Front knuckles (sorry for the length) (1 Viewer)

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I purchased my 1994 LC (185,000 miles) about a month ago. During the prepurchase inspection, my mechanic checked the front differential fluid and it was black. He explained that there are 3 different fluids in the front axle/knuckles/wheel bearings and when the seals go, cross contamination occurs. He suggested that within the next couple of months, I have him go through the whole front axle and replace seals and make sure that everything is OK. His estimate is for ~ 12 shop hours with a total price of $1,100.00 to $1,200.00. I do not have the mechanical expertise to try and attempt this on my own. I do not notice any signs of trouble when driving, but do not want this to develop into a big problem. Should I be worried about this and get it done sooner? I searched for info on this all yesterday and just could not find a past thread that answered my questions.

Thanks.
 

Brentbba

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No mechanic either, but I've been around these guys reading for quite some time. Time for a knuckle job. Estimate is about right for a dealer. It's a long messy job, but not hard if you've got the mechanical knowledge. You sound like me tho and don't. Guys here will tell you not to put it off!

Look in the FAQ for knuckle or birfield for more info. Someone recently put out a DVD on the whole job as well. There's a thread somewhere you could use to discuss with your mechanic what to replace while he's in there so he doesn't do a half ass job.
 
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Brent, is right do a little research on past threads and you will save yourself a ton of money. I like you fell for the same thing when I first bought my cruiser(keep in mind I'm also not a mechanic) I listened to his recommendation and di the Knuckle job, total cost $1095.00. Turns out if I had done a little research and been patient I would have saved over $800 by doing it myself, which is exactly what I did six months ago. Anyways it is defientely worth your time to do the leg work and take a risk on doing it yourself, get the Birf DVD and watch the process you'll see it is not something you need to be an expert on, you just need time.
 
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Reply to Brent

I am pretty confident that my mechanic will do a thorough job, he just finished doing the same thing to a 1993 LC about 2 weeks ago. I have been taking my 1980 633csi BMW to him for the past 3 years (he works primarily on BMW, Porsche & Mercedes) but has about 4 LC between himself and the other mechanics in his shop. He is the reason I purchased a LC.
 
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Driley said:
I am pretty confident that my mechanic will do a thorough job, he just finished doing the same thing to a 1993 LC about 2 weeks ago. I have been taking my 1980 633csi BMW to him for the past 3 years (he works primarily on BMW, Porsche & Mercedes) but has about 4 LC between himself and the other mechanics in his shop. He is the reason I purchased a LC.
The fact that he knew there were 3 kinds of grease in the front axle/knuckle area, and that failed inner axle seals causes cross contamination between them...tells me he's much more competent than Biff's mechanic. If he's got an LC he probably has been or is on this site.

:beer:
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That was the total price for everything (just used the 93' LC cost from prior). He also said that he would change out the front brake pads at the same time (the $100 difference would be if the rotors needed attention).
 
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I was scared ass hell when I did my first one. but I had no money so it was necessary for me. Its really not hard. Just get the book diagrams etc and take your time. If you dont want to give it a try then Ill just say that is what two dealers quoted me so it seems about right.
 
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Thanks to all for the advice. The thought of spending ~$1,200.00 right after shelling out $7,600 for the LC just a month ago is hard. I just do not have the capacity to do the work myself and do not want to develop problems because of waiting. My wife is still pissed that my $3,000 BMW has turned into ~$9,000 affair after 3 years, but she loves the LC and it will probably be an easier battle to convince her to do the preventive maintenance.

Thanks again to all!!!
 
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My Land Cruiser wrenching virginity pretty much ended with my first knuckle-job. I had lots of grease in my front diff, buy very little money in my back pocket.

If you can afford it--and you trust your mechanic--go ahead an have it done. Otherwise, it's not really a difficult job if you spend the time to research it. There is a mountain of info here--including detailed written descriptions, pictures, part numubers, and even DVDs.

Really, I'd recommend doing it yourself.
It's good karma.

Hayes
 
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Driley said:
Thanks to all for the advice. The thought of spending ~$1,200.00 right after shelling out $7,600 for the LC just a month ago is hard. I just do not have the capacity to do the work myself and do not want to develop problems because of waiting. My wife is still pissed that my $3,000 BMW has turned into ~$9,000 affair after 3 years, but she loves the LC and it will probably be an easier battle to convince her to do the preventive maintenance.

Thanks again to all!!!
For that price, he should be replacing all bearings and races with new... (both trunion and wheel bearings) in addition to all the non-reusables... oil seals, wiper seals etc..

Even if you don't have the facilities, the tools, the means, the desire, the capacity or whatever, I'd still do a little research to educate yourself on the procedure and be able to ask the right questions. The information is here, all you got to do is read it... the worst that could happen is you could learn a little about your rig.
 
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I have read about every thread that I could find related to the front axle (what the heck is a birf?). I will continue to try to find all of the information I can about this and hopefully have a better understanding of the procedure. The amount of info I have learned on this site has been staggering and I am just trying to keep it all in check until I can get a game plan. I want this vehicle to be as reliable as possible and just want to attack things in the correct order.

Thanks again for the info!
 
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"What the heck is a birf?"

It's one of those parts that make your Land Cruiser a Land Cruiser.

Short for birfield-rapezza joint.





It's the constant velocity joint that transfers power from the axle to your front wheels.
It's the part that needs to be kept in a nice glop of moly grease.
It's the moly grease that's leaking through the inner axle seal into your differential housing.
It's one of those parts that gets a lot of mention in Land Cruiser land.

You should pull your knuckles apart and check it out...

Hayes
 
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Follow some of the links in the FAQ section on front axle service. There are several walkthroughs with pictures of said birf.

Hayes
 
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No apologies necessary.

It DOES take some time to digest even one topic's worth of info on this site.

Generally, check the FAQs first.
Search second. Try a few angles.
Then ask as many questions as you please.

Actually, you can ask as many questions as you want without ever searching--you just might get the big :flipoff2: double flipoff from folks.
But don't let them scare you. They're all really just a buch of :princess: .

(Wow, that's the first time I've ever used an emoticon.)

Hayes
 
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Not to rain on anyone's parade , but one has to keep in mind that when these trucks were new, they cost $40k + Same thing for the BMW's. I have a '94 5-series as well.

We can't expect to buy one for $5-6k and not have to put a fair amount of either (a) money into having someone else fix it for us, or (b) doing a lot of research and wrenching ourselves, so as to get them back in top shape. If so, they wouldn't be $5k vehicles. The effort to keep a 11-year-old $45k vehicle in excellent mechanical shape is not insignificant, even if it is our beloved, built like a brick sh!t house, burly TLC.

I would agree, that if you take your time to study and find a willing mentor in your area, you can do this yourself for a fraction of the cost of what your indy wants.

But, we should not be surprised that the p/s pump leaks, the o-ring on the distributor shaft leaks, the VSV needs to be replace, etc. etc. The vehicle has 185k miles on it. If the last owner didn't do the knuckles, he probably didn't deal with other items either.

You can fix these things yourself, but you will just have to make it a cruisade. The best part is, once you do one thing, you will have the confidence to try the next, and the next, and the next. It's really great stuff and I highly recommend it !!!

Best regards,

R.
 
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I am going to hunt down the DVD and get as much info as possible. Reply to Robert, getting the vehicle back to sound condition is what I have done for the last 3 years on my BMW. The avid devotion of owners of old BMWs and, what I am finding here, for TLCs is about the same (so is the price of upkeep!). But, per everyone's suggestions, I will look into doing this on my own. Any links to threads about this and recommendations on service manuals that cover the birf job would be much appreciated.
 
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A good walkthrough with pictures:
http://george4wd.taskled.com/birfield.html

Another must-read:
http://www.ih8mud.com/tech/birf-repack.php

And another one with pictures:
http://www.safari4x4.com.au/80scool/tech/birfield_repack/repack.html

Another one:
http://www.colorado4x4.net/tech/knuckle_rebuild/knuckle_rebuild.html

A thread of mine, just before I tackled the job:
https://forum.ih8mud.com/showthread.php?t=44886&highlight=birfield+repack

My post-birf repack comments:
https://forum.ih8mud.com/showthread.php?t=45302&highlight=birfield+repack

You should check out all these links.
Consider doing a full front axle service why it's all torn apart, including replacing the wheel and knuckle bearings, wipers, and seals. It doesn't really add much labor--it actually saves you from cleaning your old bearings.

There's a post around here somewhere (by beowulf, I think?) with a list of part numbers and costs.

Seems like I was just on the receiving end of all these links.

In retrospect, the whole front axle service is not much more complicated than taking stuff apart and putting it all back together. Sure, there are a couple tips and tricks, but it's not rocket science. If you read around enough, you'll see that folks are swapping out birfields on the trail like they're changing a tire.

Good luck with your reading.

Hayes
 

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