Toyota MinuteMod: Easy Birfield Separator
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Everyone knows that Birfield joints are weak links for Toyotas (or vehicles using Toyota running gear). Some drivers break them on every wheeling trip. Other drivers seem to be able to keep Birfields intact even when backing up, around a sharp corner, on a high-traction surface, while tugging a broken Jeep, uphill, both ways, in the snow.
Sooner or later, regardless of how good the driver or how well-built the vehicle, tough trails will eventually claim a Birfield joint. This article details a trick for dealing with that inevitable breakage.
|Simple, inexpensive time saver.|
Separating the Axle and Birfield
Once Birfield is out of the axle housing, if one of the other guys on the trip has a spare Birfield to lend, you still have to separate the inner axle from the Birfield joint.
Separating the Birfield and inner axle may be really easy, if the Birfield is completely shattered. An inner spring clip holds the two together, but if the Birfield is even partially intact, the inner axle has to be forcibly removed from the Birfield inner race. Even with a bench vise, this is not an easy task, unless you have a special homemade tool.
To make this tool, take a trip to the plumbing section of the hardware store. Buy an inch and three quarter (1 3/4") pipe and a floor flange. If the pipe is a bit longer than the long-side front axle, Birfield removal is easier.
|Floor flange simply screws onto water pipe.|
With that homemade tool, place the bottom of the pipe on a rock or the lip of the floor flange on a bumper. Insert the tip of the inner axle (opposite the Birfield) into the floor flange, then throw the axle and Birfield down. The pipe will guide the inner axle down and the flange will contact the Birfield around the perimeter of it's bell. Thown down hard enough, the impact usually separates the axle from the Birfield on the first try, blowing the inner spring clip apart in the process.
Stand well clear of the bottom of the pipe though, because the axle, when freed, will fly out the bottom of the pipe with force. This tool works just as well in the garage, and a little foresight can save you from needing the homemade tool on your truck. Separate the Birfields and axles at home, and store them separately.