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Discussion Starter #1
The CEL, 4x4 and VSC lights came on and a clattering engine noise while decelerating is not a good sign at all. I disconnected the pigtails to the four individual cam variable timing controls which ended the clatter so I could drive it home noiseless. Obviously the valves were tapping the pistons.

I'm not sure if there is serious damage but the engine seems fine. The car only has 105K miles so I'm very disappointed that I have to do a major repair, especially since I just replaced the water pump last year. Maybe I caused the issue doing the work myself, but I don't think it is related. I have a friend with a spare vehicle I can use until I get the time to fix it. Until then if anyone has tips or advise I'd appreciate a heads up.
 

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When my Volvo ran rough & lost power, I limped it to my mechanic.
- it was an individual coil pack, on one of the spark plugs
- read the codes, to identify the culprit
Replaced the defective $100 coil, problem solved.
 

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The first thing to do is read the codes...the rav uses a chain so it's unlikely to have jumped time...before tearing the motor apart you really should know what the car is telling you is wrong...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The first thing to do is read the codes...the rav uses a chain so it's unlikely to have jumped time...before tearing the motor apart you really should know what the car is telling you is wrong...
I did stop at autozone which was close and got a code that the timing was off. That's how I got the idea to disconnect the pigtails to see if that might stop it from interfering while decerating. While driving home from there I put the car in neutral before letting off the throttle. If I timed it right it would not chatter, that's how I got the idea to stop and pull the pigtails. As stated before the engine is noise free after disconnecting. I'm pretty sure the timing jumped.
 

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I don't understand. If the valve timing has jumped and the valves are hitting the pistons how would disconnecting the pigtails prevent the valves from hitting the pistons? Could the noise be coming from pre ignition due to incorrect ignition timing??
 

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I would guess the noise is not due to valves hitting pistons but is instead caused by a mixup in the hydraulics in the dual VVT-i system, perhaps due to a faulty cam position sensor.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, I guess I was overthinking it runs too good with pigtails off to be a serious timing issue.
 

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The valves are not going to be interfered with by the pistons unless a valve retainer breaks and allows the valve to fall into the combustion chamber - but that event would do serious damage. The engine is a non-interference design.
 

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I did stop at autozone which was close and got a code that the timing was off. That's how I got the idea to disconnect the pigtails to see if that might stop it from interfering while decerating. While driving home from there I put the car in neutral before letting off the throttle. If I timed it right it would not chatter, that's how I got the idea to stop and pull the pigtails. As stated before the engine is noise free after disconnecting. I'm pretty sure the timing jumped.
What was the code?...this could be a simple sensor issue or ignition coil problem, both of which could cause some noise while driving...I hesitate to pull plugs off things without knowing why you're doing it...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What was the code?...this could be a simple sensor issue or ignition coil problem, both of which could cause some noise while driving...I hesitate to pull plugs off things without knowing why you're doing it...
I wasn't given a code number, just told it was for "out of time" and that most likely it was the VVT oil pressure control valve IIRC, according to the common fault diagnosis. The guy at autozone said it sounds like it was missing, but when I unplugged the 4 pigtails it ran smooth all the way home. It had more push in drive when I let off the brake, but other than that the noisy clatter is gone. I haven't driven since, and plan to get it fixed before driving.

I didn't think of it being non interference, I should have looked that up. The noise was a high speed metallic tapping sound that only occurred when deceleration and stopped when momentum slowed down to throttle position. In park the noise was a faint rattle and stopped when a gear is selected. I'm just relieved that it didn't jump the chain and the engine is probably not damaged.
 

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Engine don't recover from valve-piston collisions by anything you can disconnect.
 

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Before I got a scanner autozone would give me a printout giving the engine code and possible reasons for it...you can also buy a cheap scanner from Amazon or eBay...I got 1 for about 30 bucks or so...comes in very handy...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I haven't been driving the car since the original issue. Today I had time to pull the four VVT oil pressure controls off that I had unplugged. All of them look good including the springs. I reinstalled them and hooked and connected the battery. Started the engine no CEL now, I guess it reset. However the oil light stays on, so I shut the car down immediately. Oil level is good and new in color and I didn't hear the metallic clicking sounds while it was running.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I found my oil filter is collapsed, hopefully that's the cause of all the symptoms and the engines wasn't harmed. Since the tapping sound disappeared after taking the VVT plus off. I don't think there was serious oil starvation. Time will tell. I just replaced the oil myself before Christmas, I wish I could remember what brand it was.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I had to order a new oil filter housing because the center baffle was missing. I bought the car is 2014, the first oil change was done by a local oil service company. I changed the oil myself from there on. I don't remember ever seeing the baffle inside the filter. I'm not sure how long it's been missing, I do know that the previous oil filters didn't collapse like this one has. I can't blame the filter company for that, but it must have been a bit weaker in structure than the previous brands I bought. I got it all back together and the car seems just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I changed the spark plugs too, since it has 105,000 miles now. The rear ones took a mirror, a flashlight and a lot of patience. The restored power is very noticeable. I went with the NKG brand, because the Denso's were $10 more per plug.
 

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Good to hear that you have gotten your RAV all sorted out and that it's apparently running fine now. Thanks for letting us know what was needed and how it all worked out.
 
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