Strange Vibration/Rumble at 40 MPH - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 07:33 PM
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Strange Vibration/Rumble at 40 MPH

When I'm driving along and let off the accelerator (regardless of the speed) and gradually coast slower (such as if reducing speed to a lower speed limit, etc.), I've noticed an odd rumbling sound from what I think is the back right. It SOUNDS as if the right side of the vehicle is hitting a rumble strip (though not quite that loud). It starts as the Rav slows through 40 MPH; sometimes starting around 42-45 MPH and will continue through about 35 MPH. I can barely discern a vibration in the vehicle, but if I have my foot just over the accelerator pedal, I can feel it vibrate in unison with the noise. If I ever so slightly touch either pedal (accelerator or brake), the phenomenon stops. I can often replicate the situation, though not always. Any ideas?

A recent tire rotation seems to have exacerbated the situation; it was occurring before the rotation but seems to be worse now. The tires are all exactly 29 pounds (Toyota's recommendation). Front brakes are fresh; rear brakes are nearing time to replace, but are within acceptable limits. Rear rotors were replaced at the last rear brake job (summer, 2009) and appear to be ok. Lugs are all tight. Any suggestions?

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#2 (permalink) Old 08-28-2011, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natcon View Post
When I'm driving along and let off the accelerator (regardless of the speed) and gradually coast slower (such as if reducing speed to a lower speed limit, etc.), I've noticed an odd rumbling sound from what I think is the back right. It SOUNDS as if the right side of the vehicle is hitting a rumble strip (though not quite that loud). It starts as the Rav slows through 40 MPH; sometimes starting around 42-45 MPH and will continue through about 35 MPH. I can barely discern a vibration in the vehicle, but if I have my foot just over the accelerator pedal, I can feel it vibrate in unison with the noise. If I ever so slightly touch either pedal (accelerator or brake), the phenomenon stops. I can often replicate the situation, though not always. Any ideas?

A recent tire rotation seems to have exacerbated the situation; it was occurring before the rotation but seems to be worse now. The tires are all exactly 29 pounds (Toyota's recommendation). Front brakes are fresh; rear brakes are nearing time to replace, but are within acceptable limits. Rear rotors were replaced at the last rear brake job (summer, 2009) and appear to be ok. Lugs are all tight. Any suggestions?
I'm more inclined to think it is your muffler assembly . . . internal baffles loose or external hangers/heatsheild loose.

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#3 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 01:32 PM
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Have you rotated your tires left to right? On rare occurrencies it is not unheard of that tires that has been rotating one way can turn slightly oval when suddenly being rotated the opposite way.
This usually rectify itself, at least partially, after a couple of hundred miles.

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#4 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ton.G View Post
I'm more inclined to think it is your muffler assembly . . . internal baffles loose or external hangers/heatsheild loose.

Ton.G
I would be inclined to say it seems rotational, but had not thought of this. It only occurs when decelerating via coasting. I guess at 40 MPH, the stars could align just so that this vibration occurs from the muffler assembly. I'll have to crawl under it tomorrow to see if there is anything to see.

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#5 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by cheetah1 View Post
Have you rotated your tires left to right? On rare occurrencies it is not unheard of that tires that has been rotating one way can turn slightly oval when suddenly being rotated the opposite way.
This usually rectify itself, at least partially, after a couple of hundred miles.
I have to admit, I hadn't rotated my tires for WELL beyond the recommended mileage. Luckily, they all have worn evenly; the noise existed prior to the rotation, but is now worse. My daily, round-trip commute is 90 miles and this has been going on for a couple weeks now, so I'm beginning to think the ship may have sailed on self-rectification in this regard!

The most recent rotation was done at Firestone because that's where I purchased the tires, ergo free rotations. They moved the front tires straight back and the rear tires swapped sides to the front. Pretty standard tire rotation procedure.

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#6 (permalink) Old 09-13-2011, 08:32 PM
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RAV4 - 4cyl - 2006

My RAV is very well maintained, needs nothing to be done except the next maintenance on schedule after the 90,000 mi. point. Brakes, tires, exhaust and all items are up to date.Toyota oil change and fluid refills are also recent, done every 5,000. mil per the manual, including tire rotation EACH time since I bought it. In Early January 2011 I began to experience a vibration from under the vehicle. The first thought was that it was an exhaust rattle and had it checked for looseness. All ok, nothing was needed, the vibration remains and has grown worse. It occurs between 35-45 mph, and ceases if I let off the gas - but to maintain the speed in that range it is LOUD enough that anyone in/out of the car can hear it. Add to that now, an occassional sound as though I am on a rumble strip - exactly at 40mph. I went back to my mechanic because I was concerned about safety. He kept the car for the day, drove it, put it up on the lift and checked everything below and wheel assemblies & brakes. I am mechanically safe and sound., but now I'm at a point I can't stand this anymore, and actually if I were to consider trading it in, this problem can count against the integrity of this vehicle. Suggestions Badly needed!
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#7 (permalink) Old 09-17-2011, 04:12 PM
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I would concur with Ton.G, a rumbling sound at a certain speed is typical of a muffler assembly, or part of it, vibrating against the body or it's internal baffles.
A loose heat-sheild generally produces a buzzing type noise.
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#8 (permalink) Old 09-19-2011, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Snyrav4 View Post
I would concur with Ton.G, a rumbling sound at a certain speed is typical of a muffler assembly, or part of it, vibrating against the body or it's internal baffles.
A loose heat-sheild generally produces a buzzing type noise.
Thanks SNYRAV4,
I am going to contact my Toyota dealer and have some dialogue with them to "find what is up with the mighty RAV"...Thank you for your comment, I appreciate the input!
Susan
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#9 (permalink) Old 10-02-2011, 11:32 AM
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My 2006 RAV4 LTD with 108,000 miles on it has developed this very strange noise, too. It is reproducible. Either accelerating a bit or braking a bit will stop it. My mechanic put the car on the lift and checked the heat shield for vibration and put new clips on the front splash guard that was a little loose. Altho that helped with some of the noise it didn't solve all of it. With the car on the lift w/4wd engaged, the car did NOT make the noise at 40 mph. At some point when I have time, the garage folks will drive it again to try to determine where the sound is coming from. Admittedly it is a little disconcerting to hear that rumble strip sound.

Last edited by clabash; 10-02-2011 at 11:35 AM. Reason: Doesn't happen driving in 3rd.
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#10 (permalink) Old 10-02-2011, 08:57 PM
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My mechanic and I have been discussing this at great lengths (we're good friends and we carpool, so he's quite familiar with the Mighty Rav). He says the noise is familiar and he thinks it's somewhere within the Rear Differential Carrier, most probably the drive pinion/ring gear. As force shifts between accelerating/holding speed and coasting, the immeasurable play in this union begins to wear and becomes quite measurable and will, under perfect conditions, cause the vibration. He told me it will continue to gradually worsen and will eventually need replaced (maybe in a few weeks, maybe in a few months). It's not a difficult project (maybe for him!), just tough to get to. I'm thinking it might be wise to do it before winter, but I'll have to see how the situation progresses in the near future.

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