front axle question (1 Viewer)

Aug 31, 2005
My front axle works fine but I was wondering if I should rebuild it or let it go until I have a problem. I have only owned the vehicle for 6 months and I dont know how the p.o. took care of it. I have changed the gear oil but that's it. Thanks for any advice you have.


Sep 1, 2003
The maintenance procedures manual says to replace the wheel bearing grease and to top off the grease in the steering knuckle every 30K miles. Getting to the wheel bearings is somewhat involved, so unless you have some reason to suspect a problem I would probably let it go, at least until winter is over, depedning upon where you live and how cold your garage is. There is a threaded pipe plug on top of the steering knuckle. It's easy to remove then add grease with a grease gun to top off the steering knuckle.
Jul 13, 2003
There are a number of things you can check, to determine if you need to do a front axle rebuild...
If your milage is over 125,000 miles and it's never been done.
If the gear oil looks more like goose poop that's been sitting in the rain for a few days.
If the grease in the knuckle housing is thin, and/or smells a lot like gear oil.

The failure mechanism is the inner axle seal. It allows gear oil to contaminate the knuckle. It will eventually wear out, but sometimes can last for a heck of a long time. The one on my 80 failed around 200,000 miles. (I bought it at 205,000 - but didn't think to check...opps!)

Use a zip tie to stick down into the knuckle (through the square plug hole) and get a sample of the grease. It should be grease, no resemblance to oil.

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