Birfield cleaning question

Joined
Dec 27, 2018
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311
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Auburn Alabama
Tackling front end rebuild this weekend - birfields were replaced by previous owner and aren’t make any sound so going to reuse them. I know how to pack them with grease, but without disassembly, whats the best thing to clean out the old grease with? A post on this forum said to use deisel gas which I can use, but I wanted to confirm that was the best solvent/solution to soak them in.
 

Tools R Us

 
 
Joined
Jul 20, 2004
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Chandler, AZ
Unless they are being disassembled, I don't use solvent, pretty much impossible to be sure it's all out, and don't want it contaminating the new grease. Just use a grease needle (hypodermic type) work it between the ball and cage into the back of the birf, pump until new grease comes out around all of the balls. The new thicker grease does a good job of pushing the old grease out. Likely leaves a slight amount of old grease, maybe, but better then having solvent break down the new grease.
 
Joined
Dec 27, 2018
Messages
311
Location
Auburn Alabama
Unless they are being disassembled, I don't use solvent, pretty much impossible to be sure it's all out, and don't want it contaminating the new grease. Just use a grease needle (hypodermic type) work it between the ball and cage into the back of the birf, pump until new grease comes out around all of the balls. The new thicker grease does a good job of pushing the old grease out. Likely leaves a slight amount of old grease, maybe, but better then having solvent break down the new grease.
Thats an excellent point!
 
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Dec 3, 2015
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Morro Bay God's Country
Unless they are being disassembled, I don't use solvent, pretty much impossible to be sure it's all out, and don't want it contaminating the new grease. Just use a grease needle (hypodermic type) work it between the ball and cage into the back of the birf, pump until new grease comes out around all of the balls. The new thicker grease does a good job of pushing the old grease out. Likely leaves a slight amount of old grease, maybe, but better then having solvent break down the new grease.
This X2
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
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Sydney, Australia
Wait until your wife's out, then borrow the guest bath towels. Those white fluffy ones are the best.
Chuck em in the washer with the wife's smalls when you're done.

Happy days! ;)


:rofl:



Or

Do as @Tools R Us suggests.
I've cleaned them with solvents before. It takes hours and you can't get them fully cleaned and solvent free anyway without taking them apart
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2009
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flat earth Midwest
A counterindication to using grease-em-n-go is if you've busted that inner seal and ended up with birf soup. Even if the birfs are making no noise or you don't plan to swap sides as many do at a certain point, probably a good idea to tear them down and clean them thoroughly with whatever your favorite/safest solvent is, then reassemble. Otherwise, you'll likely have gear lube in with the moly, even with a new seal.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2015
Messages
2,064
A counterindication to using grease-em-n-go is if you've busted that inner seal and ended up with birf soup. Even if the birfs are making no noise or you don't plan to swap sides as many do at a certain point, probably a good idea to tear them down and clean them thoroughly with whatever your favorite/safest solvent is, then reassemble. Otherwise, you'll likely have gear lube in with the moly, even with a new seal.
I agree with the above statement, the right way to do this job, is to take the joints all apart, solvent wash them, Inspect the parts for damage, if no damage is found then put everything back together with new gaskets, seals, and grease.
 
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Jul 4, 2019
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Kentucky
I just did mine. I’m not an expert at all, but I just wiped off all the oil/ old grease, and crammed it full of fresh moly. I personally don’t think the little bit of diff oil I couldn’t get out is gonna kill it. But idk
 

Tools R Us

 
 
Joined
Jul 20, 2004
Messages
24,776
Location
Chandler, AZ
A counterindication to using grease-em-n-go is if you've busted that inner seal and ended up with birf soup. Even if the birfs are making no noise or you don't plan to swap sides as many do at a certain point, probably a good idea to tear them down and clean them thoroughly with whatever your favorite/safest solvent is, then reassemble. Otherwise, you'll likely have gear lube in with the moly, even with a new seal.
And the counterpoint. New moly pushes birf soup out much easier, more effectively than non contaminated grease. Gear oil is good lube, some burps in no matter what, so as long as most of it is removed, good to go. The warning, need to have a box or something under, to catch the mess, gooey stuff will be flowing out. It's not that scary, once you have done it will see how well it works.

This is for known history, good birf, not clicking, etc, just lost a seal and needs to be re-greased. If there is a problem, clicking, water intrusion, etc, then it needs to come apart.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2009
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flat earth Midwest
SNIP

This is for known history, good birf, not clicking, etc, just lost a seal and needs to be re-greased. If there is a problem, clicking, water intrusion, etc, then it needs to come apart.
Kevin,
I'll defer to your experience on the exact reasons to go deep clean in situations like this. Thanks for the detail. My experience is more limited in terms of hands on, I'm certain, I just wanted to throw in a caveat. Some folks look at a practical shortcut and may conclude it always applies. I think you did a good job of summing up the exceptions.

I know my last service was certainly in that exception zone, because it was winter and I was adding lube to the diff/grease to the birf just to make the trip home for the holidays, then had to nurse it to warmer weather before my old bones could deal with that cold slab of a garage floor. It definitely needed the whole enchilada by the time I got around2it.
 
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