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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2001, 04:19 PM
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Front Spindle Maintainance

Yo all! I have an 88 sammy ragtop. Ok: the front drivetrain consists of the front diff, the axles going out to the wheels, and the steering spindles on the ends. The steering spindles turn on huge balljoints with seals (so we can turn, yea....). I got a couple of new seals for those joints and I'm gonna put them on. No biggie. My question: what LUBRICATES that balljoint that is half exposed to the outside world and half inside? It is greased during a rebuild, or does it get its lube from the diff oil?? Any help?? benjamin401

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2001, 04:28 PM
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Re: Front Spindle Maintainance

Well the knuckle is sealed from the gear oil, Or should be if your inner axle seal is good. you need to clean then grease it. they are often rusted rather badly so some people have sanded them down and filled the pits with JB weld and then POR-15 them to keep them from rusting again. You should also check the Kingpin bearings, (The bearings at the top and bottom of the knuckle while you have it apart, and grease them. the bottom one often is quite rusty and may
need to be replaced.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2001, 04:39 PM
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Re: Front Spindle Maintainance

Hey Ben,

Okay, the "ball joint" you are refering to is technically called the Steering Knuckles. Inside is a CV-type joint called a Birfield Joint (the infamous Samurai weak link).

The seals you have are called wiper seals and felts. Yes, there should be a large round rubber seal, and two half-circle felt pieces per set, and a set for each side. While keeping grease is part of the function, they are designed primarily to keep dirt, water and other crud out. There is no need to lube the knuckle ball itself, as it is not a friction surface. The knuckle is held in place by upper and lower king pins. Yes, king pins not unlike old, old VWs.

If you are going the distance to replace the wiper seals, also check the king pin bearings. IF the are original, they could be toast. Usually the lower bearing goes due to rust from water entering bad wipers (FSM says to replace wiper seals/felts like every 30K).

If you go for new bearings, they will most likely be the newer style tht are better.

My suggestion? Get your hands on a Factory Service Manual (FSM) and do it right. Forget the Chiltons, Haynes and others, they are worthless. If you need to find out where to buy one, just ask me.

Hey Now, I'm coming down your way (Anna.., MD right?) this Sunday to buy/pick up a set of tires. It would be nice to meet you. I could always look over your rig, point out what you need to do for the front end and give some advice if you need it.

L8tr,

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2001, 04:41 PM
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Re: Front Spindle Maintainance

It gets lubed by the grease packed inside the knuckle. If you have not packed your wheel bearings or knuckles I would check to see if they need grease.

If you do pull the spindles off it's a good time to check your kingpin bearings. The top one is prone to losing grease over a long period of time which can contribute to the bearing wearing out.

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2001, 04:41 PM
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Re: Front Spindle Maintainance

That's funny Glenn. Great minds must think a like, and respond to posts just as fast![img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif[/img]

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2001, 04:48 PM
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Re: Front Spindle Maintainance

I have not seen problems with the bottom kingpin rusting, but it's probably a RUSTBELT thing I wouldn't understand, huh?

But I also had never seen the pitting and corrosion of the knuckle either before I saw a before and after pic of one someone posted recently.

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2001, 09:23 PM
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Re: Front Spindle Maintainance

Cool, got it. Wipers and felts keep stuff out, not a laod bearing or friction surface. Inner oil seals keep lube in the diff. Wheelbearings lubed with grease, as are the kingpins, lower and upper. So I'll rebuild the entire knuckle, checking the kingpins and bearings for rust/wear, checking the oil seals, cleaning up the ball-surface on the steering knuckle and installing new wiper+felts, and packing the interior where the CV joint is with wheelbearing grease. Thanks for all the info guys, I appreciate it. any more comments, add 'em!!! benjamin401

post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-06-2001, 07:40 AM
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Re: Front Spindle Maintainance

One more. Trail Tough sells a front end rebuild kit. It's reasonably priced. It has everything (bearings, gaskets, seals, etc) from hub to hub. If you are going to tear it down, make sense to do everything.

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