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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys!
2007 FJ Cruiser with 150K miles on it. Started to have a whining noise coming from the back of a car couple of weeks ago. While we drained the oil from the rear differential lots of metal came out so I have a question for you: should I rebuild the differential or simply install the new one?
If the new one - who makes a good one?
If to rebuilld - who makes the good parts?

Thank you!
 

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Hi guys!
2007 FJ Cruiser with 150K miles on it. Started to have a whining noise coming from the back of a car couple of weeks ago. While we drained the oil from the rear differential lots of metal came out so I have a question for you: should I rebuild the differential or simply install the new one?
If the new one - who makes a good one?
If to rebuilld - who makes the good parts?

Thank you!
Had the same problem December 2020. Purchased brand new OEM locking differential from Treasure Coast Toyota, Stuart, FL, $2,203 with shipping no tax charged; price was same as my mechanic found locally in Maryland for a rebuilt. Labor for the installation was $675. No problems since. I found the differential / source on eBay, but directly called and spoke to parts department for the purchase. Thus, was able to be double sure about the unit being new (it arrived in perfect sealed OEM box), as well as made sure no tax, I suspect an eBay purchase would have triggered the tax. I believe it had a 1 year warranty as well as using credit card doubles warranty. The only issue was that the gasket came folded in the box that held the differential box, thus creasing it; I called and had them mail a gasket with no folds. I believe this source is a good one; likely you can price them out on eBay and then call. There were several legit sources when I shopped it. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Had the same problem December 2020. Purchased brand new OEM locking differential from Treasure Coast Toyota, Stuart, FL, $2,203 with shipping no tax charged; price was same as my mechanic found locally in Maryland for a rebuilt. Labor for the installation was $675. No problems since. I found the differential / source on eBay, but directly called and spoke to parts department for the purchase. Thus, was able to be double sure about the unit being new (it arrived in perfect sealed OEM box), as well as made sure no tax, I suspect an eBay purchase would have triggered the tax. I believe it had a 1 year warranty as well as using credit card doubles warranty. The only issue was that the gasket came folded in the box that held the differential box, thus creasing it; I called and had them mail a gasket with no folds. I believe this source is a good one; likely you can price them out on eBay and then call. There were several legit sources when I shopped it. Good luck!
Thank You! I will look into it.
 

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Options, in order of increasing cost:

1. Repair your existing diff. It's probably a pinion bearing that's gone bad, and if the surfaces of the ring and pinion teeth are still good, the diff can be rebuilt, replacing the pinion and carrier bearings. Requires a mechanic highly skilled in setting up differential bearing preloads and adjusting gear mesh.
2. Install a complete 3rd member from a low-mileage, well-cared for FJ that was in a front-end collision or low-speed rollover.
3. Install a rebuilt 3rd member from one of the major rebuilders.
4. Install a new 3rd member from Toyota.
5. Replace the complete rear axle assembly with the beefier 8.2" unit from an '10 - '14 that was in a front-end or rollover accident.

#2 would be my first choice if you could find a low-mileage donor vehicle that was in a relatively benign accident.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Options, in order of increasing cost:

1. Repair your existing diff. It's probably a pinion bearing that's gone bad, and if the surfaces of the ring and pinion teeth are still good, the diff can be rebuilt, replacing the pinion and carrier bearings. Requires a mechanic highly skilled in setting up differential bearing preloads and adjusting gear mesh.
2. Install a complete 3rd member from a low-mileage, well-cared for FJ that was in a front-end collision or low-speed rollover.
3. Install a rebuilt 3rd member from one of the major rebuilders.
4. Install a new 3rd member from Toyota.
5. Replace the complete rear axle assembly with the beefier 8.2" unit from an '10 - '14 that was in a front-end or rollover accident.

#2 would be my first choice if you could find a low-mileage donor vehicle that was in a relatively benign accident.
If rebuilding requires taking 3rd member apart and setting preloads and gear mesh afterwards - and mine has locking differential - I ll go with option #4 any time of a day. But does it have to be TOYOTA or there is better aftermarket assemblies? Or going with beefier aftermarket assembly will require swapping the whole axle?
 

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Rebuilding a diff requires accurately setting bearing preloads and adjusting gear mesh and backlash, but for someone who does this every day, it's pretty basic.

New OEM Toyota 3rd member assembly is likely the most reliable and durable if you are running tire size close to stock. If you are running monster tires or are building a special rock-crawling rig then you'll want to re-gear to a lower differential ratio and then the only option is aftermarket gearing.

'07 - '09 FJs used a lighter-duty 8" differential and matching rear axle housing. '10+ FJs used a larger, heavier-duty 8.2" diff with larger gears and larger bearings, and a larger axle housing.

For the most extreme HD use you can get $$$ fully custom-made complete rear axle assemblies from Currie Enterprises and other fabricators.
 

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Options, in order of increasing cost:

1. Repair your existing diff. It's probably a pinion bearing that's gone bad, and if the surfaces of the ring and pinion teeth are still good, the diff can be rebuilt, replacing the pinion and carrier bearings. Requires a mechanic highly skilled in setting up differential bearing preloads and adjusting gear mesh.
2. Install a complete 3rd member from a low-mileage, well-cared for FJ that was in a front-end collision or low-speed rollover.
3. Install a rebuilt 3rd member from one of the major rebuilders.
4. Install a new 3rd member from Toyota.
5. Replace the complete rear axle assembly with the beefier 8.2" unit from an '10 - '14 that was in a front-end or rollover accident.

#2 would be my first choice if you could find a low-mileage donor vehicle that was in a relatively benign accident.
Just outta curiosity, do you have any recommendations where to look for option #2? I’ve got some whining from my own rear diff and I think I may need to go down this rabbit hole myself.
 

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Hopefully someone parting out an FJ will chime in.

But, if not, whenever I am looking for used Toyota parts I google, "Toyota salvage yard", and reach out to the ones that specialize in Toyotas. Yota Yard is one that has helped me out of sticky situations more than once, and great people. FJs are relatively rare, though, compared with most Toyotas, so its hard to say where a salvage one will show up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Rebuilding a diff requires accurately setting bearing preloads and adjusting gear mesh and backlash, but for someone who does this every day, it's pretty basic.

New OEM Toyota 3rd member assembly is likely the most reliable and durable if you are running tire size close to stock. If you are running monster tires or are building a special rock-crawling rig then you'll want to re-gear to a lower differential ratio and then the only option is aftermarket gearing.

'07 - '09 FJs used a lighter-duty 8" differential and matching rear axle housing. '10+ FJs used a larger, heavier-duty 8.2" diff with larger gears and larger bearings, and a larger axle housing.

For the most extreme HD use you can get $$$ fully custom-made complete rear axle assemblies from Currie Enterprises and other fabricators.
Im running close to stock, the only extreme 😊 I do is regular towing of 3,000lb boat and occasional off-roading.
It doesnt look like Currie makes anything for Toyota - GM, Ford, Mopar and Jeep only on their website.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hopefully someone parting out an FJ will chime in.

But, if not, whenever I am looking for used Toyota parts I google, "Toyota salvage yard", and reach out to the ones that specialize in Toyotas. Yota Yard is one that has helped me out of sticky situations more than once, and great people. FJs are relatively rare, though, compared with most Toyotas, so its hard to say where a salvage one will show up.
How is their pricing? Ive dealt with some yards long ago and in some cases it was worth to get the brand new oem parts due to nearly negligent price difference. Im in Commiefornia btw.
 

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Yota Yard has sold me some parts for much less than what other salvage yards were asking, though I expect that will vary.
 

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I have an early 2007 FJ and my differential began whining at around 130,000 miles. Over 6 months or so it got pretty loud. So I had a local repair shop that specializes in manual transmissions rebuild it. All new bearings/races and other parts. All parts from Toyota. They gave me the parts that were removed. Several bearing were badly pitted. Cost $2,500. If I had known that I could have purchased a new replacement I would have gone with that option.
 

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I had this issue on my 2007 twice. First it happened around 33k miles, I bought a new 3rd member assembly from Toyota, installed it, and put the "broken" 3rd member on a shelf. A hundred thousand miles later I heard the whine again, so I took out the first unit, put four new Koyo bearings in, and swapped them again.

I was lucky to find a mechanic nearby, who works on various differentials only, so he really is an expert in setting all the preloads and backlashes, as FJtest mentioned. From what he told me, the problem is in the oil screen that prevents the front pinion bearing from getting enough lubrication. While I agree with him, I also think that it's an issue of bearing overload due to a mistake in design. I ran 33" AT wheels and used synthetic Castrol 75W140 diff oil, but still the bearing failed. Both times the gears were in perfect condition.

A year later I sold both FJs, so now I have a 3rd member assy with about 100k miles on it, that needs another set of bearings.
 

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The 'pitting' that carlshome found on his noisy bearings is 'fatigue spalling', the flaking off of surface material after millions of contact cycles as the bearing balls or rollers roll around the bearing's inner and outer races. The number of load cycles, the magnitude of the load, the quality of the steel, and the heat-treatment process determine when spalling will start. The surface pits will create very noisy bearings, but the bearings will typically continue to keep the gear teeth in adequate alignment so the teeth are not seriously damaged (as long as the wear debris is periodically removed by oil changes). Usually just replacing the bearings will return the diff to full functionality.

Improper set up of the bearing preload (excessive preload) can also cause the bearings to fail prematurely. A diff assembled with excessive bearing preload will sound and function perfectly for many tens of thousands of miles, but the bearings will start spalling and get noisy many tens of thousands of miles before a diff with 'perfectly' set up preload will.

Xsen mentioned that twice he experienced noisy diffs due to bearing failure. I'll bet that it was the pinion bearings that failed both times, and that the root cause was improper preload, both on the original 'factory' diff and on the rebuilt diff.

There's no 'oil screen' in the rear diff, but there is an oil slinger and an oil retention 'washer' that are supposed to ensure an adequate supply of oil to the outboard pinion bearing.

A properly set up and properly lubricated Toyota differential will run quietly for 300K miles or more.

I also experienced diff bearing failure on a well-cared-for, conservatively-driven Jeep at only 35K miles because of a factory error in setting up carrier bearing preload.
 

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Hi guys!
2007 FJ Cruiser with 150K miles on it. Started to have a whining noise coming from the back of a car couple of weeks ago. While we drained the oil from the rear differential lots of metal came out so I have a question for you: should I rebuild the differential or simply install the new one?
If the new one - who makes a good one?
If to rebuilld - who makes the good parts?

Thank you!
Hey. I'm not sure if you resolved your problem yet, but I have a Rear Axle Assembly I just pulled off my 2008 in good working condition. I'm really just looking to get rid for a few hundred dollars to cover the hassle of dealing with it. Here's the link to where I posted it on the forum a week ago.

2008 Rear Axle housing - 3rd member - with e-locker for sale

Message me if you are interested. I'm in Dallas, Tx when considering getting it to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hey. I'm not sure if you resolved your problem yet, but I have a Rear Axle Assembly I just pulled off my 2008 in good working condition. I'm really just looking to get rid for a few hundred dollars to cover the hassle of dealing with it. Here's the link to where I posted it on the forum a week ago.

2008 Rear Axle housing - 3rd member - with e-locker for sale

Message me if you are interested. I'm in Dallas, Tx when considering getting it to you.
Hi David!
Just came back to the forum - TY for the offer, really appreciate it but the issue has been fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Giving you all an update of the situation. The issue has been fixed, all bearings had to be replaced - the pinion bearing was in really bad shape. The rest of the parts inside of the differential are fine, according to a shop.
I doubt towing a boat for several years contributed to this issue but the shop says it could be a case.
 
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