That's strange - and your noise is coming from the B pillar as well? it doesn't sound like it's coming from the same area if yours goes away when you buckle up on the passenger side. Mine's there no matter what.
Well suffice it to say, my previously posted attempt with the felt on the sides of the seat belt height adjuster DID NOT get rid of the problem. I can say, though, that at least the sound is somewhat dampened by the felt and that it is definitely worse when the car is nice and heated up from sitting in the sun a while. Now that I'm familiar with getting into the B pillar innards, I plan to keep trying different things until it's fixed - so sick of it. Unless it's something in the body of the car like a crap weld or something I WILL conquer!!!
When I hear the sound going off, I can yank on the seatbelt hard enough to lock it. Then if maintain enough pressure by pulling hard on it, the noise stops every time. I'm going to try something a bit different then post the results when I'm done. All that stuff I posted above is a nice how-to for getting into the area but to be honest it took me WAY more time to get that posted then it did to do the actual work. Getting other materials after work today for next attempt - will update with more results later.
frizank, I used your procedures and went a step further, and my rattles seem to be gone on my 2006 Sport (knock on wood). I did everything that you did, but I also put a double layer of felt directly on the metal pillar behind the seat belt adjuster. When I reattached the seat belt adjuster to the pillar with the two bolts, the felt on the back of the seat belt adjuster comes in contact with the double layer of felt on the pillar. This makes moving the adjuster up and down slightly more difficult, but I can live with that. This appears to keep the seat belt adjuster assembly from vibrating. Time will tell if this solves the problem.
That's a great variation, larrywho. I think that's kind of the direction I was going to go on as well on my next attempt since I can lockout the pretentioner and pull the belt away from the pillar to stop the noise. I felt like I had to pull a good amount to stop it though. Would you say that the double layer of felt against the other layer on teh back of the adjuster crams enough outward pressure on the assembly? I see you're in FL so you have some heat too - and that's when the noise is at its worst. Please update later, I would love to hear how it works out!
Excellent writeup. Can someone verify that is sounds like the window might be loose? I hear a "ticking" noise that sounds like the window might be rattling in the frame, but it might be this issue and my ears not as sensitive to locating the sound.
The double layer of felt on the pillar does seem to hold the seat belt adjuster in place without totally restricting the movement of the assembly up and down. In my case it has been enough to eliminate the ticking on the drivers side (since this past weekend, so we're not talking much time). On the passenger side I was running low on felt, so the pieces were not quite as long. There may be a slight rattle on the passenger side still, but I haven't had anybody ride on that side to listen yet. What I hear may be something else - side mirrors, glove box, etc. I would suggest using as long a piece of felt as you can so that the felt on the back of the adjuster is always fully in contact with the double layer of felt on the pillar. I did consider that the window might be rattling, but the sound always seemed to come from the seat belt adjuster area in my case. I just could never figure out what exactly was rattling in there. I can say it has been very frustrating and the dealer has been no help.
I forgot to mention that I was able to remove the bolts with a standard socket wrench. My car has been to the dealer for this problem and maybe they didn't tighten them as tight as the factory. Based on what I saw in there though, the dealer made no attempt to do anything. So give the socket wrench a try.
Thanks, Colonel - hopefully it will be of benefit to you. And thanks for the update, larrywho it's worth mentioning that. I agree with your statement - when I got in there I saw no evidence of "out of the box" thinking either. Toyota's TIS even has a published service bulletin about using felt to remedy creaks and things. Sad.
Unfortunately, I can say that I tried something different today - different than larrywho's additional step with no success. I went back in there and completely removed the assembly from the pillar then went ahead and completely slid out the inner "tongue" from the grooves. Next I placed two strips of cut felt fabric into the grooves and replaced the tongue back into the track. By doing this I believe I effectively eliminated any play in clearance within the groove. The adjuster is very snug and difficult to even move yet the sound remains. I'm still anxious to hear if larrywho is successfull with his modification but I have to say that I now believe the sound is elsewhere but not far - maybe even in the bolt/swivel part that the belt is threaded through.
To be sure, the next step I plan to take is remove the adjuster completely and ride with the garnishes off in order to hopefully better expose the affected area more while driving. For anyone else who's reading this, I don't want to put any ideas out there that it's safe to do this but I think it's kind of an acceptable risk in the name of finding the truth! One way or another at least all the effort can lead to finally isolating what is causing the sounds.
As far as the sound possibly originating from the window/ track area - are you referring to where the glass seals are on the sill or deeper in the door by the track? To me it really sounds like it's slightly up and behind my left ear on the pillar. I thought about that when I read some post out there about someone who was told by their mechanic that it was actually coming from a vibrating mount bracket or something holding the glass. The car was a Toyota but not a newer RAV like ours. Your description of your sound is exactly as mine though - like a combination creak/ticking sound at varying intervals. Well hopefully, I can verify things further for us by riding with the pillar guts exposed and assembly detached. More to come.
absolutely fantastic solution frizank, bout time someone had the guts to open it up, maybe i'll give it a shot, but i have so many rattles and squeaks, don't know if it's worth it. but thank you very much for the pics.
Well, after a week the rattle is back. I need to get back in there and see what has changed. It was quiet for a whole week after my mod, and in two years of ownership it has never been quiet that long. I did notice that if I push on the lower black pillar cover the rattle stops. Could it be the pillar cover vibrating against the pillar or maybe something underneath the cover rattling against the cover?
That sucks - but if it makes you feel any better, I'm starting to consider this same area too. I took the felt I previously placed in the tongue grooves out and did something else. I took the bolt off that attaches the triangular metal deal that the belt goes through and basically created a felt washer to go on there - maybe there was some play there. Not long after doing some test driving I still heard the noise. I've been pushing the area where the lower pillar garnish meets the upper garnish and so far the noise seems to be going away when I do that as well.
I'm having a tough time understanding how the sound is traveling up to the height adjuster area but who knows there could be some weird acoustic stuff going on there. I would still like to ride with the upper cover off to see if I can hear it better (or if it goes away). Otherwise, if I can get my hands on some thin felt tape I'd like to put a layer between the upper/lower garnishes. Cool - at least we are both seeing the same thing.
Rattle free again! I took everything apart again and as I suspected the felt on the back of the adjuster had come off, so the unit was no longer under pressure. I took all of the felt off of the adjuster and left the double layer that I had put on the pillar. Then I loosened the two bolts holding the adjuster to the pillar, and wedged in a cut piece of a foam mouse pad between it and the double layer of felt. Then I tightened the bolts down. I can still move the adjuster up and down, but it is pretty tight. I took it for a test drive and it is quiet again. Yesterday when I was out it was rattling like crazy. I still don't understand why pushing on the lower cover stops the noise though. Now I hear the side view mirror rattle. I'll tackle that one next.
Hey larrywho - you mention both the height adjuster and the pretentioner in your last post - you are referring to the same device right? I'm pretty sure it's the height adjuster - double layer of felt on the pillar then the layers of cut fat mousepad material. Good job man, that is the perfect use for those things. Well to be perfectly honest with you I want to excercise every other option available before "mostly" immobilizing my sb height adjuster - if I can keep things functioning the same and kill the noise I will. I only say this because I did a couple of things yesterday and today that might be of interest. Yesterday I removed the upper garnish exposing the adjuster and drove around. At first I didn't hear anything but then it appeared but this time the ticking was coming up from somewhere below in the pillar. Not the adjuster area! To be sure, I took a bunch of felt and placed bits of it everywhere I could see contact would occur between the upper garnish and the metal wall of the pillar - including the little circular area the protruding bolt goes into (you know the one I mean), and the button mechanism. I even put felt on some of the moving plastic parts in there as well. I guess you could say I went felt crazy.
Well, after all that, I slapped the upper garnish back on and the noise reappeared - in fact it seemed louder than when it was completely off and no amount of pushing in the area where the two met would kill it. So I went back to thinking about the sound coming from below - were the garnish covers actually serving as some kind of sound chamber for a sound coming from below? That's when I decided to take a look at the pretentioner mechanism at the bottom of the pillar and see if I could "felt up" any metal on metal attachments there. Well guess what, the bolt looked pretty chewed up before I even touched it - even with the impact wrench I could NOT get it loose. It appears that some jerk mechanic at the dealership crossthreaded the damn thing into the pillar. He obviously had much more torque at his disposal than I do at 90-100 psi so it's in there really good. I'm going to make them fix that....IDIOTS.
Regardless, the same noise problem is occuring on the passenger side - so to be sure I wasn't imagining the crossthreading, I took my wrench to the lower seatbelt anchor bolt which from the looks of it, hadn't been touched by the dealership (or anyone since the factory). The bolt came right out with little effort. So I took off the lower garnish there exposing the pretentioner mechanism. There are a total of two bolts that attach this thing to the pillar. One is the bolt that was just removed and the other was a smaller 10mm bolt at the top of the unit. The whole thing is sort of suspended in a recessed cavity at the very bottom of the B pillar. I cut pieces of adhesive felt to fit the metal on metal pieces where the bolts go in - completely insulating them. After putting everything back together, I took a drive and the noise was completly gone! The noise from that side was pretty loud previous to this change so I'm hopefull.
As before though, time will tell if this is the true source of the B pillar noise in my car - we'll see. Otherwise it's hello double felt and mousepad city on under the height adjuster as there's little else that can be attempted here short of going behind welds in the pillar itself.
frizank you are correct, I was referring to the height adjuster in all cases. I realized my mistake after the post, but it sounds like you read through my mistake. I have not heard a rattle in the days since my last fix. It is like driving a new car again! I am interested in your findings though. I will wait to see how you fare before I dig in again (although I am getting pretty fast as getting to the pillar now.)
The bug hunt continues :wall . So I felted up the pretentioner unit quite well and the damn noise persists so I decided to wipe the slate and start clean. I removed both garnishes and seatbelt height adjuster completely from the pillar leaving the bare metal exposed. I went for a test drive and still heard the noise. Yeah. This rules out the seatbelt height adjuster assembly (at least in my ride it does).
On a different note, I opened the door as the noise was happening (while driving with everything exposed) and it disappeared completely. I was able to basically make the noise appear and go away on command time after time this way so as crappy as it is to continue dealing with this nuissance, I'm actually glad that I've at least gotten to a point where I can stop the noise at will. Obviously driving down the street with my door open is unacceptable so I'lll just have keep on keepin' on. Seems to me like the problem is either in the front door lock area (in the door itself) or the door strike on the body of the car. Before getting into disassembling the door (which looks like a real pain in the a$$ by the way) I'm going to concentrate on the strike plate. I did try tightening things down (you need a T40 torx on the strike plate screws and a T30 on the door lock ones). I found that they were all remarkably loose on both accounts however the noise didn't go away when they were tightened .
I recall seeing something at some point on door strike adjustment so perhaps I can try some different things there. From the TIS documentation I have. the door lock assembly looks like a promising trouble spot but there's alot to take apart in order to get there. I'll be doing some research before tackling that for sure.
Larrywho, I'm real curious to know if you can make your noise stop in the same manner but unfortunately that would mean removing your mod first . So if anyone else out there can do this while driving I would love to know. It makes me wonder, larrywho, if all that pressure that's being applied with the felt and mouse pad material is enough to slightly alter something in that area - just enough to set things right. I can pull on the door handle with all my might while driving and that too seems to minimize if not completely remove the noise so I feel like I'm getting somewhere - if not nowhere.
I too could stop the noise by opening my door before I foamed everything up. I could never really tell if the noise was gone or if the wind noise from the door being opened was drowning out the noise though. I was looking at the strike plate also. But, I have gone another full week with zero noise after my latest fix. Given that our situations appear to be so similar, I would try the mouse pad trick and see if it fixes your problem. If it does, then we can try to figure out how that particular fix is quieting things down. It only takes a few minutes and a spare mouse pad! Keep me posted.
That's excellent news. I was able to hear the noise loud and clear every time when I opened the door as I wasn't driving all that fast. What all did you try with the door strike? I'll install the padding this afternoon / evening and let you know what my results are. Thanks!
Ok the mouse pad pieces are in. I didn't include the felt but I put in 4 layers of mouse pad in there behind the seatbelt height adjuster - had to push down a fair amount just to thread the bolts then I let my impact wrench handle the rest. Test drive reveals no noise!!!!
It's befuddling. SB height adjuster completely out, noise. SB height adjuster in with no padding, noise. SB height adjuster in with several layers of mouse padding behind it creating outward pressure on it, no noise. This is somehow changing the dynamic of the pillar enough to make a difference that's for sure. I'm going to continue researching the area in the door for true root but in the meantime, I will hopefully be doing so in silence.
Regardless, it seems to me, larrywho, that you've come up with an easy working solution so you're the man! I'll post again at the end of the week and confirm that it's still good.
Glad to hear it frizank (or not hear it I guess!). I have been putting up with this noise for 2 years, and it was your post with pictures that got me to look further and take things apart. So I say you're the man! Keep us posted on how it is going or if you find the root cause. I'll do the same.
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