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How Much Grease in Steering Knuckle

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by MH_Stevens, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. MH_Stevens

    MH_Stevens

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    I read here the other day, and I can't find the reference now, that the steering knuckles should be greased by removeing the square plug on top of the wheel hub and squirting in 12 pumps of the grease gun. It was added though that if the Birfield spheres were dry then hajf a tube would be better. This is not very scientific in my book and I'm looking for a better guide-line. My spheres were covered in grease, but old dried grease, so I put 30 squirts in each wheel. Is there no guide like fill to top or to within 2" of top or some other indication of correct greasing?
     
  2. cruiserman

    cruiserman

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    Open up the knuckle and fill 2/3 to 3/4 full.
     
  3. elmariachi

    elmariachi

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    As you will find by reading and searching further, if your "spheres" (steering knuckles) are in need of grease, its because the grease is traveling past the axle seal and into the differential oil.....which is not good. At that point you should just tear into each side and rebuild it...new seals, bearings, gaskets. This is SOP for a Land Cruiser.

    A properly serviced knuckle requires 2/3rds capacity...something you'll never be able to measure by pumping grease into the cavity through the fill plug. Also, those knuckles require moly-fortified grease, not regular wheel bearing or chassis grease.
     
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  4. MH_Stevens

    MH_Stevens

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    Thanks. I changed the diff oil and while it was dirty I saw so lumps of grease in it. What are the signs of grease in the diff oil?

    I was attempting to follow the instructions in my Toyota Handbook to "Lubricate Steering Knuckel" and which they reccommend to do every 5,000 miles. I DID use Molygreasea and I was guided by what I had read here regarding adding grease. Now you say regarding the amount of grease to be used ".....something you'll never be able to measure by pumping grease into the cavity," so the obvious questiong is, how much grease DO you use to "lubricate the steering knuckel?"

    I'm now confused as to what steeing knuckel "routine lubrication" is because you appear to be saying that if grease is not leaking into the axel then no greasing is nesessary, and if it is, then a tear down is requiered, with no situation that requires routine greaseing. Please explain what you mean and what Toyota means when they say "lubricate the steeing knuckel every 5,000 miles."
     
  5. beno

    beno Gihee Arakawa Moderator GOLD Star

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    I think a lot of this is dependent upon individual use of the rigs.

    If you saw grease out of the diff. oil when you changed it, that's not a good thing and a full front end rebuild is in order for you as Elmariachi suggested. It's good PM and it'll give you confidence if you are not a regular wrencher
    In terms of filling it up every 5K, just open up the fill hole on the knuckle and squirt about 10-20 shots into the knuckle. Moly only...I use the Valvoline Synthetic stuff that comes in tubs and tubes. I used the tubs when I do the axle job and the tubes for regular lubrication.

    I do mine at every oil change (2700-3000 miles).

    I would recommend what CruiserDrew has recommended many times to this question: If you think you have Moly going through the seal into the diff., then get a bucket of cheap Coastal 80w90 from your local auto parts store and change diff fluid out. Then drive for a few days or a week and go back in and drain it out again. Do this a couple more times, and if the diff oil continues to be dark and gunky, then you'd better call Dan up for the axle rebuild.

    Best.
    -onur
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2006
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  6. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Do some searching and read up on the birfs. Basically, grease gets sucked into the differential if your axle breather is clogged (common) and the axle seal is wearing. Solved by removing the breather stuff and directly connecting 3 feet of rubber line to the axle nipple and running it up into the engine bat.

    Dry birf spheres means the knuckle has no grease in it to let it constantly weep out onto the sphere (this is supposed to happen continuously and is how the knuckle grease is "used" per the design) and means a larger amount (half tube) should be put in immediately.

    As I said, read up on the birfield. Be aware that grease put in the square plug will only keep contaminants out of the knuckle as designed, but will not lubricate the birfield joint itself - must be removed and hand packed.

    DougM
     
  7. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    just squirt a bunch in there. I can't see that if you leave at least a little space at the top of the knuckle, there would be any problem from having "too much" in there...
     
  8. Rookie2

    Rookie2

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    Well, being a member of the "axle seals failed due to overfilling the knuckles" club, I'd stick with 2/3 to 3/4 full.
     
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  9. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    point taken, but what could you possibly ascribe this to if the knuckle is not completely filled?
     
  10. MH_Stevens

    MH_Stevens

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    Thanks, Thanks................ all is now clear.

    Great explainations IdahoDoug, Beno
     
  11. MH_Stevens

    MH_Stevens

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    Today I revisited the knuckles and used a pencil as a dip stick. I found very little grease despite the thirty squirts I had given before, so I greased again to bring the grease up to about 3cm from the top -took half a tube each side. Filled diff with clean oil but have not tested for grease contamination yet. Will report back if so found.
     
  12. elmariachi

    elmariachi

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    Where do you think all that grease went?
     
  13. flintknapper

    flintknapper

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    Either the grease fairy came and took some out, or...........its in his differential.
     
  14. Rookie2

    Rookie2

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    Well..., I "just squirted a bunch in there", so they probably ended up pretty close to, if not completely full. I'm just saying don't go crazy with it. It adds no benefit, and to much (near full to full) will cause seal failure. 2/3's to 3/4's.

    BTW, that was back in my pre-MUD days, and I had the "more can only be better" mindset. I also overfilled my driveshafts :doh:.
     
  15. elmariachi

    elmariachi

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    You mean the moly fairy?
    molyfairy.jpg
     
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  16. Fly Rod

    Fly Rod

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  17. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Actually, these knuckles are designed to use grease constantly, which is why they're supposed to get a few squirts along the way. The grease is supposed to constantly 'weep' out of the large felt/rubber seal and keep the spherical axle housing tip slightly greased.

    As for overfilling ruining seals - I personally can't see that happening. Using a hand grease gun, the only consequence I can see is if you were somehow literally able to purge all air. This would take a lot of greasing and then driving, then repeating so that no air was trapped in the many places it can get trapped in there. With an air driven grease gun I could see someone possibly dislodging the spring around the axle seal, but it would be difficult. Excess grease will simply come out more quickly as the seals won't hold any pressure and would allow the grease to pass.

    How/why do you think your seals were ruined by over greasing, Rookie?

    DougM
     
  18. flintknapper

    flintknapper

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    Well, I didn't know her name.....but yeah, the "Molly" grease fairy!

    Anyway, too much grease= Bad.

    Worn seals=Bad.

    Flapper on vent hoses=Bad.
     
  19. Rookie2

    Rookie2

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    I figure that after they were overfilled, there was no room for the grease to breathe. So now you go driving. Through your test, we already know that the inside of the birf is somewhat of a mixing bowl. Once the grease heats up, it's going to expand some. Combine that with flapper on the diff vent, and it's just a bad formula. I think these things created enough preassure/vacuum to push grease past and compromise the axle seal.

    So anyways, about a month or so after I filled the knuckles, it looked like a cow had taken a shat on my axle balls.

    :beer:
    Rookie2
     
  20. MH_Stevens

    MH_Stevens

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    I'm keeping an eye on the knuckle spheres just to see hoe they stay lubricated. As IdahoDoug says, I know from my filling experience that even if you tried to fill with grease to the very top of the fill hole you would still have 25% air in the joint because the grease builds up in layers; It does not sink and expel air like a liquid would. I'm convinced that over-filling can only occur on a full repack job.