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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Driving home tonight my 2004 Rav4 was making a strange noise I'd never heard before. A thunking is the best way I can describe it Then turning a corner there was a loud bang. I immediately pulled to the side of the road and limped into a parking lot.

A quick look underneath revealed the driveshaft to completely detached from the engine at a U-joint.

I'm no mechanic but know a decent amount about cars; I've never had this problem though.

Two questions:

1) What's wrong and what is necessary to repair it?
2) Can the break have done any other damage to the vehicle?
3) I had the clutch replaced last month. Could this be related? I'm not sure if they mechanic would have needed to detach the driveshaft at this joint in order to replace the clutch. If so, then I suspect it was not re-attached correctly.

See pictures.
 

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I had the clutch replaced last month. Could this be related
Bingo.

Yes the drive shaft has to be detached to move the transmission back and replace the clutch. You need to make a call to the shop and ask to speak to the owner.

-Saturday
 

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Look like someone forgot to tighten the center support bolts.
This driveshaft is more than likely damaged the slip yoke will be pitted from the impact and the driveshaft will be out of balance, I would not put this shaft back on the car.
You should go to the shop and demand explanation I am sure they will give you the run around. I replaced my drive shaft a month ago got it from Wholesaleimportparts.com it is very high quality and I very satisfied with it so you may want to check with them if needed.
Toyota RAV4 Drive Shaft - Wholesale Import Parts
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the help. I think there's absolutely no disputing that the driveshaft was improperly installed after the clutch job. There is a support bracket on the underside of the vehicle halfway between the front and back wheels that looks like it should have two 3/8" bolts holding it in place and these bolts are absent.

I think the bolts were loosened to ease the driveshaft out of the transfer case while doing the clutch work, then when the drive shaft was reinstalled they forgot to tighten the bolts. A month of driving on bumpy roads and they bolts worked themselves loose. When the support bracket fell off, the drive shaft pulled out of the transfer case.
 

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That sounds about right. Also, If you haven''t already had the conversation with the shop owner you might start out by saying how fortunate it was for everyone involved. Start off on a positive note, after all A near disaster was averted and that you were able to safely pull over out of traffic and that no one was hurt. From a big picture of managing liability, repairs are cheap compared to injury and/or damage to property claims. The shop owner will understand this better than any of his employees. Lesser employees don't think big picture are are often afraid to admit mistakes out of fear of disciplinary action from a supervisor. Don't waste your time talking with them.

-Saturday
 
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