Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Abbotsford, B.C.
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Noisy rear end over bumps on your 4WD RAV? A summary...
I've been addressing the clunking noise coming from the rear. Search the forums and you'll find that there seem to be many differing suggestions as to the cause.
1. The rear mount of the rear diff. If this is a problem, it might clunk and bang on acceleration. The key here is that I'll will still do this on a smooth surface as you apply and remove torque shifting gears. If you just cruising over rough road and getting a lot of rear noise, this isn't likely the cause.
2. Loose junk in the rear storage compartments. The upper shock mount transfers jarring road bumps directly up to the area just below the compartments. Store the jack under the front passenger seat where it belongs. Wrap any remaining items such as the tire wrench and tools in a towel. You'll appreciate having a rag to wipe your hands on if you need these tools anyway.
3. The castelated nut in the center of each rear wheel are loose. Over time, pounding causes these to lose their clamping force. Could be fretting or surfaces "wearing in" after the RAV is put into service, whatever... they need to be re-torqued to 169ft lbs to eliminate vertical movement. This is not a tough fix. Simply apply the e-brake, pop the center ornaments, remove the cotter pin, loosen the nut (30mm socket), retorque to spec, install cotter pin (preferably new), install ornament. A common problem, a simple fix.
4. Worn shocks. If they show signs of leaking or are 6-7 years old, it's probably time. Easy to replace. Plastic access holes in the rear compartment for the upper mounts and easy to get at underneath for the bottom mounts. Just remember that it's the small bolts on the inside of the lower shock mounts that you remove. When you tighten the upper mounts, you'll be squashing the rubber. Snug but not overdone to the point where the rubber is as large as the washers. A relatively easy job.
5. Spare tire loose. Make sure the large nuts are snug. You can easily check by trying to wiggle the tire. Not usually the problem. The mount to the door is pretty robust.
6. The rear door has too much movement. Common problem. On the door frame is an open metal bracket. It is tapered on the top and bottom. You'll notice on the door, the corresponding piece that fits into this frame bracket. Toyota call this a "stop, door edge, inner" and the fit of the two pieces need to be a snug fit. The piece on the door has rubber blocks that wear out which allows the door to flop up and down over bumps, especially with the weight of the spare tire providing momentum. I would replace this "stop", along with the upper and lower cushion buttons on the door. Even if they appear OK, they have likely compressed over time. I would also clean and apply a silicone compound (or spray) to the door seal.
One other tip for the rear door; check out the striker pin. This is the "U" - shaped bracket on the door frame above the "stop, door edge, outer". If you see any wear into the steel cause by the jaws of the door latch, you can un-bolt this striker pin and reverse it 180 degrees given you a new surface for the latch to grab.
2000 RAV4 AWD 4-DR 155,000km