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Diff or bearing noise.. OR.... @ 80km

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  • Diff or bearing noise.. OR.... @ 80km

    Hey everyone!
    I'm new to the forum and also to the world of owning a large 4wd so be gentle.. noob at the 4wd thing but mechanically minded enough to do it myself but being a new unknown car I'm reaching out to yall.
    I recently picked up a 90 series (50th anniversary) from a friend as a bit of a run about/work horse while my other car is off road for repairs but its grown on me so I've decided to keep it was another daily/ family car/touring
    I've been doing a bit of TLC to the car and I've noticed there is a hum/whine/resonation at around 80kph from the front of the car.. it can be heard in the lower/higher ranges but is really easy to hear closer to 80kph and is much more audiable at that speed.
    Now previous experience with other cars have suggested the wheel bearings are cooked but others have suggested diff noise. i would have thought the sound to change with acceleration and deceleration and with the changing of gears would suggest diff so i don't think that its the issue but i could be wrong?
    What are (if any) known issues with the front end of these cars regarding diff/bearing noise at speed?

    thoughts and suggestions would be great! not an easy thing to diagnose over the net but maybe there is some gurus on here that will well and truly know more about these majestic beasts more than i currently do


  • #2
    G'day Bevan,
    Do the simple things first, How many K's are on the clock.? I have done 220 000 klm and wheel bearings are still the factory fitted ones. A shot bearing will give out noise at any speed.
    They are pressed in type as well so not the easiest to fit at home without the equipment. Drop your diff oil and check for water ingress. If emulsified it may well be your diff needs an overhaul.
    Have your fan belts replaced if you are not sure their age. I had a noise under the bonnet that I swear was a bearing about to give up but it was the belts. If you have this done make sure the buggers do up the harmonic balancer pulley bolt to spec. Talking from experience here.
    Exhaust can give a drone noise in some vehicles, or the heat shields are getting thin and are humming are certain speeds.
    If you want to take out the spring loaded gate in the exhaust resonator, the front one. You will see a domed cover plate at the front, take this off and you will see the mechanism under. I just drilled out the screws holding the gate on and refitted the lot back together.
    As a side note be prepared for some nuts to shear off and have some exhaust gasket putty on hand.
    Another thing is the propeller shaft pinion bearing, check to see if a leak is present where it connects to the diff.
    Check A/T oil if an auto. The auto has a filter inside that needs replacing. Should be done twice by 200 000 Klm as a minimum.
    Should check the transfer case oil too and rear diff oil if you find front oil is wet.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by bigjimg; 11-06-2018, 08:05 PM.


    • #3
      Thanks Jim.
      I should have mentioned it is a manual and the 3.4L V6.

      I've only had it a few weeks and I'm very keen to change out all the fluids over the coming months.. a full freshen up. its due for a service so start there!
      Certainly did not know about the exhaust valve, good to know! I've seen these go on other cars in the past so now i know its there it will be the first thing i look at

      Reason I'm leaning towards bearings is the noise seems to get louder with speed, however it definitely becomes louder around the 80km mark.. moving to 90km onwards it get less loud but its still there.. and its there everytime
      there is also a light vibration/resonating through the steering wheel that seems to match the noise.

      luckily i do have a press in the garage and have done a bearing or 7... (other bloody car lol) the bearings have already been ordered so if i change them and the noise is still there at least i can say(muttering under my breath) that its NOT the bearings lol

      will certainly keep you all posted with the out come.. might even get a chance to take photos along the way and a writeup or two also!



      • #4
        Hi Bevan,

        That sounds exactly like the problem I have! I have the 2.7l with more than 250k driven. From 80km and up there is a humming sound which tends to be less at higher speeds but won't go. I already checked and greased the diff, replaced my worn bushings, fitted new tires but still the problem persists. It's really frustrating to have to a point I'm almost ready to sell the car...

        Keep me posted if you found the cause.

        Good luck!



        • #5
          Unless it's been swimming or had a very hard life the wheel bearings seem to last forever. I replaced mine at around 450,000k when looking for a similar noise and of course they were still fine. Unfortunately you destroy them when removing, so there's no easy way to check.
          Mine is now pushing 520,000k and the noise hasn't worsened, pretty sure it's diff side bearings but they can stay there until I see evidence in the oil.
          Couple of things with front wheel bearings.
          If she doesn't have ABS take note of the orientation of the spacers. If she has ABS no worries as you won't mix those up.
          Don't over tighten the axle nut as it determines the bearing pre-load. Supposed to be 170ft lbs, but don't go nuts. Mine are at 150.
          If you can't get the drive flange off, you're going to need a massive bearing splitter to hold the complete assembly. Once the drive flange is off, the backing plate can be removed and conventional gear used to support the hub on the press plates. I have an 8" bearing splitter for the cases where the drive flange will not move.
          It's a fair old job with your hubs etc all out.
          Usually the ideal time to do lower and upper ball joints etc. which will add considerably to the job's cost.


          • #6
            Cheers guys. all info is good info.

            maarten ill be certainly letting you all know how it goes.. I'm a bit of a sucker for pics and write ups so it will be up on here at some point in the next week or 2, just waiting on the parts to arrive

            Carco im not to sure how hard of a life it has had (lived in central NSW based on service history) but it was a regularly serviced every 10,000km up to about 200,000km from toyota dealers. it has had lower ball joints replaced in the last 12 months that much i know.

            i really hope its the bearings... i hate being wrong lol. but its also a learning curve for me being new to the large 4wd's but mechanically speaking it points to bearings.. fingers crossed


            • #7
              mine has a similar symptom of a wine noise nor grave but constant also a vibration on the right side when braking heavy more like a grind . i decided that grind feeling is the bearing and i was attempting to change the bearing last Saturday but the axial nut is a 35mm . 3.4lt 1999 model and i had a 34 and a 36 so i decided to wait for maybe this week end. . mine has 270k it will be interesting to see how much trouble i get myself into and to see how the lower ball joint is while im there . although some ball joints last almost forever and others snap on the road .

              also the whine noise could be the alternator , which i suspect very much .especially if you pass through water crossings .
              Last edited by Tonz; 12-06-2018, 09:35 PM.


              • #8
                Cheers Tonz, 35mm nut... the one i don't have lol.. looks like I'm off to the shop(eBay)
                do you have access to a press because you will need it to do the bearings..


                • #9
                  Service history sounds good Bevan.
                  Any chance you have the receipt for the ball joint job? If it was done at a Toyota workshop one could be reasonably sure they were replaced with genuine parts. If not.....
                  When you've had a chance to pop under the car you'll notice the lower ball joints are upside down on this model, pretty crazy stuff.
                  So the suspension hangs in the ball and is NOT supported by it.
                  You can buy LBJ's on eBay for anywhere upwards of $50, but they're a gamble.
                  My 555 brand exceeded the wear limit in no time after a few hundred k of corrugations yet some owners have had a good run with the brand.
                  I replaced mine with genuine as part prices from Glen_EP on the Mighty 90's Facebook page are excellent.
                  As a new owner, you'll have to join the group. Lots of info there whereas here on PP it's moved on, mostly 120 and 150 posts.


                  • #10
                    sounds good carco ill have to have a look. I'm a bit old school and still like the forums.. so much easier to find stuff online than FB
                    as for the ball joints i have a receipt fro the job but it was done at a tyre shop but as I'm in a country town with a local toyota dealer id say they should be genuine... maybe


                    • #11
                      Cheers Tonz, 35mm nut... the one i don't have lol.. looks like I'm off to the shop(eBay)
                      do you have access to a press because you will need it to do the bearings..
                      your welcome Bevan your not to know until you get started , i asked around at tool shops hardware and bolt shops but the only one i found , by order only was worth 52 bucks , also as you say i will need a powerfull pulley that i may have to buy , i have a press , but i figured i will easy spend 200 bills pluss the bearing . .... i spoke to an old guy mechanic who said he should be able to do it for me for under $200 , so i think this time i will take that road . i do so much DIY work on the families cars , i think i will pass on this one ...


                      • #12
                        Well the bearings are DONE! unfortunatly my home press was not big enough to fit the knuckle/spindle in to it so i had a local engineering shop press my bearings in/out. wish i could have done it myself but hey these things happen!.

                        So i cleaned up and went for a drive to check everything out... THE BLOODY NOISE STILL THERE!!! *soo angry*

                        someone on FB mentioned tyres... i thought to my self "they can't possibly be causing all that noise".......

                        Well.... shit.... it was the bloody tyres!
                        i did a quick swap from front to rear and the noise disappeared... to the rear!
                        can't say I'm happy that I'm $300 bucks down on bearings and labour but HEY there all brand new and should be good for another couple of hundred thou(touch wood)

                        ill try put a general writeup on how to change them step by step with images.. (i got plenty of images!)

                        welcome to the world of 4WD's hey!?



                        • #13
                          Hi Bevan,

                          Congrats for finding the cause! Too bad for the new bearings though...
                          ​​​​​​Balancing the tires was on my list already but I will definitely try switching them as well! Hope this does the trick.

                          Enjoy your new ride



                          • #14
                            Yep been there. Moved my Coopers to the shed and tyre noise gone, still have my other noise though.
                            520,00k's can't complain.
                            Shows how well those front wheel bearings can last though.
                            Did you check out that written off 90 on FB today?
                            Supposedly a big pot hole but it's a 4X, bloody rubbish lower ball joint design.


                            • #15

                              Oh good you sorted your problem . sometimes as long as you know what the problem is , its enough not to worry...

                              yes i saw that f.b wreck , i didnt know what to think. im gonna get my balljoints checked this week cuz i couldnt see any movement in mine but im not sure i was doing it right . ..Those ball joints scar me a bit... i did the tyre change around but unfortunately the winde noise is still there , recently i had a seal bust on my transfer case and so it lost oil . im thinking maybe its there..... i dont no how to test it or prove it , any ideas anyone?