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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I'm new here; i was impressed with the knowledge I came across googling so i signed up in hopes you guys can help.

2011 rav4 2.5 AWD is smooth as can be (brand new tires eliminated all other irregularities, alignment good), but under hard acceleration or with my foot on the gas at 60, the whole car shakes. I can especially feel it in my foot (pedal foot)

front axles are so tight they feel welded. The back have leaking seals and have about 1/8 to 3/16 of play near the diff. None near the hub. It’s weird though, the play doesn’t seem to be in the joint but rather where the outer part of the joint goes into the diff. The whole thing wiggles. Usually the axle will wiggle but the outer part of the joint that goes into the diff or trans doesn’t move

If I use the 4wd lock button, it really shakes under acceleration from stop until it kicks off and gets "less" like as described above

wondering before I throw parts at it ifs more likely the axles, The differential, or (God-please-not) the torque converter or viscous coupler. The only sound is the tinniest whine - barely audible with all the windows down on quiet side roads with guardrails to echo it back, only at medium-low speeds with enough throttle to increase speed.

I have grease from the axles or 90w from the diff all over the diff. I figure just do seals when in there if I do axles. The plug on the driver side looks way to low to be a fill plug by the way, is that a drain plug and I am missing a higher-up fill plug?

I am desperate for help :(

thanks

Drew
 

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Hey Drew, another member recently had a bad shaking problem which he traced to the U-joint on the driveshaft. One quick-ish way to test (if you don’t have a gauge to check for play or stuck bearings) is to remove the driveshaft and drive a short distance without it. Do a search for “joint” and “shaft” in 4.3 Mechanical, specifically in the last week or two, and you should find the thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you I’ll look for it! I was thinking if I take the drive shaft off, I light find one of the 4 axis (2 on each end) to be bound. But if I drive without it, it would Eliminate any and all issues from the rear diff. This is definitely a challenging one :-/
 

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so I decided to check the driveshaft never found the post but checked mine. It’s HAMMERED. one axis won’t move without a hammer. I’ve got it all apart and I joints on the way

so the axle shaft seals need to be replaced. Might as well do the axles too since there is a little play?
 

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so I decided to check the driveshaft never found the post but checked mine. It’s HAMMERED. one axis won’t move without a hammer. I’ve got it all apart and I joints on the way

so the axle shaft seals need to be replaced. Might as well do the axles too since there is a little play?
You need a new driveshaft if your u-joints are bad. Check Ebay which has many inexpensive ones.
 

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Well the U joints are the issue, and are replaceable. Got to try it....

I read that thread. Crazy how fast that happened! Poor dude Parked for three days and came back to that
 

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Well the U joints are the issue, and are replaceable. Got to try it....
The u-joints are not the normal replaceable types. Most diy or mechanics will not touch them. My aftermarket driveshaft came with replaceable u-joints. You can get an entire new driveshaft for less than $200 which is 2 new u-joints with the center part and all balanced.
 

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The u-joints are not the normal replaceable types.
While that may be true it's just a challenge to guys like me and Drew. We first try to fix the unfixable and end up buying a new one in the end. As I get older, that is more mature, the second step seems to happen sooner.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
And I understand why. The removal of the old was brutal but installation won’t be bad. Instead of snap rings inside the ends on top of the caps, they go on the inner edge of the ears around the base of the caps. Many videos on it. I had to try. They’ll be here tomorrow

Dr. Dyno yes I am starting to see the value of the time saved with jobs like this. The shaft couldn’t be here til 4 days after the joints, I had the thing off and was curious
 

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Interesting. Now you just have to have the old shaft fixed before the new one would've arrived.

BTW, you are the first member I can recall that's replacing the U-joints. Mind giving us a link to a video and the source for the repair parts?
 

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Discussion Starter #12

UNIVERSAL JOINT - STAKED-IN REPLACEMENT Amazon.com: UNIVERSAL JOINT - STAKED-IN REPLACEMENT: Automotive

I did it differently. I have a press. Gently moved one cap way out then took a nickel thick slice out of the pin shaft. Easy! Then cut the box of the cross out of the other side and tapped out the caps.

I’m not claiming this worked until I am vibration free but I’ve been blessed to be able to do a lot of impossible stuff cause of my hotrod background. Never had money for the hobby so I make everything. Or adapt it from sources that don’t make sense. In fact, my alignment is with a bubble gauge and tape measure and wore my tires perfectly and my brake pedal assembly is made by measuring our daily drivers and then building from scratch out of 3/16 steel. So blessed with those skills helps with daily driver stuff
 

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SOMEWHERE on that thread or another I read Somebody drove a week without the driveshaft with no ill effect after unplugging something in the glove box. Does anyone know anything about that?

I don’t know how this system works; I’d would have ASSUMED it was geared as open differentials and that wouldn’t work, but apparently someone has done it
 

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SOMEWHERE on that thread or another I read Somebody drove a week without the driveshaft with no ill effect after unplugging something in the glove box. Does anyone know anything about that?

I don’t know how this system works; I’d would have ASSUMED it was geared as open differentials and that wouldn’t work, but apparently someone has done it
You will need to disconnect the 4WD ECU which is located behind the glove box.

154164
 

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BTW, you are the first member I can recall that's replacing the U-joints. Mind giving us a link to a video and the source for the repair parts?
There is member in the GEN2 that has done this but I have not heard of a GEN3 member replace the u-joints.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Epic! Thanks.

I actually don’t like awd. I wish this bugger was FWD. our metro area got more snow than any in the country with over 100,000 people. Yes. Some days 18”. Still.always did ok with FWD. AWD is nice but so complicated compared to FWD.

which reminds me. There is play in those axels... and the seals leak. For the $130 I payed for the new ones (I have an account and get stuff cheap) I might as well put them in along with the new seals :-/
 

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I don’t know how this system works; I’d would have ASSUMED it was geared as open differentials and that wouldn’t work, but apparently someone has done it.
The front and rear differentials are open but there is no center differential on the 2006-on RAV4s like there was on some earlier ones. Instead the variable electro-coupler mounted on the rear diff where the driveshaft attaches acts to engage the rear drive when the 4WD ECU deems it's needed. Altho Toyota now calls it AWD and calls the coupler a viscous coupler such as used by Subaru it isn't activated most of the time and the car runs as FWD which is why 4WD versions can drive normally w/o a driveshaft.

Engagement of the rear drive is so smooth and transparent as to be imperceptible. Both my '06 RAV4 and '08 Sienna have the same system and even with the 3.5L V6 I can't get wheelspin even on a wet road. Both cars just rocket off from a stop like they're shot from a gun.
 
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Well I’m eager to report back :) this drive shaft was insane. I couldn’t even move the one axis with a rubber hammer! The other was ok. The two fronts moved but were “notchy”

here is the thing. I don’t mean this arroganty but y’all don’t know me so that’s the disclaimer lol. I’ve been like super blessed with my hands to build and fix things. Some people can take a paintbrush and make $5figure art. Some can sing. Those are gifts right? Mine is this stuff lol ive leaned into it a LOT over the last half decade. We have. 3 kids 0.5-5years and became a one income family when the first was born. I fix and DIY build everything. First it was just about the money. Now it’s a little less that but satisfaction. We’re remodeling/changing our entire house like loadbearing walls (brought in an engineer for numbers but did the work)

so back to topic I never considered that this COULDNT be done, given other dudes/gals did it and there are parts.

The only screw up I might have made was not marking the orientation of the front shaft-yoke but even if that’s balanced the yoke is so small can’t imagine it’s got enough weight to throw anything out.

IRONICALLY when I built my 1950 Chevy the driveshaft is the only thing I had done lol. But that’s cause I had a 54” and I needed 57” so I didn’t think adding length to a balanced shaft was wise
 

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Cool! So does that mean the transmission always throws power out the rear just it never connects to the wheels unless the ECU tells it to?
 

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Gotta love the make-it-happen attitude - and ability!
Yes the driveshaft is always powered but only variably engaged by the coupler when the various sensors determine it's needed or more accurately until it's not needed. I've attached a dash-mounted LED to the drive signal at the 4WD ECU. It lights bright ASA I shift into any gear including Reverse and than gradually goes out by about 30 mph on dry roads even at full throttle.
 
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