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View Full Version : What's wrong with this birfield?


60wag
09-11-2007, 10:41 PM
I'm in the middle of a front axle rebuild on my '96 FZJ80. The passenger side birfield is a bit stiff. It moves but the range of motion before it binds isn't much. I took it all apart and cleaned everything. Even when clean, the spider is nearly a press fit in the cage. I pollished the outside surfaces of the spider with a scotchbrite wheel but that didn't do much. I reassembled the thing and it might be a bit better but its nothing like the other side, which is smooth all the way to end of travel. Any ideas? The cage doesn't seem to out of round - as best as I can tell with a set of calipers. The balls look good. I don't think its possible to be assembled incorrectly.

I was going to swap the birfs but now I'm wondering if the stiff birf will be really noisy if I run it the other direction. Anybody have a spare birf, in decent shape that they'd like to part with? Let me know.

Red_Chili
09-12-2007, 08:27 AM
Stiff birfs that are smooth are good. What you have is a good birf, IMHO. When they get floppy they have a bit too much play and are more likely to bust.

But that is minitruck lore, so I expect a cruiser guy will chime in.

nakman
09-12-2007, 09:30 AM
The way to assemble it incorrectly is flip the "ball retainer" cage deal 180, so the balls line up closer with the open edge of the bell.. the correct way puts them inside the bell a little more. So you had it all apart, then reassembled, and now it's stiff? Or it was stiff before you took it all apart and taking it apart didn't do anything? Did you pack it with grease yet?

When I've done mine they're pretty sticky during assembly, but they loosen up once I start shoving grease in there. And my only spares are 40 birfs, so probably not much help there..

60wag
09-12-2007, 10:54 AM
It was stiff when it came out of the axle. I hoped that cleaning it would free it up but it didn't. The cage and spider are definitely assembled the same way as the other side, which feels fine. After reviewing some MUD threads and pix, I'm pretty sure it is assembled correctly.

It'll probably function ok but since its apart.... I'll try to find a better replacement.

nakman
09-12-2007, 11:06 AM
May as well go to chromoly axles, longs, manual hubs, and the part time kit then. And those new spindles with the roller bearings. You know, since you got it all apart.. :lmao:

Romer
09-12-2007, 11:27 AM
This is probably your daily driver, you won't want to do longs here. You will be doing another front axle job in a year. Longs are great off road but even Bobby says you don't want to use them in a daily driver as what makes them better on the trail will make them wear fast on the highway. I almost went with Christo's chromoly birfs and he told me the same thing about those.

Red_Chili
09-12-2007, 11:33 AM
That which makes the stockers brittle, also makes them last long. That which makes Longs durable (less brittle), makes them wear faster on full time 4x4s - another advantage of the old tech locking hub!

SteveH
09-12-2007, 11:34 AM
The birfs in my '95 clattered a bit at 75K and now more at 155K. They have always moved freelly throughout the range of motion and now move, er, very freely. They have obvious wear in them. I swapped the outer birfields (left to right) during my last repack, and it made no real difference in the noise or play. Be happy you have tight/stiff birfields. I'm looking at the $225/each Birfs sold on Slee's site (I think they are aftermarket Jap. - not Chromemoly), as I don't really want to lay out $1200 for Birfields on my wife's DD truck. The they really only clatter on our dirt driveway under acceleration from a stop with the wheels turned. They're quiet the rest of the time. I'm not worried about breakage based on how the truck is used. YMMV.

nakman
09-12-2007, 02:03 PM
This is probably your daily driver, you won't want to do longs here. You will be doing another front axle job in a year. Longs are great off road but even Bobby says you don't want to use them in a daily driver as what makes them better on the trail will make them wear fast on the highway. I almost went with Christo's chromoly birfs and he told me the same thing about those.

If you do the manual hubs & part time kit you can throw all those objections out the window. That of course brings with it a new set of variables though.. like no ABS, ability to do donuts, etc. Geez didn't mean for this to go off on such a tangent! :rolleyes: :D

Bruce, obviously your problem is lack of low range time, and underuse of the front locker by the PO. Slap that axle back in and we'll get to work on fixing that ;).

Hulk
09-12-2007, 02:13 PM
If you do the manual hubs & part time kit you can throw all those objections out the window. That of course brings with it a new set of variables though.. like no ABS...

ABS is disabled by doing a part-time front axle? Why? Shouldn't the brakes still work, including the anti-lock function, regardless of whether the axle is under power? :confused:

nakman
09-12-2007, 02:37 PM
ABS is disabled by doing a part-time front axle? Why? Shouldn't the brakes still work, including the anti-lock function, regardless of whether the axle is under power? :confused:

Has more to do with locking the center diff. You know how that ABS light comes on when you lock the CDL? that means it's disabled..

Romer
09-12-2007, 02:53 PM
If you do the manual hubs & part time kit you can throw all those objections out the window. That of course brings with it a new set of variables though.. like no ABS, ability to do donuts, etc. Geez didn't mean for this to go off on such a tangent! :rolleyes: :D

Bruce, obviously your problem is lack of low range time, and underuse of the front locker by the PO. Slap that axle back in and we'll get to work on fixing that ;).


Less wear but still wear way more than stock Tim. If this is his daily Driver in with part time hubs I would not put longs in it.

ginericLC
09-12-2007, 03:03 PM
Actually you can fake out the center diff lock so you can have ABS and have the center diff locked. You just need to put a manual switch in to keep the center locked and ABS on.

60wag
09-12-2007, 03:38 PM
Part time hubs would def' confuse the ABS as the sensor is on the outer birf shaft, not the brake rotor.

Actually its not a daily driver but the longevity/durability ratio of the OE birf suits me fine. The stiff joint has noticeable wear marks in it which must cause stress risers in the joint. I'd really like to avoid a birf replacement job on the trail so I'm most likely going to replace it for some peace of mind, ( also hopefully less clicking.)

nakman
09-12-2007, 03:52 PM
Bruce, just curious.. how deep are the "grooves" in the bell of your birfield? You can see a picture of what mine looked like last year in this thread http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/showthread.php?t=1150

60wag
09-12-2007, 04:42 PM
Mine looks worse than that. I'm going to disassemble the second one tonight so I'll see how that one looks.

60wag
09-13-2007, 06:56 AM
Got the 2nd one cleaned and repacked. Its much better - no hammer needed for disassembly.

subzali
09-13-2007, 10:19 AM
You need to update your sig line...another one gets an 80!

60wag
09-16-2007, 10:21 AM
I finally got the axle all buttoned up. I got a replacement birf form Oleg and Uri. Thanks for the rec' Ken, I frequently forget what a great resource Irbis Offroad is. One more project checked off the list but there are still many more things to take care of - fortunately they are less greasy than the axle job.

Romer
09-16-2007, 01:58 PM
Glad you got it done Bruce and that Oleg had what you needed. he saved my butt doing Sarah's font axle when I had a Caliper sieze on me, he had a caliper in great condition.