Toyota broken front suspension

Submitted: Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 20:26
ThreadID: 65064 Views:2754 Replies:6 FollowUps:5
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Hi all,

The other day, after a recent new year’s trip to a station in the southern flinders, I decided to investigate a possible air leak in the line connecting my front locker to the compressor. During recent operation, it was noticed that the compressor cycled quite frequently, indicating an air leak somewhere. Anyway, under the car I go and noticed oil underneath the front diff. On closer inspection, I found the rear half of the driver’s side radius arm bracket completely broken away from the axle housing! Not only had the bracket snapped in half, but several welds had failed and a small hole in the axle housing was also caused by a weld tearing away.

Now, I should reveal here that I drive a 100 series (105) live axle diesel. After dismantling everything, I decided it could be easily fixed by making a suitable jig to hold everything in it’s correct place and rewelding. This worked a treat and saved me big bucks. However, I also felt the need to add some additional reinforcing and gussets to make sure it won’t happen again.

Close inspection of the passenger side bracket revealed that the weld along the gusset on the top of the bracket had also failed and another weld down along the axle housing on one side was also starting to crack. Therefore, this side was also rewelded and reinforced.

While I don’t always treat the car as gently as I perhaps should, I’m not into extreme rockhopping either. On the side that actually broke, it was very evident that the weld along the top gusset had virtually nil penetration to the axle housing and was only ever holding by maybe 5mm of weld (the rest of the bead was just sitting on the surface). I suspect this was the main cause of it eventually failing.

Ok, the truck has done 250k and has heavy duty King springs, but on making enquiries with both Toyota spare parts and a couple of wreckers (prior to deciding to fix my own), I was told that front diff/axle housings were a commonly sought after part. So it appears this may have been relatively common?? My fix cost me under $200 including all new seals throughout, new swivel hub bearings (which were stuffed also), plus a fair bit of my own time and labour of course.

By the way, the air leak that started all this was actually inside the diff as the small copper air line had rubbed through on the rotating internals – this is currently being fixed under warranty by the supplier as they are the one who fitted it in the first place.

The point of this (longwinded) post is to suss out who else may have had a similar problem and whether it was repaired successfully or replaced. For all of you 100 series live axle drivers, perhaps a check now and again may save you some pain. I’m just glad it didn’t happen on the CSR!

Below are a couple of pics after repair and reinstallation (diff still to go in).


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Reply By: GerryP - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 20:29

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 20:29
Ooops, looks like I should have made the pic's a tad narrower to stop the text spreading over the margins... hope you can all read it Ok.

AnswerID: 343964

Reply By: guzzi - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 20:31

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 20:31
Lack of penetration eh, looks like the robot had a bad day on the mig gun.
Your welds look very good and the reinforcing adequate.
Good luck with it.
AnswerID: 343965

Reply By: Middle Jeff - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 21:03

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 21:03
Hi Gerry

When people first started to do lifts on 80 series cruisers the same thing happened, both their and on the chassie. It turned out to be the bushes where to stiff and also not wide enough in the centre. The bracket would close in on the arm and because it had no room for flex, this plus the harder bushes did not take up the vibration everything started to fall apart

Have fun

AnswerID: 343977

Follow Up By: GerryP - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 21:15

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 21:15
Thanks Craig,

That does make some sense. When I upgraded the suspension, I also fitted offset castor bushes. These bushes are fairly solid - I guess they need to be to maintain the offset - although they have been in for a couple of years now. They are like nolathane only blue. Hopefully they are wide enough to allow movement - might just check that tomorrow.


FollowupID: 611826

Follow Up By: Middle Jeff - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 21:23

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 21:23
Hi Gerry

When I looked at the picture I thought they where rubber, but if they are the nolathane ones get them out. The first people to work this out where people doing a lot of touring on dirt and getting cracks, most of the main suspension kits now only supply rubber.

Have fun

FollowupID: 611833

Follow Up By: GerryP - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:04

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:04
Thanks again Craig,

I'll do some research tomorrow and see what I can source. I just assumed that they needed to be fairly solid to keep the correct offset, but if that is not the case, then I'll definitely change them over.

FollowupID: 611855

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 21:26

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 21:26

Big job, eh, but no doubt rewarding to get it done yourself. Not too bad on the mig either!!!!!!!!

Will be checking out the 100 series, and also the 79 series utes in the morning, just in case.

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Can't remember most of it.

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AnswerID: 343985

Follow Up By: GerryP - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:01

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:01
Thanks Bob,

Do have a confession to make though, the welding was done by my lad with the welder at his work. He's pretty good with the ol' mig. I'll take credit for the rest though... :)

FollowupID: 611852

Reply By: Ozhumvee - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 08:05

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 08:05
Common problem, a friend had it happen on a TD troopy last year on the Madigan and since the trip the bloke that welded it up out in the desert has had it happen on his 80 series.
When you ask around it is relatively common and happens on bog standard vehicles.
Looking at later model 70 series utes it appears that Toyota has realised there is a problem as they have additional gussets.
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AnswerID: 344038

Reply By: Cliveg - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 11:15

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 11:15
Very good repair work. Ive seen simular damage done by reverse snatch recovery, not recovering a vehical in the correct way. Im not saying this is your case, just ive seen damage simular from incorrect recoveries, Its also possible that the very poor standard of welding had showed up after a recovery no matter how perfect the recovery was.

AnswerID: 344072

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 12:44

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 12:44
Would agree with the comment about poor welding.

After reading Gerry's post last night, went down this morning and checked a 100 series, and my own 79 series. The wagon wasn't too bad, but the welds on the ute must have been done on Monday/Friday. Very similar to my attempts to use a mig!!

Just another thing to check every service......should help to fill in a few days during retirement.

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FollowupID: 611962

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