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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys,

I have a 2011 Toyota Highlander that just developed a whole body shake, but no steering wheel shake when under acceleration under 35-50mph. I don't think there is a wheel/tire problem because as soon as I let off or even coast at those speeds, the shaking goes away.

After googling the problem a little bit, I'm suspecting it is the inner CV joint on the passenger side.

There seems to be a leak somewhere, but I don't know where it's coming from. I know my fumoto oil drain valve is leaking some oil, but it shouldn't be around that area. I have attached 2 pictures, one of which shows the leak extending to the tie rod boot.
 

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Resident Nutcase
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That's more likely to be the inner cv boot leaking than the tie rod boot, the rotation will fling it everywhere like that. My strut on the front driver wheel looks like that (sorta) because my outer boot has a small hole in it. That looks way to thick for motor oil (the fumoto), that's straight up grease. Double check the CV boot and chances are you'll be replacing the axle. They aren't too bad at places like autozone, you'll get a lifetime warranty. I wouldn't spring for the OEM one. Aftermarket is about 1/3 to 1/7th the price, depending on which axle and your drivetrain.
 

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I agree. In those pics it looks like the inner CV boot might be slinging grease.

Looks too thick to be oil. Check it for splits or damage. If it's running dry it sure could cause a vibration and it won't last long.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the quick response. Based on what you guys said and the location of the grease and how it is in a straight line from the inner CV joint, it looks like the inner CV joint is the problem. However, upon further inspection after taking my wheel off, I could not locate any tears in the boot. Is it possible that the clamp holding the boot is defective?

I have attached 2 images of the grease that I rubbed off and an additional shot. Additionally, here's a 18 second video of a rotation of the CV joint:

If this turns out to be the problem, I'll probably try to make a repair video for all the help this forum has provided.

Thanks so much!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
my guess is bad tire or balance.

Sent from my LG-H631 using Tapatalk
Even after the shudder goes away on coasting or no acceleration?

Here's another video of my Inner CV Axle play - it's making a clunking noise, is that normal?

 

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Resident Nutcase
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Well someone has been busy. :lol:

I'm telling you, that kind of grease is really only seen when your packing bearings or CV's, unless your in a habit of driving through grease pits, there are very few areas it can come from. Clean the CV and the spray area, drive it a little and check again. Check frequently enough so it doesn't get covered, so you can see where it's coming from. I can tell you on mine, its not a tear, but a pinhole leak. Its really hard to see just quickly glancing for it, you really have to look to see. The forces on it during rotation force grease out that tiny hole. So you aren't always looking for this boot tearing failure.

As for that play, that could be normal if the play was in-line with the axle. Most independent suspension designs have a spec called plunge. That's the change in axle length while the suspension cycles. So say your wheel is fully extended (off the ground) vs fully compressed (on bump stop), the axle length from the wheel to the transmission changes. You have to account for that. If you design the axle too short, it'll fall out when the wheel hangs (seen that on off road vehicles), or if its also too long, when the suspension compresses, its going to slam into the transmission/knuckle and something WILL break (also seen that on offroad vehicles). So what they do is build play into CV axles. The inner cv joint is shaped like a barrell, the CV itself slides in and out of that barrel as the suspension cycles. It's called a plunger (by some). So your moving it forward and back like that could simply be slop in the design of the plunger. Now if you have that kind of play on the outer CV, well, you have issues. Typically if the joint itself starts going bad, it'll let you know, they get stupid hot without grease and will make noise.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sweeneyp,

What would I do without you?!? :grin:

Thanks for your help, I'm gonna take the plunge and tackle this job within the next 2 weeks and hopefully make a quick tutorial to help others.
 

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I had the same issue on an old car of mine, I just replaced the boot and kept the oem axle. Good aftermarket axles are pretty pricey, and my axle was still good. If you choose to replace the whole axle, it's worth it to spend the money. The Autozone ones can last for 2,000 or 200,000 miles. Not a repair you're going to want to do again soon!
 

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AvConsult
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The joint probably has excessive RADIAL play, where the races and balls are worn, which causes the joint to "chatter" on rotation. Most noticeable and feel-able under acceleration, going up hills. If the boot has been slinging grease and the races are running dry, and/or water has gotten inside, the condition will get worse. Quickly.

Give Scotty Kilmer a call! :grin:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I had the same issue on an old car of mine, I just replaced the boot and kept the oem axle. Good aftermarket axles are pretty pricey, and my axle was still good. If you choose to replace the whole axle, it's worth it to spend the money. The Autozone ones can last for 2,000 or 200,000 miles. Not a repair you're going to want to do again soon!
Thanks for your response. Unfortunately, I probably have waited too long so I cannot simply replace the boot :(. Also, as far as going OEM, I don't think I'll mind replacing it a couple times if I can buy a reman. part for 1/5 the price w/ lifetime warranty from Autozone. I'll give that a shot since the car isn't going to be driven that much anymore.

The joint probably has excessive RADIAL play, where the races and balls are worn, which causes the joint to "chatter" on rotation. Most noticeable and feel-able under acceleration, going up hills. If the boot has been slinging grease and the races are running dry, and/or water has gotten inside, the condition will get worse. Quickly.

Give Scotty Kilmer a call! :grin:
Makes sense! Does Scotty give out his number to the general public since I know he's pretty popular online!
 

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AvConsult
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Well, I assume Scotty still needs cars to work on to pay bills and make videos. Would guess he hangs his shingle out in some way, in the Houston metro..
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Hey guys, just finished the repair and recorded a not that great video that I'll post up shortly.

So all of you were right that it was the inner CV axle joint. However, I am having another problem now and I can't figure out what it is!!! So the vibration is now gone, but when I go over small bumps slowly, I get a clunking sound. There is no play in the wheel at 3/9 or 6/12 positions, and all my connections are tight. Could be new CV axle be bad and cause this clunking sound?
 

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Resident Nutcase
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Check:

suspension bushings (in a-arms, ball joint, etc)
tie rod
spring isolators
sway bar bushings (make sure they are secure)
sway bar links


Any of those can clunk when going over a bump. Mine was a bad sway bar bushing on the rear of mine when I had that happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thanks Sweeneyp,

I believe I checked all the bushings and they look good. I imagine it's something I worked on because it is now just happening after I put everything back together. It sounds like something is loose. If this helps, when I was installing the lowerball joint, I accidentally pulled the inner CV joint out of its socket and placed it back into place. Could that be the cause of this problem?

Here's a Youtube video on the sound going a speed bump:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
NEVERMIND! After jacking my car up and down and driving around 5 times, I finally found the problem! I didn't tighten up the sway bar end link nut enough.............................. I'll post my repair video within the next week. It's not the best since i had to do it one handed, but it should at least a little bit!

Again, thank you to everyone for all your help!
 
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