2005 4runner - Rear Differential Gone Bad


RollingOn
11-07-2008, 03:49 PM
I have a 2005 SR5.

There is a noise comming from the rear. A Toyota technician has told me the rear differential needs replaced.

This vehicle was never used to haul or tow and has never been off road.

Anyone else with a similar issue?

fourwd1
11-08-2008, 06:40 PM
There's a lot of things that can cause noises at the rear of the truck, and it can be hard to determine the source sometimes, as it can be transmitted thru the driveshaft, etc.
I'd definetly get another opinion, as Toyota diffs seldom fail.
If it is the diff, find out what specifically - gears, bearings, etc.
A good shop (usually not the dealer) can rebuild it easily, or you can get a used diff from a scrap yard.

RollingOn
11-15-2008, 10:24 AM
There's a lot of things that can cause noises at the rear of the truck, and it can be hard to determine the source sometimes, as it can be transmitted thru the driveshaft, etc.
I'd definetly get another opinion, as Toyota diffs seldom fail.
If it is the diff, find out what specifically - gears, bearings, etc.
A good shop (usually not the dealer) can rebuild it easily, or you can get a used diff from a scrap yard.


Differential: Thanks for taking the time to provide advice. This whole situation had been very frustrating. As a personal test, I placed the 4Runner in 4Wheel high and the resulting noise sounded like placing your finger in a slow moving fans. A distince tick...tick...tick as a drove slowly for a short distance. I have never hauled a thing with the vehicle. And Toyota spoke to me a couple times on the phone and now their customer service does not return my calls. Very sad ending for a vehicle that I gave quality care.

Sorry...had to vent. :)

Brian R.
11-15-2008, 03:30 PM
As stated above, get another opinion by someone you trust. I don't understand how a differential could make that kind of noise. It sounds more like a bent piece of sheet metal (like a shield) hitting the drive shaft. Does it make the noise when you coast out of gear? Does it make the noise in reverse? Does the noise click in time with rotation of the driveshaft or in time with rotation of the wheel? The driveshaft turns 3-4 times as fast as the wheel.

Get it up on a hoist and locate the noise with the truck idling in gear if it will make the noise under those circumstances, or even just turning the wheels or driveshaft by hand.

It might be a really easy-to-solve problem.

RollingOn
11-15-2008, 05:52 PM
As stated above, get another opinion by someone you trust. I don't understand how a differential could make that kind of noise. It sounds more like a bent piece of sheet metal (like a shield) hitting the drive shaft. Does it make the noise when you coast out of gear? Does it make the noise in reverse? Does the noise click in time with rotation of the driveshaft or in time with rotation of the wheel? The driveshaft turns 3-4 times as fast as the wheel.

Get it up on a hoist and locate the noise with the truck idling in gear if it will make the noise under those circumstances, or even just turning the wheels or driveshaft by hand.

It might be a really easy-to-solve problem.


Differential: Thank you for your input.

The Diagnosis of a bad differential was done at the dealership. They put it up on the rack and first listened to the wheels turning to determine if it was a wheel bearing. They then used a stethoscope to listen to the drive shaft.

Yes, it makes the noise even in neutral while on the road moving. The noise really doesn't seem to click when in two wheel drive...it's more of a load hum. But as a test, I put the vehicle in 4Wheel high for a short test to see what would happen. It makes a sound like... when you put your finger in a slow moving fan...sort of a rhythmic... click click click. It didn't sound good at all. I quickly took it out of 4Wheel high. Also, that click goes away in two wheel drive. Two wheel drive is more of a loud hum.

The sound increases with speed. So I'm not sure if it is happening in reverse.

Again, this really is upsetting since I have never hauled anything and have followed the maintenance to the letter. Be wary, Toyota customer service says that this is unusual but they don't seem to be going out of their way to help me. Actually, they won't return my calls. And I have been up front and professional when talking to them.

Thanks for trying to help!

Brian R.
11-15-2008, 06:02 PM
I would still get another opinion. It is difficult to prove it was not abused to get Toyota interested.

If you end up replacing the 3rd member, it may be possible to prove that it was set up incorrectly at the factory by the wear pattern on the gears. I find it hard to believe that it would fail under normal use unless it ran dry or was set up incorrectly at the factory.

RollingOn
11-16-2008, 05:04 PM
I would still get another opinion. It is difficult to prove it was not abused to get Toyota interested.

If you end up replacing the 3rd member, it may be possible to prove that it was set up incorrectly at the factory by the wear pattern on the gears. I find it hard to believe that it would fail under normal use unless it ran dry or was set up incorrectly at the factory.


Differential: Thanks again. In trying to understand the problem, and not being a mechanic, I have asked questions to car buffs during face to face conversations. During those communications, others have expressed statements similar to yours. They don't understand why it would fail under normal use. I get looks of total shock. One fellow did mention that perhaps there was no fluid in the differential. I guess that's possible, but I don't have an understanding of the assembly process and how that would occur. As far as normal use, my only support is my word, perhaps the condition of the underside of the vehicle would indicate no off-roading...but my only support for not towing is neighbors and friends that have never seen me haul, plus I don't own anything that I would haul.

Yeah... I guess it boils down to my word and what others have seen. When I took it in to the dealer for a look, I was prepared for a wheel bearing issue as a worse case...not something crazy like this.

Brian R.
11-16-2008, 05:33 PM
I still think it is possible that Toyota is wrong about it being the differential. Get another professsional opinion from a trusted mechanic.

RollingOn
11-17-2008, 02:54 PM
I still think it is possible that Toyota is wrong about it being the differential. Get another professsional opinion from a trusted mechanic.

Differential:

Brain - for a second opinion, what would be your choice...another Toyota dealership or an independent auto shop?

Thanks!

Brian R.
11-17-2008, 03:06 PM
Independent shop if you can find one with a knowledgeable owner.

I just noticed that you live in Columbia. I can recommend a shop in Rockville if you want to drive that far....

fourwd1
11-18-2008, 02:31 PM
If you disconnect the rear DS at the diff and rotate the rear wheels and still hear the noise, you've narrowed it down to the rear axle for sure. At that point it could still be a wheel bearing or someting, but by listening through a screwdriver or mechanics headset you should be able to zoom in on the actual location. If it is in the diff, it's most likely a bearing or a chipped/broken tooth on the ring or pinion gear.

I know of a good 4WD shop in Westminster if you're interested.

Also, if you can pull the diff out yourself and carry it in, you'll save a lot of $$ on labor.

You should also check the level of the gear oil in the diff. There is a plug on the back about 2/3 of the way up. IIRC it uses a 22mm socket. Remove the plug and the oil level should be just below the bottom of the hole. You should be able to see it with a flashlight. If you raise the rear end of the truck to get to it, but not the front too, the angle might make it appear a little low.

Brian R.
11-18-2008, 06:17 PM
Toward that end, you may download a '06 4Runner FSM here (http://www.ezdries.net/Vidpics/4Runner%20Repair%20Manual/2006Toyota4RunnerRepairManual.zip).

RollingOn
11-18-2008, 10:39 PM
If you disconnect the rear DS at the diff and rotate the rear wheels and still hear the noise, you've narrowed it down to the rear axle for sure. At that point it could still be a wheel bearing or someting, but by listening through a screwdriver or mechanics headset you should be able to zoom in on the actual location. If it is in the diff, it's most likely a bearing or a chipped/broken tooth on the ring or pinion gear.

I know of a good 4WD shop in Westminster if you're interested.

Also, if you can pull the diff out yourself and carry it in, you'll save a lot of $$ on labor.

You should also check the level of the gear oil in the diff. There is a plug on the back about 2/3 of the way up. IIRC it uses a 22mm socket. Remove the plug and the oil level should be just below the bottom of the hole. You should be able to see it with a flashlight. If you raise the rear end of the truck to get to it, but not the front too, the angle might make it appear a little low.

Differential:

What's your comment on this: I turned the 4Wheel high on... the result was a clicking sound... Didn't sound right at all. Turned it off immediately.

I called a local shop today to talk to someone other than a dealer. He said the sound I heard would not be related to the rear differential but more from the front gear box.

What's your thoughts?

Brian R.
11-18-2008, 11:29 PM
I suggest you actually have someone examine it. Talking over the phone is not productive. You don't want to guess and spend money on expensive components by discussion over the phone and over the internet. Get someone knowledgeable to drive it and check it out thoroughly.

The fact that it makes a noise in 4WD only means it is probably not the rear driveshaft or differential. But, there are no sure things - not when you are looking at an expensive repair.

RollingOn
11-20-2008, 04:57 AM
If you disconnect the rear DS at the diff and rotate the rear wheels and still hear the noise, you've narrowed it down to the rear axle for sure. At that point it could still be a wheel bearing or someting, but by listening through a screwdriver or mechanics headset you should be able to zoom in on the actual location. If it is in the diff, it's most likely a bearing or a chipped/broken tooth on the ring or pinion gear.

I know of a good 4WD shop in Westminster if you're interested.

Also, if you can pull the diff out yourself and carry it in, you'll save a lot of $$ on labor.

You should also check the level of the gear oil in the diff. There is a plug on the back about 2/3 of the way up. IIRC it uses a 22mm socket. Remove the plug and the oil level should be just below the bottom of the hole. You should be able to see it with a flashlight. If you raise the rear end of the truck to get to it, but not the front too, the angle might make it appear a little low.

Differential:

Yes, please provide me with the recommended 4WD shop in Westminster.
Thanks for you time and advice.

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