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Rear Axle woes #1039187 12/17/11 07:34 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 981
CJMT100 Offline OP
Rock Warrior
Its finally come down to replacing the entire axle for me. Long story short is I blew the bearing and no one could pinpoint the problem originally and I kept driving it b/c it was my only mode of transportation at the time. So I think it galled out the axle tube from moving around in there. No matter what (2nd shaft now!!!) it wont stop vibrating and wont stop leaking. Ive replaced the axle shaft 2x now (2nd time we wanted to be sure), and had all new bearings, seals *4x now), etc put on and the vibration doesnt change. Its dependant on the gas and can also be mildly felt while coasting in D. Everything and I mean every single mount, suspension part, brake part, etc-is new or newer within the last 5-15k and nothing seems to make the vibe go away, lessens maybe but not go away.

So just a few questions:
1. Would a tundra rear fit? The shocks just simply bolt to the u-bolts and its the same rear minus the gearing (I hope mines ok!)?

2. For some reason alot of them on ebay list the axle ratio as 4.27-Im guessing they are counting it by hand or something? Cause I could swear these trucks only came with 3.91, 4.10 and 4.30's?

3. I keep finding complete axles on ebay, they all seem to list it as non abs tho??? Doesnt the truck have 4 wheel abs or is it just front only?

Thanks so much for anyone who can help me. I love this truck and dont want to let it go, but this vibration and axle problem has me at my wits end, Ive rebuilt the truck top to bottom and this is the final and only thing that can be causing such a vibration unless the frames bent (doubtful).

1996 T100, Mickey Thomson Classics, Bridgestone Dueler AT 265/75/16, custom offroad KC's.
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Re: Rear Axle woes [Re: CJMT100] #1039188 12/17/11 09:10 AM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 2,125
adam Offline
Body Damage is Cool
An early Tundra is the same with minor differences like the location of the tab on the T junction for the brake lines. The housing will take your third member. The overall widths are the same (66.75). The tube diameters are the same. I believe the perch width is the same. The guys at the shop I use periodically (custom Toyota 4x types) state that they are, but I've never measured it myself. It would be worth hitting a junkyard with a tape measure.

4.27 sounds like it should be 4.30, but without counting it myself, it's hard to know whether the person erred up or down.

96 only had rear ABS, and it sucked. The rear ABS consists of a sensor ring on the axle. When I went to the full float setup, I just threw it away. No warning lights or system failures as a result.

Good luck. Have you thought of getting a Diamond from Brian Ellinger? He's great to work with and fabs a quality product.


96 T100: D44, lockers and stuff
Re: Rear Axle woes [Re: adam] #1039189 12/17/11 04:56 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 981
CJMT100 Offline OP
Rock Warrior
Thanks for the info adam. I do have a 96, so no lights would pop on if I didnt use one with ABS huh-thats good to know, its not really needed imho anyways as it does very little.

Id like to just replace it with a stock axle, mostly for cost after seeing how much a diamond unit is-it also doesnt look like it comes with anything but the housing as well? Having replaced the shafts, not only are they $$$ and so are all the little bearings, but it took me days to find someone who would be willing to press all the bearings and such onto my shafts-its apparently very hard and no one wants to do it! So I dont think a diamonds in my future..

I wish I had a junkyard around here you could find a tundra in, but in NJ there is no such thing as a pick and pull due to liability so that might be hard.

Last edited by CJMT100; 12/17/11 05:00 PM.
Re: Rear Axle woes [Re: CJMT100] #1039190 12/17/11 07:47 PM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 2,125
adam Offline
Body Damage is Cool
That's right. You still can't pump your own gas down there either, right? (I lived in MD years ago and used to regularly go see my folks in MA and usually topped off the tank before I hit the xBronx.)

Call the yard. "I'll take this off your hands yesterday if you can get me this measurement." Don't tell them yours, so they won't just say "Oh yeah, it's 46 1/4." Or find one in a parking lot and duck under it real quick. Any time I've said, "Hey, can I crawl around under there a sec?" the owners have been all too happy to let me thinking I'll spot something wrong.

Dunno. Car-part doesn't cross them over. I'm willing to bet it will hang right up, and if not, moving perches isn't a huge job.

You're right, Diamonds are just the housing, but everything you have from your rear would drop right in.


96 T100: D44, lockers and stuff
Re: Rear Axle woes [Re: adam] #1039191 12/18/11 06:39 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 981
CJMT100 Offline OP
Rock Warrior
Im just worried that my shaft is bent, otherwise the diamond would work-but I dont want to spend another 300+ on just a shaft and then have to have everything pressed on and such.

What I think Im gonna do is duck under a tundra at the stealership if they have an older pre 07 models or maybe just get lucky and find one...aint to many around here sadly.

I do know I cant use the 2wd housing, yes its the same axle but the perches are completely wrong and the gearing is almost always 3.90 from what Ive seen-in the event I crack open mine and the gears are shot I dont want to have to also source them.

Think Ill call my buddy who has a shop, he just needs the vin and they look it up for ya. Im expecting at minimum the axles gonna be $450+, more likely 700 tho is my best guess.

The funny thing is I am sure its the axle housing. 2 shafts, 2 different places pressing all the bearings on and such. I cannot get it to stop leaking-but remarkably when I replaced the seal once it didnt vibrate...but it leaked a little. Stupid me should have let it be at that point cause when I redid the seal again it vibrated...

btw in an effort to make sure it was not mount related I replaced EVERY single mount on the drivetrain possible. Still, it baffles me that the motor mounts are quite pliable even when they were brand new and put on there??

1996 T100, Mickey Thomson Classics, Bridgestone Dueler AT 265/75/16, custom offroad KC's.
Re: Rear Axle woes [Re: CJMT100] #1039192 06/17/12 07:35 PM
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 3
drcoffee Offline
Need a Spot
I hope that by opening this discussion we can have more people contribute to this analysis with a critical eye the next time they have to dig into the rear axle. I believe I have found why Tacoma and 4runner axle seals continually leak. Some would say I am overthinking this. I look at this as a common and incredibly expensive repair for most owners of these trucks. So let me start by saying this. The seal does not properly sit on the retainer. There is no way to get the seal to correctly sit on the retainer in ts original configuration. I say this because I have physically pushed the un-installed retainer into the installed seal and the retainer will grind on the axle housing before the seal could be centered on the retainer shoulder. A basic design flaw when Toyota switched from a flat seal to a angled seal in 2003. They redesigned the seal but not the retainer. My last observation is this, if the vent is clear and the bearings in good condtion, you may still be leaking and the oil is pooling in between the inner and outer seals. Its not until the vent gets blocked that the oil is forced out of the axle housing and onto the brakes. Again this is my theory and I'm looking for productive input from members here. No cheap shots or personal attacks please. So lets begn.

Theory: the retainer is not making contact with the seal correctly and allows oil to leak past.

Observation: my seal when seated in the housing all the way in,would ride right on the bevel edge of the shoulder of the retainer. Any wobble would let oil get by the seal. The retainer had a polished ring near the edge. You can see the ring next to the bevel in the top photo

Solution: I just re-did the seals for the forth time in 3 months. I found that no matter how I installed the seal it didn't sit on the retainer far enough. I even tried the Timken seal 1960 but the rubber was too stiff and it failed in two days. Its a crappy seal, stick with oem. My solution was to install new retainers backwards so there is more of the shoulder for the seal to ride on. I also moved it inboard by 1mm plus the 3mm i gained from not having the bevel there anymore equals an extra 4mm of shift in placement. If you go more than about 3mm inboard with the retainer, it will rub the housing. So 1mm is all i wanted to move it. By doing this, it will allow you to seat the seal all the way into the housing squarely. Here's a couple of pics.

Old config

New config

5/04/2012 installed
5/27/2012 and still dry

When you install the axle, use MP grease on the seal and put gear oil on the retainer and be careful inserting it into the seal. Dont force it. Once it lines up it will slip into the seal nicely. The edge does have a mild bevel to it so it won't damage the seal if you don't force it. You will know that you are in the sweet spot if you feel the resistance of the rubber seal 3/16" before the bearing carrier plate mates up to the axle housing. That will put you dead center on the retainer.

* don't assume the original inner retainer is in the correct position. If your axle vent is clear, it probably wouldn't have leaked if it was positioned correctly. I would suggest before disassembling the axle, install a new seal in the housing and test the position on the retainer with grease to make sure it will be correct. I used the new retainer to check how deeply it could be set into the seal. It turns out that the retainer bottoms out on the housing before it will flush up with outside of the seal.

I have read discussions of only partially seating the seal so it sits on the retainer better. I tried it and I personally couldn't get the seal to square up properly.

I think this may well be the solution to this problem.

Feel free to share your thoughts.

This is an image taken from the TSB regarding the seal redesigned in 2003. If you notice the old seal had a long flat contact patch which would sit upon the shoulder of the retainer extending all the way to the outer edge of the seal. In the newly redesigned seal, they changed it to an angled contact point, but that contact point is too far inboard (now near the inside edge of the retainer) and rests not upon the shoulder but on the retainer's bevel.

This could explain why even new seals are failing simply because they aren't seating on the retainer at all. The TSB link is below the picture.



The new OEM seal design allows for a lot of flex. Even with the retainer big side in, it goes in easily. This wouldn't work as well with any other seal like Timken or National brands.

[color:"DarkRed"]Video discussion:[/color]


Compare the non-ABS axle to the ABS axle and you will quickly notice that the seal of the non ABS is pressed right up against the bearing. That means that if your seal is not pressed right up against the ABS exciter ring, the seal is not sitting on the retainer. But you cannot just push the retainer deeper into the axle housing because it will rub the housing.


[Linked Image]

Clearly you can see when you view through the ABS sensor hole, the seal is nowhere near the ABS ring.

This picture was taken after the bearings were changed and the the first seal failed. the retainers were setup using messurements from the FSM 122.2mm +-1mm. I found it needs to be 124mm with the retainer flipped.

For the people who may want to tackle this DIY and are not sure what the grease test is, here is a picture another forum member provided to me (since I forgot to take this picture when doing mine). Mark tells me he left 3mm of the polished ring inboard of the retainer and once installed, using grease on the retainer and spinning it a few times, it will leave a foot print of where the seal lip is positioned. Note, the bevel is outboard and the retainer shows the seal riding in the center of the retainer.


*When you take your parts to a machine shop, consider printing this picture and bring it with you.

Last edited by drcoffee; 06/17/12 07:35 PM.

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