Toyota Front Axle Knuckle Overhaul Tech & FAQ
This information covers the basic process of rebuilding the Toyota Land Cruiser front axle, specifically the knuckles and birf joints at the outer end of the front axle. While the information listed is generally specific to the Land Cruiser models, the links and general overview is applicable to all of the Toyota 4x4 applications that we carry knuckle rebuild components for.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can you just tell me which parts I need?
A: The short answer is no, without the vehicle here in the shop disassembled we have absolutely no way to determine which components are in need of replacing. If you wanting to have everything you need, consider our full-knuckle rebuild kits with wheel bearings. Additionally, please take a minute to read the information below so that you have all of the parts required to complete your axle rebuild.
Q: Can I do this project myself?
A: Axle rebuild projects can and have absolutely been done by the do-it-yourself home mechanic. The process and will require special tools, patience and attention to detail. Our recommendation would be that you spend some time researching the process online and by reading the Factory Service Manual and decide if its a project you are comfortable handling. All of our knuckle rebuild kits ship with complete step by step instructions complete with torque specs, assembly diagrams, grease recommendations, etc.
Q: What special tools are needed?
A: We recommend a 54mm Hub Socket for all disc brake applications (available at Cruiser Outfitters, part# FA15007) or the 50mm Hub Socket for drum brake front applications, part# FA301038), a brass drift, snap ring pliers (available at Cruiser Outfitters, part# FASNAP), spring-scale gauge (available at Cruiser Outfitters, part# FASCALE), steel punch/drift set and a Factory Service Manual (FSM) for your make & model vehicle (step by step instructions are provided in our full knuckle rebuild kits). Tools not available at Cruiser Outfitters are generally available through your local Auto Zone/Napa style parts store. In addition to the special tools, you will need two different types of grease, both commonly available at your local parts store. For repacking the wheel bearings, you will want a #2 high temp wheel bearing grease. For re-packing the birf joint and the knuckle housing/bearings, you will want a #2 moly fortified grease. Both are available in many different brands, pick your poison there.
Q: What if I'm not comfortable doing this job myself?
A: Cruiser Outfitters can provide all of the parts needed for the project, you simply drop off your vehicle and the parts to a reputable mechanic in your area. We would recommend discussing the overhaul in depth with the mechanic to verify they are comfortable with the job and that they have the tools to do the job correctly.
Q: What are the parts that I will need to complete the knuckle rebuild?
A: Parts List:
1. Gaskets & Seals - Cruiser Outfitters stocks all of the necessary gaskets and seals to disassemble your front knuckles and reassemble. These gaskets and seals are offered individually or as part of complete kits. Without having the vehicle here in our shop is it literally impossible for us to make any recommendation as to which seals and gaskets you will need to replace thus our standard recommendation will be for you to go ahead and have all of the needed gaskets and seals on hand before tearing down the project. Alternatively, if vehicle down-time is not an issue, we recommend you disassemble the front axle and order the parts you feel are needed to re-assembly your front axle. We offer 'Shim & Gasket Kits' (Part# FA460010, FA460011, FA460012 or FA460050) if you only need the knuckle gaskets and wiper felt and rubber. Seals would be ordered separately as needed. Our standard recommendation and most popular option is to simply order one of our complete 'Knuckle Rebuild Kits' which include ALL of the needed gaskets and seals as well as the knuckle bearings discussed below. These kits (Part# FA6975. FA7590, FA9097, etc) are also available with your choice of wheel bearings, Timken and or Koyo. Upgraded heavy duty inner axle seals? All of our knuckle overhaul kits include the standard stock style seal (Part# FA33085 and FA35010). If your looking for a heavy duty option due to extreme turn angles, worn seal surfaces on your inner axles or slightly untrue axle housings, Cruiser Outfitters stocks the Marlin Crawler Heavy Duty Eco Seal for all 1969-1997 Land Cruiser axles. See Part# FA33085MA and FA35010MA. While the FA33085MA is recommended for all 1969-1990 part-time 4wd applications, the FA35010MA is only recommended for part-time 4WD 80 Series applications as they seals do not have the longevity of the stock seal in standard full-time 4WD applications. Purchase two for your axle overhaul. While the bulk of our seals and gaskets come from OE manufactures including NOK and Joint Fuji, we also offer the OEM Toyota seals and gaskets. All of our front axle components and rebuild kits are shown here: Front Axle Rebuild Component Offerings
2. Knuckle Bearings - We recommend you replace the knuckle bearings when rebuilding your front axle. The top and bottom knuckle bearings generally wear evenly and thus all four bearings should be replaced at the same time. Exceptions to this for example would be swapping a birf joint on an axle you just rebuilt last year, the bearings won't likely need replacing unless they were damaged by a broken birf, etc. We offer the knuckle bearings individually (Part# FA17001 and FA20003 however all four (4) needed knuckle bearings are included in any of our complete knuckle rebuild kits. All of our knuckle bearings come complete with the new bearing and race. All of our front axle components and rebuild kits are shown here:
Front Axle Rebuild Component Offerings
3. Wheel Bearings - It is recommended to replace or at a minimum closely inspect your wheel bearings during the knuckle overhaul process. Like many other aspects of the knuckle overhaul, we simply have no way to know if your vehicle will need new bearings and thus our standard recommendation is simply order them to have on hand and replace as needed or tear the knuckle apart and inspect before ordering parts. We offer wheel bearings as part of 'Front Wheel Bearing Kit' (Part# FAWB6975KWB, FAWB7590TWB/KWB and FAWB9097TWB/KWB). These kits include the inner and outer wheel bearing and race, the wheel seal, the start washer as well as the needed gasket for the wheel bearings replacement only. If your planning to do wheel bearings at the same time as your knuckle overhaul, we offer our standard knuckle rebuild kits with wheel bearings and races, Part# FA6975KWB, FA7590TWB/KWB and FA9097TWB/KWB. Timken vs. Koyo wheel bearings? Which is better? Both are a fantastic bearing and due to customer demand for both options we stock them both. Timken bearings are made in the USA, Koyo bearings are made in Japan. Both are used OEM by Toyota in older Land Cruisers and various new models as well. We are 100% confident in either option for new and old Land Cruisers alike. All of our front axle components and rebuild kits are shown here: Front Axle Rebuild Component Offerings
4. Axle Clips - Are you
Planning to overhaul/replace or switch your birfield (outer axle joint) from one side to the other? If so, you will want to make sure to have the axle clips that go inside of the birf, they often break when removing the inner axle from the birf. See part# FACL27091 & FACL34005.Order 2 per front axle rebuild. All of our front axle components and rebuild kits are shown here: Front Axle Rebuild Component Offerings
4. Spindle Nuts & Washers - All of our standard knuckle rebuild kits include the necessary star lock washer (Part# FA38020 or FA42025) as it is required each time you disassemble the axle. The kits do not include the thrust washer or spindle nuts as they are generally re-used during the knuckle overhaul. You will need to inspect your spindle nuts and washers and replace as necessary. If your spindle nuts were taken apart with a chisel rather than the correct hub socket, you will likely want to replace the nuts in order to get the proper pre-load and torque spec during the rebuild. Also, if your wheel bearings were run in a loose condition for extended periods, your thrust washer may be in need of replacement. We offer all of these components individually and for the disc brake models (40/55/60/62/80) we offer them as part of a spindle nut kit (FA60011K), you will need one kit per side, two per front axle. All of our front axle components and rebuild kits are shown here: Front Axle Rebuild Component Offerings
5. Knuckle & Hub Stud/Cone Washer Components - In a standard knuckle rebuild process, all of your knuckle and hub studs, cone washers and nut will be completely re-usable and it is not generally recommended to replace them for any reason unless they are damaged, worn or missing. We offer all of the stud components individually as well as part of a complete stud kit which includes one stud's worth of parts, thus you would need to order a complete kit for each stud you plan to replace. All of our front axle components and rebuild kits are shown here: Front Axle Rebuild Component Offerings
6. AISIN/ASCO Front Hub Components - Are you planning to completely disassemble and overhaul your Aisin hubs? Fortunately they are very simple and contain only a few consumable parts. Plan on 2 of the Aisin dial 0-Rings (Part# HUB060010) and also consider replacing your worn hub dial detent spring and ball (Part# HUBDETENT), 1 kit required per hub. We also offer a wide selection of complete replacement AISIN hubs in both standard duty and heavy-duty variants. All of our front axle components and rebuild kits are shown here: Front Axle Rebuild Component Offerings
Sample Parts List (FJ40/55/60/62 Basic Front Axle Overhaul):
(Leaking inner axle seal but wheel bearings look clean and tight)
1 - FA7590 - Front Knuckle Rebuild Kit
2 - FA33085MA - Marlin Heavy Duty Inner Axle Seals
2 - FACL27091 - Front Axle Inner Birf Clip
2 - HUB060010 - AISIN hub dial O-Ring
2 - HUBDETENT - AISIN hub detent kit
Sample Parts List (FZJ80 overhaul with Nitro Upgraded Shafts):
(Front axle seals are leaking and wheel bearings are loose)
1 - FA9097KWB - Front Knuckle Rebuild Kit w/Koyo Wheel Bearings
1 - FAXTBIRFFJ80HDKIT - Nitro Heavy Duty Chromoly Axle Kits
1 - FA15007 - 54mm Hub Socket
Q: What else do I need to
A: There are numerous variables
not discussed in this article as every knuckle overhaul is a case by case scenario however the parts list above should get you the bulk (if not all) of the components needed during the rebuild process. Consider taking a look at your steering joints (tie rod ends), differentials gasket and pinion seal, suspension components while you have the front end disassembled.
Ready to order? Please jot down the parts numbers you are after and give us a call.
*See something missing, wrong,
or incomplete? Please let us know!