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Hello all,

I have a 98 Rav4.1 w/ 170xxx Mi that has developed a new sound following a long drive from San Francisco to San Diego.

The car was sitting in the garage for a few days and upon start I noticed a new whine coming from the engine bay/underside of car. The sound is a pretty declared whine at comes in just above idle and fades above 1200RPM. The sound modulates in tone with the RPM cycles of the engine. The sound is coming from the underside of the engine, located more towards the driver side/center line. Once car is warm the sounds will cut in and out, it is most pronounced when the car is in park.

The car isnt kicking any codes and the check engine light is off.

First thing I did was to check all the fluid levels and their condition, they are all fine. I took the car for a short drive around the block and the car acted normal, engine seemed fine and the transmission shifted through all drive gears, P, R, N, D, 2, 1 fine.

Car has had:

Front CV axles @ 169xxx
IAC valve @ 164xxx
EGR valve @ 162xxx
Alternator, power steering belt, plugs and wires @153xxx
Timing belt @ 97xxx

I took the video below to try and capture the sound, sorry for the poor visual content, I was crawling around under the car with wheels on ground.


Im thinking water pump or power steering pump? Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks
Nolan
 

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First, I would remove the power steering belt, run the engine in park, and see if the noise is absent. Loosening the two 14mm bolts that keep the tension on the PS belt is a bit of a challenge, but people do it all the time. Things that often work: a 14mm box wrench; a 1/4-inch drive 9/16-inch socket; a 1/4-inch drive, small breaker bar.

How many years have passed since the Rav4's timing belt (and other nearby parts) were replaced? If it's more than five years, I would consider replacing the timing belt and associated parts.
 

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Thanks for tip thats what I thought too. I inspected the power steering pump, lines, and fluid and all are in good shape and not leaking. While I haven't been able to isolate the pump from the system, I was able to listen to the pump and it sounds fine. After doing some more research on PS pump failures I also checked for leaks on the rack and pin and tie rod seals, all good. I also took the car to a parking lot and tried the usual steering test and everything seems fine.

The timing belt has 7 years on it so It is due for one.

The car has been fine on test trips, 1-5 miles, 50mph max. Today it cold started w/o out noise but then when I came back to the car an hour later the sound was back and it seems that it has isolated itself to 1000-1200 RPM and in Park only, trying to replicate the sound with the car in neutral seemed unsuccessful on 10 or so attempts. The car is still shifting fine thought the selectable gears and while in motion.

This is a strange problem...

Any ideas would be appreciated
 
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