Front Axle Rebuild - For FAQ

Romer

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The following thread is compilation from forum members and other sources Please notify the moderators of additions, errors, tips or clarifications you think would help a novice take this on.

The following thread is a culmination of posts and threads from many forum members including Semlin, Tucker, Mabrodis and others. I have supplemented their great write-ups with pictures from my own Front Axle job, Beno and others. I also used the FSM to fill in the blanks. I STRONGLY recommend you buy a Factory Service Manual (FSM) for your rig before you start this job.

Make sure you save the nuts, bolts and cone washers from the disassembly. As I took it apart, I placed these parts in little bags and used a Sharp to mark where they go.

First Suggested Tools and supplies:
Items to start with:

1/2" Ratchet
1/2" 18" breaker bar (or pipe to extend ratchet, might not need this)
1/2" 3" extension
1/2" 17mm socket
1/2" 14mm socket (3/8" would work too, for spindle bolts, which were really tight)
3/8" Ratchet
3/8" 6-8" extension (used only for a beating tool, don't use a good one)
3/8" 3" extension
3/8" 12mm socket
1/4" Ratchet
1/4" 10mm socket
Snapring pliers

54mm hubnut socket (probably 3/4" drive, so 1/2"->3/4" drive adapter maybe)
Small pipe-wrench (10" one, look below for picture of use)
Heavy hammer, something solid, 2+lb maul or something.
Good slot screwdriver.
Brass Drift

4+ rolls of paper towels.
Large trashcan with bag liner.
Two oil drain pans to catch grease (1 for each side).
Several pieces of cardboard to spread parts out on.
4 cans of Brake Cleaner

1/2 gallon gas (any type, diesel would work too).
cruiserdan said:
Gasoline is very dangerous when used as a solvent. I respectfully suggest you strike your recommendation that it be used in this manner or at least disclaim it so some dumb bastard doesn't go up in smoke. I would recommend stoddard solvent instead.
D-
Tupperware-type container with snap on lid to soak bearings in (not to be used in kitchen again!)

Gear Oil for Front Diff
MolyGrease for Birfs and Knuckle
Grease for Bearings (I used Mobl 1 Synth Red Stuff)

Front axle rebuild kit from Cruiser Dan (Seals, Gaskets, trunnion bearings, etc.)

Potentially Front Rotors and 100 Series Front Brake Pads. Great Time to do Front Brake Job as there is ony a few bolts difference.

Note:lots of folks recommend having the front diff locked if you have that option before removing the axle. makes it easier to re-install

This write up assumes you do not pull the tie rods and leave it with original preload. Troy added what he did for the tie rods and you can either go to post#45 of this thread or click Here

The first pic is of the parts kit from Toyota (CDan) along with Rotors and pads to do the brake job. FSM Sold separately, but a great thing to have.

The Second pictorial of what you are looking at
Parts from Cdan.JPG
Annotated_birfield_diagram.jpg
 
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Romer

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IdahoDoug said:
I strongly suggest folks use a narrow scraper (screwdriver will do), a stiff bristle brush, and a rag to roughly clean the entire inboard face of the brake dust shield, top of axle housing and entire area around the axle ends. Then soak them with quality foaming engine degreaser for 10 minutes while sitting at the local car wash bay. Blast them clean. Recoat with the degreaser for 10 minutes. Blast them again and drive home to start the work. I suggest this looking at your picture of the ABS sensor coming out and wincing. There is a lot of nasty greasy grit collected in this area and it takes only a half hour to clean both sides down to bare metal by doing this. I only recommend using a pressure washer in this area just prior to teardown due to the potential for jamming water in the seals. But until you have experienced the pleasantry of opening this thing up and seeing only bare metal vs mounds of hardened grit, you can scarcely appreciate it and will over and over again the whole time you're working here. Very little grit and crap fell onto my clean areas and once the project is open it's a losing proposition to initiate a good exterior cleaning. Believe me, you'll be happy you did this.

Place the Vehicle up on Jackstands. Jack stands need to be on both side of the front axle.

Place a block behind the rear tire.

Remove the front tires

Remove the Drain plug on the Front differential and drain the fluid. Look at the drain plug to see if there are any metal particles or shavings.

IdahoDoug said:
Some substantial metal chips can come off the front diff drainplug - up to the size and shape of a pinkie nail. I showed mine to the LandCruiser Chief of engineering in a baggie and he declared them normal and that's why the huge magnetic plugs. So don't sweat it if you find chips.

Remove the Brake Caliper by removing the bolts on the backside. I laid the caliper in the springs rather than decabling it and draining the brake fluid. Make sure it is secure and tie it down if needed

The following is a comment to avoid a potential problem when re-assembling the axle. I tend to bag stuff spereatly in zip locks. The Trunion cap bolts with the shim for example.


simps80 said:
the trunnion cap bolts and caliper mtg bolts are very similar in appearance, but the caliper bolts are 1.25 thread pitch and the trunnion cap bolts are 1.5 thread pitch, people are screwing the wrong bolts in the wrong holes and causing heart ache,

very basic problem easily avoided,


Using a Screwdriver and a hammer, remove the grease cap from the flange. The Grease cap is the metal cap in the center shown there in the first two pics and gone in the third.

Remove the 6 nuts on the flanges. Using a Brass Drift placed against the flange bolt heads, hit the drift with a hammer until the cone washers back out and you can remove them by hand

Note: If you don't have a brass drift, you can loosen the nuts to be flush with the bolt ends, and tap with a mallet to loosen the cone washer


The below Pics are from my brake job showing Tire removed, Brake Caliper removed and cone washers and nuts removed from the drive plate
Front Axle Rebuild 001.jpg
Front Axle Rebuild 002.jpg
Front Axle Rebuild 004.jpg
 
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Romer

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With the cone washers removed from the Flange, remove the Drive Plate. After the flange is removed you will need to use a snap ring pliers to remove the snap ring

Next you will see a lock washer, use a screwdriver to remove this by bending the tabs to the middle position, even with the rest of the washer
Front Axle Rebuild 005.jpg
 
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Romer

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Use the 54MM Hub Socket, remove the Lock nut.

Then remove the Lock Washer.

Using the 54MM Hub Socket, remove the adjusting nut (Used later for preload)

Then remove the thrust washer.
FAR006.jpg
 
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Romer

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Remove the Hub and Rotor Disk together as one piece with the outer bearing. OK to leave outer bearing in Hub for now. It will all be cleaned up later.

Remove the 8 bolts dust seal and dust cover
FAR007.jpg
FAR008.jpg
 

Romer

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The FSM suggests disconnecting the tie rod from the Knuckle arm. I did not do this step and I know lots of others didn't do it either. There is no need to.

Remove the oil seal set on the back of the knuckle.

There will be a metal retainer held on by 6 bolts.
Felt dust seal,
Rubber seal
Steel ring.
Note here the order they are installed and the direction of the ridge on the rubber seal when removing it.
 
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Romer

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Remove the ABS Sensor and place it carefully into the spring or something else it won't fall from or get damaged.
FAR007a.jpg
 
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Romer

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remove the two bolts (17 mm) holding the upper bearing housing to the knuckle. The bearing housing can now be gently pried off. Be careful of the shim, which varies in thickness between trucks. If you encounter difficulties, try using two flat head screw drivers at the same time at either end so that it lifts off evenly.

Loosen the 4 nuts (17 mm)that attach the lower control arm/bearing housing to the knuckle (consult FSM and remove the tie rod if you plan to check the preload)

Using the brass drift and hammer, tap on the 4 bolt heads and remove the cone washers.
Pull of the steering arms from the bottom of the knuckle

Note: If you don't have a brass drift, you can loosen the nuts to be flush with the bolt ends, and tap with a rubber mallet to loosen the cone washer
FAR0010.jpg
FAR009.jpg
 
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Romer

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Using a brass bar and hammer, tap the knuckle spindle.

Remove the knuckle spindle, the gasket and the bushing that is between the birf and the inside of the spindle.

birf in the knuckle will be exposed.

This is time for step #6 (drink a beer)

Note the condition of the sludge in the knuckle. If it is real wet, then your seal had given out mixing diff fluid with grease. Good thing your changing it.

Pic #1 is of Tuckers Sludge showing very soupy mix

Pic #2 is of mine showing not as bad a mix.
FAR0012.jpg
FAR0013.jpg
 

Romer

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Reminder, lots of folks recommend having the front diff locked if you have that option before removing the axle. makes it easier to re-install

Now Remove the birf and axle and lay it somewhere clean.
FAR0014.jpg
Front%20Axle.jpg
 
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Romer

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Remove the Knuckle Housing


This is where you start using all that paper towel. Start wiping the inside of the knuckle out of all the grease. You can get it clean later with Brake Cleaner.


Remove the inner axle seal. I used a seal puller you can buy at any Auto Parts store.

Here is Georges Write-up from his web site:

The axle has been pulled out. Its a good idea after having done this much work to replace the oil seal. The oil seal is the device that keeps the oil inside the differential housing and axle tube from mixing with the grease in the knuckle (a bad thing!). If you have oil leaking into the knuckle it is likely that you will have oil dripping out on the back of the knuckle and the oil will start washing grease out of the birfield joint (another bad thing). You can see from the photo that the knuckle has all been cleaned out in preparation for being repacked with new grease. The easiest way to remove the oil seal is to use a sharp flat screwdriver and a hammer to bend the edge in. The screwdriver can then be rotated and the side of the oil seal will collapse and the oil seal will just pop out. You can see this has been done below and the seal will now just pull out. Once out the oil will start leaking into the knuckle again - just jack that side of the vehicle up a bit. Also, prior to removing the oil seal, reach in with your finger tip and pull out the spring that is on inside rear of the inner lip - to prevent the possibility of it falling into the axle tube.



Shine a flashlight into the axle housing and look around. There should be nothing visible loose in the housing and there should be an index ring about 2 inches from the oil seal flush against the inner lip of the machined surface (it may look like part of the housing). This ring can occasionally come loose. If it has it will likely be lying in the housing and you will need to reseat it somehow (there are posts on this).
oilsealrdy.jpg
 
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Romer

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You need to remove the trunion bearings and the races located on the top and bottom of the inner knucle.

Use a socket extension or brass drift to knock the old races out.
FAR0016.jpg
 

Romer

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Now comes the cleaning part.

Take the inner and outer bearings and place them in a Tupperware container with gasoline. Let them soak for at least a couple of hours or overnight.

cruiserdan said:
An editorial if I may be so bold.

Gasoline is very dangerous when used as a solvent. Years ago I knew a lady that was horribly burned by gasoline that she was using to clean something with when she was, I think, in a basement and the furnace or water heater touched it off. I do not remember all the details since it was almost 30 years ago but I do remember seeing her all the time wearing special medical support gloves and high-neck sweaters and such to hide the mess.

I respectfully suggest you strike your recommendation that it be used in this manner or at least disclaim it so some dumb bastard doesn't go up in smoke. I would recommend stoddard solvent instead.
D-
Start cleaning the inner knuckle and axles with brake cleaner and paper towel.


Clean everything you can. When you all done, you won't wonder why lots of brake cleaner and lost of paper towels were needed.

The bottom shot is the birfs sitting in diesel for cleaning (Thanks Beno)
FAR0017.jpg
FAR0018.jpg
Birfs_soaking_diesel.jpg
 
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Romer

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Some at this point some will dis-assemble the birf from the axle. A benefit to doing this is to swap sides. The birfs wear on one side and swapping sides extends the life. CruiserDans kit comes with the parts for doing this task. If you are clicking, I recommend you do this step.

clean and repack the birfield. If you don't plan to disassemble but have time then, after cleaning as best you can, drill two 1.5" holes in a piece of plywood and drop the birfields into the holes so the bowls face up then fill them with varsol and allow them to soak overnight

Edit May 2011 - I broke a Birf in Moab and replaced with a spare worn birf. When I got home I had to install a new Birf and I had never installed a birf before to the axle. That dang C- Clip was giving me problems and thanks to Mud I found an answer using a clamp as described in this thread from 96r50

The thread also does a good job of explaining how to take apart and put back together a birf
FAR0019.jpg
FAR0020.jpg
 
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Romer

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Brake Job

Another thing you can do here is swap your rotors. All you have to do is remove the bolts that connect the hub to the rotor and install the hub on a new rotor.

You can see why its a great time to do it now since doing it later would require you to repeat what you had done up to the knuckle. Your inner and outer bearings would need to be cleaned and repacked again.

Note: The blue stuff in the picture is probably some kind of sealant that has not been cleaned off. This was not on my hub, but I picture of someone else's. I did not use it in my axle job.
FAR0021.jpg
 
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Romer

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After the inner and outer bearings have soaked a while, spray brake cleaner on them while running the rollers on your hand to clean them.

Spray compressed air on them to dry while running the bearing rollers on your hand.


The first pic is a shot of Tuckers74's job after he did his cleaning with the other parts and seals needed for the job.

The second shot is from Beno with all the parts off

Looks like time for step #6 again (Drink a beer) while you look over everything and make sure its all clean.

Also a good breaking point if you want to break it into two days.
FAR0022.jpg
all_parts_off_detail.jpg
 
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Romer

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Re-installation start

Install the inner axle oil seal. A big rubber mallet and a 3x3 block of wood with a face shaved to roughly the same size as the seal is the best way we found to seat it. A piece of 1.5" abs pipe will also work if you have a steady hand and cut both ends square. The seal does not seat flush in the housing but actually goes a little further in leaving a slight lip.

Slide the wiper seal kit over the inner knuckle ready for seating. starting with closest to the center of the truck, the order is felt seal, rubber seal with ridge facing towards the differential, metal seal.

The diagram below shows the knuckle and associated parts
FAR0023.jpg
Front%20Knuckle.jpg
 
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Romer

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Install the upper and lower races for the trunnion bearings. Use a rubber mallet to help seat them correctly. May need a brass drift and hammer.

Grease pack the new trunnion bearings (Preferred) or old bearings. Place grease (I Used Mobil 1 Red Synth) in your palm and tap the bearing into your hand moving the rollers, rotating while you do. Keep packing until you see grease come out the inside all the way around.

Install the upper bearing

Have the outer knuckle housing handy and install the bottom bearing. Install the outer knuckle housing. May need to adjust to make sure bearings are seated properly before bolting the outer housing back on.

Check that bearing is lined up by reaching finger down from inside the inner knuckle to feel the center dimple in the bearing housing. Tighten bolts taking care to check bearing is lined up. Place cone washers and washers on the other two studs and tighten. Remove the first two bolts, install cone washers and washers and replace. Use locktite on any studs that came apart during removal.

Install cap and shim over top bearing on the knuckle with two bolts, torque to 71 lb-ft.

cruiserdan said:
The 80 series knuckle is shimmed only from the top so there is no need to "center" the knuckle.

The trunnion pre-load is almost always within spec if the original shims are re-used. D-
Grease (molygrease) inside of inner knuckle housing, place a little grease on the inner seal. Pic below is a good view of the index ring inside the axle tube:

I took some extra time on this repack to consider common failures people have experienced after repacking their birfields:

- loosening of the 4 nuts/studs on the bottom of the knuckle
First, the 4 knuckle bolts. I have done this 3 times and have always had to fiddle with reinstalling the steering arm on the knuckle - which is attached by the 4 nuts. The fit of the arm is extremely precise and will often bind while you are tightening the bolts before it is all the way on. This will leave a gap of only a few thousands of an inch, but the arm is definitely NOT on. I verified this today by playing with it a few times and it sis easy to do. So I used a hammer to tap the arm upward every few turns of the nuts, preventing it from binding. It worked perfectly. Considering the fastening system is quite bombproof, I think these failures are simply due to the steering arm binding up just before seating all the way. Many have bought the newer torx head bolts (including me!) in fear of this loosening phenomenon, but I think tapping it with a hammer continuously until it is all the way home solves the problem. I did not use the new bolts, and am not sure what I'll do with them.

So, I'm suggesting that the FAQ birfield repack instructions should be amended to add light tapping with a hammer as the nuts are tightened on to prevent this bind.

DougM
Frontaxletubeindexring.jpg
 
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Romer

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You also want to pack the Birf where it attaches to the axle. Push grease in from all sides until it starts to ooze out.

Text from Norm's write-up: Link not working but left for reference
The question "Should I dismantle the CV to clean and repack it?" is often asked. Well, it's up to you. The inner axle is held in the CV "star" by a round section circlip. This circlip must be sheared to remove the axle. The normal way to remove the axle is to hold it in a vice and pound the crap out of the CV joint with a soft (but heavy) hammer. In many cases the circlip will be expanded a little and sometimes is so tight that the CV will not separate without shattering the star.

The joint can be successfully cleaned and repacked without separating it. A good dousing in solvent, petrol, kerosene, or whatever you choose, and the use of a stiff brush will remove old grease.

It is important that ALL old grease is removed. This means that to do the repack properly. The knuckle housing should be removed for cleaning. Mixing old and fresh grease, or mixing different brands/types of grease can cause the greases to break down to a liquid.

As in the pic, a spatula, or the palm of a hand, can be used to force fresh grease down through one side of the joint until it comes up through the other.



Insert birfield with flat mark on birfeld bell housing at the top until bell seats all the way into knuckle. Be patient. This can take a few tries.

Pack the inner knuckle with grease. The FSM says to pack 3/4's of the knuckle


REPLACING THE CV (BIRFIELD)

This flat(s) on the CV that must be lined up top and bottom to remove/replace the joint. When removing, simply stick a finger in the grease to feel for the flats, put them top and bottom, and jiggle the joint while pulling it (the joint;). When replacing, put a generous amount of grease in axle seal and slide inner axle carefully through the seal to avoid damage. The splined end of the inner axle will enter an UN-splined diameter in the side gear to locate it for entry into the spline. The driveshaft may need to be rotated a little to line up side gear spline.




HOW MUCH GREASE GOES IN THE CAVITY?

There is some controversy over how full the cavity should be. Suffice to say that it should NOT be totally filled. Overfilling will inevitably lead to premature leaks at wiper seals, and possibly the forcing of grease through the axle seal into diff housing and through the spindle into the wheel-bearing cavity. [/I][/B]

Below are pic's from Beno's Job on packing the back side of the Birf and the cavity
re-packing_birfields.jpg
FAR0026.jpg
 
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Romer

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Place a new Gasket in the position on the knuckle along with the bushing on the end of the axle and install the spindle.

IdahoDoug said:
1 - One of the common screwups mechanics fail to do is liberally pack as much grease as possible into the spindle bushing. This is where all the "Grrrrr" sound posts are coming from - dry spindle bushings that just got a wipe of grease. There are criss crossing grease grooves in that bushing to hold grease. Pack this area liberally and thickly and also coat the part of the axle that runs in there. I don't see this specifically mentioned and feel it is worth it. I see you do mention "grease the splines on the drive plate" which is another common error.

Place the dust cover, dust seal and a new gasket on the spindle.
torque the 8 bolts to 34 ft-lbs.

topend yobbo said:
Could add to use two studs loosely screwed into housing to help line all those bits up. After adding some of the bolts you remove the studs and finish with the rest.
The diagram below shows the hub and associated parts

Edite May 2011 - trick told to me by Landcruiser Phil and discussed in several threads made it a lot easier. I took a bolt that mounted the brake backing plate/spindle to Ace hardware and matched it up with a metric 4 inch rod (Headless bolt). I used this two of these to easily place the spindle/gasket/brake plate on the knuckle while I then isntalled the other bolts. It was very easy and saved quite a bit of time and "futzing around"
FAR0024.jpg
Front%20Hub.jpg
 
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