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Those pics are from my 2011 service manual.
I did a little research and it seems that the 4WD ECU disables the 4WD function in case of any errors and you might not need to disconnect it.
However, in my experience with my Ford Explorer AWD, it was clearly stated not to drive with a disconnected shaft more than 100 feet. Borg Warner was the mfg of that.
On my RAV4 I didn't see any electrical clutch that can be disengaged by ECU. To me it looks like a strict mechanical system. I would not chance it.
 

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Can we remove the driveshaft and simply drive in fwd? I'm trying to figure out what to do on the cheap. Our 07 is used as a grocery car and we might put 5k kms on it a year. I don't want to invest much money in it but I would like to use it for another 2 yrs. (once the RDX is paid off)
Yes you can remove the driveshaft and run it in FWD. There is no oil that will leak on both ends. You can also disconnect the 4WD ECU module behind the glove box. You can get a new driveshaft for about $185 on Ebay. It takes a 1/2 hour to install and any mechanic can do it. I got mine for $205 on Ebay and had mine for almost a year without any problems.
 

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The shaft was replaced about 5 yrs ago. So I'm wondering if it's the carrier or if it is the EMC. I have disconnected the ECU in the past and still heard the sound (so I thought). I'm working from home so I will disconnect it again and go for a ride. If it is quite then I know for sure it is the EMC. If it still makes the noise then I am at a loss.
 

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I'm wondering how rusty the driveshaft bolts are.. Most likely something I cannot do myself.
Some people have done it. If your vehicle is in the rust belt those bolts might be harder to loosen up. Not the easiest thing to do on your back and you will not get the full leverage as someone doing it on a lift. I saw the mechanic used a long breaker bar to loosen the bolts. I say get someone to do it and pay them. Unless you are young and very strong it is worth the frustration?
 

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The shaft was replaced about 5 yrs ago. So I'm wondering if it's the carrier or if it is the EMC. I have disconnected the ECU in the past and still heard the sound (so I thought). I'm working from home so I will disconnect it again and go for a ride. If it is quite then I know for sure it is the EMC. If it still makes the noise then I am at a loss.
If you disconnected the 4WD ECU you should not hear the vibration. This noise could be the magnetic coupler bearing. The parts are around $20 for that fix.
 

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I would definitely do the work.
It's not rocket science, I did the two shafts on my Explorer in one day (CV coupler and universal joints).

If driving with the noise, IMO the differential might go bad, if the noise is inside of it, because it will still rotate with the wheels.
 

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I'm wondering how rusty the driveshaft bolts are.. Most likely something I cannot do myself.
I just removed my driveshaft from the rear differential recently, and they were very rusty from western ny winters.
  • warm up nuts on driveshaft bolts with a torch. (not cherry red, just enough to expand them out) You want to warm up the nuts only, not the bolt, what is warmed up will expand.
  • put on penetrating oil, it will get wicked into threads somewhat
  • tap on it with hammer or whatever handy to loosen rust
  • use a 6 point socket with a breaker bar, I used a hammer as well, they came right off. You can slightly tighten first to loosen them. As I was undoing the nuts, if things got real hard to loosen I would tighten back up a half turn or so and then continuing to unloosen. Just be patient they will come right off, they are only 12mm or so.
This is pretty much procedure I use for the rustbelt, sometimes I have to heat those things up glowing. Naturally be careful with torch around things that can go kaboom or burn/melt. Bearings don't really like heat either, that's why don't go crazy at first.
 

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Yep Jerry, your steps are standard procedure here in CT too. We affectionally call it the heat-wrench!
When I had to disconnect my driveshaft while replacing the rear K-frame (what a job!) the 12mm nuts came off w/o heat but it sure seemed like there was a fifth one somewhere since the joint didn't want to separate easily. Took the application of a hammer & chisel as I recall.
 

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Yep Jerry, your steps are standard procedure here in CT too. We affectionally call it the heat-wrench!
When I had to disconnect my driveshaft while replacing the rear K-frame (what a job!) the 12mm nuts came off w/o heat but it sure seemed like there was a fifth one somewhere since the joint didn't want to separate easily. Took the application of a hammer & chisel as I recall.
Yes I call mine the hot wrench, one of my favorite tools, right up there with my 5 lb hammer. And now that you mention it, I may have used the hammer and chisel to separate the driveshaft away, or just the hammer can't remember. But it did need a little persuasion.

Also I have a 1/2 inch impact driver as well, that of course works really well, especially after heat wrench is used.
 
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