Wheel fell off- broken birfield? (1 Viewer)

chubby

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This morning, rolling out of my parking spot, I noticed the vehicle tilt over and loss of braking power. I looked outside and the attached picture is what I saw. I am new to this- but is this the infamous broken birfield?

Also, are there any mechanics or wrenchers in the SF Bay Area that make house calls to fix this? I dont even own a jack :whoops:...
wheelOff.jpg
 

chubby

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Good question.
I just bought this thing and have been chasing engine problems so I never had the chance to chase drive train issues (buying tools as I go). Plus my apt complex forbids working on cars (hee hee). I think I may just have it towed to the dealer to get the front axle rebuilt.
 
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Never seen one fail exactly like that, but thank God you weren't at speed. You need serious help, it appears your spindle nut may have failed, loosened, or got lost, letting everything else go.
 

chubby

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Well just called the dealer by my house and they said they probably will turn it down. I dont think I've heard that before!
 

69vortec

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Did the bolts that mount the spindle to the knuckle break? What year is the vehicle and what part of the bay area do you live?
 

chubby

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I'm at work now so I cant see the bolts. I hope it's fine on 3 tires and change.
It's a 71 FJ40 with shackle reversal, power steering, and 32's.
 
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I'm in the other end of the bay, so probably not much help there. It does'nt look like the birfield itself broke but rather the spindle seperated from the knuckle and took the axle out with it. There are at least 6 bolts (maybe 8) holding the spindle on. Considering how much trouble most people have getting the darn thing out after trying to find the flat spot, that's pretty amazing. If the bolts aren't broken off (you can look at the holes,) the fix is probably pretty easy assuming that the inner spline end of the axle is not all buggered up.
 

chubby

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Does anyone know where I might be able to tow it to?
 
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BJ42Gringo and I are in Redwood City and Cupertino, respectively - can give ya a hand if you need it. As others have said, that is some type of spindle bolt failure, and an amazing one at that - people can (and do) abuse spindle so hard that the spidle itself cracks without ever breaking the bolts holding it on, I wonder if there was some installation error at work here...
 
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It looks to me like the stub axle came off the knuckle?!?!?

I'm not sure how that would happen unless it was not torqued properly. I think you'll probably want a new knuckle and stub axle as the threads and holes are probably wallowed out and I'd bet at least one bolt is broken off inside. The inner axle may be bent and who knows on the birfeild though it appears to be together for now.
 
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Did the bolts that mount the spindle to the knuckle break? What year is the vehicle and what part of the bay area do you live?
That must have happened, or else the bolts simply weren't installed to the correct torque (or the retaining wire wasn't installed if it's an earlier truck). Can't tell from the picture, but the spindle is clearly still attached to the wheel hub, as it should be. It's just that the spindle is not attached to the knuckle, as it should be.

To the OP: Your wheel does not fall off if you break a Birfield. You could pull out your birfields (why stop there?--you could pull the complete front axles from the housing!), put the spindle back on, mount the hub and wheel and then go drive around without your wheels falling off.

There's nothing obviously wrong with your birf. The grease looks pretty clean like it might be relatively new. I recommend you find a mechanic who knows what he's doing and have him go through every safety point on that truck. With something like that happening, there's no telling what else was overlooked or poorly done.

Do you know who did the work on it?
 
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There's nothing obviously wrong with your birf. The grease looks pretty clean like it might be relatively new. I recommend you find a mechanic who knows what he's doing and have him go through every safety point on that truck. With something like that happening, there's no telling what else was overlooked or poorly done.

2X
 

chubby

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I think I would have to get with the previous owner to figure out who did the work. He probably did it himself. I've driven it at least 3k miles since I bought it.
Still looking for that shop to take it to...
 

pbgbottle

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looks like backing plate is missing .if there was no spacer made to replace the backing plate then the bolts would be too long and spindle would be loose . could cause the bolts to break ??
 

chubby

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I am pretty sure the discs are the Man-a-Fre conversion kits. That brake line sure is holding its own though (knock on wood). Well I think it's leaking a puddle right next to the diff fluid-but it's still connected!

I've finally found a place after calling around that will even entertain looking at it.
 
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looks like backing plate is missing .if there was no spacer made to replace the backing plate then the bolts would be too long and spindle would be loose . could cause the bolts to break ??
Your eyes are better than mine, but if the backing plates are gone and no spacer was installed, you may be on to something.

Your post also got me thinking: If it's a disc brake axle (with the disc mounted on the wheel hub), wouldn't the caliper (which is mounted to the knuckle) more or less keep the wheel from flopping out like that.

Edit: I know nothing of the M-A-F disc set-up, so maybe there's an explanation somewhere there.
 

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