Tacoma Trans & Driveline Problems


Anyone out there had issues with driveline vibrations and Transmission failures in a 2nd gen Tacoma? I have had 3 u-joint failures and they claim an unbalanced driveshaft which they imply is my fault but can't explain how I did it when only "certified Toyota Mechanics" have touched it. Now at 122,000 miles they tell me My trans. is bad. Maybe from the vibration from bad u-joints, maybe the out of balance u-joint? The Factory says there is nothing they can do. It is the 07 DbleCb Shtbd TRD OffRoad model and they even suggested that I should not have taken it off road.

Any thoughts or suggestions or even experiences will be appreciated, Thanks (A good Attorney would also be nice).


Doesn't Get Out Enough
...and they even suggested that I should not have taken it off road...
Apologies for not having any real constructive advice, but I can't be silent here. Unless the bottom of your truck is beat all to hell from dragging over rocks, etc, how do they propose you caused this to happen? I know, I know. They never actually justify their remarks. It just irks me. This sounds eerily similar to dealer reactions to the early FJC inner-fenders cracking. Next time you're at the dealer just walk over, pick up their own brochure, and ask them why the Tacoma is marketed this way (Page 11 of the 2013 brochure, I believe)...

If I can find anything that will help I will gladly pass it along. Apologies again for only having a rant, and not a real contribution.


If it was me after the second u-joint even gives a hint of a problem off I go to the driveline specialist to figure it out.


Expedition Leader
It's kind of your fault for continuing to drive it. Like the comment above me. If after the second time I would have had it checked out.

Colonal Angus

Do you have documentation of the previous services? If so, and you have proof of the service never resolving the issue, I'd demand that I speak with the District Parts and Service Manager or the District Operations Manager. from Toyota USA. It's cheaper than an attorney and if you explain your side of the story (with receipts and service history) they can instruct the deals to repair the dealer to make the necessary repairs under good will. No matter how many miles are on the truck.

Good luck.


You'll have more leverage if the Toyota dealer was doing the repairs. Also, you are better off if your truck is stock height, which it seems like yours is since you didn't mention it. Lifted Tacoma's are very prone to driveline vibes, and even stock ones have a lot more than they should. Check out the threads on Tacoma World. I think you probably had a poorly manufactured driveshaft to start with and that has caused the rest of your problems. The carrier bearing is also a potential culprit. If toyota won't work with you take your driveshafts to a good driveshaft shop and have them see if they are balanced. If they are not, and you don't have any obvious damage then maybe you have a little more leverage. But unfortunately you are out of warranty. If you find the driveshaft is out of balance, and the dealer still wont work with you, find a large inflateable lemon on ebay (they really are there sometimes), park your truck outside the dealership, and strap the lemon on the roof. That ought to get some response, and as long as you are legally parked, they can't do anything about it.


I believe montypower (peter) had some some issues with this as well, hopefully he can chime in. I seem to recall him having a custom driveshaft made, you might find it in his thread.



I did have this problem but I fixed vibration by putting shims to lower the carrier bearing down till it went away. I think the OP has to realize it does happen to lots of people but they fix it before burning through 3 u-joints. The truck does have 120k on it so maybe the first one is a gimme but the second and third, good luck I hope you get it resolved.


SDC10628.jpgSDC10630.jpgThanks for the input all, The Truck is lifted, an OME lift at 24,000 miles it is shod with 285-75/16 BFG AT's and it has a FlipPac on it. I did not think to have a 3rd party check it out after the second replacement, I was leaving for the Grand Cyn in a couple of days. However I had asked the mechanic to check through everything and he told me afterwards that everything was with in spec. I had shimmed the carrier bearing some time ago. The drive line was out of balance I was told, this after the dealer sent it to a outside shop to be done. The dealer has offered to credit the transmission replacement with the cost of all of the previous work which cuts the price of a new one by a third. They said it should be done a week from Monday. But there goes the Long Ranger Tank I was hoping to install. Here is a couple of pictures.....


Meandering Idaho
This sucks.....

My 12 taco came from the factory with its driveline out of balance.... it did not show its true colors in till about 15 k in...
it took WAAAAAY more talking from my end but they finally took care of it.
I agree with the above statements about time for an outside shop. What it comes down to is that the dealerships are swampped and the techs are over worked the just do not always do a good job. The truck is out of warrenty. find a solid import shop in your area and give them your money instead. Sorry this happened to your rig. Make sure to keep us posted, I am sure that it will help some one else out down the line.


Desert Geologist

Just more info for you...When you get your new transmission installed (automatic right?) get it serviced every 30k miles or two years at the independent service shop of your choice.

The "lifetime fill" in transmissions these days is horrible.


Adventure Time!
What was wrong with your transmission? Did you have a tranny cooler? Was the fluid serviced regularly? Did they determine what actually failed? Transmission failures are uncommon but there are many unknown factors that could contribute to failure.

Yes, the factory 3 u-joint driveshaft is garbage. Mine was out of phase by 3 deg brand new! It had some vibration on take off when it was stock and it became much worse after lifting with the Dakar springs. I attempted every fix it with the proper digital angle finder by changing the carrier bearing spacing and shimming the leafs. If you research this you will find hundreds of pages of information (most of it is bogus). There are 2 driveline theories out there (for 2 piece shafts) Toyota splits the first and second shaft angle with the carrier bearing keeping the shafts within 1-2 deg of each other. This setup is POOR especially with the soft OEM carrier bearing.

The previous generation Tacoma uses a 2 piece driveshaft but instead of a U-joint behind the carrier bearing it uses a CV joint. This resolves the vibration and angle issues. The proper fix: Have a custom 2 piece driveshaft built with CV joint behind the carrier bearing. Thankfully, Toyota ended up covering for 50% of the cost. Still a pain to deal with.


I have visited a Trans shop here in Long Beach that has done work for me in the past and we talked about a cooler and a temp gauge. His opinion of the Toyota's Transmission in the Tacoma and their maintenance policies is unprintable... He has done my mothers Buick Regal, my wife's mini van, kids cars, but this will be the first time he has worked on a trans on one of my vehicles. ( however he has done 2 rear ends for me) He also recommends regular fluid changes. He wanted to do some research on the driveshaft issues and we will talk again. I found a couple of threads on Tacoma web sites where the cure is the drive shaft as you described it Montypower, but as I think about that I feel that Toyota lied to me selling this as "offroad capable vehicle", I rather resent that.

Wish there was a way to get a HZJ 75........


I got it back with a new trans Friday with a 1 year warranty. I can still feel a vibration and it does not feel smooth also I now have a metal on metal clack when making a left turn. I am looking for a good drive train shop in the L.A. area and a good attorney. I am out of pocket $4200+. I waited till today to post as I was a 'little' pissed off Friday and spent Saturday clamming down. I have yet to speak to anyone form the factory other than a ignorant (as in unlearned) customer service rep. Cabe Bros did deduct what I had paid for the two previous u-joints but that was all they said they do.

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