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Old 08-01-2020, 11:04 AM #1
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Post CV Replacement Tutorial with New Seals (120+ Pictures)

Introduction
Hello All, I have completed my first CV axle replacement and wanted to do a writeup outlining my process. There are a few threads on replacing CVs and part numbers, but nothing with super good pictures or lots of information on the seal installation. I feel like every time I make one of these writeups, I take even more pictures, so I apologize in advance for the bajillion photos. I tried to make all pictures appropriately sized, but each image should be clickable to open a larger version in Imgur.

This is the first CV I have replaced, so please let me know if I made any mistakes and I'd be happy to fix them!

Companion Tutorial: CV Reboot Tutorial with Boot Stretch (80+ Pictures)

Teaser Pictures


Step Directory (Jumps in Current Tab)

Parts | Return to Steps
  • New or Rebuilt CV Axle with Stretched Boot- I rebuilt mine here: CV Reboot Tutorial with Boot Stretch (80+ Pictures). I highly recommend stretching the inner boots, for more information see this section of the rebuild writeup: Stretching Inner Boot
  • Axle Nut- This is really cheap so it won't hurt to replace. The CV I rebuilt didn't have one, so I picked one up. The PN is 90178-28002
  • Axle Nut Retainer- This is the little cage that goes over the axle nut and allows it to act like a castle nut. I reused my old retainer, but if you need new one, the PN is 43525-35010
  • Axle Cotter Pin- I used a 3/16" stainless steel cotter pin from the Hardware Store, but I believe the Toyota PN is 95381-04045
  • Knuckle Seal- This seal prevents debris from getting into the wheel bearing from the axle side. It is PN 90316-A0001
  • Driver Differential Seal- This seal goes into the differential, and keeps oil from passing out where the CV enters. The driver and passenger side have different PNs. The Driver side PN is 90311-47027 (Superseded 90311-47012) I only replaced the passenger axle, so please confirm the PN. You will only need one, but order 3 of them and hope you can return any extra. See my Lessons Learned for explanation.
  • Passenger Differential Seal- The Passenger side PN is 90311-47013. You will only need one, but order 3 of them and hope you can return any extra.
  • 2 Quarts Gear Oil- I used Mobil 1 75W-90 Synthetic Gear Lube from Amazon
  • Front Differential Crush Washers- Fill: 12157-10010, Drain: 90430-24003


Tools | Return to Steps
  • Safety Glasses!
  • Wheel Chock
  • Floor Jack
  • 2 Jack Stands
  • Ratchet and Breaker Bar
  • Torque Wrench Capable of 175 ft-lbs
  • Sockets: 6mm allen/hex, 10mm allen/hex, 12mm, 19mm, 21mm, 35mm axle nut
  • Wrenches: 17mm
  • Oil Drain Pan
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Vice Grips
  • Wire Brush
  • Dead Blow Hammer
  • Metal Hammer or Mini Sledge
  • Something to remove CV: Slide Hammer, CV Lasso, CV forks, Cold Chisel, Pry bar
  • 4" Plastic Round Drainage Grate- Used to Drive Knuckle Seal. 052063400112 from Home Depot. Credit to @johntdye13 for this tool idea from this post.
  • 65mm socket-type oil filter wrench- Used to drive differential seal. Alternatively a 2" PVC End Cap will work, but it is harder.
  • 10" Socket Extensions- Used to extend differential seal driver past LCA
  • Small Pick Set
  • Plastic Wire Brush
  • Gear Oil Pump

Consumables | Return to Steps
  • Paper Towels!
  • 400 Grit Sandpaper
  • Brake Parts Cleaner
  • Soapy Water in a Spray Bottle
  • Lithium Grease
  • Anti-seize
  • Medium Strength Thread Locker
  • Tag-out Tags


Step 1: Remove Axle Nut | Return to Steps
Start by chocking the rear wheels, jacking up the front, removing the 21mm lugs, and pulling off the wheel. Under the wheel, there is a black cover that can be removed from the hub. I used a screwdriver to pry under the rim in a dent left by a previous mechanic. Under this cover, we will find the axle nut, axle nut retainer, and cotter pin.


Straighten out the cotter pin, remove the nut retainer, and clean the threads with a wire brush. Clean threads will allow the axle nut to come off easily and without damage to either part. It is surprisingly difficult to remove nuts and bolts from crusty threads, we do not want this!


I then popped the wheel center cap out with a dead blow and block of wood. This method worked effectively and didn't damage the center cap. From there, we can reinstall the wheel and get cracking at the 35mm axle nut. With the wheel on, parking brake set, and a wheel chock behind the grounded wheel, I gave it a push with my breaker bar. Mine came off disturbingly easily, felt like the same force as removing a lug nut. If you do need more leverage, since this nut is supposed to be very tight, you can use the jack handle as a cheater bar.

Last edited by y=mx+b; 01-07-2021 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:04 AM #2
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CV Replacement Tutorial with New Seals (120+ Pictures) Continued

Step 2: Drain Front Differential Fluid | Return to Steps
I started this by dropping both the front skid plates. There should be 8 12mm head bolts. I have removed my skids fairly recently, so they were no fuss. If they haven't been off in a while, you may be in for a treat of broken bolts! I sheared 5 out of 8 bolts when I first took everything apart.


Start by cracking the front diff fill plug loose with the 10mm allen/hex key. If you drain all the fluid but the fill plug is stuck, you'll be having a sad day. Next break the drain plug free with the same 10mm hex. I stripped mine when previously draining the fluid, so I have a 19mm nut welded on the flange.


Now drain the fluid out. Your fluid will most likely be darker, there's only 400ish miles on this stuff. When I changed my fluid, my brain didn't put together that it was going to have to come out to change the CV. If you had newish fluid and really wanted to, the fluid could be reused. That felt too much like re-wearing underwear to me, so I'm going to change it again! It would also be a good idea to tag-out your vehicle or leave some sort of reminder that it's not fit to drive until you refill and remove the tag.


Step 3: Disconnect Swap Bar and Knuckle | Return to Steps
I started by removing the sway bar end link with a 6mm allen/hex socket and a 17mm wrench. Removing this will allow us to move the knuckle around freely later. You may find that you have a torn end link boot, I'm adding it to the laundry list of items to revisit.


Next, the knuckle can be unbolted from the LCA with both the 19mm head bolts on either side of the ball joint

Last edited by y=mx+b; 08-03-2020 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:05 AM #3
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CV Replacement Tutorial with New Seals (120+ Pictures) Continued

Step 4: Remove CV from Knuckle and Differential | Return to Steps
Knuckle Side
Now that things are beginning to free up, we can remove the CV from the knuckle. I started by unscrewing the axle nut, flipping it over, and re-threading it on. A few taps with a dead blow mallet, and the axle shaft will slide out of the wheel hub.


With the shaft headed out of the bearing, the knuckle/caliper assembly can be rotated forward, while using your thumbs to push the axle completely through. If it gets caught up, you could use the dead blow on a socket extension. I was able to swing the knuckle out of the way and set the caliper on the side of the LCA. You may notice the bungee cord on the CV shaft, it did nothing for me and was unnecessary so don't bother with it.


While doing all of this, be mindful of the wheel speed sensor and wires. You don't want to stretch or maul this wire.


Differential Side
There are a few ways to remove the axle from the differential side, so I have compiled a few of them here:

Slide Hammer
I've seen two ways to remove a CV with a slide hammer. One method is with the C shaped hook (shown below) that goes behind the axle and pulls it out as you hammer. The other method I've seen is with a hook attachment that engages the axle notches and is held on with a hose clamp. I'll try and update if I can find some good pictures of this second slide hammer option.

CV Axle Forks
A tapered fork is hammered in behind the CV axle in order to force it out.


CV Lasso
This is a short and lightweight kinetic rope that is used in conjunction with a mini sledge to form an impromptu slide hammer. I haven't used this method, but it appears to be an effective, lightweight option for a trail repair.


How I Removed My CV
I was able to remove the CV from the differential with this dinky little pry bar, your mileage may vary. Some of the other tools are probably better for this job, but I'd primarily seen this and the cold chisel technique used in my research. As long as you're mindful of the CV's dust shield prying between the CV inner joint and the differential should not cause damage. There will be a bit of movement already, but we need to pry it out enough to unseat the internal C-clip.


After the internal C-clip has unseated and the axle is free to slide outward, I hit the pry bar in one of the grooves on the inner joint. This allowed the axle to be removed further, without separating the inner joint and dropping its grease everywhere.


Once the CV was out, I slid it out back towards the diff and through the arch in the LCA.


The "damage" caused by using a pry bar: Slightly bent dust shield.

Last edited by y=mx+b; 11-22-2020 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:05 AM #4
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CV Replacement Tutorial with New Seals (120+ Pictures) Continued

Step 5: Replace Knuckle Seal | Return to Steps
I am going to replace both seals while in here, staring with the knuckle seal. This seal is there to keep junk and debris from getting into the wheel bearing from the CV side. This seal comes pre-greased from Toyota, so be careful not to smear it all off.


Removal
The easiest way to remove the knuckle seal is to be a bit destructive. I came in from the top with a screwdriver to cave it in.


As the seal caves in, you should be able to get the screwdriver behind it. Slowly prying around the edges will allow it to release from the knuckle.


I did a light scrap of the loose rusty chunks and vaccumed all the junk out to prevent it from getting in the bearing.


Installation
Now the seal can be pressed in. I used the 4" drain pipe as a seal driver and it worked very well. The axle nut cover is a great fit also, but I didn't want to ding mine up with hammer blows.


For the passenger side, I found it helpful to turn the wheel full left. From there, the seal and our driver can be held in place and given a few light taps with the hammer to get set. I found the top wasn't wanting to seat with direct hits, but slowly tapping around from a fully seated edge to the unseated edge allowed everything to mate together

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Old 08-01-2020, 11:05 AM #5
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CV Replacement Tutorial with New Seals (120+ Pictures) Continued

Step 6: Replace Differential Seal | Return to Steps
Replacing the differential seal is not required and could lead to further headache. If your seal is not leaking, not damaged on CV removal, or not original, I would leave it alone.

Take Pictures and Measurements
Before ripping this bad boy out, take a few pictures of the current seal. The most important thing to note is the depth of the seal, you want to get the new seal as close as possible, if not a tad shallower, than the old one. If a bit shallow, the CV insertion should help to set it fully. I measured my depth with a set of calipers, and it was just about 6mm. The caliper batteries ran out a bit ago, so unfortunately I don't have the exact depth down to the 0.000000000001 cm. Yes, frame crusties- working on that one.


I tried removing this seal with picks, a screwdriver, and a small pry bar, but was too worried about scratching the sealing surface. Like the knuckle seal, the easiest way to remove this seal is with a little destruction. I grabbed the seal with vice grips and bent them away from the seal center. This folded the seal center out and brought the edges inward, relieving the pressure of the seal fitment and allowing it to be removed.



Learn From My Seal Install Mistakes!!!
Now is when I made a few mistakes that you can learn from. This will be a brief overview with the 3 biggest takeaways:
  1. Not Cleaning the Crusties- This was the main issue I ran into. The small amount of rust buildup made inserting the already tight fitting seal, much more complex. It was significantly hard to get the seal in, and once they passed through the rust sections, they tore the outer rubber. I made this mistake on 2 different seals before realizing my errors


  2. Hammering in a Cramped Area- I started using a 2" PVC end cap to set the seal, but the area between the diff and the LCA was too close to work properly. I switched to a socket-type 65mm oil filter wrench on a 9"+ 6" extension, which allowed me to better hammer it in.


  3. Hitting Directly on the Seal- To correct the angle of the seal as it went in, I used a 9"+ 6" socket extension directly on the seal. This created a stretch and tear area on one of my seals. I learned that tapping the old seal on top of the new seal could protect it, and still allow the angle correction.

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Old 08-01-2020, 11:06 AM #6
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CV Replacement Tutorial with New Seals (120+ Pictures) Continued

Step 6: Replace Differential Seal (Continued) | Return to Steps
I couldn't explain everything about the seal within the 20 picture limit!

A Brief Exploration in Dentistry, aka Crusty Scraping
Since I had already torn 2 seals at this point, I picked up some little HF pics to scrap away the junk. Any protruding crusties that could tear the seal should be scrapped down and sanded. If you've already destroyed a seal, there will be some rubber debris indicating where the most interference occurred. Here is a look at what I'm talking about:


To try and keep the sealing surface safe, make sure to scrap with the point pulling debris out of the diff. A vertical point is likely to damage the surface, so getting close to horizontal will help to prevent this. I also put an oil soaked paper towel in front of the bearing to try and catch any small particles that may have gone in the reverse direction.


I began scraping away at the crusties until they were almost flush with the sealing surface. After they were knocked down, I used 400 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface. Take care not to get the pics or the sandpaper into the sealing surface. As seen in the last picture, pressure is only applied to the sandpaper along the crusty edge.



The angle and lighting make it hard to see things, but here is what the edge looked like after scraping and sanding.


From here, the greasy rag and contaminants can be removed. Whatever was left, I cleaned with some brake parts cleaner on a paper towel. To prep the seal for install, I used some of the old gear oil to lube the seal and the differential sealing surface.


Seal Installation
I started with using the oil filter wrench to get it set in place. On the initial installation, I got the seal a tad sideways. Since the oil filter wrench doesn't do well applying a point force, we can use socket extensions to correct this.


From my 3rd mistake, we know that hitting the socket extension directly on the seal can damage it. Stack the old seal, or one of your failed installation seals, over the new seal to hammer on. You may need to do some slight reshaping of the old seal to get it to sit properly. From there, a long combination of socket extensions can be hammered on the protruding location. I used the socket extension/old seal method to set the rest of the seal to the 6mm depth just beyond the crusty buildup.

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CV Replacement Tutorial with New Seals (120+ Pictures) Continued

Step 7: Install New CV Axle | Return to Steps
To prep the CV for install, I cleaned the diff side splines with brake parts cleaner, used soapy water and a plastic wire brush to clean the sealing surface, and lubed the splines. I did a bit of reading on grease vs gear oil for the inserted section of the diff, and decided to do a light coating of grease on the sealing surface, and gear oil on the splines. I also got the seal coated in a light amount of gear oil, to hopefully make installation easier.


Differential Side Installation
Making sure the caliper is set to the side, the CV can now be inserted into the differential. I did C-clip opening down, the thought behind this is the open end will hang down and more easily compress on install than a continuous section. Once the CV is in, a bit, you will feel the C-clip stop before the axle is fully inserted.


To compress the C-clip and fully insert the CV, you're going to want to use the tripod joint section as a slide hammer. It may feel a bit sketchy, but a few good slides got it to seat fully. Make sure the CV's dust shield is mated nicely against out new seal, preventing road debris from getting in there.


Knuckle Side Installation
Before getting ready to install the knuckle side CV, make sure the steering wheel has been returned to center. Here we don't have to worry about any lubrication we apply floating around in the differential. I applied a waterproof grease to the knuckle side sealing surface and splines for lubrication and corrosion protection. The knuckle can be pulled back by the caliper. and the splines inserted. You may find the axle doesn't seat up with the knuckle seal when pushing it through by hand, so tightening the axle nut can help to get everything seated.

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Old 08-01-2020, 11:07 AM #8
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CV Replacement Tutorial with New Seals (120+ Pictures) Continued

Step 8: Reassemble Sway Bar and Knuckle | Return to Steps
Next, the two knuckle bolts can go in. I have assembled these dry previously without issues, but wanted to try some thread locker on these. I put both anti-seize and medium strength thread locker on these, but sticking to one or the other would probably be better. These are the original 15 year old bolts and they look really clean, so I would suggest thread locker for the safety aspect. The torque spec for these 19mm head bolts is 118 ft-lbs or 160 Nm.


The sway bar end link can be fitted into its hole in the knuckle. My end link was a tad crusty, so I wire brushed the threads before threading on the nut. I don't have a crows foot socket to get these torqued, so I just tightened up as much as I could with a wrench.


Now is also a good time to clean off the brake parts with some... brake parts cleaner! I may have laid my greasy fingers on the rotor while inserting the CV knuckle side, and don't want to contaminate the pads. Also check that the brake dust shield hasn't bent in to rub on the rotor. Contact may cause a bad noise to occur, so its best to address this while everything is already apart.


Step 9: Refill Front Differential | Return to Steps
Before filling, adjust the jack stands so the vehicle is at a level position. If not already, reinstall the drain plug. Use the new 90430-24003 crush washer and torque the 10mm hex drain plug to 48 ft-lbs. Remove the fill plug and begin pumping in the diff fluid, it should take 1.5ish qts. After fluid begins dripping out of the fill, it can be plugged. Use the new 12157-10010 crush washer and torque the 10mm hex fill plug torqued to 29 ft-lbs. Make sure to also remove your warning tag.

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CV Replacement Tutorial with New Seals (120+ Pictures) Continued

Step 10: Torque Axle Nut, Install Retainer, and Finishing Touches | Return to Steps
Axle Nut
Finally, the axle nut can be torqued. I had to go and get a big ol 3/4" torque wrench, since my normal wrench doesn't torque this high. The 35mm axle nut should be torqued to 173 ft-lbs To prevent the hub from moving too much, I reinstalled the wheel, put it on the ground, and chocked it. Others have had luck with a screwdriver in the rotor fins, but I didn't want to cause any damage to them.


Retainer and Cotter Pin
After torquing the nut, the retainer can be installed. If you find the retainer doesn't align with the cross pin, try rotating it to several other positions. I was able to rotate mine to fit, but if needed, the axle nut can be slightly tightened to fit the next available slot. I inserted the cotter pin, and used some tongue and groove pliers to bend the ear over. I also hammered the short side of the cotter pin back as an extra precaution.


Final touches
A dead blow hammer worked well to set the hub cover and wheel center cap back in place.


Evaluate Final Boot Stretch
This is an important part of the Boot Stretch Mod. I stretched the inner boot when rebooting the axle, but since it wasn't on the vehicle, I didn't know how much to stretch. Once the weight of the vehicle is supported on the suspension, check and make sure the boot isn't overstretched. Both an overstretched boot and a stock stretch boot can lead to issues, so we want to make sure the boot is not going to be excessively strained. I have included a picture of my un-stretched boot to compare. See how the unstretched boot rubs the axle, and at a lifted angle, could lead to the boot rubs abrading each other.


Congratulations!
Congratulations, you made it to the end of your CV replacement! Hopefully it was not terrible, and you didn't destroy as many differential seals as I did! Let me know if you have any questions, and please post some pics of your CV replacement action! For a few weeks after you install the new CV, make sure to check for leaks where it meets the differential.

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Removing the axle with a mini crowbar and a hammer is a horrible, ill advised idea. Don't do it ever. What is the reason for not using the proper tool?

Amazon.com: OEM TOOLS 27305 Axle Popper Kit (Fork & Shim) | Fork & Shim Axle Popper Tool Remove Most Vehicles’ Half-Shaft Drive Axles w/No Damage & Limited Effort | Fix Damaged CV Joints at Home or in The Shop: Automotive

And to remove the seals:

https://www.autozone.com/test-scan-a...00000043798748

And to put the seals back in straight:

Amazon.com: OTC 4507 Bearing Race and Seal Driver Set - 10 Piece: Automotive


I guess I will never understand why people fight with doing things for days instead of simply buying the right tools.
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Last edited by duffdog; 08-01-2020 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:11 PM #11
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I, for one, think you did a great job.

I worked on the front end of mine for about an hour and a half today before leaving for my gravy shift. I got the entire driver side suspension out minus the axle and LCA. I'm in the process of rebuilding the LCA's following your other tutorial. I picked up the LBJ kit from Advance today.

Tomorrow much beer will be drank, and much progress will be made.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:13 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duffdog View Post
Removing the axle with a mini crowbar and a hammer is a horrible, ill advised idea. Don't do it ever. What is the reason for not using the proper tool?

Amazon.com: OEM TOOLS 27305 Axle Popper Kit (Fork & Shim) | Fork & Shim Axle Popper Tool Remove Most Vehicles’ Half-Shaft Drive Axles w/No Damage & Limited Effort | Fix Damaged CV Joints at Home or in The Shop: Automotive

And to remove the seals:

https://www.autozone.com/test-scan-a...00000043798748

And to put the seals back in straight:

Amazon.com: OTC 4507 Bearing Race and Seal Driver Set - 10 Piece: Automotive


I guess I will never understand why people fight with doing things for days instead of simply buying the right tools.
Thank you for the links, I'm sure it will help someone looking to tackle this project!

I guess I will never understand why we can't be constructive here, a simple rephrase would have made this a great addition to the thread.

I'm in this to learn everything I can, so I don't mind learning from a few mistakes. Next time I'll pick up some axle pullers, seal pullers, and drivers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by montijo505 View Post
I, for one, think you did a great job.

I worked on the front end of mine for about an hour and a half today before leaving for my gravy shift. I got the entire driver side suspension out minus the axle and LCA. I'm in the process of rebuilding the LCA's following your other tutorial. I picked up the LBJ kit from Advance today.

Tomorrow much beer will be drank, and much progress will be made.
Thank you montijo! I'm excited to see your progress, sounds like you got far into it today!
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Old 08-09-2020, 01:44 PM #13
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Help

I have a 2007 SR5 with 285,000 miles. Started getting a rhythmic sound from the front right. Almost like a thumping sound that changes with speed, present at any speed. First thought was the tire so I rotated the tires. No change. While rotating the tires I noticed I had a busted CV boot on the passenger side. Used this writeup and changed the CV shaft. The same noise is still present. Next I changed the hub and bearing because if I turned to the left while driving it got louder and if I turned to the right while driving it went away, screamed wheel bearing to me. New bearing and hub, no change. What am I missing??
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Old 08-09-2020, 01:56 PM #14
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Originally Posted by thoshall View Post
I have a 2007 SR5 with 285,000 miles. Started getting a rhythmic sound from the front right. Almost like a thumping sound that changes with speed, present at any speed. First thought was the tire so I rotated the tires. No change. While rotating the tires I noticed I had a busted CV boot on the passenger side. Used this writeup and changed the CV shaft. The same noise is still present. Next I changed the hub and bearing because if I turned to the left while driving it got louder and if I turned to the right while driving it went away, screamed wheel bearing to me. New bearing and hub, no change. What am I missing??
Which side did you change the bearing? Should have been the driver side. If turning right makes the noise go away, left needs change and vice versa.

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Old 08-10-2020, 12:07 AM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thoshall View Post
I have a 2007 SR5 with 285,000 miles. Started getting a rhythmic sound from the front right. Almost like a thumping sound that changes with speed, present at any speed. First thought was the tire so I rotated the tires. No change. While rotating the tires I noticed I had a busted CV boot on the passenger side. Used this writeup and changed the CV shaft. The same noise is still present. Next I changed the hub and bearing because if I turned to the left while driving it got louder and if I turned to the right while driving it went away, screamed wheel bearing to me. New bearing and hub, no change. What am I missing??
I'm glad this helped you to replace your CV, that is awesome!

I agree with montijo, often times when when the noise stops with a turn, something is up with the opposite side. Turning to the right will shift weight left. Loading up the left component with weight can sometimes make it quiet down, since the weight constrains it from wobbling too much. Turning left will shift weight right, and the less loaded left side may make some noise as it is allowed more "play" without the weight constraining the part from moving. Kinda hard for me to explain in words, so hopefully it makes sense.

also check the driver side where the CV goes into the diff for play. I've heard of needle bearings going out and causing some play/clunking issues. V6 can replace with the ECGS bushing, I think V8 needs to replace with another needle bearing.

Worn ball joints and bushings can make clunking sounds or make things feel uneasy on the highway. Check that those don't have excessive play either. They don't really go with the rhythmic sounding or rotation connected noise symptoms, but can make clunky noises too.
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