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Old 04-09-2020, 12:59 PM #1
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Alignment/Axle/No big deal or Critical? Please help...

Hello Everybody. Hope you're all staying safe and healthy in the midst of all this.

Some weeks back, I was parked near my house on a one way street and I'm guessing some sort of high riding truck or something did a poor job of navigating down the narrow block and scraped past my rig. Fortunately there was no body damage, just a scratch along the top of my slider and small nick on the rear passenger side rim -- see pics. Didn't even puncture the tire. If not for the scratch on the slider, I'd not even noticed. A day later I'm driving and notice that my steering wheel is out of alignment. The car drives straight, but sits about 20 degrees high on the left from horizontal. (See pics for angle of steering wheel when car is driving straight.)

I took it a tire shop, thinking it just needed an alignment -- but when he got it on the rack and they did their diagnostic -- turns out the wheel that got knicked is 2 degrees off from straight. Took the tire off to make sure it was fine -- checked it, no problem. Have a full size spare, put that on for good measure, and still 2 degrees off. Again, the car drives straight, albeit with the steering wheel slight off. Everything else about the ride of the rig is fine.

Wondering if anybody has similar experiences? Insights? Is this something I should be worried about? Given the current crisis in the world, I'm not seeing myself getting this fixed anytime soon. Is 2 degrees negligible? Is the worse that's going to happen just wonky tire wear?

Frankly, I'd be pretty surprised if the frame or axle damage given the how minor the damage to the sliders and rim were. Just a bit baffled. Please advise.

Thank you.
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Old 04-09-2020, 01:11 PM #2
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I would take a look underneath and see if your tie rods look damaged. I'd be surprised if that didn't turn up at the alignment shop to begin with, but I'm also a little surprised they gave it back to you "fixed" with the wheel cockeyed...
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Old 04-09-2020, 01:20 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsla72 View Post
I would take a look underneath and see if your tie rods look damaged. I'd be surprised if that didn't turn up at the alignment shop to begin with, but I'm also a little surprised they gave it back to you "fixed" with the wheel cockeyed...
I was with the guy when he did inspection. The guy was actually pretty awesome. He measured everything on both sides and we examined tire rods, axle, anything that came to mind and it all looked proper and accounted correctly. He didn't know exact specs for the 4runner, but compared to driver side, nothing was off. He said maybe something inside the axle -- clearly it was beyond his field of expertise, which I appreciated him not postulating without knowledge.

As for the wheel -- he offered to straighten it, but suggested I might want to keep it at the angle to show whoever might be able to fix it what was off. He also said something about the possibility that straightening the string wheel, i.e. front end, would cause more wonky tire wear in rear than leaving it as such. And since the car was driving straight, he wasn't sure it would be prudent.

Moreover, even though he spent over an hour checking the car out and doing his best job at diagnosis -- they didn't charge me. So I was actually pretty happy with that much of it.

All of this happened weeks ago -- and I just haven't been driving around for obvious reasons, so I've not really worried it about it all that much. Only because I went out for supplies yesterday, has this come back into my purview.

Wondering if this is something I should take to dealer for analysis -- or if that just opens me up to a whole new nightmare.
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Old 04-14-2020, 12:01 PM #4
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Well. it SEEMS that something happened. I would start with having someone follow you and watch the p/s rear wheel and see if any wobble at all. If there is then possible bent axle shaft.
Why steering wheel is cocked is the other mystery. I would inspect frame area where sliders bolt to especially at point of initial impact, up front, is frame dimpled, pushed in at all? If not, keep looking, something happened.
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Old 04-14-2020, 01:18 PM #5
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Wheel cocked to the side with the truck going straight usually means the toe is off. Did they attempt to adjust it?
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Old 04-14-2020, 05:30 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsla72 View Post
I would take a look underneath and see if your tie rods look damaged. I'd be surprised if that didn't turn up at the alignment shop to begin with, but I'm also a little surprised they gave it back to you "fixed" with the wheel cockeyed...
Umm, there are no tie rods in the rear.
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Old 04-14-2020, 07:47 PM #7
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I would get it looked at by someone who knows what they are doing, like really knows. The only way your wheel could be off, is if the front is out. Look at thrust angle in rear.
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:53 PM #8
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Axle needs to be replaced - SHOP RECOMMENDATION?

Hello all -- thanks for the suggestions. After taking to a few places -- the consensus is that I need to replace the rear axle. There's a -2 degree toe angle on the rear passenger wheel.

Does anybody has a good shop around L.A. they'd recommend for this kind of work? Called the dealer and they said they could do it for about $2500, which frankly was a lot less than I expected from them. So I'm figuring a good shop could do same work with same Toyota parts for a good bit less, yes? maybe? Please help.
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:44 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alirawk View Post
Hello all -- thanks for the suggestions. After taking to a few places -- the consensus is that I need to replace the rear axle. There's a -2 degree toe angle on the rear passenger wheel.

Does anybody has a good shop around L.A. they'd recommend for this kind of work? Called the dealer and they said they could do it for about $2500, which frankly was a lot less than I expected from them. So I'm figuring a good shop could do same work with same Toyota parts for a good bit less, yes? maybe? Please help.
I think they might only be replacing the housing for that price. Just a guess. I'd want all new axle assembly on the side that's damaged and a new housing. I would be fine keeping the other side inner axle assembly and outer parts along with re-using the same diff.

Part costs vary. Swapping a complete rear axle for another complete rear axle should run about $800 at a shop around here in Utah. It's a pretty easy swap over, but does require brake bleeding and some assembly. Swapping just the housing is a few more hours of labor, but less parts cost. So it may depend on labor rates whether it's worth it to do one vs the other.

Complete low mile salvage yard rear axle assemblies seem to run about $2k for non locker models and $3k for e-locker models. Housings go for around $500-700. Not sure what a new side inner axle shaft assembly costs. I'd guess around another $500 for a good low mile used one. That's why I'm guessing the Toyota dealer is quoting a swap of the housing only.
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