I took all these pictures about a year ago when I had to replace a spindle that was bent. Since then I have redone my suspension so these pictures are no longer a reflection of my truck, but they still apply.
Anyone who has a bent spindle or wants to swap out for some gusseted spindles will need to do this. It is not hard to do, but can be frustrating.
I am not a mechanic, I am not telling you to do this, I am not telling you this is the BEST way to do it. I am simply saying what I did.
Here is a list of the tools that I used:
17 mm wrench to remove the hub from the spindle.
35 mm socket for axle nut
Needle nose pliers for axle nut retainer and tie rod end castle nut
17 mm socket for tie rod end castle nut and brake caliper
19 mm socket for bottom of spindle where LCA bolts on
Flat head screw driver
Ball pien hammer or generic bfh
Whatever you need to disconnect uca. I now have Downsouth Motorsports UCA's which use 21mm socket for top and 22mm for bottom. Remember you will need a wrench for the nut if you are installing gussets.
I went to sears and bought everything I used and tossed it in a bag to keep in the truck. Now Everytime I work on the truck I'll go buy all the tools I needed so I don't need to worry if I ever break down on the trail.
-First you will need to Jack up the front of your truck and set it securely on jack stands. It is also a good idea to chalk the rear wheels. I also used a floor jack to keep the lower control arm from dropping down too far.
-Next you will need to remove the wheel. It is easier if you loosen the lug nuts while the tires are still on the ground, but if you get to this point and realize you can't get the lug nuts off, have someone press the brakes while you loosen them.
-At this point, you should see something similar to this. At this time I still had stock UCA's and was still using the sway bar.
-Now you need to use a flat head screw driver and a hammer to pry the cap off of the hub so you can get to the axle nut (4x4's only I'm guessing? never worked on a pre runner)
-Then you need to remove the cotter pin and castle nut retainer. Needle nose pliers work well.
-Now can have someone step on the brakes so you can loosen the nut. You will need a 35mm socket. I tried doing it by myself with a large pry bar, but it kept slipping.
-Then you can un bolt the brake caliper. Two 17mm bolts hold it on from the back. Don't forget to unbolt the brake line brackets and ABS sensor. 12mm and 10mm sockets will be needed. Make sure to secure the brake caliper to avoid problems with your brake lines. A rope can be used to tie it up out of the way.
-Now hit the brake rotor with a rubber mallet and it should come off.
-At this point you will need to grab a 17mm wrench and get to work on the 4 bolts that hold the hub to the spindle.
-Then you can go ahead and loosen up:
-The sway bar link (if you still have it)(not sure what size nut)
-The tie rod end. Should be 17mm. Will also need to remove the cotter pin.
-The lower ball joint where it bolts to the spindle. Two 19mm bolts.
-The upper control arm nut. Not sure what the stock UCA size is.
Once all the nuts are loose, go ahead and remove them. Just easier to get everything loose first while the spindle is still held in place.
-Now that you have the spindle out, you will need to remove the ring for the axle bearing and install it on the new spindle. It is thin metal so be careful. Definitely recommend spraying pb blaster or similar on it first. Then use a flat head screw driver and very carefully tap it with a hammer and twist it to pop it off. Do this all the way around it to avoid tweaking it too much on one side.
To install it in the new spindle I just applied some grease and then carefully tapped it with a hammer all around the ring until it sat all the way down. If yours isn't going in easily, try anything you have lying around that can fit inside the ring to avoid bending it.
-Now you are ready to put it all back together!
-Start by bolting it back to the UCA to hold it up. Don't forget to slide the axle through the opening in the spindle.
-Now you can go ahead and line up all the other bolts. LCA, Sway Bar, Tie rod end.
-Then you can have fun with that 17mm wrench again. Don't forget to put the brake dust guard back in place too.
-Then re install the brake rotor, caliper, and brake line brackets/ABS sensor, followed by the axle nut. Again, I suggest having someone step on the brake to allow you to tighten the nut.
-Then use a hammer to tap that cap back into place.
-If I've forgotten anything, please let me know and I'll update this.
-Here's why I had to swap out a spindle. I slid on some black ice and hit a guard rail. It bent the spindle enough that my tire was cocked at such an angle that it was only running on the inside edge. In less than 500 miles that tire was completely thread bare on the inside edge. Here is the bent spindle (on top) compared to the new spindle (on bottom).
Since then I have swapped out both the driver and passenger side spindles for spindles with Total Chaos Spindle Gussets welded to them. Here's what they look like.