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How urgent, BIRF job?

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by new2mud, Jul 1, 2005.

  1. new2mud

    new2mud

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    Hi folks, newbie here, though have been lurking for some time-ha!

    I have been slowly building up my courage to talk myself into doing the birf job since I live in a small mountain town and don't trust any of the local mechanics. I've been searching like mad on the birf writeups and threads and I think I can do it myself!

    When I changed the front diff fluid recently, I noticed that there is some 'sludginess' to the old fluid when it drained. Since this was BEFORE I read about the bad birf/diff-soup, I put expensive syntetic back in. *ouch!*

    Question: If the diff fluid shows some birf grease contamination, but I'm not getting the deaded 'click-click' on hard turns, how urgent is the birf job? Can I wait 10k miles?
     
  2. Biff

    Biff

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    How many miles on the rig, and how long ago since last birf job?
     
  3. MLX450

    MLX450

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    Get the DVD on the birf job. Its a great resource! I think if you do not have any "play" (jack the front wheels up and push-pull at the 12 and 6 oclock positions) and no clicking sounds i think your ok for another 10k.
     
  4. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    probably not urgent based on what I read here.
    What I might do would be to drain the synth and keep it. Get a 5 gals bucket of cheap gear oil. Flush the diff with some solvent. Refill with cheap oil. Make sure there is enough grease in the knuckle. Check the oil after a couple thou miles and see if there is any grease in there again. Might not be leaking much at all. If so no biggie. If there is a lot of grease back in then you should consider a seal job. I would think that as long as there is grease in the knuckle and oil in the diff you are not in imminent danger.

    And welcome!

    (consider changing your name if you don't want to hate it in a few posts...)
     
  5. new2mud

    new2mud

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    Thanks for the welcome -- holy cow, what a responsive community!

    the rig has 114k miles on it (bought at 105k), and i doubt it has ever had a front axle service (it's not in a 'standard' maintenance schedule is it?)

    Another observation: the driver's side exterior birf housing (don't know the proper term--the big ball-shaped thing) has caked up grease that appears to be slowly oozing out and building up. I'll make sure to squeeze some fresh stuff in there through the filler hole.

    I've emailed Jim regarding the DVD--thanks!

    ps--when is it recommended to swap birfs DS/PS? Or is it a good idea regardless?
     
  6. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew On the way there SILVER Star

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    I would not put the service off very long. You are at basically double the reccomended interval already. It also gives you a chance to repack (or replace) the wheel bearings and all of the seals. Swapping the birfs side to side is optional unless they are clicking. If they are clicking, you have nothing to loose by swapping them, but start saving for new ones.

    If it hasn't been said enough, just call Cruiserdan and ask him to send you all the parts you need, he will know what they are. Goopy gear oil means the inner axle seal has already failed. Go in and replace stuff while it's still maintenance ($200) and not a repair($2000).

    I would not flush the diff with solvent. Just use several changes of inexpensive gear oil. Like once per week for a month. I've used the "Coastal" brand at AutoZone which is $24 for 5 gallons.

    Enjoy your new ride, but don't skip the necessary maintenance items.
     
  7. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Moderator

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    Your axle is a ticking bomb. If you do not know when it is set to go off I suggest you dis-arm it now.
     
  8. Heffenoche

    Heffenoche

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    I second what cruiserdrew and cruiserdan since your knuckles are already leaking. It's not a hard job just time consuming and messy. I'm a :banana: +1/2 mechanic and I got it done. Just follow the instructions you've gotten and make sure you have all the tools, parts and supplies you need. It's also better to get someone to help or at least hang around and lend a hand once in a while.
     
  9. woody

    woody unhelpful spotter Staff Member Admin

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    sludgy gear lube = bad inner axle seal(s)...likely really bad...most inner seals tend to keep the grease intact in the knuckle and allow the gear lube into the knuckle, mixing/diluting that...if your seal is so junked to be allowing grease into the diff lube, then I'd cure it soon.
     
  10. new2mud

    new2mud

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    Well I guess I've moved up the timetable and will be attempting the job this summer rather than wait a year. Already got a PM to Dan re: parts.

    Thanks for the input guys.

    Is this supposed to be an every 50k mile maintenance item?
     
  11. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Moderator

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    Usually good for 60k. Often you can sneak past it a bit.
     
  12. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    maybe not that bad. He probably has the original breathers. May be plugged...

    But anyway, with soup seeping out, yes, they are shot.
     
  13. new2mud

    new2mud

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    I have the PO's receipt for the 60k service from the Lexus dealership, and no mention whatsoever of an 'axle service'-- is this an oversight on the part of the dealer?
     
  14. elmariachi

    elmariachi

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    I would be very surprised if a Lexus dealer would have serviced a front axle from hub to hub as a part of a routine 60K service. I would be against waiting on "noise" to eminate from the front before completing this maintenance. By the time you get "noise" it likely goes from being a maintenance process to a repair process.

    Jim
     
  15. Rookie2

    Rookie2

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    Yeh.. your not going to see this service on any Lexus or Toyota routine service schedule. I think they see it an "address it when it's a problem" item, and if they get to sale you a couple of $500 birfs while they're at it.. then that's good for them too.

    As a manufacturer/dealer, I think you'd have some trouble saleing as many cars if the customer knew they were going to have a $1200.00 service item every 60 to 75k if it were presented as routine maintenance.
     
  16. new2mud

    new2mud

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    Thanks...man, this forum has been unbelievably helpful.

    I will be attempting the birf job myself within a few weeks--being out in Routt County, CO, I doubt there are other forum members within near-driving distance to give first-hand guidance, so I've been reading up on every thread I can get my hands on!
     
  17. MH_Stevens

    MH_Stevens

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    I know you bare talking wheel bearings here but what is birf? I need check/change my diff oils too as I'm at 108,000 and don't know what has been done. what are the signs of contamination indication a need to service the axels. Just sludge and grease and dirt or is it more specific?
     
  18. new2mud

    new2mud

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    From what I understand, contamination appears as sludginess and grayness, instead of looking like standard oil (i.e. oil change)

    Do a search on birf and you'll find more info than you can possibly digest. Short answer: it's a type of CV joint.
     
  19. TLCgrappler

    TLCgrappler

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    Get at least one extra axle seal. I screwed one up by losing the spring, even though I was trying to be very careful. This is very easy to do. Don't put the seals in there til you're ready to reinsert the axle for final reassembly.

    An extra lockwasher or two won't hurt either. All of these are cheap, and critical to doing it right.

    Make sure you have the right tools. Snap ring pliers are important. Hub socket is needed.

    Read the writeups a couple of times. Leave yourself enough time. Having another ride will help keep you patient.

    Good luck
     
  20. new2mud

    new2mud

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    Thanks--I ordered all my parts from CDAN, and threw in an extra inner seal, per wisdom on the board.