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Rebuilding the 80 series front axle

Andrew Prince

Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2010
As my first post here and to celebrate the start of a new forum, I thought I'd post something vaguely useful that I've done :mrgreen:

I did a front axle/hub refurbish on my LC a while back and thought I'd report on my experience as far as it might be helpful for any other first timers attempting this on their 80s. For info, my LC has 100,500 miles on the clock and I had no clue what prior maintenance or repairs might have been done to the front axle. The CVs were chattering badly whenever I ran it in low range, so I decided to do the rebuild!

I did a fair amount of homework beforehand. Some of the sites I found useful were:

For an excellent write-up with lots of detail and pics, see the IH8MUD FAQ (lots of other good posts on this topic there too)
SUVSteve on the TLOCUK forum has a great write-up too:

For a list of parts, part numbers and tools, see:
Tool List

For setting wheel-bearing pre-load, follow Julian's excellent guide here:

I used the FSM for torque settings and for some guidance on how the bits fit together. The Ellery guide doesn't give much (helpful) detail and I found it pretty useless compared to the FSM plus print-outs of the above guides off the 'net.

For the record, I bought the Milners "swivel housing & hub seal kit", mainly for the gaskets and wiper seal kit. ... D=9096&p=3
I opted to use the Milner hub seal rather than buying from Toyota (part #: 90311-62001) as I anticipate changing the brake rotors in the not too distant future, so I'll probably be opening the hub then and will get a chance to inspect the seal and replace with genuine Toy if needed.
UPDATE: The Milner Inner Hub seals caused me a lot of hassles. They are hard rubber compared to the Toy OEM metal body with soft rubber for sealing on the spindle. As a result, getting the Milner seals fitted onto the spindle when mounting the hub is a pain. I ended up popping out the little retaining spring in the seal, which ruined the spring... so that was the end of that seal! My advice - spend the extra money and buy the OEM part!!

I bought Toyota parts for:
- Inner Axle seal (part #: 90310-35010) - £12.65 ea.
- Tabbed lock washer (90215-42025) - £1.99 ea
- Circlip for inner axle/CV (90521-34005) - £1.95 ea
- Snapring for CV/axle hub (90520-31001) - £2.30 ea

I bought new Koyo trunnion/swivel bearings and inner & outer wheel bearings from Julian Voelcker. Contact Julian at Overland Cruisers for availability and prices - all I can say is that these bearings are VERY expensive from Toyota.
I decided that I would replace both wheel bearings even though their service life is supposed to be up to 300,000 miles. My thinking is that I will keep the old ones as spares. When I removed them, I found a nasty "flake" missing on the outer bearing race, so I was doubly glad to be replacing!

I bought replacement CV joints from Iezura for £50.99 ea incl delivery (make sure you order the ones with the ABS ring, if you have ABS!). I chose to go with Iezura over Milner because the Iezura had positive feedback from a number of people, while the Milners feedback was more mixed. Both of these are MUCH cheaper than replacement OEM from Toyota (I was quoted £500+ per unit! ). I wanted the "harder" CV as most of my use is on-road, so I didn't need the tougher, softer Longfields, which apparently wear out sooner (and cost a bit too).

So, the good part, what did I learn?
1. Clean the back of the hub with degreaser beforehand and clean as much off with a pressure washer/wire brush before you start. Otherwise, expect to be covered in grease & muck.
2. You need plenty of paper towel (preferably industrial!) We went through 2 rolls and that was using as little as possible. This is a messy job and rags quickly get saturated with grease and become useless. Get 4 rolls of kitchen towel to be safe.
3. The steering knuckle/trunnion bearing races were very tough to get out. Do yourself a favour a get a LONG punch or brass drift. I had a puny brass drift which didn't allow much force (hammering!) to be applied and pieces of brass flaked off anyway. A long screwdriver was used and 45mins per race later, they were out. Not fun....
4. This is a messy job - get yourself a big box of nitrile gloves so that you can "clean" your hands occasionally by simply swapping for a new pair. Otherwise the grease gets everywhere, on every tool and is a PITA. A pair of overalls/boilersuit would be a good idea too.
5. I battled to get the inner axle oil seal out - buy yourself a seal puller/hook. Wasting half an hour trying to collapse it with a screwdriver and potentially damaging the surface on the axle housing is not smart. I bought a puller and doing the other side of the axle was a breeze!
5. This is a pretty standard problem but what spare/replacement parts to stock, other than the parts that you're replacing? We snapped a wiper seal bolt (puny pathetic little bolts) and didn't have a spare. Also a spindle/hub bolt was threaded - I suspect it was already like that from a previous job - and I had no spare. I'd suggest buying 1 or 2 spare bolts for all the bolts - if you thread a brake calliper bolt and have no spare, your LC aint going anywhere! Also have a couple of spare studs for the steering arm, if you're not planning to replace them anyway. The convenience of having a spare to hand when the unexpected happens is massive!
6. On MUD there were suggestions that the cone washers on the hub should be replaced. I saw no need for this and at £2.60 each x 6 per side, it seemed like an unnecessary expense. Obviously if they're damaged then replace - mine came out fine with some judicious tapping on the hub cover.
7. SUVSteve is a legend for being able to take pics throughout the tear-down and rebuild, despite the grease and muck. I would have added the cost of a new camera to my expenses for the rebuild!
8. The Milner seals are rubbish - the gaskets fit ok but the dust seal didn't match the hole pattern for the spindle too well and chewed up the thread on one bolt. The Milner wiper seals seem to fit ok, so will see how they last, otherwise the only things worth using are the gaskets IMHO. Contact Ian Rubie or Julian Voelcker for Toyota OEM parts at better prices than your main dealer! Going OEM is definitely the way to go if you want to end up with as perfect a job as you can!

What did I do right?
1. Snap-ring pliers were great - removing and fitting snaprings was a 10 second job! For a few quid, you will save a lot of time - buy some!
2. The hose-clamp trick to fit the CV snap-ring worked well. Buy a 25-35mm hose clip - I bought a bigger one and it was a bit unwieldy.
3. Half-marks here - I used a bit of PVC pipe to separate the half-shaft and CV. It was a bit too whippy, a metal pipe would be much better. Remember the half-shaft and CV are greasy as hell, so trying to separate by smacking it with a hammer is not very effective.
4. I bought a 54mm socket off e bay for about £10 - shopping around the SST was about £20-25 delivered and most 54mm sockets were around £30!!! I was happy to find the one that I did and it worked perfectly. The other big bonus of having a socket rather than the box spanner or SST is that you can use a torque wrench and get the pre-load right, rather than guessing.
5. Amazingly, the installation of the wheel bearings and setting the pre-load went perfectly. I redid the "nut tightening and turning the hub step" a few times just to make sure that I hadn't done something wrong. I followed Julian's instructions to the T and it went so smoothly that I feel I MUST have missed something!

What did I find when stripping the hub and axle down?
1. The hub had definitely been opened before as the hub nuts had been loosened/tightened by tapping a screw-driver against the corners....
2. The lower trunnion bearing (the one the steering arm connects to) was kaput. When I removed it a roller fell out, the cage was extremely loose with some cracked "bars", some rollers were worn away or broken - basically just a mess! Scary to wonder how long it would have been until complete failure and the steering bound up? The top bearing was ok, although there were some signs of false brinelling on the race, so the bearing was definitely due for replacement.
3. The CV was very worn and the balls and cage were very sloppy and loose. The CV has big grooves worn into it and the cage shows a lot of wear too.
4. The inner axle oil seal was intact and there was no sign of mixing of diff-oil and hub grease. Given that my CV's were clicking really badly, I was sure that the grease wouild be diluted and was surprised to find that it was not the case. I was in 2 minds whether to replace the axle oil seal or not but decided to in the end. I wonder whether the previous owner had replaced the oil seal and regreased the hub and left the old bearings and CV in there?
5. Brake disc, pads and calliper all looked ok, although they had collected lots of mud.
6. The inner wheel bearing was in perfect shape
7. The outer wheel bearing race had a flake missing on its bearing surface - not good! The missing section had caked grease in it, so the damage/flaw appeared to be quite old - I wonder what caused it or if it was a manufacturing defect? Both wheel bearings were Timkens and I replaced with Koyo. Does anyone know what wheelbearings were originally fitted in the 80? I assume a Japanese brand (Koyo) would be used so the Timken's are probably replacements themselves?

Hey Andrew. Nice post. I especially liked the links. Particularly handy having the one to an item on e-bay, I thought. :o


Edit. Just that I would edit this post.
Could we make this a sticky?

Nice write up, i would second the Julian method and like him I rely on experience when tightiening the bearings, a word of warning for those who like to get all the manuals. The Max Ellery manual puts the wheel bearings at IIRC 48Ibs so forget that!

Perhaps we should have a thread on known printed errors in workshop manuals?


Dave 2000 said:
Perhaps we should have a thread on known printed errors in workshop manuals?

Nice idea. Start one in the Technical FAQ section and I'll make it a sticky. Would have to be pretty specific though like part / job / page number / incorrect value or explanation and then correction as well as reason for correction.
Phew, the Max Ellery one would keep you busy for a while - plenty errors there :twisted: I would only use it for a rough guide to doing something that I have no clue about (if I had no better manual/guide). The torque settings are notoriously inaccurate. Lots of the descriptions are very vague and can be difficult to follow unless you're a competent mechanic.

The Toyota FSMs are much better - pretty clear explanations for an amateur like me and pretty much everything is accurate in terms of torque specs.

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Crispin said:
[quote="Dave 2000":o3lbor8n]Perhaps we should have a thread on known printed errors in workshop manuals?

Nice idea. Start one in the Technical FAQ section and I'll make it a sticky. Would have to be pretty specific though like part / job / page number / incorrect value or explanation and then correction as well as reason for correction.[/quote:o3lbor8n]



Andrew Prince said:
The Toyota FSMs are much bette

I assume these are copyrighted and not allowed to be published in a special section? :(
Andrew Prince said:
5. This is a pretty standard problem but what spare/replacement parts to stock, other than the parts that you're replacing? We snapped a wiper seal bolt (puny pathetic little bolts) and didn't have a spare.

Any idea what torque is to applied to these wiper seal bolts?

Very little - basically "comfortably" hand tight with a small spanner (8 or 10mm - can't remember which). Don't use a socket and a long bar/ratchet because you'll easily overdo the torque and break a bolt.
At a guess maybe 20Nm...
You could stick a little thread lock on there if you wanated to be sure but didn't want to jag them up too tightly as Andrew says.
Hi,just one little thought to add to this,about 15 years ago when I bought my 80 I drilled and tapped the small grease plugs on the front hubs to take a grease nipple.Every service(4500 miles) I gave them a couple of pumps.Now at 147000 miles the steering is still as light as the day I got it and the whole front axle has caused me no concern at all.Any ideas as to whether I may run into problems with this idea?
Can you clarify by what you mean by "hubs"? To my understanding, the hubs are the cast items that the wheel bearings sit inside and the disc rotor is bolted to. Other than greasing the wheelbearings (assuming that the grease in fact gets to the bearings and doesn't just sit in the housing), I'm not sure what particular benefits a grease nipple would give here.
What grease are you pumping in at every service? The wheelbearings and the CV/knuckle require very different greases.

Perhaps you mean the knuckle where the CV lives - again, can you be sure that pumping grease into the knuckle gets to the CV and, particularly, inside the CV? Grease floating around the knuckle doesn't do a huge amount, it's only the CV and trunnion bearings that need grease.

Obviously the facts speak for themselves if your front axle is in A1 shape without any major maintenance. Have you checked your diff oil recently?

I wondered the same Andrew. The swivel housing already has an access point in the top of it. This goes back to my question the other day. What IS all the grease in the SH actually doing? What does it lubricate? The CV is packed and it should stay packed. The CV grease in the cavity will NOT migrate into the CV. It is pretty immobile stuff that CV grease and simply sits there. I am not saying that it's not needed, but I have been asking what is it for? No one seems to have answered that so far. Greasing the hub might have more effect I guess but really only if it runs hot enough to melt the grease and spread it around. Lots of wheel hubs have greasing points on them, so I think that it can only be a good thing, but not perhaps an essential thing. They aren't hard to grease anyway really. Neat idea though

I still favour the idea of drilling the end of the CV shaft and sticking a grease nipple on that so that you can pump CV grease down it into the joint. It would not weaken the shaft measurably I am sure. Rob, a calculation for you?

Oh yes, in my haste I inadvertently called the knuckle joints the hubs,its the square topped filler plugs which I believe should removed and greased every 6000 miles which I drilled and tapped and installed grease nipples.This makes it easier to lubricate the steering knuckle and less likely to be forgotten as you have the grease gun in your hand when greasing the front prop.
The type of grease used is lithium HMP EP2,this is used extensivley on my fleet of trucks on kingpins, wheel bearings,propshafts and anything else with a grease nipple on it.This is what I also repack my wheel bearings with every 30,000 miles.
On the point of checking my front diff oil,I hav'nt checked it lately but did change it at 60,000 and 120,000 miles at which point it was crystal clear both times.
I hope this clears up any misunderstandings from my earlier post.
Thanks, Andy - that makes sense!
As per the second part of my response, just pumping grease into the knuckle doesn't really get it into the CV, which is where it's most needed. The grease that should go in there is moly grease, rather than lithium grease (which is the correct grease for the wheelbearings, as you describe). I am no expert in grease but I assume the "EP" designation for the grease you describe is for extreme pressures, hence it has done an ok job on your CVs, despite not being the recommended grade.
Are your CVs and trunnion/kingpin bearings still the original ones? If so, you've got pretty good life out of them to last 150k!

Someone with better grease knowledge than me will be along I am sure. All I know is that the two greases specified for the CV/Swivel housing and the wheel bearings are different. Sometimes people agonize way too much over engine oil choice for vehicles where under normal operating conditions, it doesn't matter a deal. But in terms of grease, I think that this may well matter. Now you have said that you have had no problems so you may have bust the whole debate on 80 axles wide open! But nonetheless, the two products are supposed to be different in there.

Adding grease via the top up hole will not help the CV joints that is for sure. Given the effort required to pack the joints with grease out on the bench (with CV grease), it is clear that anything added via a nipple, unless it was full to the top and had the viscosity of oil, it could not get into the joint. So possibly adding grease to the housing as you are doing, is actually doing nothing at all. Certainly not harm in any case. Does it run out of the wiper seals at all?

Hi everyone
Just to ad my thoughs etc on the filling the hub (as i call it) Via the screw at the top as andrew lomas mentions with grease.
It actually shows this to be done in the owners handbook.
Ever since i brought my first landcruiser i have always been told that the hub(ie the end of the axel that sits on the ball) Should be greased. With what grease i dont know as im not up on all that.
I have always been told that the seals that sit on the back of the hub with two brackets with a few 10mm bolts are a dust/dirt seals and the other is to stop the grease coming out.
You often get the problem where the ends of the axel where the ball is gets very very pitted.
I heard julian had to change a axel for that reason. I beleive that to be from them not being greased (My view not julians)
People often say to me that the seals that i mentioned above are to stop the oil coming out,I always tell them it should be grease in there not oil.
Anyway I Have never greased what is being talked about here although i beleive you should.
Probably why i have so many problems with lack servicing
Hi Karl, the grease that needs to go in there is CV grease. It's very unpleasant stuff really. Gets everywhere. The thing about cv grease is that it doesn't fling off very easily, so as the CV joint spins and works, the grease stays put. It's quite immobile. Whereas bearing grease tends to warm up, become more fluid and work its way around the wheel bearings, CV grease doesn't. The felt seals and wipers on the cannon ball are there to keep grease in I guess but also to keep crap out.

The swivel hub and cannon ball are only connected at the top and bottom with the bearings which don't really need that much lubrication to be fair. I still don't understand why it is necessary to pack the swivel hub up with grease when it basically sits there and doesn't really move that much. The only place it slowly moves to is the cannon ball. If you lose some here, gradually, it makes sense to top it back up again, but it moves at speeds so slowly that an annual squirt should be enough I'd have thought especially if the wiper seals are in good nick.

I do wonder about how the inside of the stub axle is supposed to be lubricated. I suppose that CV grease might slowly migrate down the alloy collar thing in the stub axle itself. But as CV grease doesn't move about much, I am not sure of that either. I haven't worked it all out myself and have never really read an explanation either. One thing is for sure though, oil in axle, grease in housing.