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Discussion Starter #1
I have an '04 Rav4 that has a rattle underneath that's driving me nuts. I purchased this used a few weeks ago, and of course the weather has been too crappy for me to get fully under it and explore. Casual inspections revealed that the Cat Conv heat shield was loose, which I thought was the cause, but securing it didn't stop the rattle. It's pretty loud when rolling over bumps in the road and it seems to located near the front of the passenger compartment somewhere between the center console and the feet of the passenger. Passengers say they can feel it in their feet, I can occasionally feel it slightly from the drivers seat. Supposed to be much warmer this weekend so I'm planning to get this up on ramps so I can dig into the cause.
For those that may have had this issue, are there any obvious culprits I should be looking for?
 

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I would take it to a muffler place that give a free inspection for an estimate. From there they can quickly give you an idea what the culprit is. At this point you can only speculate.
 

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I would take it to a muffler place that give a free inspection for an estimate. From there they can quickly give you an idea what the culprit is. At this point you can only speculate.
Agreed but I doubt it's anything to do with the so-called skid plate. They are usually nothing more than a plastic dust cover that doesn't make noise.
 

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i second to that, bring it to an independent or muffler shop, they have hoists there to lift it for checkup.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Follow up: After multiple inpections under the hood and under the vehicle (and the sore neck to prove it) I discovered several missing fasteners from debris shields, a very loose bolt on the air cleaner and several others non-critical fasteners that just needed a wrench turn, but none were associated with the maddening rattle. My mechanic buddy finally had a day with no appointments and we were able to get it on the lift. He found the source within 5 minutes...the passenger side sway bar link ball joints are shot. Movement by hand was minimal, but it's enough to bang against and echo through the hollow sway bar on every bump to make it sound like the whole underside of the vehicle is coming apart. Going in today to have him replace it.
Replacement part at Autozone - $23.99, cost to install - $30, finally being able to drive without my Rav sounding like a coffee can full of marbles...priceless!
 
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