80 Drivrline and U-Joint Issues

Joined
May 20, 2018
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2
Location
HIghland Utah
I am new to posting so I hope I get this right.

I thought I would pass along some hard-earned knowledge about my 80's drivelines and U-joints. The problems started five or six years ago with a mild 2-inch Old Man Emu lift. Shortly after the lift the truck started vibrating. It seemed to be coming from the drivelines. To make a long story short, it appears to me that in over 200,000 miles, no one ever bothered to grease the u-joints. (I am the third owner and have had it for over 100,000 miles) I think they ran the u-joints dry. As long as the needle bearings sat in the worn spot, there was no vibration (including when they were on the driveline balancing machines). Once the lift changed the locations of the bearings the vibration started.

Anyway, I had the drivelines balanced repeatedly by at least three great shops. (I thought I kept dinging the lines when I went wheeling. Also, one shop put the front line "in-phase" by mistake.) However, it got to the point they would find that the driveline was fine when I would take it in. They would just give it back saying there were no problems. Everyone I talked to said that the Toyota u-joints were bullet-proof and not to even think there could be something wrong with them because they had checked them and could tell they were fine. Importantly, when they would balance them in a straight line, on the machine they were fine. Finally, with a driveline already out of the 80 and laying on the shop's counter and being told it was fine and it would be a waste of money to replace the u-joints, I couldn't think of anything else to do. I told them to replace the u-joints. That was on the rear driveline. When I re-installed it about 90% of the vibration was gone. I still had a problem in the front end on deceleration: a nasty little vibration. So, I took it in a few days ago and told them to replace the u-joints on the front driveline. The Lexus technician told me the same thing as the driveline shops. He had checked the u-joints and they were fine. I asked them to replace them anyway. This morning I picked it up and promptly ran it up to 85 mph and decelerated --- no vibration!!! YAHOO!!!

Hopefully if anyone out there has this same problem by reading this you can save yourself five or six years of misery!
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2014
Messages
1,595
Location
Gilbert, AZ
I am new to posting so I hope I get this right.

I thought I would pass along some hard-earned knowledge about my 80's drivelines and U-joints. The problems started five or six years ago with a mild 2-inch Old Man Emu lift. Shortly after the lift the truck started vibrating. It seemed to be coming from the drivelines. To make a long story short, it appears to me that in over 200,000 miles, no one ever bothered to grease the u-joints. (I am the third owner and have had it for over 100,000 miles) I think they ran the u-joints dry. As long as the needle bearings sat in the worn spot, there was no vibration (including when they were on the driveline balancing machines). Once the lift changed the locations of the bearings the vibration started.

Anyway, I had the drivelines balanced repeatedly by at least three great shops. (I thought I kept dinging the lines when I went wheeling. Also, one shop put the front line "in-phase" by mistake.) However, it got to the point they would find that the driveline was fine when I would take it in. They would just give it back saying there were no problems. Everyone I talked to said that the Toyota u-joints were bullet-proof and not to even think there could be something wrong with them because they had checked them and could tell they were fine. Importantly, when they would balance them in a straight line, on the machine they were fine. Finally, with a driveline already out of the 80 and laying on the shop's counter and being told it was fine and it would be a waste of money to replace the u-joints, I couldn't think of anything else to do. I told them to replace the u-joints. That was on the rear driveline. When I re-installed it about 90% of the vibration was gone. I still had a problem in the front end on deceleration: a nasty little vibration. So, I took it in a few days ago and told them to replace the u-joints on the front driveline. The Lexus technician told me the same thing as the driveline shops. He had checked the u-joints and they were fine. I asked them to replace them anyway. This morning I picked it up and promptly ran it up to 85 mph and decelerated --- no vibration!!! YAHOO!!!

Hopefully if anyone out there has this same problem by reading this you can save yourself five or six years of misery!

This is a common issue with the drive lines on the 80 series after lifting them. Mine has the vibration and I really need to get around to replacing all four. Some people run a double cardian front drive shaft.

What causes the issue is after sitting at one angle for years (stock) and when someone lifts the LC the angles have changed and so makes the bearing ride per in a different spot and they have worn a certain way as well.

Also, there are ways to make sure your pinon angles are back to orginal as well, rear adjustable control arms are one way of solving that issue in the rear.

Hopefully that makes sense.
 
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
2
Location
HIghland Utah
This is a common issue with the drive lines on the 80 series after lifting them. Mine has the vibration and I really need to get around to replacing all four. Some people run a double cardian front drive shaft.

What causes the issue is after sitting at one angle for years (stock) and when someone lifts the LC the angles have changed and so makes the bearing ride per in a different spot and they have worn a certain way as well.

Also, there are ways to make sure your pinon angles are back to orginal as well, rear adjustable control arms are one way of solving that issue in the rear.

Hopefully that makes sense.
Thanks. That all sounds consistent with my experience. After posting, I was reading and it looks like driveline vibration is a widely discussed subject.
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2014
Messages
1,595
Location
Gilbert, AZ
Thanks. That all sounds consistent with my experience. After posting, I was reading and it looks like driveline vibration is a widely discussed subject.

You are correct, it is a widely discussed topic.

It doesn't make a difference to me but u-joints are a wear item and should be replaced as part of base-lining the vehicle.
 

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