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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys! My first post here. I figured I've got enough answers from this site via google searches that I should sign up for my own account!

So I have had this whinning sound in my vehicle for a little over a year now but only over the past month has it got REALLY bad. So I did some diagnosis on it myself. I did a rear diff fluid change to check for metal shavings and there weren't any. So my next thought is the differential coupling assembly (I think I have come to the conclusion it is part # 41303-42023). When I had all 4 wheels off the ground and put it in drive it would grind very loudly without touching the gas pedal. We also tried pulling the emergency brake while still in drive and the front wheels turned and the back were locked, BUT the drive shaft was still spinning and it was still making that noise. So that would tell me the rear diff is fine right? I brought it to the local shop here and he agreed that he thinks it's the coupling assembly but he wasn't 100% sure since he doesn't work on imports very much. Anyways, what I'm asking here is, (since I already wasted a little over $1000 changing the t-case before learning that wasn't my problem), does anyone agree that I should be purchasing a new "viscous coupler"? (as it's also referred to). $900 for one part is a little too expensive to be purchasing when not certain that's what's wrong.

Thanks!

Oh and side question, doesn't look too bad to swap...can anyone confirm how long it takes to do? Or any special tools needed? Or any helpful tips?
 

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Your RAV4 does not have a viscous coupler. It uses an electromagnetic clutch, and they do go bad and get noisy. There is even a TSB or service campaign here in the US and Toyota was fixing them for free. Use the search function and you will find several threads on this problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well through my searching I've seen it referred to a "viscous coupler" a few times. I have seen many threads on them before but I just wanted to see what other people thought too whether I'm safe ordering the coupler or if there's other tests I can try. I've already tried unplugging the harness behind the glove box and it didn't change anything. And also I haven't had any luck finding out how big of a job it is to replace this coupler. I tried calling Toyota today and the only outstanding recall was something about some back seat clips or something. She said that if the recall work had been done already then I would have to get a quote for them to replace it again. But I'm also only about 1500km from rolling over 400,000km on the beast.
 

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But I'm also only about 1500km from rolling over 400,000km on the beast.

That's nearly 250,000 miles! Has your RAV been reliable so far apart from the problem which you are having now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Absolutely! I bought it at 280,000 and besides my current issues the biggest issue I've had was the water pump which didn't end up costing more than $350 i believe. Parts/labor

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Absolutely! I bought it at 280,000 and besides my current issues the biggest issue I've had was the water pump which didn't end up costing more than $350 i believe. Parts/labor

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That's a great recommendation for 3rd generation V6 RAVs and is one of several comments from owners who have had similar mileage (kilometerage?) I have heard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes i would definitely recommend the 3rd gen rav's. As long as you keep up on regular maintenance they'll go for a long time. Took it on a road trip from Alberta to Sacramento last fall, about 2500 km one way, and not a single problem

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Well through my searching I've seen it referred to a "viscous coupler" a few times. I have seen many threads on them before but I just wanted to see what other people thought too whether I'm safe ordering the coupler or if there's other tests I can try. I've already tried unplugging the harness behind the glove box and it didn't change anything. And also I haven't had any luck finding out how big of a job it is to replace this coupler. I tried calling Toyota today and the only outstanding recall was something about some back seat clips or something. She said that if the recall work had been done already then I would have to get a quote for them to replace it again. But I'm also only about 1500km from rolling over 400,000km on the beast.
The rear diff coupler repair was first offered in Canada under a really long term extended warranty, and was not a recall. After a couple of years, Toyota USA decided they would do the same. In the USA, all gen 4.3 RAVs are covered from 9 years first date in service. (Both the I4 and V6 are covered.) I even have a nice letter saying I'm covered should I get the growly diff in that time frame. It played out a little differently up north--you can read all about the Canadian saga in this link:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/99-4-3-mechanical/145170-rear-differential-coupling-sub-assembly-pn-41303-42020-a.html

It's become quite a novel to read, but gives part numbers and bulletins to work with. Hope you are still covered. Let us know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for that. I am using the tapatalk app and not sure how to search. That is the thread i was looking for. I have called the dealer this morning and they are going to look into that and get back to me. Now my question is, is it 9 years on top of the original warranty? Or was it just 9 years?

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In the U.S. the bumper-to-bumper warranty is for 3 years/36,000 miles and the powertrain warranty is for 5 years/60,000 miles. Canada may have its own warranty provisions. Did you buy an extended VSA (warranty)?
 

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Thanks for that. I am using the tapatalk app and not sure how to search. That is the thread i was looking for. I have called the dealer this morning and they are going to look into that and get back to me. Now my question is, is it 9 years on top of the original warranty? Or was it just 9 years?
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In Toyota USA there is an Enhanced Warranty for all gen 4.3 RAVs (AWD) for the rear diff coupler that extends the original drive train warranty through April 30, 2017, regardless of mileage. After that date, there is still coverage for 9 years from the date of first use, regardless of mileage. You don't have to have any current warranty, or have ever purchased an additional VSA warranty.

I'm not sure what Toyota Canada is doing. Reading through the link I posted earlier which has a lot of Canadian comments, it seems there is a lot of dealer discretion about coverage. In the USA, it is pretty straight forward--everyone is covered--regardlesss of mileage. They have even reiumbursed folks that had the repair done earlier at their own expense. The first post of this link has a letter describing the offer here in the USA: http://www.rav4world.com/forums/99-4-3-mechanical/212361-differential-coupling-warranty-enhancement.html
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have been in contact with Toyota about this today and they have told me the extended warranty has expired in January this year. He is going to call Toyota Canada and talk to a service manager on Monday to see if there's anything they will do.

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In Toyota USA there is an Enhanced Warranty for all gen 4.3 RAVs (AWD) for the rear diff coupler that extends the original drive train warranty through April 30, 2017, regardless of mileage. After that date, there is still coverage for 9 years from the date of first use, regardless of mileage. You don't have to have any current warranty, or have ever purchased an additional VSA warranty.
http://www.rav4world.com/forums/99-...fferential-coupling-warranty-enhancement.html
Thanks for reminding of the extension. It had slipped my mind - not an unusual occurrence!
 

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You mentioned you noticed the problem a year ago. Maybe that would help swing their decision if there was some documentation about the issue prior to expiration of the Canadian enhanced warranty. But I wouldn't hold my breath--IIRC, some up there were denied due to high mileage.

Meanwhile, congrats on the 400-km on your beast. Hopefully the thread will point to the least expensive ways to fix it out of pocket if you're not still covered.
 

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Thanks for reminding of the extension. It had slipped my mind - not an unusual occurrence!
No worries, there is plenty to keep track of these days of recalls, service campaigns and warranty enhancements. The only problem with such a warranty offer is hearing noises and wondering "Is this it?" My drive train makes kind of a very slight "whirly" noise, at very low speed under a light load, which I'm sure is normal Toyota tranny and has probably always been there. Only noticed it because of this forum! I've driven other RAVs and heard the same thing. So far nothing like a growl or a whine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You mentioned you noticed the problem a year ago. Maybe that would help swing their decision if there was some documentation about the issue prior to expiration of the Canadian enhanced warranty. But I wouldn't hold my breath--IIRC, some up there were denied due to high mileage.

Meanwhile, congrats on the 400-km on your beast. Hopefully the thread will point to the least expensive ways to fix it out of pocket if you're not still covered.
I don't think i really did anything about it till within the last 6 months or so. I thought it was the transmission whine for a while and had just accepted it. Wasn't till this year i noticed it getting substantially worse

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
In the mean time while Toyota tries to figure out if they'll do anything or not about it, i have ordered the part to the tune of $870 Canadian and if approved for warranty work then Toyota will reimburse me one day. But still trying to find any info on how much work it is to replace it myself

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Me too, maybe?

Hi Tom,

My RAV4 also has a whining sound...most notable cruising at 30-45mph, and definitely linked to engine load. My dealer and also my local independent shop have ruled out the rear differential, and the transfer case is implicated. I'm actually about to book the repair, and it's closer to $2k for a used TC.

Before I take the plunge though, I'm curious, or worries, about your comment that you already did your transfer case, and now you are looking into the diff coupling. Do you have details on where that is (is in the driveshaft headed to the rear diff, or somewhere else?)

-A

Hey guys! My first post here. I figured I've got enough answers from this site via google searches that I should sign up for my own account!

So I have had this whinning sound in my vehicle for a little over a year now but only over the past month has it got REALLY bad. So I did some diagnosis on it myself. I did a rear diff fluid change to check for metal shavings and there weren't any. So my next thought is the differential coupling assembly (I think I have come to the conclusion it is part # 41303-42023). When I had all 4 wheels off the ground and put it in drive it would grind very loudly without touching the gas pedal. We also tried pulling the emergency brake while still in drive and the front wheels turned and the back were locked, BUT the drive shaft was still spinning and it was still making that noise. So that would tell me the rear diff is fine right? I brought it to the local shop here and he agreed that he thinks it's the coupling assembly but he wasn't 100% sure since he doesn't work on imports very much. Anyways, what I'm asking here is, (since I already wasted a little over $1000 changing the t-case before learning that wasn't my problem), does anyone agree that I should be purchasing a new "viscous coupler"? (as it's also referred to). $900 for one part is a little too expensive to be purchasing when not certain that's what's wrong.

Thanks!

Oh and side question, doesn't look too bad to swap...can anyone confirm how long it takes to do? Or any special tools needed? Or any helpful tips?
 
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