Everyone who has wheeled
a Toyota, knows about the birfield joint. It is the joint in the front
axle housing of a 1979-85 Toyota pickup that connects the inner axle shaft
to the locking hub enabling the wheels to turn from side to side. It is
also the weak link in the Toyota drivetrain. If you are a
hard core 4 wheeler and choose to drive a Toyota, you have no doubt broken
a birfield joint while on the trail.
A few people
have tried to improve the birfield joint by reinforcing the outer shell.
This makes the outer shell stronger, but does nothing to improve the strength
of the inner and outer bearing cages, located inside the shell. The bearing
cage usually fails, damaging the outer shell beyond repair. This has always
been the problem with stronger" birfields.
The second fix for
the birfield problem is the birfield eliminator kit. So far, 2 companies
have tried using a Spicer #297x u-joint in place of the birfield with
fairly good results. The only problem is, both companies have discontinued
selling the kit for various reasons other than reliability.
2 weeks ago, virtually
out of nowhere, came a guy named Bobby Long, from Graham Washington. He
claimed that he has designed an unbreakable birfield. Infact,
he is so confident in his birfield design, he is offering it with an unconditional,
free replacement guarantee if it fails for any reason other than just
plain wearing out.
As I was rolling my
eyes and saying to myself Yea right, Another unbreakable birfield,
my fellow club member called Mr. Long and got him to send us a set to
field test out at the legendary Hammer trails located in Johnson
When I unpacked the
Toyota super axles I found that they were a stock Toyota birfield
joint with a ring welded on the outer lip of the shell just like the first
generation Marfield joint that Marlin Crawler marketed a couple years
ago. I had heard rumors that these birfields limited turning radius, and
since birfields usually break when they are turned, that is how they were
getting them to hold up so well. I put one side by side with a stock birfield
and placed an axle shaft in each. When I moved both birfields until the
axle shaft contacted the outer cage, I found that the stock birfield would
let the axle shaft move a lot farther than the super birfield. It was
also obvious that even though the ring on the super birfield was limiting
how far the axle moved, it WOULD NOT limit steering when it was
installed in the knuckle because it would still move farther than a Toyota
knuckle ever would.
I installed the super
birfields in my axle housing and adjusted the steering stops to where
the front tire would just contact the front of the leaf spring when turned,
then I headed for the Hammer trails. We met up with the guys from All-Pro
off road and found out that Terry Baker was testing a set of Bobbys
super birfields also. My rig has a 22re with 150:1 crawl ratio, ARB in
the front, spool in the rear and 38.5x14.5x15 Super Swamper TSL/SX tires.
Terrys rig was set up similar with 37 tires.
We ran Wrecking Ball
with no problems at all. That night I ran SledgeHammer and the next day
I ran JackHammer. With other peoples rigs popping birfields, rolling over
and breaking (Dana 60) axles, I had no problems at all. I didnt
intentionally try to break these super birfields, but at the same time
I wasnt being easy on them either. I bound it up a few times (like
only the Hammers can do) to where a stock birfield would have failed.
To my surprise, I completed the weekend with the same birfields that I
When I returned home,
I called Mr. Long and asked him what makes his Super birfields hold up so
well. He replied heat treat. He told me that a stock birfield
was heat-treated to a 65 Rockwell hardness (that is as hard as a file).
He explained that he re-heat treats the inner cages to soften them and then
he has them cryogenic hardened. Cryogenic hardening is done by dipping the
part in liquid nitrogen and freezing it to -300 degrees. He also re-heat
treats the outer shell and at a certain temperature, he stick welds the
outer ring on with a special rod. All of this produces a Super
birfield. These birfields have been tested on a special machine and
were able to withstand 10,000 pounds of torque at a 30 degree angle without
breaking. Pretty impressive I must say.They come with an
unconditional, free replacement warranty.
With all this information, and even testing them myself, I would like to
be able to tell you that these are the end all, be all solution
to your birfield problems. But I know better than that. Let me just give
you the facts. The positive things are:
These super birfields are stronger than a stock one.
They cost ½
the price of any other alternative. If one breaks, just replace it with
a stock one and youre off.
The negative things are:
The next weak link
will either be an axle shaft or a ring and pinion.
This is a fairly
small business, so you will have to pay for them with a money order and
send the cores before they will be shipped to you.
Depending on sales
volume, you might have to wait for your order (Bobby said he had 50 in
I plan on leaving my set in until I break one. Ill keep everyone
informed on the long-term results.
If you want a set, they are $115 each plus core.
You can contact
Bobby Long at:
Phone (253) 847-8254
Fax (253) 875-1588
20719 111th ave. East
Graham WA. 98338