Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Overhaul is Complete

Well, it's done. For the most part the job went without a hitch. The grease I got from John Deere for the birfield joints turned out to be great. It was the stickiest, nastiest crap I've ever seen. Fortunately, sticky and nasty is just the ticket.

The birfield joints did turn out to have some damage. There was some wear, and actually some pitting. Pitting is bad. It means that the joints are on the docket for replacement. At $650 a piece for two its a chunk of change. I believe, however, that the grease will serve to prolong the life for two to three more years. The damage was actually caused by the wrong kind of grease, and improper greasing. That is, I didn't find enough grease present in the knuckles to properly protect it. As a part of the job this weekend I replaced all the seals that keep the grease in the knuckle, and replaced a bunch of other parts that should give me another 80,000 to 100,000 miles. So the knuckles are good, but like I said, I will probably have to replace the axle joints.

The next project is to replace the blinker/headlight switch on the Accord. I already have the part, but I haven't changed it because I have to take off the steering wheel. I haven't done it already because there is a little challenge--the airbag. If I do it wrong the airbag could go off, which would mean a cost on the order of $1000, not to mention the possibility of personal injury. But not to worry, there are methods to this. As long as I follow the rules, there should be not problem.

After that, the next project is the power steering pump on the Land Cruiser. Replacement is $330, but I can rebuild it for only around $40 for all the new seals and O-rings. Once again, there is a great FAQ for this found on ih8mud.com.

I like to work on cars. My poor wife has to put up with it, but since I saved us $1000 this weekend, I'll think she'll cut me some slack.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Major Overhaul

Here I sit on the eve of a major overhaul on the Land Cruiser. It seems that my particular Land Cruiser needs to have some front axle service. The main thrust of the job is that I have to pull out the front axle shafts from the front axle, clean them and repack them with grease. In the proud tradition of my fore fathers I'm going to do the job right. In this case, doing the job right means that since I have to almost completely tear down the front axle just to get to the shafts, I might as well rebuild the rest of it while I'm at it. Heck, why not, It's already got 156K on the clock and it will only give me more useful mileage, not to mention make the underside of the truck more pretty.

Now this job should take about 9 hours. I hope. Unfortunately, there must inevitable be some form of difficulty that will prevent me from finishing on time. I'll keep you posted as to what it turns out to be. I've been reading and re-reading the manual and the absolutely indispensable FAQ page on the subject from the ih8mud.com forum. This will only be my second time removing the brake rotor from a truck. For this job I will actually be removing the knuckle which is the thing that carries the front wheel and allows it to turn. It's undiscovered country for me, but I hope my map is as good as I think it is. This picture shows a cut away view of what I've got to deal with, the front axle. I will be dissassembling it, cleaning everything as best I can and putting it all back together. Like I said, I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Little Light Reading

With a new car comes a new auto manual. I have owned the manual for every car I've ever owned since my 1989 Mazda 323. That car really took me everywhere. It met it's untimely demise in Arizona of all places. It overheated really bad and warped the valves inside. That was right after I had changed the clutch. I did that work myself too, though it would go much faster now. I digress. Back to light reading. Today I got the Haynes manual for my Land Cruiser. I already had the Chilton manual (same type of book, just different publisher) which unfortunately turned out to be useless. For some reason the Chilton folks decided they would combine the Land Cruiser manual with the one for the Toyota T100 and Pickup. That's all fine and good, but the Land Cruiser is built so different from these other trucks that it may as well have been a manual for a Ford Model T. Since I've only had the Haynes manual for a few hours I haven't been able to really get to know it, but I know it has some helpful info about the major job that I'm planning: front axle rebuild.

Up until 1998 Land Cruisers were built with a solid front axle featuring full floating axle shafts.
Basically, this means that the drive train was built as beefy as 3/4 ton full size pickups. As I have said in a previous blog, the Land Cruiser legacy is found in African deserts and the Australian Outback and the truck was designed to handle it. This front axle rebuild will involve tearing down the front axle including the wheel hubs, steering knuckles, and axle shafts, cleaning it all, regreasing it all, and putting it all back together like the day it was first brought to be in that Japanese factory. I should be able to do it in one eight hour session provided I can get my loving wife to bring me some tacos about midway. The nice thing is I can do it myself. Last time I did something major on a car I got my buddy Ben to help me. That was a transmission swap and when you are flat-backing in the driveway for a job this major there is now way you can do it alone simply because the transmission weighs so much. I've been researching on ih8mud.com and have found a wealth of information about the job. Some of the guys on the site consider your first axle rebuild to be a rite of passage for Land Cruiser owners. Well, here goes nothing.