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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I noticed while I was changing the front differential fluid, that the drivers side axle shaft where it connects to the differential, has a lot of loose play compared to the passenger side. It has at least 1/8 inch of free movement by just pushing it up/down or front/rear by hand. Is this a NORMAL amount of free play? I will be at the dealer for front brake squeal repairs and will have them inspect this also but wanted to be prepared with info from this forum's vast knowledge base. Other details: current milage 25,000... no lift...fluid was VERY grey and lots of particles on drain plug magnet when fluid changed at 20,000... No noise or any symptoms.
 

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I just had my driver side axle seal replaced and when I noticed the leaking axel seal I notice that same thing, figured they went hand and hand but today I notice it still had the same play. So ya wasup wit dat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was at the dealer today and supposedly they checked other FJs on the lot and they all had more slop on the drivers side axle than on the passenger side. Did not have a reason why. Maybe it has more tolerance on that side to compensate for torque? Parts are on order for the warranty repair to fix the morning brake squeal in reverse. New brake rotors and four clips.:clap:
 

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I was searching this forum for this problem and found this thread. I also noticed there has been no response since May 2008. I wanted to see if anyone else has had this problem and more importantly if you have had resolution to it. My problem is I have an intermittent vibration around 30-40mph(very low pitch drone that vibrates the wholen vehicle). I've checked driveshafts, tire balance, tires and wheels themselves(i.e. bent, bulges), the weights are still on and the driveshafts and companion/drive flanges are tight. The only thing I can find is the d.s. front driveshaft is loose where it enters the front differential so I can only assume that is where my vibration is coming from. Please help!!
 

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My driver side axle is looser too. It is also leaking, I think a bad seal last time I had work done on it, rebuilt diff after destroying it off road. The mechanic, non-toyota, thought that there was too much play as well, saying his avalanche has some play but not that much. The leak stopped once I put the diff drop on, I have a 3" lift and once I replace the WE suspension equipment, I will get the seal replaced and see if that solves everything.
 

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sul... are you running a lift? Mine did this exact same thing at the same speed. I lowered my lift in front about 1/4" (driver) and 1/2" (passenger) and it hasn't done it since.... well, noticeably better after I lowered my lift. However, I still need to replace my axles and (inner or outer) tie rods as well. Right now, I'm all kinds of loosey goosey up front. :)

There has also been some people complaining about this weird vibration with 6" lift and IIRC eventhough it apppears fine, it has something to do with the drive shaft. Maybe pinion angle. Can't remember off the top of my head.

Anyway, more info on what you have would be useful. Does the vibration get worse with acceleration or deceleration... coasting? Can you feel it in your steering wheel?
 

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sul... are you running a lift? Mine did this exact same thing at the same speed. I lowered my lift in front about 1/4" (driver) and 1/2" (passenger) and it hasn't done it since.... well, noticeably better after I lowered my lift. However, I still need to replace my axles and (inner or outer) tie rods as well. Right now, I'm all kinds of loosey goosey up front. :)

There has also been some people complaining about this weird vibration with 6" lift and IIRC eventhough it apppears fine, it has something to do with the drive shaft. Maybe pinion angle. Can't remember off the top of my head.

Anyway, more info on what you have would be useful. Does the vibration get worse with acceleration or deceleration... coasting? Can you feel it in your steering wheel?
No, mine is stock height so lowering it isn't an option(sorry I should have mentioned that before). It mostly does it on a gradual acceleration, so it is throttle related but not to the point I can start it and stop it by hitting and releasing the gas pedal like you can with a bad driveshaft u-joint or pinion angle.
When it does do it you don't necessarily feel it through the steering wheel, you feel it in the whole vehicle, to the point where it is hard to isolate where it is coming from(i.e. front or back). I should also mention it has had 2 alignments and wheels balanced twice(By different shops). It also got 2 new rear driveshaft u-joints because there was slight play in one of them.
 

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My driver side axle is looser too. It is also leaking, I think a bad seal last time I had work done on it, rebuilt diff after destroying it off road. The mechanic, non-toyota, thought that there was too much play as well, saying his avalanche has some play but not that much. The leak stopped once I put the diff drop on, I have a 3" lift and once I replace the WE suspension equipment, I will get the seal replaced and see if that solves everything.
Surprisingly, the seal is not leaking on mine. It certainly should be with how much it is moving. I pulled the axle shaft out to put in a rebuilt unit but the old one was not the problem cause the new shaft had just as much play, there does appear to be a machined bearing surface on the shaft(to ride on a support bearing in the differential?). I do not believe a new seal would solve the problem. I can't seem to find an exploded diagram of the front end to take a look at what the shaft rides on. I was hoping somebody else has encountered this. Thank you Maglight and VT Rain Man for the responses!:bigthumb:
 

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Has anyone else had any experience with a loose d.s. front axle shaft or the vibration I explained earlier in this thread. I would love some more feed back!!!
Thanks!:cheers:
 

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Both mine have a little play in them. I can hear them "bump" in the morning when I first take off. They have been doing it along time. I don`t even worry about it. Nothing is leaking and everything for the most part seems solid. I have a 3 in. lift.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I made the original post. The FJ had 25,000 miles then. Currently have 112,000 miles and have not had any leakage or vibration. The drivers side axle play appears to be normal.
 

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Both mine have a little play in them. I can hear them "bump" in the morning when I first take off. They have been doing it along time. I don`t even worry about it. Nothing is leaking and everything for the most part seems solid. I have a 3 in. lift.
Out of curiousity, what is a little play? My p.s. has what I would consider a little play but the d.s. has more than I would consider a little play. For point of reference, where the boot is clamped onto the inner portion of the axle shaft the shaft moves up & down, forward & back an easy 3/8"

I made the original post. The FJ had 25,000 miles then. Currently have 112,000 miles and have not had any leakage or vibration. The drivers side axle play appears to be normal.
I'm gadly your paying attention to this and thank you for letting me hijack your post, I wanted to rekindle an old topic cause it seems to have been an issue for awhile. It may turn out this isn't the problem and I will have to look further for the cause of my vibration. However the ammount of play in that axle shaft I can't imagine should be "normal".
 

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I'll check mine and see how much play I have. I also have that "bump" in the morning and periodically. Mostly when I reverse turn the wheel and start to take off. A lot of people have something similar... drive train clunk noises seem to be very common on Toyotas.

I also noticed a little vibration last night when I was sitting in the passenger side while my wife drove. Right around 35mph. I also noticed it this morning, probably because I am aware of it now.
 

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I'll check mine and see how much play I have. I also have that "bump" in the morning and periodically. Mostly when I reverse turn the wheel and start to take off. A lot of people have something similar... drive train clunk noises seem to be very common on Toyotas.

I also noticed a little vibration last night when I was sitting in the passenger side while my wife drove. Right around 35mph. I also noticed it this morning, probably because I am aware of it now.
Excellent, I look forward to hearing what you have to say.
 

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Out of curiousity, what is a little play? My p.s. has what I would consider a little play but the d.s. has more than I would consider a little play. For point of reference, where the boot is clamped onto the inner portion of the axle shaft the shaft moves up & down, forward & back an easy 3/8"
I would say I have about 1/8 to 1/4 in play. Where the boot is clamped onto the inner portion of the axle shaft. Same as yours. I wouldn`t worry ab out it. Its the other end of the axle that will break some year. When you start to hear crunching when you are making a turn is when you want to replace it.
 

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Are you guys checking the axle play on the ground or jacked up? I have some play in the inner boot. but, it appears to be the same on the passenger side?
 

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Are you guys checking the axle play on the ground or jacked up? I have some play in the inner boot. but, it appears to be the same on the passenger side?
I checked mine sitting on the ground.
 

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I checked mine sitting on the ground.
Hey!, didn't realize you had posted again. But this was me checking it on the ground.

That bump you get sometimes could also be a bad LCA bushing. Many have had problems with that.
The LCA bushings are fine on mine. I'm not looking for a bump, I'm looking for a vibration and all that I can find is this loose d.s. front axle shaft where it enters the differential. Any thoughts??
 

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I also have a loose Driver Side front axle where it meets the diff. There is considerable amount of play on it. So, is this normal?
 
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