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Seeing older posts on here, I know this is a somewhat common issue. Basically my 2010 AWD Rav4 makes a loud grinding noise when I accelerate within 35-45 MPH. The noise distinctly comes from under my back seat and stops when I take my foot off the gas.

Reading previous posts, many people say this issue stopped after draining the ATF. Thing is, I got my ATF drained by a local mechanic a year ago and the noise never stopped. I also see a lot of people have taken their Toyotas to 5+ mechanics that can never seem to find the issue.

An important detail to add is that my car has been rear-ended twice in the past. Once 5 years ago where I needed to replace my back door, and once this year where I needed to replace my back bumper.

With these things in mind, I’m wondering if there is any other conclusive fix for this or if my transmission is permanently damaged at this point, if it even is my transmission. Anyone that has experienced this, your input is highly appreciated. Thank you.
 

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My 2010 RAV was rear-ended back in May and is making a sound as well when going between 30 and 40. If I let off the gas or go over 40 it goes away. I know this doesn't answer your question of what could be wrong but maybe helpful knowing others have similar issue after being in an accident. If I find out why I will be sure to post something here again.
 

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I recall reading somewhere on rav4world that someone had a noise and it was an exhaust heat shield or something that was rattling...
 

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I have a 2010 RAV4 Limited with 135,000 miles that has this problem. It wasn’t the heat shield. I took it to the dealer and they diagnosed it as being the transmission. Then I took it to a transmission shop, and they thought it was the rear differential. I looked online and found the warranty enhancement for the rear differential coupling. I took it back to the dealer and they said it wasn’t the rear differential coupling because they could eliminate the sound under certain conditions (keeping it in 3rd? Not sure). They said it was possibly the torque converter, but to diagnose that would be quite an endeavor. They called around and the consensus was to do a drain and refill of the transmission fluid. They ended up doing it 4 or 5 times over the course of 2 days because they found the sound was going away with repeated drains and refills. After driving around their loaner car for a few days, they called me back and said the growl/grind/rattle is gone. Let’s hope that’s the solution. If it’s the rear differential, the warranty enhancement covers at least some of it for 9 years from the date it was first sold (which for me will be June 2019). I spent a bunch of time online trying to find an answer, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear cut solution. If I never post on this thread again, then the multiple-time transmission fluid drain and fill worked for me. If it turns out to be something else, I’ll be back.
 

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I realize this is an old string but wanted to second the positive results from the solution JohnnyThinwaller described above. I had the same issue and got no satisfaction from my dealer who claimed it was incomplete torque converter lockup (may be true) and they suggested I wait until it failed. However the sequential drain and refill described above (4 - 5 times since you only remove about 3 of the about 8 quarts each time due to hold up in the torque converter etc), completely solved my problem. Be careful to use the right AFT fluid - real Toyota WS or Eneos T+W which is cheaper but is the same stuff. I'm really happy with this fix!! Thanks!
 

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I realize this is an old string but wanted to second the positive results from the solution JohnnyThinwaller described above. I had the same issue and got no satisfaction from my dealer who claimed it was incomplete torque converter lockup (may be true) and they suggested I wait until it failed. However the sequential drain and refill described above (4 - 5 times since you only remove about 3 of the about 8 quarts each time due to hold up in the torque converter etc), completely solved my problem. Be careful to use the right AFT fluid - real Toyota WS or Eneos T+W which is cheaper but is the same stuff. I'm really happy with this fix!! Thanks!
Hi, I have the same issue with my rav4 2010. What do you mean drain and refill? Should I refill then drive it and repeat this 5 times or just drain, close the plug, refill then drain and so on? And can I use the same fluid or I need new fluid for each refill. Would flashing the transmission fix it?

Thanks
 

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Hi, I have the same issue with my rav4 2010. What do you mean drain and refill? Should I refill then drive it and repeat this 5 times or just drain, close the plug, refill then drain and so on? And can I use the same fluid or I need new fluid for each refill. Would flashing the transmission fix it?
If you mean flushing (not flashing) the transmission that's what I'd do. What that amounts to is allowing it to pump its old fluid out with the engine idling while new is being added. There are posts on how to do that but the simplest DIY method is multiple drain and refills with new fluid. You get about 1/3 of the old fluid out that way so you are diluting old fluid with new. Thus the need to do it multiple times.
 

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I have a 2010 RAV4 Limited with 135,000 miles that has this problem. It wasn’t the heat shield. I took it to the dealer and they diagnosed it as being the transmission. Then I took it to a transmission shop, and they thought it was the rear differential. I looked online and found the warranty enhancement for the rear differential coupling. I took it back to the dealer and they said it wasn’t the rear differential coupling because they could eliminate the sound under certain conditions (keeping it in 3rd? Not sure). They said it was possibly the torque converter, but to diagnose that would be quite an endeavor. They called around and the consensus was to do a drain and refill of the transmission fluid. They ended up doing it 4 or 5 times over the course of 2 days because they found the sound was going away with repeated drains and refills. After driving around their loaner car for a few days, they called me back and said the growl/grind/rattle is gone. Let’s hope that’s the solution. If it’s the rear differential, the warranty enhancement covers at least some of it for 9 years from the date it was first sold (which for me will be June 2019). I spent a bunch of time online trying to find an answer, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear cut solution. If I never post on this thread again, then the multiple-time transmission fluid drain and fill worked for me. If it turns out to be something else, I’ll be back.
I am having the same problem and am about to change my transmission fluid, couple of times. I know you said, if you would not post on this thread again that solved the issue. But, do you have any updates?
 

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I am having the same problem and am about to change my transmission fluid, couple of times. I know you said, if you would not post on this thread again that solved the issue. But, do you have any updates?
Had the same issue with my Rav4. I asked dealer to do transmission fluid service (transmission, transfer case, etc). After the service the grinding noise is gone.
 
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