Toyota Tundra: The Ultimate Drive Shaft Guide

Are you experiencing the dreaded drive shaft problem that plagues many model years of the Toyota Tundra? Check out our ultimate drive shaft guide, which includes your best replacement options and a step-by-step guide on how to replace your drive shaft.

By Brett Foote - January 20, 2016

This article applies to the Toyota Tundra (2000-present).

Drive shafts are an essential and often overlooked component of a vehicle's drivetrain. Consisting of a simple, hollow tube generally made of either steel or various blends of composite material, drive shafts act as a bride of power transfer between the transmission and the differential(s). Drive shafts are subjected to a tremendous amount of torque and stress, especially in vehicles that have powerful engines and those that are subjected to severe use such as off-roading and towing. In a four wheel drive vehicle, there are at least two drive shafts present, with a transfer case in between to split the power provided by the transmission.

How to Replace Your Drive Shaft

Toyota Tundra How to Replace Drive Shaft

Materials Needed

  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Whiteout or paint pen
  • Ratchet
  • 14mm socket
  • 14mm wrench
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • WD-40, PB Blaster, or other lubricant (optional)

Step 1 – Prepare to remove drive shaft

Jack up the front of the truck and support it on jack stands. Crawl underneath the truck and make a small mark on the drive shaft, transmission, and differential in the same spot. This will ensure that you will be able to line up the new drive shaft easily.

  • toyota tundra drive shaft
    Figure 1. Jack up the truck and place it on jack stands.
  • toyota tundra drive shaft
    Figure 2. Mark the drive shaft for easy reference.

Step 2 – Remove drive shaft

Remove the four bolts holding the drive shaft to the differential first, using a ratchet with a 14mm socket on the bolt head and a 14mm wrench on the nut on the back side. If the bolts are being stubborn, spray them down with some WD-40, PB Blaster, or other lubricant and let them soak for a bit. Loosen the two 14mm bolts holding the bracket to the drive shaft in the center, but don't remove them. Use a flat head screwdriver to gently pry the drives haft loose from the differential. Carefully lower the drive shaft to the ground. Finish removing the two bolts from the u-shaped bracket and remove the bracket. Pull the drive shaft out of the transmission.

  • toyota tundra drive shaft
    Figure 3. Remove the bolts from the rear of the drive shaft going into the differential.
  • toyota tundra drive shaft
    Figure 4. Loosen the two bolts holding the bracket in place, but don't remove them yet.

Step 3 – Install new drive shaft

Before lifting the drive shaft into place, make sure that the marked lines line up with the lines on the transmission. Insert the front of the drives haft into the transmission, making sure that the lines correspond. Lift up the center of the driveshaft and reinstall the two bolts on the u-shaped bracket. Lift up the rear of the differential and reinstall the four bolts connecting it to the differential.

  • toyota tundra drive shaft
    Figure 5. Insert the drive shaft into the transmission, making sure it is lined up correctly.
  • toyota tundra drive shaft
    Figure 6. Reinstall the four bolts holding the drive shaft to the differential.

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Drive Shafts Review

A worn or damaged drive shaft can lead to vibrations and clunking noises upon starting and stopping; a total failure means that you'll be stranded on the side of the road, waiting on a tow truck. The Tundra is well known for having problems with the drive shaft, particularly the 2007 to 2011 models, which Toyota covered under Technical Service Bulletin TSB-0115-08

OEM Recycled
$430 $600 $850




Yokes Included?
No No No
Steel Steel Steel
1 year

2 year limited CV boots and rear axle shafts
Limited lifetime on all other parts

1 year unlimited
Best Quality: OEM

Best Value: OEM Recycled

OEM Recycled

OEM recycled drive shaft

Price – $430

New/Used – Used

Yokes Included? No

Material – Steel

Warranty – 1 year

By far the least expensive option for those in need of a Tundra drive shaft is to pick one up that has been "recycled." Recycled parts are pulled from salvage and wrecked vehicles, inspected for quality and function, and then resold. It's like going to the salvage yard, but without having to pull it yourself or hope that the part works properly. Purchasing an OEM recycled drive shaft from a reputable dealer can save you a few hundred bucks over new, and is a good option for those who don't absolutely have to have new parts on their truck. Plus, these parts are guaranteed to fit your truck with no issues. Recommended for anyone looking to save some serious money and doesn't necessarily have to have a brand new part.


toyota tundra drive shaft

Price – $600

New/Used – New

Yokes Included? No

Material – Steel

Warranty – 2 year limited on CV boots and rear axle shafts, limited lifetime on all other parts

Dorman is a common supplier or OE parts; these parts are equivalents to the original Toyota parts, sans the Toyota label and price tag. The Dorman unit has the most attractive warranty of these parts. If warranty concerns are important to you, then look no further. Recommended for those who want the middle of the road product with the best warranty.


OEM Drive Shaft

Price – $850

New/Used – New

Yokes Included? No

Material – Steel

Warranty – 1 year unlimited

For those who absolutely have to have an exact, manufacturer-spec drive shaft, OEM is the only way to go. You are guaranteed an exact replacement and a brand new, perfectly functioning drive shaft. The biggest downside here is that you are going to pay a rich premium for it, nearly double what a used drive shaft would cost. But some people absolutely insist on having nothing but new OEM parts on their vehicle. Recommended for those who must have a new, OEM part that will likely last the life of the vehicle.

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