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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello All

I am hoping on getting some guidance on what do with the Rear diff in my Rav 4 2009 (all wheel drive)

Timeline:
  1. Vehicle was left sitting outside for three days without being driven, and it rained.
  2. Next drive revealed a subtle rapid vibration at 50km/h (30mp/h) - 60km/h (35mp/h).
  3. Over time this vibration increased until it became violent and now causes the entire rear of the vehicle to shake.
Here is what it not is just to save everyone time.
  • Not the tires
  • Not the balance
  • Not the Alignment
  • Not the Bearings
  • Not the Lower Control Arm / Tie Rod
  • Not the shock absorbers
With the vehicle supported on blocks (suspension fully loaded) but allowing the wheels to spin we can see the rear differential building vibration and then shaking violently.

Due to the rolling shutter effect i took a slowmo of the problem

Here is a full speed video of the issue from the underside.

From the Side:

I have checked the following:
  • The ujoint attaching the drive shaft to the rear diff does not appear to have any play, no clunking.
  • The center shaft bearing on the drive shaft is intact and does not appear to have any play.
I am unsure if this is a simple mounting / bushing issue, or is it the large bearing in the rear differential. I also sadly have not looked to see if the oil level is up in the rear diff either. Im just trying to figure out how to move forward.

Thanks for anyone with thoughts on my issue.
Ben.

- Update 1

Okay so i didn't get any emails so i didn't think that i had received many responses but o man i was wrong.

First off you guys are all amazing. Like i owe a beer to everyone here.

A few things:
  • Certainly not a brake or caliber issue. However i do have the inner shoe brakes slightly tighter on the rear left wheel (this is after the issue)... not sure they made a huge difference except you can see that the CV Joint is not spinning.... (update the brake shoe's are just too tight on that side, i will loosen them but the wheel spins freely normally...)
  • You can see the RearRight Cv joint in motion in this video however i agree that when looking at the 2nd footage the rear left is not in motion Probably because it has zero resistance vs the other side with the brake shoe's very tight apparently.
  • In short im going to take the drive shaft off tomorrow.


    All the information provided has been very helpful and honestly thank you all so much! I will keep you posted with the next steps
- Update 2

Well everyone i am happy to say i truly appreciate all the wisdom and good advice. Got the drive shaft out and Jerry, DL175, Blogson, Sonic, etc.... all nailed it. Frozen rear U Joint only in the one direction.


photos.app.goo.gl


I decided against just banging out the stamped U Joint and instead purchased a replacement driveshaft. That way im not dealing with a Centre Bearing or a front U joint down the line. Its a very rusted out vehicle so i might as well get the whole unit changed in my mind.

I can't believe how much vibration and shaking that caused but the more i think about it, it all adds up. I will always remember from this experience that a fast vibration at low speeds has some likelihood to be related to the driveshaft, u joints, or rear diff.

I will keep you posted with the happy ending, but i imagine at this point that was the problem. Lets just hope my poor rear diff doesn't hate me now!
 

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Indeed a weird one that I haven't seen in my ten years here.
Bumping the post for more opinions.
 

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Appears to be the rear driveshaft. You can see the vibration coming from the driveshaft. They are over $450 CAD in Canada. I got mine on Ebay for $209 USD. Usually one of the u-joint is bad and the whole driveshaft needs to be replaced. Replaced mine just over a year ago. You can DIY or have a shop replace it. The shop took 1/2 hour to install and charged $80.

Here are some:


 

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I have to disagree that the driveshaft Is causing this, i think a driveline vibration usually happens at a higher speed and in the video the whole rear diff started to shake as soon as it starts from a dead stop. in the second video the driver shaft also doesn’t seem to vibrate as much as the rear diff. My guess is either a seized caliper or caliper slide pins combines with a rusty and uneven brake rotor. It is also possible coming from a sticky parking park shoes. Since he states this started after sitting 3 days in the rain making it even more likely. it really looks like the vibration is coming from the wheel ends not from the driveline.
 

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I have to disagree that the driveshaft Is causing this, i think a driveline vibration usually happens at a higher speed and in the video the whole rear diff started to shake as soon as it starts from a dead stop. in the second video the driver shaft also doesn’t seem to vibrate as much as the rear diff. My guess is either a seized caliper or caliper slide pins combines with a rusty and uneven brake rotor. It is also possible coming from a sticky parking park shoes. Since he states this started after sitting 3 days in the rain making it even more likely. it really looks like the vibration is coming from the wheel ends not from the driveline.
p.s. the shake also appears to be way too violent from a simple driveline out of balance or from a siezed u joint or slip Yoke.
 

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I have to disagree that the driveshaft Is causing this, i think a driveline vibration usually happens at a higher speed and in the video the whole rear diff started to shake as soon as it starts from a dead stop. in the second video the driver shaft also doesn’t seem to vibrate as much as the rear diff. My guess is either a seized caliper or caliper slide pins combines with a rusty and uneven brake rotor. It is also possible coming from a sticky parking park shoes. Since he states this started after sitting 3 days in the rain making it even more likely. it really looks like the vibration is coming from the wheel ends not from the driveline.
A bad u-joint does cause vibration which I have experienced. Vibration is usually at lower speed. A seize caliper will not make vibration unless you are braking. The u-joint looked very rusted and the rain may have made the rust in the u-joint extra sticky to turn.
 

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I had a bad ujoint cause a vibration that sounded like driving over rumble strips once I got going about 25 mph. It was a frozen joint that looked completely fine bolted up on the rear differential, even when I tried looking for play like you sometimes find with bad ones. I never put mine up on blocks so have no idea what it looked like "driving". You can probably check your ujoints without removing the entire drive shaft. Just make sure you don't go over that angle, 20 degrees I think but not positive. Unbolt the driveshaft end, and swivel those ujoints in both directions. It will be very obvious what a frozen one acts like, especially if you only have one end of driveshaft with a frozen ujoint.

Things to check:
  • center support bearing of driveshaft, and rubber mounting area
  • ujoints on both ends, but I would say rear more than front
  • rear differential mounts, there are the two ears and one in the back I think.
You should drain the differential fluid and look at it. Make sure the filler bolt comes off before the drain bolt, it tends to want to seize up and be tough to get off.

I wish I could say what part is bad, but those are just my suggestions to look at. I think when the bearing in the rear diff goes bad it tends to whine. I think if you have a seized caliper or brake pins you should be able to see that right, with the wheel off? I've had bad calipers and pins show themselves with braking action.
 

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Great videos - the worst situation of rear shaking/vibration I have seen since being on this forum. Also suggest that the cause appears to be the driveshaft. The amount of rust on it may have affected its balance or a U-joint. If that is the cause it should be replaced or repaired without driving the vehicle since it can seriously affect the differential bearings and other components.
 

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I have checked the following:
  • The ujoint attaching the drive shaft to the rear diff does not appear to have any play, no clunking.
  • The center shaft bearing on the drive shaft is intact and does not appear to have any play.
When the CV on my AWD Explorer driveshaft went bad, the clunking could be heard as soon as I was moving. It was like a hammer knocking. By hand I could not feel anything.

Take the shaft out and drive a few yards like that. That way, the wheels will still spin the differential, so if you still hear noise, it's inside of it. If noise is gone... replace the shaft.

Luckily on that one I could buy replacement CV and U-Joints and replace them (I did both front and rear, just to be safe). On Toyota, they stamp those in place, so it's much harder to replace them individually.
 

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Great videos - the worst situation of rear shaking/vibration I have seen since being on this forum. Also suggest that the cause appears to be the driveshaft. The amount of rust on it may have affected its balance or a U-joint. If that is the cause it should be replaced or repaired without driving the vehicle since it can seriously affect the differential bearings and other components.
A mechanic said a bad driveshaft can damage the transmission. In this case it should be fix right away.
 

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A bad u-joint does cause vibration which I have experienced. Vibration is usually at lower speed. A seize caliper will not make vibration unless you are braking. The u-joint looked very rusted and the rain may have made the rust in the u-joint extra sticky to turn.
A seized caliper with seized caliper pins on a warped brake rotor definitely can cause this kind of vibration. I used a to have a Honda Accord that did the exact same thing every time when it sat for a few days.
A seized u joint cross and caps usually only cause significant vibration at extreme driveline angle. looking at video I have a hard time believing it is the cause since the rear diff shake much more violently than the driveshaft.
 

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I say an out of balance driveshaft. It's so rusty that one of the weights may have fallen off. My test would be to see how snug the other one in the picture is. If it practically falls off there's your answer.
Other factors: The left axle doesn't move not even the slightest. That leads me to believe the electro-coupler isn't engaged and if not the other side isn't moving either ruling out any brake issues. Also rules out any differential issues such as low oil.
Possibly the coupler is defective, but then I've never seen one cause this kind of vibration especially with not even any hint of metallic noises.
 

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I say an out of balance driveshaft. It's so rusty that one of the weights may have fallen off. My test would be to see how snug the other one in the picture is. If it practically falls off there's your answer.
Other factors: The left axle doesn't move not even the slightest. That leads me to believe the electro-coupler isn't engaged and if not the other side isn't moving either ruling out any brake issues. Also rules out any differential issues such as low oil.
Possibly the coupler is defective, but then I've never seen one cause this kind of vibration especially with not even any hint of metallic noises.
If you look closely at the second video, the whole diff started to shake when the driveshaft was barely spinning from a dead stop. if you been a driveline shop before and watching the guy balancing a driveshaft you will understand it won’t get that kind of vibration even without any weight at that slow speed it was spinning.
the rear diff on a rav4 is just a regular open diff so it is possible for the left and right axles spin at different speed ( just what a differential is supposed to do) The video didn’t show the right side axle so we can’t tell if it is spinning as well.
CV axle joint is also a possible if there is too much slack in the joint but that usually show up at acceleration. Should definitely check for up/down and sideway slack. Also check if the CV axle didn't pop out from the diff half way and fully engaged into the diff securely.
If I were the OP I would just take the whole driveshaft off from the car that will eliminate whole bunch of possible factors.
 

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Yes, I did think that's a lot of shake for a balance issue. Maybe it's more likely the U-joint is frozen. In fact the more I think about it I'm gonna go that way.
From the video evidence we can't confirm or deny the right axle is spinning thus making any brake etc. issues undetermined.
I agree removing the driveshaft is the next step. I'm pretty sure he's gonna find the U-joint frozen. As it started to freeze it would line up with the statement,
Over time this vibration increased until it became violent and now causes the entire rear of the vehicle to shake.
A weight coming off wouldn't be gradual. However it appears the OP hasn't been on the forum since he posted so we may end up wondering.
 

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A seized u joint cross and caps usually only cause significant vibration at extreme driveline angle. looking at video I have a hard time believing it is the cause since the rear diff shake much more violently than the driveshaft.
That would be true with a "live" rear axle like on a RWD car or truck where it's pretty hard to wiggle the whole rear end. The U-joint would be the weakest part. Here we have just a "floating" rubber mounted differential which wouldn't take much force to wobble with just a little misalignment of the driveshaft.
Yep, my money's on the frozen U-joint!
 

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Yes, I did think that's a lot of shake for a balance issue. Maybe it's more likely the U-joint is frozen. In fact the more I think about it I'm gonna go that way.
From the video evidence we can't confirm or deny the right axle is spinning thus making any brake etc. issues undetermined.
I agree removing the driveshaft is the next step. I'm pretty sure he's gonna find the U-joint frozen. As it started to freeze it would line up with the statement,

A weight coming off wouldn't be gradual. However it appears the OP hasn't been on the forum since he posted so we may end up wondering.
slowing the second video down to .25x speed and just discovered the diff shakes at exact 2x the speed of the driveshaft . Using the balancing weight as a marker to count the revolution. The rear diff on a rav4 has around 3 reduction ratio, so the cv axle turns 1 time with the driveshaft turns 3 times. So what does this imply? I think the vibration would occur at 1:1 rate if a frozen u joint is the case. Also if brake is the issue that the vibration would occur once every 6 revolution of the driveshaft (2 x 3 final ratio). So now I am lost.
 

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slowing the second video down to .25x speed and just discovered the diff shakes at exact 2x the speed of the driveshaft . Using the balancing weight as a marker to count the revolution. The rear diff on a rav4 has around 3 reduction ratio, so the cv axle turns 1 time with the driveshaft turns 3 times. So what does this imply? I think the vibration would occur at 1:1 rate if a frozen u joint is the case. Also if brake is the issue that the vibration would occur once every 6 revolution of the driveshaft (2 x 3 final ratio). So now I am lost.
Just gotta love this fix-by-video method. I told one guy I felt like reaching into his picture to fix the problem. Is that remote fixing?!

Let me throw in one more factor. Since one axle isn't moving the other one would rotate 2X normal speed.
How about another? If the joint was frozen it would deflect twice each revolution for instance up at 0 degrees, then down at 180, etc. IMO with all the rust and the gradual worsening that's gotta be it.
 
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I had a bad ujoint cause a vibration that sounded like driving over rumble strips once I got going about 25 mph. It was a frozen joint that looked completely fine bolted up on the rear differential, even when I tried looking for play like you sometimes find with bad ones. ..... Unbolt the driveshaft end, and swivel those ujoints in both directions. It will be very obvious what a frozen one acts like, especially if you only have one end of driveshaft with a frozen ujoint.
I think Jerry had this pinpointed several posts ago but due to an approval glitch in the forum his post wasn't visible to the public until I "reapproved" him. Then his post showed up back when he'd posted it so it was easily missed. Maybe the forum itself has a frozen U-joint!
 

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I think Jerry had this pinpointed several posts ago but due to an approval glitch in the forum his post wasn't visible to the public until I "reapproved" him. Then his post showed up back when he'd posted it so it was easily missed. Maybe the forum itself has a frozen U-joint!
Dang it, now it shows like it came up with this suggestion before my post that I said just that. Now it looks like... I just copied his post 😀

Oh well... all is good, sharing experiences.
 

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Dang it, now it shows like it came up with this suggestion before my post that I said just that. Now it looks like... I just copied his post 😀
I've seen it half a dozen times recently. Members who've been posting all along for some reason have a new post, the complete post, come up in the moderators' Approval queue "before it can be seen by the general public." Then when one of us approves it which might be a day later it gets put in back at its original time causing the confusion you just experienced. I only saw this one because I've been following the thread, but I'm sure it's also happening elsewhere.
 
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