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Okay, gang...need your help on this one. In the past week I've noticed an occasional rumble/vibration around 30-40mph, which increased in severity as time went on. I took it to a dealer today and they're telling me the drive shaft U-joints are "seizing" due to rust. $1200 dollah. The mechanic tells me the U-joint can't be replaced by itself, it's attached to the shaft, so the entire shaft has to be replaced.

I asked for the parts ticket when I picked up my car tonight and paid my diagnostic. The ticket calls out 37100-42090 Shaft, assy, $1019.64. Oddly, that p/n comes up in Google as JUST the U-joint itself....Amazon sells it for under $20!!! What's going on there?

Assuming the entire shaft has to be replaced, anyone know if this is common across all gen 3 RAV's? Don't know if the V6's require a burlier unit (heh...I said 'unit').

I'm pretty handy and have a garage and basement full of tools. Doable by the amateur?

Full disclosure: I can afford the repair...I'm kinda just thinking I'd rather not hand someone $1200 for an easy job, if that's what it looks like. Especially if it's only $20! Besides, I just finished installing a supercharger in my S2000 this past weekend so my hands are already greasy...:smile

Any information is (as always) appreciated.
 

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As I understand it's much like the one piece exhaust that extends the length of the car. A bad muffler can be cut out and welded in by an exhaust shop without paying the price for the whole unit from Toyota.
The U joints can be replaced by a specialty shop for far less than the entire drive shaft. You'll have to hunt for a place that can handle it though.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
As I understand it's much like the one piece exhaust that extends the length of the car. A bad muffler can be cut out and welded in by an exhaust shop without paying the price for the whole unit from Toyota.
The U joints can be replaced by a specialty shop for far less than the entire drive shaft. You'll have to hunt for a place that can handle it though.
And that turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered. I found a local place not 10 mins from my house which does exactly that. They had the shaft on the shelf already and just popped it in. $580, less than half what the dealer wanted, and this one is repairable. It even has zerk fittings for maintenance. They'll take my old one, cut it up and modify it, and sell it to the next guy.:D

Thanks for the reply!
 

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Glad it worked out.
 

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And that turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered. I found a local place not 10 mins from my house which does exactly that. They had the shaft on the shelf already and just popped it in. $580, less than half what the dealer wanted, and this one is repairable. It even has zerk fittings for maintenance. They'll take my old one, cut it up and modify it, and sell it to the next guy.:D

Thanks for the reply!
Gosh....grease fittings? Imagine that!
 

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Non- greasable U joints eh? What kind of crap is Toyota pulling?
 

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Wow, Even at that price I think your getting ripped off ! You said 1 driveshaft , so that's 2 u-joints that might be 20 bucks each. Is there something I'm missing here ?
 

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If you go to a dealer then yes the entire drive shaft needs to be replaced, dealerships do not fix anything anymore, they only replace parts.

If you look in your area for a drive-line shop, give them a call. They can normally remove the u-joint from the drive shaft, machine it, and put a new U-Joint in.

I had the same issue last summer, took the drive-shaft out and took it in to the drive line shop in my area and they were able to do the job for $180. Now I have a drive-shaft with a replaceable u-joint.

They only replaced the rear one as the indicated it is the only one that seems to go and the front one was in perfect condition.

Dealership = Full replacement with $1200 parts plus labor cost

Aftermarket = Fixed Part with future use and $180
 

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As far as I know, nobody uses grease fittings anymore. Not just Toyota.

Trucks and full frame SUVs still use them, but I have not seen a grease fitting in a unibody car/SUV in years.
 

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Most/many cars these days come with non serviceable u-joints. The ends do not have a cir clip instead have a plug that is pressed in to hold the u-joint in place. If you have every replaced u-joints you know what a time consuming PITA it could be. There is a fine touch aspect of it, and if done wrong can easily damage the needle bearings which is a hidden mistake that rears its head after a couple of hundred/thousands of miles. Thus many manufactures simply replace the whole shaft with new joints. Here is a picture comparing the two.


This is becoming very common. Far example no one really replaces control arm bushings and ball joints anymore. They just replace the entire arm. Not to mention to labor but the cost savings. For my truck bushings are about 25 bucks each needing 2. Ball joint is about 40 bucks needing one. The entire arm with new bushings and ball joints installed is 75. Kind of a no brainier. The driveshaft however incurs a much higher cost in the OPs situation. The price paid was a little steep regardless. I paid about 300 for a new shaft for my car (300zx) when I need new joints. But that was a popular off the self item from a on-line aftermarket Z parts dealer.

Now back to the U-joints. Even the non serviceable u-joints however can be services. The plug can be ground out and there is a cir clip grove under there. This is done with varying degrees of success by home mechanics. Not exactly sure what a drive line shop does. The have the option of cutting off the flanges and welding new serviceable type to the existing tube.
 

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My first drive shaft problem was in the mid 1970's, while in College.
- cost me $350 for a new one, on my Datson B210 / 3 weeks pay, back than
- around this time, GM went to non-serviceable universal joints on their new Impala...to profit big

A decade ago, my 1992 Chev. 4x4 pickup, had a drive shaft made out of black hollow fiberglass / for weight reduction.
- when it blew apart, it looked like I hit a crow, on the road / total discenegration
- whet to a heavy truck shop that had a long lathe / just for drive shaft making
- they cut steel tubing to proper length / welded HD universal joints (with grease fittings on each end of tubing)
- and balanced the drive shaft / $300 for a new one

Last year, wife's Volvo V70 wagon had a bad pigtail on the front fender side blinker / that became defective.
- Dealership wanted $1,000 for a new wiring harness and probably another 8 hours of shop labor to replace
- had a friend fix blinker bulb pigtail, for free (quick few minute job)
Saved approx. $2,000 by avoiding dealership.
 

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A fiberglass drive shaft on a 4X4 pickup truck??!! What was Chevy thinking??
 

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A fiberglass drive shaft on a 4X4 pickup truck??!! What was Chevy thinking??
When my fiberglass drive shaft blow up, it was like a bomb went off under my pickup driving at 30 mph.
- the complete center was totally gone, a foot in length
- wanted to avoid the cost of a tow truck, so I slipped the truck into 4x4
- drove over to my backyard mechanics place, with front wheel power

My buddy had a mint Z71 Silverado, so I crawled under his truck to measure the correct drive shaft length and got one made the next day.
- GM did eventually discontinue the fiberglass drive shaft, but probably not till after about 5 years in new truck production & much warranty claims
 

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If you go to a dealer then yes the entire drive shaft needs to be replaced, dealerships do not fix anything anymore, they only replace parts.

If you look in your area for a drive-line shop, give them a call. They can normally remove the u-joint from the drive shaft, machine it, and put a new U-Joint in.

I had the same issue last summer, took the drive-shaft out and took it in to the drive line shop in my area and they were able to do the job for $180. Now I have a drive-shaft with a replaceable u-joint.

They only replaced the rear one as the indicated it is the only one that seems to go and the front one was in perfect condition.

Dealership = Full replacement with $1200 parts plus labor cost

Aftermarket = Fixed Part with future use and $180
Glad I checked here and saw this thread, We just went through the dealership as we had a noise develop last weekend, sounded like a rumble strip after 40kmh... dealer said driveshaft needs to be replaced, about $1500CDN all in w/tax.

Checked with a local driveshaft place "oh yeah, working on one right now, I got it in stock, $550+tax installed" lol
 

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Glad I checked here and saw this thread, We just went through the dealership as we had a noise develop last weekend, sounded like a rumble strip after 40kmh... dealer said driveshaft needs to be replaced, about $1500CDN all in w/tax.

Checked with a local driveshaft place "oh yeah, working on one right now, I got it in stock, $550+tax installed" lol

Is this noise consistent and heard all the time above 40 km/hr? Just wondering since I heard some vibration at the back 3 times now since Jan this year but it does not repeat that often.
 

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yeah, for us it started on the weekend... we drove to Kingston two weekends ago for a soccer tournament (about 200km one way) and on the way back I started noticing a tiny bit of vibrations. This past weekend we drove to Cobourg for another tournament and sure enough as I got off the highway, it sounded like I was driving on the rumble/wake-up strips on the side of the 401. the noise is fine before 40km/h but just around 40 to 100kmh you can hear it and somewhat feel the vibration.
 

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I'm told about $1000 for new driveshaft as well. Rust. I've never noticed this in driving? Car is 2010 v6 142,000 km. And I've had it rustproof each year. This is disappointing. anybody had success with a driveline shop near guelph / KW?

There is another issue, leaking coolant, which I'll post separately.

Thanks !
 

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I'm told about $1000 for new driveshaft as well. Rust. I've never noticed this in driving? Car is 2010 v6 142,000 km. And I've had it rustproof each year. This is disappointing. anybody had success with a driveline shop near guelph / KW?

There is another issue, leaking coolant, which I'll post separately.

Thanks !
That price must be a quote from a dealership. Just get an aftermarket one from Ebay since prices in Canada are expensive. Example of one from Ebay. All the driveshaft for 4 cylinder and V6 use the same driveshaft. I purchased mine from Ebay over a year ago and had no problems. There are 4 bolts on each end x2 and 2 in the middle and is not that complicated for a mechanic to do. The shop that did mine took 1/2 hour to do. Go to a shop that specialize in Japanese cars. You can check Yelp.ca for reviews of shops in Guelph.

Yes the Gen3 driveshaft do not last that long compared to the Gen2 for some reason. The mechanic that did mine said he has done over a dozen for the Gen3 but none for the Gen2.
 

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I don't have any vibration in my 2008 Rav4 ,but I noticed some movement in the u joint at the rear of my vehicle a few days ago while I was under there. I can move it up and down and see/feel slight movement. It seems you cant replace the u joint in the OEM drive shaft.
I have heard about driveshaft shops cutting the end off and welding on a serviceable u joint for way less than buying a new one. (especially from the dealer) I might have to start looking just in case.
The one on Ebay isn't too bad of a price. You couldn't find a Canadian seller? Shipping is expensive and our dollar is crap right now.
 
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