Time to rebuild the birf? (1 Viewer)

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Aug 22, 2012
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I'm having some steering issues in my '83 bobber (very erratic, loose, darty), so while checking my tie rod/knuckles/etc I noticed my birf is leaking. I'm not super familiar with birfs, but I'm guessing based on this photo that I'll need to rebuild it. I bought new wheel bearings so far to see if that would correct the steering issue, but noticed the birf just yesterday. Would a leaky/blown birf contribute to erratic steering as well? I'm wondering if maybe the worm gear in the steering box is missing teeth, but first I want to try these things. Thanks for your help.

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pappy

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I'm having some steering issues in my '83 bobber (very erratic, loose, darty), so while checking my tie rod/knuckles/etc I noticed my birf is leaking. I'm not super familiar with birfs, but I'm guessing based on this photo that I'll need to rebuild it. I bought new wheel bearings so far to see if that would correct the steering issue, but noticed the birf just yesterday. Would a leaky/blown birf contribute to erratic steering as well? I'm wondering if maybe the worm gear in the steering box is missing teeth, but first I want to try these things. Thanks for your help.

1 - You don't rebuild Birfields. You rebuild the steering knuckles.
2- Worn trunnion (steering knuckle) bearings can cause funny issues with steering, especially "death wobble".
3 - Checking the TREs is a good place to start.
4 - I'm assuming stock push-pull steering, so also check out the drag link bits. Just rebuild it.
5 - The leaking is from worn axle seals. Knuckle grease gets diluted with diff oil and leaks out. Get the kit from Marlin (<-link) and use his super-duper seals. Get his tool (<-link) too to install them.

Plenty of information online on rebuilding steering knuckles. Plan on a day or two in the garage your first time. I HIGHLY recommend taking the truck to a self-serve car wash and blasting those knuckles and getting them real clean. Those are really ugly. I would blast them as clean as you can then hit them with engine degreaser, then blast them again. Use lots of quarters and get them spotless, including from the top and bottom to get the nuts clean. You will understand why if you don't. Also, see if you can find an online version for the factory service manual. Any truck/4Runner 1979-1985 will work, as will any Land Cruiser 1979-1989. They all use the same parts.

Consider doing brakes while you are in there. Shoot, consider upgrading to V6 calipers/master cylinder/LC rotors while you have it all apart.

One last thing ... those damn cone washers holding on the hub are a royal pain in the butt. Get yourself a brass hammer, place it on the stud, and give them a smack with a BFH (Big-Fing-Hammer). That will usually knock them across the garage floor.

Several of us have been through this so come back with questions.
 
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I heard a tip to leave the nut turned on alittle at the end of the stud to keep the fine washer from shooting off when you knock them loose.

I'm about to do my first axle/knuckle rebuild as well once I get mine back. Like others have said there are lots of detailed threads about it and even a few YouTube videos going through the process of rebuilding them, after watching a few of those everything people are saying will make more sense if you haven't done one before.

Here's a video showing what's out there just search Toyota front axle rebuild and some more should pop up.

 
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
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Tacoma, WA
Thank you guys so much for the responses, looks like I've got a pretty good place to start from. Now I just need the time to mess with it, the bobber is more of a side project for now. Bought it because I was starting to destroy my 80, and I love it too much to do that lol. Haven't ran into birf issues with the 80, so haven't learned too much on them yet.

I'm also really concerned about the steering because the steering wheel changes position gradually as you drive, IE what part of the steering wheel was once pointing 12 o'clock while you drive straight down the road is now pointing some random other direction but you're still going straight down the road. Doesn't feel like something as simple as the steering wheel being loose, you can kind of feel it "skip" when turning lock to lock but only in one direction. Anyone experience this?
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
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73
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Tacoma, WA
Just did the power steering pump on my FZJ, now I plan to start tackling some stuff on the pickup. I have new wheel bearings, plan on buying that kit from Marlin and going through the whole front basically. I also need to basically gut this thing and re-work all the wiring, since it almost caught on fire the other day... haha. Got my hands full with both rigs these days. I'm sure you guys will be seeing a lot of me in here lol.
 

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