On an overwhelming number of high mileage, body on frame Toyota and Lexus SUVs and Trucks (4Runner, GX470, etc.), guests complain of an abrupt bump from behind, kick, or jump after coming to a stop and taking off again. For owners with vehicles with adjustable height suspension like the LX470 and GX470 the concern can occur when these systems are raising or lowering the vehicle. So what is the problem common to all of these models, and what is the repair for a Toyota or Lexus owner concerned?
The rear drive shaft slips yokes are to blame. As the vehicle’s suspension moves up and down the length of the rear drive shaft changes to accommodate for the rear differential moving about. The slip yoke is the plunger-type part of the drive shaft that allows for this length change while still connecting the transmission and transfer case to the differential flange. The yoke is greased from the factory, but requires maintenance to ensure ongoing operation. Some owners, often due the negligence of their regular Toyota or Lexus auto mechanic, don’t know they require periodic greasing, eventually drying out, rusting over and binding up instead of smoothly articulating. This binding is the source of the bump, kick or jumping.
The drive shafts can be greased via zerks for each u-joint and slip yoke, an example of the location in the following part diagram:
If greasing the slip yoke does not alleviate the symptoms, Toyota and Lexus offer many revised, updated replacement drive shafts to prevent the condition occurring again, although these new parts still require periodic greasing. As Eden Prairie and Chanhassen’s Toyota and Lexus repair specialist, we offer drive shaft u-joint and slip yoke maintenance as part of our routine 15k mile services at no additional charge. We hope this helps a Toyota or Lexus owner get their drive shaft repaired as cost effectively as possible!
Awesome information as well as the rear drive shaft image. It’s normal for the majority of people to not even know what the drive shaft is, and are at the mercy of a general mechanic who – though knowing this – may not focus their attention and work on this, just like you similarly mentioned. A common issue, but one that can be easily averted by routine maintenance by a savvy specialist.