why you should do your birfields yourself

semlin

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So for those thinking of paying a mechanic to do the birfield, here is an example of why this is a risky idea. The mechanic in this case seemed friendly, attentive and willing and worked in a clean well established shop which was recommended to me by a friend and specialized in axle and suspension work.

I redid my birfields myself (mostly - see other post) with Riley this weekend. I actually had them done in February of this year by a mechanic after one birfield went dry but I was not satisfied with the steering of the vehicle afterwards (intermittently stiff) and did not like some of the answers the mechanic gave after I questioned him closely, so I did it again. Glad I did. With the help of this board and 80scool I gave this mechanic complete verbal instructions on what I wanted done including servicing all the bearings and replacing if necessary. I was charged $700 for labour and $300 for parts including all seals and gaskets (we actually had a discussion about this because I got him to order the parts separately instead of the kit to save money). I also specified moly grease for the birfield and, after arguing with me it was not necessary, he told me he had found some. Anyway, here is what I found:

-wheel bearings were not removed or serviced and hub oil seals were not replaced. They just stuck fresh grease in the cavity in the hub between the bearings. Grease was so dry on D-S it was flaking off the seal and bearing.

-with the possible exception of the dust seal gasket, not a single gasket had been replaced. Instead he left the torn remnants of the gaskets in place and put on a bead of silicone (remember he charged me for the gaskets). I can't tell if the dust seal itself was replaced, but it sure is rusty for 8 months on unsalted roads.

-can't tell if he repacked the knuckle bearings or not, but one of the knuckle bearings he supposedly inspected and said was 'perfect' was pitted on three rollers 8 months later.

-it was impossible to tell if the inner oil seals were replaced, but he told me much later they were not, so I have no reason to disbelieve him. It certainly seemed as if the driver's side seal was leaking (not major leakage). This may be due to the inner axle support ring being loose (see other post).

-not convinced he used moly grease on the repack (at least I thought moly grease had a slightly gritty consistency and this grease was smooth). Whatever he used was black and was the same in the wheel bearing and knuckle housing.
 
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Not sure about the Moly being gritty; I used Amsoil synthetic and don't recall it being so. Nonetheless, if it looks the same as the other grease (and by your description of the rest of his trustworthiness) I'd bet it's just standard stuff, if not Crisco.

Do you have any recourse against this guy? If I had just spent a grand on a job that I was having to re-do myself a short while later, I'd be fuming. If nothing else, call your local BBB. Not sure what they could do, but for him not to replace seals that he had supposedly already purchased--especially seals as easy to replace as some of the ones you mentioned--is just inexcusable.
 
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That's criminal. You paid more than at a Toyota dealership, where you'd have at least gotten all factory parts and they would have replaced everything (job loss if not, and no incentive to skip parts), plus a 1 year warranty. You should talk to him and explain that you want 50% of your money back or you're going to see an attorney. Show him the pitted bearings and he'll likely see it your way.

DougM

DougM
 
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not to mention it is esier to learn how to do this in your driveway/garage than to learn how to do it on the trail.....sucks about the mechanic......what a prick!
 

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