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Old 09-01-2019, 11:59 PM #1
3.5inmag 3.5inmag is offline
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3.5inmag 3.5inmag is offline
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My Desert Dune Demise (DDD) (re)Build Thread

Long time member- search function & I are best friends. Anyways, here is my (re)build thread for my 1998 4Runner Limited 4x4 with 395,000 miles.

As it currently sits, it has 265/75R16 AT tires, 2.5" daystar lift, new rear springs, aftermarket radio & sub, ashtray delete (CB radio in its place), & a completely worn out front end.

Today, I had the bright idea to yank out the front diff (I grenaded it a couple years ago & rarely use 4x4, so I just babied it), but while I was at it, I decided to go ahead & upgrade struts, ball joints, tie rod ends (inner & outer), brake hoses, sway bar end links, oil pan gasket, transmission filter, etc. I work at a parts store for beer & gas money, so discounts are pretty good & it doesn't cut into the income much. Oh yeah, wife is 7 months pregnant, so she is LOVING that I decided to do this right now. (Ha...Ha... She's not talking to me about it, sooooo....) I just pitched it as a safety concern for her & the baby.

Currently, the UBJs are out. Unbolt the 19mm nut off the upper control arm (remove the cotter first), use grinding/cutting wheel to cut the stud off, remove the snap ring (2 small screwdrivers or snap ring pliers make it easy), & I just beat out the UBJ with a 3 lb LFH (Little Freaking Hammer). Stud cutting not completely necessary, but it helps. It does help. (YouTube reference).Works flawlessly- just don't hit the fender with the hammer.

LBJ, kind of a PITA, but not bad. (Remember: impact tools make EVERYTHING easier.) Remove the 4 14mm bolts (3 will come out with a ratchet/impact, 1 you'll have to use a wrench on), remove the cotter, remove the 24mm nut. At this point, 1 of 2 things will happen... 1) The LBJ will seperate from the spindle, all is well with the world, & we can all sing Hakuna Matada. 2) It doesn't seperate & you'll need a ball joint press, ball joint remover (Autozone & O'Reillys have rental tools), torch, &/or a LFH/BFH, along with some SOB's thrown in for good measure.

My passenger side LBJ dropped right out. The driver side LBJ was a year & a half old & that SOB was in there. Took me & a mechanic (Cole) 15 mins to get it out.

NOTE: IF you replace the UBJ & LBJ at the same time, MAKE SURE you have the spindle supported. Otherwise, it will fall until the ABS sensor & brake lines stop it. Don't ask me how I know this. Let's just say I now have to replace a metal brake line.

Sway bar end links:
1) Remove the nut from the top of the sway bar link
2) Remove the nut from the side of the sway bar link, down at the lower control arm

Sizes will vary on the sway bar end link nuts, so no size is listed. Use whatever size is appropriate. Install is reverse order.

CV axles/half shafts: Remove the dust caps with a screwdriver, remove cotter pin & nut keeper, find 35 mm socket, go grab a beer, open said beer, drink half of it, put 35mm socket on a breaker bar & try like hell to break the axle nut loose without busting yours... OR just get an impact gun & make it easy. Drink said beer WHILE taking the axle nuts loose. Either way works. The cv axle may be "stuck" in the wheel bearing & may take some finagling to get it out (LBJ may have to be unbolted). Repeat for other side. Use a pry bar to try to get the inner CV housing out & curse a lot. Drink some beer while in the middle of it. Quit because you're frustrated & go eat lunch & drink more beer. Come back with some help & have them pry out the inner cv housingwhile you put the CV @ a zero degree angle. It SHOULD pop right out. Install is reverse order.

Differential: After removing the cv axles/half shafts, drain it with a 10mm hex key & unbolt the front diff from the subframe. There are 2 19mm bolts in the front & a 17mm bolt/12mm hex nut in the back close to the steering rack. I didn't have a 12mm hex head, so we stopped for the day at this point. (A perfect stopping point, might I add)

Update coming tomorrow, as the front diff will be out & hopefully disassembled to be put in a wash cabinet. Pics to come.

Last edited by 3.5inmag; 09-02-2019 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 09-02-2019, 11:46 PM #2
3.5inmag 3.5inmag is offline
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3.5inmag 3.5inmag is offline
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New update: front diff is out & disassembled on the work bench.

Continuing on, remove the 12mm hex key "nut" from beside the steering rack, remove the actuator connector & 2 or 3 vacuum lines & the diff will drop out. No wait, it won't. But it ALMOST will. Get the 24mm socket you used earlier on the LBJs & put it on an impact to remove the pinion flange nut. Mine zipped right off. Work the axle against the bell housing ear to work the flange off the pinion splines & it should drop right out whenever the flange comes off. (I will note here, impact guns make EVERYTHING easier. I used a stubby impact on the more difficult things & they became easy.) Removing the front diff isn't NEAR as hard as it is made out to be. Challenging? Yes. But hard? I'd rate it a 4 on a 1-10 difficulty level. So not too bad. BTW, plan on pressure washing the ENTIRE undercarriage before doing a front diff removal. I'll have nightmares because mine was covered in so much mud/grease/oil/sand. It made everything NASTY.

Back to topic at hand, the front diff was removed, pressure washed & disassembled in the shop. We used 12mm (I think), 14mm, & 17mm sockets to remove everything. The clamshells will be f-word tight & a general PITA to seperate. An air hammer does wonders here. We separated the ring & pinion & holy moly, it was grenaded. We threw the unassembled differential in the wash cabinet & them came out nice & clean. Pics are attached of the front ring & pinion.

Multiple parts are ordered & on the way. Before I forget, the shim kits are not easy to find & the ones that are available are $60/$70 dollars for 1 shim kit ( & you need 2). Motive gear makes shim kits. 1109 is the part # for the pinion shim kit for the 7.5" Reverse Rotation. 1130 is the differential carrier side shim kit for the 7.5" Reverse Rotation. Both part #s do cross over to other vehicles, so look at the full specs on them to verify.

Tomorrow's plan is to drop the oil pan & see how dirty everything is (395K miles, remember?) & replace the tranny filter. MIGHT change out the transfer case fluid & start on front end parts. It was super nasty today in the shop (oil, grease, mud, sand, brake fluid, etc everywhere). I didn't dare pick my phone up to try & get pictures. Maybe I can get some before we start back to work on it tomorrow night.

Trying to figure out how to resize pics. I'll post them up whenever I figure it out.
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