The Clamshell Bushing: Stop Vibrations After Lifting 3rd Gen Tacoma

East Coast Gear Supply (ECGS) - Clamshell Bushing Replacement for OEM Needle Bearing

The East Coast Gear Supply Clamshell Bushing Installation & Product Overview: Reduce Vibrations After Lifting Your 3rd Gen Tacoma

So, you’ve lifted your Tacoma and all of a sudden you started hearing a hum and vibrations in the front of your truck.

You start to investigate to see if there’s any rubbing, but you don’t find any evidence. You continue to drive and the hum/vibration picks up when you go over 20 miles per hour and starts to get even more noticeable as you hit 30-50 miles per hour.

You notice that this sound is coming from the driver’s side. What could it be?

Now What?

I found myself in this situation about two days after I lifted my Tacoma. I was freaking out and scrambling to find a solution to stop the issue. I only lifted my truck the recommended 2 inches because I didn’t want to cause additional issues. Yet here I was, wondering if I had ruined my Tacoma.

After doing some research online, my first solution was to try a differential drop kit. I installed the drop kit, but the problem persisted.

I continued searching all over the internet and I started seeing others posting about having the same problem. They all said they fixed the issue with the ECGS (East Coast Gear Supply) bushing which replaces and eliminates the driver side CV axle needle bearing.

East Coast Gear Supply is a company and shop based out of North Carolina that specializes in rear ends, axles and differential service. They sell high-quality products from selected brands and they stand behind the products they manufacture in house.

“Our goal is to provide you with everything needed to outfit your axles for battle. Now whether that battle is to get groceries in rush hour traffic, be the fastest car on Friday night, or if it is to climb the biggest rock you can find, you can bet we will be there to steer you in the right direction.”

What issue does the ECGS Bushing solve?

East Coast Gear Supply (ECGS) - Clamshell Bushing Replacement for OEM Needle Bearing

Unfortunately, there is a design flaw with the way Toyota designed the CV shaft to sit inside the carrier in the front differential. The spider gear supports the CV shaft as much as the needle bearing does. The design can become compromised, leaving you with a bunch of damage and a lot of unnecessary work. See the image above of a failed needle bearing.

When you compromise the geometry of the truck, such as adding a lift, it exaggerates the angle between these two components. The added stress causes more movement and vibrations due to the slop and pressure on the needle bearing.

The easiest way to tell if the CV axle needle bearing is failing is by driving your truck in 4-Hi. If you notice that the vibrations go away on 4-Hi, then there’s a good chance that this is your problem. Like I mentioned before, I noticed the vibrations about 2 days after I lifted the truck. I ran this test myself after researching the issue.

Should you swap your CV Axle Needle Bearing for the ECGS Bushing?

East Coast Gear Supply (ECGS) - Clamshell Bushing Replacement for OEM Needle Bearing

If your truck is already experiencing the issues listed above, then my answer is a definitive yes.

Many owners report that they have never experienced the vibrations after adding a lift kit. While others state the vibrations and hums began right after they lifted their truck. In my case, the vibrations came a few days after installing my lift kit. There is no way to tell whether or not your CV axle needle bearing is going to fail beforehand.

I would recommend that you perform the swap as a preventative measure if you’re planning on lifting your truck. The last thing you want is broken bits of your CV axle needle bearing causing damage to the other internal components.

Since you’re going to have to remove some of the suspension parts to install the new bushing it would save you some time if you do the swap when installing your lift.

Stock trucks will more than likely have no issues with the CV axle needle bearing, although there have been some rare cases in which this incident does occur. If you have a stock truck that is experiencing vibration, I would advise that you take your truck to the dealer and have them fix it under warranty, as long as you don’t plan on lifting it.

This is an issue that plagues every generation of Tacomas. The 2nd and 3rd Gens use the same 8” bushing while the 1st Gen Tacoma uses a slightly smaller 7.5” bushing. It is beyond my understanding as to why Toyota hasn’t addressed this issue, but nonetheless, there is a solution.

Chase at ECGS Gives Us The Breakdown

East Coast Gear Supply (ECGS) Bushing Installation

East Coast Gear Supply (ECGS) - Needle Bearing Removal Tool

Installing the ECGS bushing is not rocket science, but it is a bit more tedious than other projects.

When you order the bushing, you can opt to buy their special ECGS puller tool (seen above) to remove the components. I would recommend that you order the tool if you’re planning on doing it yourself. You can sell the tool to another Tacoma owner once you’re done with it.

I didn’t feel comfortable swapping it myself, so I took it to an off-road specialty shop. The shop already had the tool, so I didn’t have to buy it myself. Although not necessary, I also added a new axle seal from ECGS for preventative measures.

Before deciding on whether to tackle the project yourself or take your truck to a shop, I would recommend that you look at the installation instructions straight from ECGS. Check out their install guide here.

    Chase at ECGS Walks Us Through The Install

    Pricing & Specs

    The one downfall about taking your truck to a shop is that you’re always going to pay a premium for labor.

    Most shops charge by the hour and this install can take about 1 to 2 hours to complete. In total, I paid about $220 for everything (bushing, axle seal, and labor). Labor rates depend on where you live, and which shop you go to. I live in the Los Angeles area and took my truck to a reputable shop, so my rates were a little on the higher end.

    You can save money by installing it yourself. Even if you buy their removal tool, you could stay save yourself about $50 to $100.

    Find It Online:

    Final Thoughts

    East Coast Gear Supply (ECGS) - Clamshell Bushing Replacement for OEM Needle Bearing

    ECGS has created a remedy to a problem that plagues many Tacoma owners. This isn’t a flashy mod that you’ll be able to show off on social media and most people won’t be able to tell you did it.

    This is a modification that will help your truck running properly and will give you peace of mind.

    Before this mod, I was stressed and beginning to regret my lift. I haven’t had any issues since swapping my stock CV axle needle bearing with their bushing.

    All Tacoma owners that I know, who have done the swap, report that the vibration and hum never came back. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is planning to or has already lifted their truck.

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    Kevin
    Kevin
    18 days ago

    I have a 2016 with a 3 inch lift. My vibrations didn’t start till around 30k after the lift and alot of beatings. I also have a diff drop kit, but now I have just changed both my cv axles and still have a click and squeal from my front end. Sounds drivers side, but can’t tell. Both my needle bearings spun freely when I had the cv out. Will this bushing fix this problem and do I need it on both driver and passenger? I appreciate any advice

    Victor
    Victor
    26 days ago

    Has this issue been solved on the 2020 and 2021 tacoma? Everything I’ve found just says all tacos. Thanks

    Konrad - @Trail_Tacoma
    Nomad
    Reply to  Victor

    Nope. This is not something that Toyota is likely to address, typically only an issue with some Tacomas after lifting.

    Mike
    Mike
    2 months ago

    Does this clam shell bushing be used in a2007 tundra ?

    Konrad - @Trail_Tacoma
    Nomad
    2 months ago
    Reply to  Mike

    Mike, I believe that this will not. The differential on the Tundra should be different than the differential on a Tacoma. I would contact East Coast Gear Supply. They are very knowledgeable and should be able to help you out!

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