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86-95 Trucks & 4Runners 2nd/3rd gen pickups, and 1st/2nd gen 4Runners with IFS

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Old 01-31-2008, 01:54 PM   #1
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Diagnosis: Replace Rear Differential Bearings!

Went to a driveline specialist this morning as I was having really bad vibrations and noise from the bottom when going over 65mph. At first I thought it was the driveshaft or u-joints. After taking down the driveshaft assembly and examining the u-joints, it's not the culprit. To make a long story short, it's the bearings inside the rear differential. Guestimate -- $450 as long as a new gear set is not needed. Otherwise, the cost shoots up to about $800!

Does the price sound right to you? The guy seems reputable and honest. he could have easily told me that the u-joints need replacing and tack on expenses such as driveshaft balancing, etc. He showed me what's going on under my truck, even let me turn things and point out how it should rotate and what to expect and what's abnormal. So I feel confident that this guy will fix the issue, no question about it. I'm just not sure about the estimate.

Please help.

-Dennis
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Old 01-31-2008, 02:13 PM   #2
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My truck has leaking seal on the rear axle which banged up my bearings cuz it threw all the grease out of them. I found all this out when toyota was inspecting my brakes. they quoted me 1100 dollars to replace all the inner and outer seals bearings, retining springs rear brake shoes cuz they glazed over from the oil... this sounds a lil more in depth from what ur having done and seeing as how its from the dealership at 1100 you should get another estimate on those repairs. I went to a local shop and told them exactly what i wanted done (from what toyota told me) and they quoted me 950.

I dont know what all they were including in the bearing replacement but they should at least include the seals.
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Old 01-31-2008, 02:18 PM   #3
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What's the break down on it? IE - parts and labor?
A master bearing kit is going to be around $120 (non-OEM).
If you replace the pinion bearing bearing, you'll need to readjust the pinion depth, which either requires experience rebuilding rears or the right set of tools.

$800 for doing "gears" on a toyota is out of line.. Toyotas are pretty easy to do because you can adjust the carrier in relation to the pinion without shims. If he's quoting you OEM parts and "book" labor, it might add up to $800.



If I was you, I'd simply pick up a used carrier in the right ratio for your truck. Here in TX, a used 4cyl 3rd runs $50-$75 (individual resale) - V6 / Turbo carriers sell for more, but under $150.

If you can pull the driveshaft and check out the u-joints, you can swap the rear. The hardest part is getting the axles out. You can do the entire thing (3rd swap) in under 2 hours with no prior experience.


Setting the pinon depth is the hard part. This is a much easier job than inner and outter axle bearings, btw...
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Old 01-31-2008, 02:27 PM   #4
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The axle shafts are easy to pull. I had a problem finding someone who knew about the pressing bearind out and in, there different than domestics. But cost me $120ish parts I bought and $60 in labor.

I regeared, master insall kit, and lock rite plus shipping to and from and I was around what your being estimated. Maybe alittle more than your quote and ZUK did the install so I got a photo journal of the install.

Oh and I paid napa $8 for pumpkin seal.

This was all for the rear axle.
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Old 01-31-2008, 03:31 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info guys. I believe the bearing kit is non-OEM. I heard him call his parts guy and it didn't sound like he's talking to a Toyota dealer. But I am not 100% sure, I can try and ask him w/o sounding like I'm doubting his work.

So do you think that with the OEM bearing kit + labor, the total should be around what I'm quoted for?
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:38 PM   #6
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BTW, just in case I end up needing a new gear set. I was thinking of regearing for 33" tires which I'll be getting down the line. What would be a good regear? Is it worth the money to regear or not?
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:52 PM   #7
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rather than regear, it would be smarter to just throw a new engine in there. you get more power and you can run the bigger tires.
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Old 01-31-2008, 05:18 PM   #8
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rather than regear, it would be smarter to just throw a new engine in there. you get more power and you can run the bigger tires.
This is not true. One needs to gear for the tires size regardless. Just because one engine is more tolerant to over gearing compared to another doesn't mean one should run it over geared. If you are going to a diesel or something with a radically different torque curve, well, that's different but that is not the case here.

As for which gears. The 5 speed with 33's should run 4.88's. I just sent in my thirds to be regeared for 33's and my auto tranny and I'm getting 5.71's. I have read from those who have used them that they were happy with that ratio when running 33's with the auto tranny. If you ever do an engine swap, then you can easily run 35's with the 5.71's assuming you have the auto.

It makes sense. The auto's OD is .71:1 while the 5 speeds is .85:1. Undergearing with 5.71's I think brings OD to around .8:1 which is a lot better for climbing hills in 4th gear. .71 is just way too tall an OD gear. Now watch after typing this you have a 5 speed.

If you remove your third members that will save you quite a bit of money.

Frank
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Old 01-31-2008, 05:19 PM   #9
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That would be a smarter thing to do. But money talks, everything else walks. Easier said than done when you got the money to do it. It so happens that I've been reading up on the 3.4 swap threads and it's not one of those weekend jobbers either. And being that this is my daily driver, it would not be a smarter option for me at this point.

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rather than regear, it would be smarter to just throw a new engine in there. you get more power and you can run the bigger tires.
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Old 01-31-2008, 05:21 PM   #10
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I have auto.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elripster View Post
This is not true. One needs to gear for the tires size regardless. Just because one engine is more tolerant to over gearing compared to another doesn't mean one should run it over geared. If you are going to a diesel or something with a radically different torque curve, well, that's different but that is not the case here.

As for which gears. The 5 speed with 33's should run 4.88's. I just sent in my thirds to be regeared for 33's and my auto tranny and I'm getting 5.71's. I have read from those who have used them that they were happy with that ratio when running 33's with the auto tranny. If you ever do an engine swap, then you can easily run 35's with the 5.71's assuming you have the auto.

It makes sense. The auto's OD is .71:1 while the 5 speeds is .85:1. Undergearing with 5.71's I think brings OD to around .8:1 which is a lot better for climbing hills in 4th gear. .71 is just way too tall an OD gear. Now watch after typing this you have a 5 speed.

If you remove your third members that will save you quite a bit of money.

Frank

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Old 01-31-2008, 09:02 PM   #11
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DJK-West.

This is about what you'd expect to pay for a regear at a 4x4 shop, IF you pulled the diff yourself and took it to them: 100 for install kit, 200 for gears, 200 for labor. So, about 500 bucks. That is PER diff. So, you'd be looking at 1k to do both. Not 800 for one. Not saying the guy is dishonest, but you could do better.

Now, if money is an issue, just go get a used third at the junk yard. This is honestly your cheapest option. You won't have the regear, but you'd be looking at 100-200 bucks, and 2 hours worth of work on a weekend.
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Old 02-07-2008, 12:16 AM   #12
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This maybe a dumb question, but looking at the illustration I have of the rear differential, does the differential casing have to be opened in order to access the bearings. Or can that be accessed by removing the companion shaft? And these bearings are actually pinion bearings is that correct? I also saw that there's a front and rear bearing situated on both ends of the pinion shaft. What else does the bearing kit come with?

Thanks.
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Old 02-07-2008, 07:03 AM   #13
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Sounds like its your pinion bearings that you are talking about.

The answer is yes, sort of. The bearings can be accessed by removing the pinion (companion shaft? not sure if thats what you meant but its the only thing with bearings that looks like a shaft). In fact, they MUST be accessed by removing it. However, you must disassemble the entire thing to get the pinion out, it only comes out from the "inside".
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Old 02-07-2008, 07:24 AM   #14
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Carrier bearings will make noise at any speed, not just over 65. What kind of noise is it? Grinding, whine, hum? The bearings themselves are only about $20 total. Remove the axles, remove carrier, unbolt ring carrier, replace bearings, reassemble and torque. If it's a driveshaft balance issue, it would make noise at certain speeds, and tear up trans output shaft bearing and seal, as well as the pinion bearing and seal. I'd get a second opinion.
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Old 02-07-2008, 08:41 AM   #15
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It's a hum at over 65mph only, accompanied by vibration, not mild nor hard but the vibration is definitely present. The shop that diagnosed my truck put it on jack stands. Then he put the shifter in drive and accelerated til the humming noise and vibrating starts. The vibration was worse with the truck on jack stands. The mechanic took out the driveshaft and inspected the u-joints, they seem fine, no binding. The shaft itself didn't have any sign of damage or anything.

So how long would a driveline shop take to do this type of work? I just want to get a general idea so that when a shop quotes me a price and I have them itemize things, I have a general idea of whether they're trying to rip me off or not. And what does the main bearing kit come with? Is the pinion included in the kit? I'm looking into buying the parts from Toyota.
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Old 02-07-2008, 08:48 AM   #16
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x3 or 4 or whatever, for buying a used 3rd, and swapping yourself. I bought a locked 3rd and had help instlaling it from the guy for $100. anyone without experience (but a BASIC understanding of hand tools) could swap a rear toyota 8" 3rd in under 2 hours EASY.
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Old 02-07-2008, 08:57 AM   #17
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First off, I wouldn't remove the driveshaft to check the UV joints, I'd just grab it and shake, if it moves ANY, then I would suspect that to be the problem. When the driveshaft was balanced when new, the factory tack welded a steel weight to balance it, check to verify it's still there. I would think that a major transmission shop could balance it, but first, I would jack it up, put it in neutral, put a dial indicator on it and check for warpage. Also, while it's in the air, grab the back wheels and shake side to side to check wheel bearings (though they would most likely make noise all the time as well). When a bearing goes bad, it is being chewed apart by lack of smooth roller surfaces, so it makes noise all of the time and only gets louder over time. Humming and sometimes vibration from the rear could be from abnormal ring and pinion wear (or bean burritos) but can only be determined by removal of the diff. or amount of play between rotating the pinion (driveshaft) and the amount of rotation it takes before the axles begin to turn. Differentials usually call for a degree of investigative disassembly to pinpoint problems. Sometimes it can be just as easy to drive it until something snaps in order to get it right, but I know that's not really the best idea. And last of all, the parts from Toyota are going to be rediculously high. If it is a bearing, your local parts stores sell the EXACT same bearings as Toyota (cone bearing and bearing race, both a quantity of two), as far as driveshafts and diffs, salvage yard, simply because those parts off a wrecked car means that they were working at the time of the accident, and reasonably priced.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:40 AM   #18
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If it is a bearing, your local parts stores sell the EXACT same bearings as Toyota (cone bearing and bearing race, both a quantity of two)
I have a hard time believing that...what brand are they?
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:07 AM   #19
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Hey, this sounds like a situation I ran into once. Exact same symptoms. I took it into the shop, they said the noise was coming from my differential. I called a rear end specialist and he said they were full of crap.

I was able to drop the rear driveshaft and drive in fwd and still hear the humming/vibes.

I ended up pulling out the rear axles to check the bearings. When I would spin the backing plate on the axle, you could hear that the bearing on one side was WAY bad.

Long story short, I replaced both axle bearings and seals and the noise went away.
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Old 02-07-2008, 07:38 PM   #20
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Thanks for the help guys. I found a shop that seems more reasonable. He'll open up the diff and diagnose it further for free. Then he'll tell me exactly what's going on. I will mention the axle bearings to just to make sure that everything is covered. I'm taking the truck in early saturday morning. Hopefully, within a few hours, we will zero in on the problem.
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