I own a 2003 FWD RAV4 with just over 100k miles. Recently noticed that the "thing" in the middle of the driver side CV half-axle has rusted and split open - image attached. The boots on either side are fine. My immediate reaction was "got to replace it right away", then I saw that aftermarket replacements have nothing of this sort, just a straight metal rod with the boots on both sides. So I am wondering, what function does that "thing" serve, if any at all? Not sure if this would be possible, but if I were to strip that off completely, would I find a solid (although somewhat rusted) metal rod underneath, or is there some sort of joint that can snap completely in a few miles?
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