Drivetrain Heeltoe Explains

Honda/Acura Axle Vibration Issue found and fixed, with video


The joint bearings ride on a worn surface in the joint cups and put a torsional load there to transmit power to the shaft then to the outer joint. When there is a load on the axle it forces the joints bearings against this pulverized area of the joint causing a really nasty vibration! Replacing the inner joints with fresh parts cures the vibration.

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Your support over the years has been much appreciated! Note the following section headings with dates of updates in descending date order.

Update: March 22, 2020:

This article continues to be a runaway success, but nothing stays the same over time. This block update is to supplement the information below with the latest we know today.

How to install a new inner joint kit:
The right-side debacle

The right side inner joints are an issue. As far as we are learning, most all aftermarket right-side axles and axle joints have some attribute that causes them to have a vibration. It is not the same vibration that comes from the wear-pattern outlined in this video.

What happens regularly, we have seen, is the following series of events:

  • Hondacar driver notices vibration on acceleration, somewhere between 40-60 mph, give or take.
  • Finds our article and buys an aftermarket axle for both sides of their car, because they are a lot cheaper than Genuine OEM axles, and in many cases are even cheaper than our Genuine OEM joint kits.
  • Installs aftermarket axle–regardless of or brand, cost, or supplier–and experiences a shaking at 20-30 mph.
  • Customer needs to circle back and buy a new Genuine OEM inner joint from Heeltoe to properly repair their old original axle, or if they tossed the original axle, they buy a complete new Genuine OEM axle.

We would LOVE to sell you an aftermarket axle or inner joint at a lower cost than the Genuine part, but as of this writing, we don’t have one to provide that we can promise will be perfectly vibration-free. This has been true for DSS, Insane Shafts, Raxles, AutoZone, so many other brands we can’t name them all. Even though we posted an update in 2015 (below) that we have one, it just doesn’t work on the right side.

The left side does not seem to have this issue. The right side is just a really particular area of the car for this concern. You won’t save time, money, or stress by getting an aftermarket axle.

Wait, right or left?

More on right versus left in our blog article, Car 101: Right Side Left Side, Driver Side Passenger Side

Update: August 31, 2015:

Since this writing on January 6th, 2012, we have had drivers of Accords, Civics, TLs, and TSXs of all generations contact us for our solutions for inner joint replacement. As of today, we have released our new, stronger solution to Honda/Acura vibration on acceleration. Read more about how we’ve solved the problem below, here: New Fastline Performance Inner Axle Joint Kits

Original Post: January 6th, 2012

There have been numerous instances of vibration in the Acura TSX front end when accelerating. Usually, at lower or more moderate speeds, the shimmy in the steering wheel can also be felt throughout the front end of the car. We’ve recently heard this issue is prevalent on S2000s as well.

The issue was attributed to an axle shaft problem very early on, but even replacements of axles have not proven to be a reliable solution to the problem. In fact, Heeltoe had sold for at least a year a new replacement aftermarket axle we believed to solve the problem. However, when the issue arose in our own HTSpecTSX, said axle failed to resolve the issue. In fact, the inexpensive aftermarket axle we (an most all others) were using proved to exhibit worse vibrations that the factory units!

On a hunch, we purchased some new inner joints to install on our TSX’s original axles. When we removed the old joint cup, we were impressed to see the problem so blatantly in front of us!

See the wear are there? We’ll zoom in for you…

The joint bearings ride on this surface and put a torsional load there to transmit power to the shaft then to the outer joint. When there is a load on the axle it forces the joints bearings against this pulverized area of the joint causing a really nasty vibration! There is wear on the other two loaded surfaces as well but we are showing the worst one here to save space.

So there you have it. Replace the inner joint and you will be set!

Right or Left Side?

We have not determined a great method for knowing what side, left or right, is the culprit side but it seems like more people have an issue with the right side (USDM passenger side) so we suggest starting there. The joint and boot kits are available through Heeltoe.

About lowering…

While we were in the joint we noticed something else that you might want to be aware of. You know how mechanics tell you the lowering your car is bad for the axles? They usually tell you this when you have an outer joint noise or problem. However, lowering the car has little or no effect on the outer joints. Rather, the inner joints can experience some abnormal wear.

The axle has a tripod on the inner end that mounts three bearings that ride in the cup of the inner joint. This is so the axle can vary in length as the suspension articulates. When you lower the car, you are actually making the axle compress all the way when you hit large bumps, and this can cause the bearings to bottom out in the base of the axle cup. See the image below. We’ve highlighted some witness marks on the inside of my inner joint cup.

We have not yet seen this result in an actual failure of the axles, but it is something to be aware of.

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