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After replacing all the differential and transmission fluids my fall maintenance this year continued with all brake rotors and pads replacement.
I started with the front brakes. The rotors were never replaced on my 2013 FJC, and with 65K miles they were stuck pretty bad. Nothing helped to remove them. I tried penetrating oil and hammering but did not get anywhere. I had to use the 3-jaw puller. The brake disc diameter is quite large so that one needs long jaws. I did not use a hydraulic puller. I just used the breaker bar to turn the screw but it took a lot of torquing because those discs were not moving at all. I had to try multiple times torquing and un-torquing, and then finally the rotor shot out with a loud bang. The disc landed with the puller still attached good 2 feet away from the hub. You can see on the picture where it landed. Removing the pins on the front brakes was also a hassle. These were so welded to the calipers that I had to remove the entire caliper in order to punch out the pin. I have changed brakes on so many cars but I was seriously challenged with this truck...Installing the new OEM rotors and pads was not a problem, but by the time I finished the day was gone...
The next morning I started with the rear brakes. Although I was bracing for more trouble I still have underestimated this task. The rotors were stuck even worse than the front ones, and by removing them I messed up the parking brake hardware. I have bent the springs that hold the brake shoe and I did not realize until after I installed the tire that one of the springs detached loose. Again, I had to use the puller to remove the rotors, and by the time I finished the installation the weekend was over.
And then I realized that the spring got loose, and the friction was resulting in a very annoying noise. I did not have more time to deal with that and the next day I drove the car to the dealer where they replaced the hardware for the parking brake. Finally, when I got the car back, everything was running smooth as it should have been. After spending so much time to service the brakes I was not looking forward to deal with that misery for the next 60K miles. At least I hoped so...
However, the very next day I got into an accident. A small Honda Civic torpedoed my rear passenger side in the middle of a T-intersection with 3 stop signs. The car hit me with 10-15 mph but the clash from the crash was monstrous. When I pulled over I was surprised to not see many damages. The wheel and tire were scratched and the hub cap was gone but there were no other damages to the car body. I was also fine. The other car hit precisely the rear passenger wheel and the axle absorbed the entire impact. The FJ was drive-able and I did not notice any big issue until I brought the car for inspection at the repair shop. It was another Toyota dealer I had to deal with this time. Since it was the other driver's fault their insurance was to cover the repairs. The repair shop staff took the vehicle for a 2.5 hour long inspection with laser equipment and confirmed a bent differential housing. It took a lot of back and fort with case adjusters and 3 weeks later I got the car back with a new differential housing. Rear differential and frame were ok according to Toyota. They replaced the rim with a new OEM one. My tire (Cooper Discoverer AT3) was surprisingly fine without any internal damages because the axle absorbed the impact. You can see the damaged housing in the attached picture.
So, after all, the car is back and seems to be running well. I don't feel vibrations, it stops in a straight line. Toyota claims everything is ok. Is there anything I should be concerned about?
 

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my suggestion is to install the rotors and the pad pins with a bit of anti-seize on them, on those surfaces that got stuck, so that you will not have to work so hard to take them out next time
 

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Wow what an ordeal x2! Glad you & everyone are ok. I have never heard of impact damage happening exclusively to the rear diff housing. Curious about the exact nature of the damage. Was it leaking gear oil? Maybe bolts sheared? And gears were all still in proper alignment? Elocker ok? Interesting...
 

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Yikes. Pain indeed.

One trick to get a old rotor off (if its destined to be trash) is to take the caliper off....slide a nut between the caliper mounting point and rotor, then thread a bolt in through the nut....crank away. It will push the rotor off.

I dont recall the feasibility of this method on a FJ though, but I think it'd work.
 

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The rear rotors have 2 threaded holes you can run a bolt into and start torqueing on to push it off. I needed some heat, the bolts a BFH for them to release. Do not use a dead blow it does not have the shock value a steel face.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow what an ordeal x2! Glad you & everyone are ok. I have never heard of impact damage happening exclusively to the rear diff housing. Curious about the exact nature of the damage. Was it leaking gear oil? Maybe bolts sheared? And gears were all still in proper alignment? Elocker ok? Interesting...
I guess this rear axle is the Achilles tendon of the FJ. There was no oil leak. Initially I did not notice a problem, but the first body shop I went to made me aware that the entire wheel is off. Also, later I felt a vibration when driving with higher speed. If you look at the pictures carefully you may see the bent bracket. I do not think that the actual differential housing bridge was wrenched. Initially, Toyota servicemen wanted to replace the actual differential along with the housing (and they even ordered it) but when they removed both they did not see any damages on that assembly. All gears were aligned and there were no bolts sheared. E-locker works fine. Toyota explained that similar damages on the rear axle are typical for FJC and 4Runners where the differential housing absorbs the impact. Obviously, per design intent some features of the housing will take the hit to protect the differential from damage. The irony is that I just changed the differential fluid couple weeks before the accident, and the day before the accident I had Toyota change the brake fluid. Well, if one can only predict the future...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The rear rotors have 2 threaded holes you can run a bolt into and start torqueing on to push it off. I needed some heat, the bolts a BFH for them to release. Do not use a dead blow it does not have the shock value a steel face.
I did try to run the bolts through those holes. The problem I ran into was that no matter how much I tried to torque both bolts in parallel, the rotor was getting wedged on the parking brake shoe. This happened on both sides. I was able to un-weld the disc from the hub but still could not remove it.
 

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I did try to run the bolts through those holes. The problem I ran into was that no matter how much I tried to torque both bolts in parallel, the rotor was getting wedged on the parking brake shoe. This happened on both sides. I was able to un-weld the disc from the hub but still could not remove it.
That's why you always back off the "star-wheel" brake shoe adjuster 5-10 clicks BEFORE trying to pull the drum off.

The rust-welded front disks imply that you drive on salted roads, so 2X on applying a very thin film of anti-seize between the hubs and rotors. Hope you very thoroughly wire-brushed all visible rust/corrosion off the mating faces of the wheels and hubs to prevent any runout problems after reinstalling the wheels.

Also, never, NEVER beat on "stuck" disks with a metal hammer - all the impact forces are transferred through the wheel bearings, can brinell the races, and dramatically shorten bearing life.
 
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