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Old 07-24-2010, 07:23 PM
Tranny Frank Tranny Frank is offline
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: ID
Posts: 37
Default Your not a clown, your a mushroom sucking up bull ****, heres the clown leader

Originally Posted by FJBRADY View Post
Yeah and I am Homey D. Clown
Having said all that, here's a primer on what I think is happening with your front axle. Looking under your front end from the front bumper, the front axle housing terminates at each end in spherical steel structure. In this sphere (STEERING KNUCKLE) are your birfield joints. The sphere is supposed to be full of thick grease. The axle housing (including diff) is supposed to be full of thin gear oil. Right as the axle housing flares into that sphere there is a seal through which the actual axle shaft pierces. The seal (AXLE SEAL) keeps the two types of fluids (thick grease/thin oil) apart. Another seal (STEERING KNUCKLE SEAL) keeps the thick grease from leaking out of the sphere onto the outside of the spherical surface you can see. It is normal for there to be some weeping here, and these seals slide directly against the outside of the sphere, leaving "edges" of thick grease built up at the limits of the wheel's turning ability. Normal.

Over time, the AXLE seal wears and allows the thin grease into the steering knuckle. Here, it thins the grease out, and the grease runs out of the steering knuckle through the STEERING KNUCKLE SEALS, and also sometimes even onto the wheels via the drive plates. After awhile, the differential oil is low, and the steering knuckle is low - endangering both expensive components.

Here is where things typically go horribly awry on a LandCruiser - owing to its uniqueness and the typical ignorance of many mechanics on these somewhat rare aspects.

The lowest form of this mechanic ignorance takes this form: On the upper forward part of the steering knuckle is a square plug. This plug is only to be used to CHECK the grease level in the steering knuckle. But mechanics think this is to FILL the knuckle. It should only be used as an indicator of the grease level since the last disassembly and repack. Not for adding. Putting grease in here does not get it to the actual birfield joint - which is the place where it needs to be. So, many mechanics simply stuff grease in here and send the LandCruiser owner on his merry way thinking he's properly serviced the knuckle/joint. Unfortunately, the birfield resides in a separate chamber inside of the steering knuckle and it's still devoid of grease no matter how much you jam in that plug hole. This is the lowest form of maintenance and the cheapest.

The second form of error costs a lot of money. The mechanic properly strips down the steering knuckle and repacks the birfield/steering knuckle by pulling the axle partway (but not all the way) out. Pulling it all the way out is simply a matter of pulling it another 3 feet and laying it on the bench, BTW. Upon reassembly, they replace the seals that seem to be allowing the grease to run out of the sphere where you can see it built up as mentioned earlier. They think this seal is the problem, after all (its actually a triple seal of rubber, felt and steel designed to contain thick grease, NOT thin oil) as that's where the leak is. Honest mistake, but it's the AXLE SEAL that is causing the grease to thin and leak. The axle is reassembled, the customer pays the bill (usually around $600 per side) and they drive off with that aforementioned axle seal not replaced. Anywhere from a month to 6 months later, the continued contamination of thin gear oil causes the thinned grease/oil mix to run out that new fancy triple seal again and causes a mess and lack of lube AGAIN. Sound familiar?

So, what needs to be done is a PROPER axle service that will again last 60,000 miles before the axle seal starts to wear and leak. I doubt your birfield is toast, but will wait to hear about the "click" test to help you make a judgement. If your front diff has not been allowed to get low, the birfield is still running in oil and that's completely OK.

Back to your front shaft. There are no less than THREE grease fittings on it and most mechanics are used to zero, or one. So, it may be that you simply need someone to grease the three zirc fittings. The more I think about it, this should be done before anything else and takes someone with a grease gun about 3 minutes if they take the time to properly wipe off each fitting before filling it with grease.