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Front Diff Replaced at 59K -- 683 Miles Before Powertrain Warranty Expiration

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Old 01-15-2012, 10:07 AM   #1
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Front Diff Replaced at 59K -- 683 Miles Before Powertrain Warranty Expiration

Bottom Line Up Front: If you are seeing excessive metal shavings on the front diff drain plug magnet and in the gear oil when you drain it, I strongly recommend you have the front diff checked.

Here's the story: I bought my 2007 AC 4cy/5spd/4x4 in May 2010 with 23k miles on it.

In March 2011, at 42K miles I changed all my drive train fluids to synthetic (front and rear diff/xfer case/manual trans).

- I noted at that time that there were as much or more metal shavings on the front diff drain plug magnet as the rear diff.
http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/2nd...ntial-oil.html

Towards the end of November 2011, after our first big snowfall, I noticed quite a bit of noise coming from the front diff the first time I used 4Hi at hwy speeds.

- I changed out the front diff gear oil, and again noticed a lot of metal shavings on the drain plug magnet and in the used oil. After changing out the gear oil, things seemed to quiet down.

- But some of the noise still seemed to be there, and as I had been planning to change out the front wheel bearings in the Spring, I went ahead and changed out the wheel bearings on both sides. When I broke open the old driver side bearing, I noticed what appeared to be light brown scorching on the racer. When I put it all back together, it seemed noticeably quieter. I assumed the low hum noise I was hearing at that point, was "normal" drive train noise in 4Hi. I now know I was wrong.

- Around Christmas a tell tale circle about silver dollar size appeared on my Garage floor. When I crawled under the truck it was clearly coming from the back side of the front diff. When I had changed the oil in Nov, I didn't notice any leakage or seepage, but I didn't look real close either. I did it with the truck on jack stands and just enough room to get under and change out the oil. Since the plugs are on the driver side, the back section of the diff is partially blocked by the frame. I suspect the seal may have been seeping at that time, and I just missed it.

Please note the technicians words on the attached invoice, "Found excessive metal shavings in differential fluid. Recommend new front differential."

I was lucky that spot showed up on the garage floor before I crossed the magic 60K powertrain warranty expiration! Front diff is a $2200 job!

The front end is now quieter than it has ever been in the time I've owned the truck; both in 2Hi and 4Hi. I suspect there were issues in the front diff when I changed out the oil at 41K. I'll be interested to see how the front diff oil looks when I change in another 20K. At the rate I'm putting on the miles, that'll be around next Oct/Nov.

If the "sometimers" doesn't get me , I'll try to remember to post the results then.

Felt this was worth sharing here!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Front Diff Invoice001.pdf (116.3 KB, 158 views)
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:06 AM   #2
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Bump ... 92 views is that good or bad?
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:15 AM   #3
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congrats on getting it in before the warranty expired. No issues with mine yet (46000 miles) and I'm expecting something major to go wrong right around the time the warranty expires. That is just how my luck seems to work.
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:17 AM   #4
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how much would have cost if not covered
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty 06 4x4 View Post
how much would have cost if not covered
$2200 ... I read in a thread on here somewhere about a guy having it replaced at 90K; he went to Toyota Corporate (or something like that) and they cut him a check for half ($1100).

And ... Good Morning Rusty!
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:07 AM   #6
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Damn $2200 I have to get the transmission on my 04 chevy Express work van rebuilt when I get my taxes and that is gonna set me back about $1600 it will be the third time for this van>> and good morning to you as well
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:13 AM   #8
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Well, the front diff is still rotating all the time so you still put the 59K on that diff. CV's and the front diffs always spin with the tires IIRC. Might be the reason for the metal shavings in the front.
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Night View Post
Well, the front diff is still rotating all the time so you still put the 59K on that diff. CV's and the front diffs always spin with the tires IIRC. Might be the reason for the metal shavings in the front.
I'm aware of that ... but quoting the Toyota Technician "Found front pinion seal leaking. Due to excessive metal shavings and noise from front diff. Recommend new diff."

I guess my point is, some metal is expected, but I don't know exactly what quantity is excessive and what is normal. I'll have a better idea after I run this new diff for 20K.

They ordered the parts and replaced it under warranty. I'm just trying to be helpful. I read on one of the threads here about a guy having to replace his at 90K...and he contacted Toyota Corp.; they refunded him half the cost of the replacement diff. That's $1100...total cost of a new diff installed is $2200.

If you don't want to check yours, that's ok with me.
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Old 01-16-2012, 06:43 PM   #10
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i just had mine replaced at 32XXX miles. It had the infamous vibration from 15-45mph.
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Old 01-16-2012, 07:30 PM   #11
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I just had mine done with excessive shavings and the infamous vibe at 10k.
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Old 01-18-2012, 03:30 PM   #12
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Thanks for the heads up. I will have a good look when I change my diff fluids.
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:00 AM   #14
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I got to ask, Are you guys that are having the front diff problems running lift kits and or larger tires?
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlazeTaco View Post
I got to ask, Are you guys that are having the front diff problems running lift kits and or larger tires?
I'm not ... completely stock ... set of firestone ride rite airbags on the rear.
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:11 AM   #16
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Any driving on non slippery surfaces in 4x4 or plowing?
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:24 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlazeTaco View Post
Any driving on non slippery surfaces in 4x4 or plowing?
No plowing ... 4x4 only on snow covered / icy roads, but that applies a good part of winter here; and rarely used in summer except for obligatory 10 miles every so often to keep everything lubed/working--that is on dirt or gravel roads locally.

My truck was originally a lease vehicle in Oregon--leased to a construction outfit near as I could tell from the carfax and drywall stains in the bed; picked up at auction from dealer by Magnum Motors up here ... I bought it in May 2010 w/ 23K on the odometer.

I will say that I'm more attentive to 4x4 use now, and only use it when absolutely necessary (hills/exit&entrance ramps to highway/pulling out into traffic on snow or ice at busy intersections). That's my info FWIW.
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:49 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlazeTaco View Post
I got to ask, Are you guys that are having the front diff problems running lift kits and or larger tires?

mine was stock at the time, i got the lift recently, right after the diff change actually. I was able to get it changed under warranty.
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:54 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MQQSE View Post
No plowing ... 4x4 only on snow covered / icy roads, but that applies a good part of winter here; and rarely used in summer except for obligatory 10 miles every so often to keep everything lubed/working--that is on dirt or gravel roads locally.

My truck was originally a lease vehicle in Oregon--leased to a construction outfit near as I could tell from the carfax and drywall stains in the bed; picked up at auction from dealer by Magnum Motors up here ... I bought it in May 2010 w/ 23K on the odometer.

I will say that I'm more attentive to 4x4 use now, and only use it when absolutely necessary (hills/exit&entrance ramps to highway/pulling out into traffic on snow or ice at busy intersections). That's my info FWIW.
How much oil did you put in front diff when you replaced ? What you describing sounds like running diff with not enough oil. Front diff is little tricky and small change in oil level can kill that thing.
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:17 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueT View Post
How much oil did you put in front diff when you replaced ? What you describing sounds like running diff with not enough oil. Front diff is little tricky and small change in oil level can kill that thing.
@ 1.6 qts ... I filled until it ran out the fill hole...waited for it to settle and then filled until it ran again. If I remember correctly, it was in the neighborhood of 1 1/2 bottles.

But thanks for the heads up ... I'll make sure I pay very close attention to the amount next time I change it.

My first time with a 4x4 truck ... so I might have made that mistake.

Don't tell Toyota that.
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