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Hello, I've recently bought a 97 5 door, 4WD, manual trans with 180k, but still in great shape (aside from the scratches and a few dings) and I've been messing around with it and have a couple questions I haven't found answers to. I know the jack points are on the suspension but where does everyone like to put the jack stands, especially in the rear? I've been using the frame up front and the innermost end of the rear controls arms.

I've ordered some parts to address the rear diff clunk, but should I replace my center driveline support while I'm down there? It looks good, but seems awfully spongy. I can grab the driveline and move it up, down, sideways... Same with the rear axles. I don't think I should be able to shove the output shafts around in the carrier by hand, but I could be wrong. No leaks, though.

How long does the center diff lock take to disengage? My buzzer only sounds for about a second. I can hear vacuum noises from the solenoids, so I guess I just need to test it like the shop manual says.

Anyway, most of my work has been inside, since the last owner recently did a pretty thorough tune-up. I'm waiting on a switch so I can bypass the (broken) electronic trickery of the aftermarket sunroof, then I'll re-cover my headliner and finally be able to put the trim back in. I did find a troubling pool of oil on the intake runners, but I hope it's just a spill since it's right below the fill cap. I cleaned the back and bottom side of the engine and I'll be watching it closely over the next week. Aside from the paint, it's in really great shape and I'm excited about it.
 

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Bit of an update - the center diff does work and there don't seem to be any new leaks after de-greasing the engine. I'm still waiting on the switch, so my interior is still mostly in my garage but I replaced the rear side markers and brake lines today and installed a scangauge in place of the radio. I think I need a new headlight though; both were aimed low but only the right side could be adjusted. I might try pulling it apart but in my experience they're usually unservicable. The bubble level is drained as well, so it may have been knocked about at some point.
 

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Consider upgrading to the 1998 headlights(4 lights instead of 2), they bolt right in but need to change the wiring.
1aauto.com wants $120 for a pair of 97 headlights or $138 for the 98 pair.

The Toyota service manual shows replacing the center bearing support but Toyota claims the the entire propeller shaft should be replaced as a unit. I replaced mine with an aftermarket unit, made in Springfield, MO with u-joints that can be replaced. The shaft is easy to install, but is best done when you are draining the gear-oil.

My center diff has always unlocked quickly, just a short beep to say it is working.
 
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