doing a 10+ hour round trip in a vehicle you haven't baselined is extremely unwise.
 
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Hate to be the one that goes right to worst case, but here I am... Could be a bent axle. The only thing you can adjust with just tools, not counting new parts, is toe. That's it. Everything thing else is hard mounted.
 
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Hate to be the one that goes right to worst case, but here I am... Could be a bent axle. The only thing you can adjust with just tools, not counting new parts, is toe. That's it. Everything thing else is hard mounted.
How would I go about checking for a bent axle? I mean, obviously if it were bad, I would see it pretty easy, but what if it is a subtle bend?
 
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I believe it's my steering stabilizer shock. It is a Rancho RS5404. That more passenger-side joint looks like it is getting pulled pretty hard, and the stabilizer bar in general looks a bit pitched toward the right. I have my wheels straight here. Steering wheel had to be pulled left to get them straight, similar to when I am driving.

How do I adjust this, or do I need to buy a new shock with longer travel specifications?
Rancho RS5404.jpeg
 

Zjohnsonua

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It's not your steering stabilizer. Also, you can't adjust them. They bolt on to fixed hard points on purpose.

Put the truck on stands, pull the front tires, and make sure the knuckles are properly assembled and all the fasteners are tight. 80s are notorious for having the lower trunnion caps loosen due to steering loads.

If everything is tight, post more photos of the front end parts. A bend that bad may be visible to some of these more experienced eyes.
 
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It's not your steering stabilizer. Also, you can't adjust them. They bolt on to fixed hard points on purpose.

Put the truck on stands, pull the front tires, and make sure the knuckles are properly assembled and all the fasteners are tight. 80s are notorious for having the lower trunnion caps loosen due to steering loads.

If everything is tight, post more photos of the front end parts. A bend that bad may be visible to some of these more experienced eyes.
Thank you Zjohnsonua! We are not trying to be negative to the OP. It obvious that this person has no experience with Landcruisers and this particular vehicle is new to him. All of these things can be very dangerous to someone if there are underlying problems with the vehicle, plus you’re also adding in 25 years of age.

Jdub94-Please do not drive this and do your research! If you are not mechanically inclined you need to take this to an actual shop that knows how to work on Land cruisers. I would prepare yourself to drive something else on your trail ride today. But hell you do you man
 
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Thank you Zjohnsonua! We are not trying to be negative to the OP. It obvious that this person has no experience with Landcruisers and this particular vehicle is new to him. All of these things can be very dangerous to someone if there are underlying problems with the vehicle, plus you’re also adding in 25 years of age.

Jdub94-Please do not drive this and do your research! If you are not mechanically inclined you need to take this to an actual shop that knows how to work on Land cruisers. I would prepare yourself to drive something else on your trail ride today. But hell you do you man
Okay, I just wanted to check that it is normal for the shock and bar to have tension on it like that when the wheels are aligned and not turned in either direction. I am decently mechanically minded in that I understand how physics work - I am just ignorant to car parts and systems. Most complicated car repair I've done was a CPS replacement on my 99 F250! lol

I will get the wheel off of that side now and jack it up and see if there is any loose components.

The lower trunnion is where the knuckle mounts to the tie rods on the bottom of the knuckle, yeah?
 

ChaseTruck

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To me, it looks as if there's something off with that steering stabilizer, and the relay rod (drag link from pitman arm to knuckle) angle looks to be fairly steep. Did someone put a lift on this vehicle recently, and didn't correct the steering for that?

For starters, I'd jack up the front end (both sides on jack stands, even height), and unbolt that steering stabilizer. Turn the steering wheel all the way to the right, count the turns it takes to turn it all the way to the left, turn back to the right for half that amount of turns - that should center the steering box (and the steering wheel ought to be straight). Does turning the steering wheel go smoothly, or are there any points of resistance? When turned all the way right or left, are the steering stops at the knuckles engaged, or is the steering box the limiting factor? Where are the tires pointed when the wheel/box is centered - straight, or off to one side?

I wouldn't go on a long drive knowing there might be a potential problem with steering the vehicle. And a trail ride at the end of that long drive may just make matters worse.
 

thatcabledude

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If you’re considering a 10hr round trip the truck must drive fine down the road. That, or you’re crazy. What happens when you let go of the wheel driving straight down a nice flat road? The steering wheel being crooked when the wheels are straight really doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have to physically hold it crooked to keep the truck traveling straight.

What did the wear pattern look like on the tires that were just removed? That could tell us a lot. Also, the frame side Mount on the steering stabilizer is bent a little. That may be a clue.
 
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If you’re considering a 10hr round trip the truck must drive fine down the road. That, or you’re crazy. What happens when you let go of the wheel driving straight down a nice flat road? The steering wheel being crooked when the wheels are straight really doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have to physically hold it crooked to keep the truck traveling straight.

What did the wear pattern look like on the tires that were just removed? That could tell us a lot. Also, the frame side Mount on the steering stabilizer is bent a little. That may be a clue.
He used it as a crawler so the tread on the old ones were fine, just chewed up a little. It does drive fine. I have been at 70mph on the high way flat road and as long as I hold the wheel where it needs to be its fine. Once I get the steering wheel where it's supposed to be, if I let go it will try to hook right.
 
Joined
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It's not your steering stabilizer. Also, you can't adjust them. They bolt on to fixed hard points on purpose.

Put the truck on stands, pull the front tires, and make sure the knuckles are properly assembled and all the fasteners are tight. 80s are notorious for having the lower trunnion caps loosen due to steering loads.

If everything is tight, post more photos of the front end parts. A bend that bad may be visible to some of these more experienced eyes.
The back left bolt was a little loose on the lower trunnion, but the other 3 were solid. before tightening the bolt back down I tried to wiggle the trunnion to see if it was loosy goosy and it was solid.
 

Zjohnsonua

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The back left bolt was a little loose on the lower trunnion, but the other 3 were solid. before tightening the bolt back down I tried to wiggle the trunnion to see if it was loosy goosy and it was solid.

Gotcha. Another check: bolt the tires back up and while the wheel is in the air grab the tire at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions and try to rock it back and forth. Does anything feel loose? Do the same thing at 12 and 6. Any looseness?
 
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Just looking at the picture and shooting from the hip I see one of the knuckle balls pissing grease. The front diff has a large plate welded to the pumpkin area. Most 80 owners do not weld to the axle housings. In my experience with Toyota axles they warp from welding heat much easier compared to other brands. Who knows what you will find once you crack this egg open. I can tell you that if the wheel is forcing you to hold it straight to drive straight, it is not safe.
 

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