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Discussion Starter #1
Dealer and Toyota Canada pissing me off !!!!!!

I have a 2001 Rav4 AWD with the rear limited slip differentail.
Since 2 years ago, I started getting this problem with the differential. When the car is warmed up, I get this very loud growling noise from the differential when I accelerate with the wheels turned.

I brought the car in many times...all the dealer could tell me is that I need to use a synthetic differential fluid to get rid of the noise, but this is not a specification of the 2001 Rav4. Rav4 should only require normal differential fluid. They don't know why but that's the only solution. The dealer said they consulted with Toyota Canada and this is the only reported case.

I called Toyota Canada and ask them to reimburse me on the difference on the normal and synthetic fluid. Well, guess what??? They said "no", because fluid is part of maintenance, even though toyota specific fluid doesn't work well, I have to pay for the difference.

Does anyone have a differential problem like me??

What can I do? :x

And I hated how the girl from Toyota spoke to me...she told me that they don't know why I have the problem and they are not going to help identify the problem nor pay for it.
 

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wkeyau said:
What can I do? :x
Change the fluid. :D

Changing the diff fluids is a regular maintenance item (like the oil, tranny fluid, etc).

Forget the dealer. Just replace the fluid yourself. Changing the fluid can be messy but is not difficult.

A quality synth fluid with the correct viscosity may or may not fix the noise. Sometimes changing the fluid will eliminate diff groaning noises, but frequently the noises indicate that the damage is done it is a sign that your diff is on it's death bed.
 

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How much is the difference anyway? I'm not a do-it-yourselfer, but it cost about $40 for my dealer to change out my rear diff AND transfer case fluids (with non-synthetics).
 

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I regularly change the diff fluid in my vehicles. The cost is nominal. A quality synth diff lube (such as Valvoline or Mobil1) is only about $9.00 (US) a bottle. The dinky diffs on the RAV should take less than 2. They are charging a premium for the labor. But you can do this. A plunger/suction device is sold at most any parts store for about $10 (US) that makes adding or removal of the thicker viscosity fluids easier. Some Toyota diffs like wifey's RX300 require replacing the crushable ring on the bolt to prevent possible leakage. But those are less than $1 most places. Having a container like one for engine oil avoids getting the fluid over everything.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
I have EXACTLY the same problem on my 2003 rav. It has been like this from new - so I don't think mileage has anything to do with it.

Its been into the dealer three times - on all occasions I have demonstrated the growling noise to them and whilst they agree there is a noise they have been unable to figure the cause - they have replaced the diff fluid (assume it was the normal Toyota stuff not synthetic)
I think they know what the problem is but are playing dumb!!
I have had all the usual excuses like it might even be the tyres!

As you say the noise is only there when the transmission is warm and you accelarate on full lock.

I am wondering whether I should bother taking it in again as i don't really trust these "qualified" monkey wrenches (or should that be mechanics) who all they seem to do is use up my fuel and add on the miles with no solution. :evil:
 

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Tom, you might want to take the RAV to a different dealership or an independent mechanic that has a good reputaion for another opinion.
 

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RAV4Don said:
I regularly change the diff fluid in my vehicles. The cost is nominal. A quality synth diff lube (such as Valvoline or Mobil1) is only about $9.00 (US) a bottle. The dinky diffs on the RAV should take less than 2. They are charging a premium for the labor. But you can do this. A plunger/suction device is sold at most any parts store for about $10 (US) that makes adding or removal of the thicker viscosity fluids easier. Some Toyota diffs like wifey's RX300 require replacing the crushable ring on the bolt to prevent possible leakage. But those are less than $1 most places. Having a container like one for engine oil avoids getting the fluid over everything.
Great advice RAV4Don! Information like this really helps out us DIY'ers a ton -- I might have done some research and gotten to some of the same conclusions eventually, but likely not all, and you saved me some extra Internet crunching. 8)
 
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I can't say much about the grinding noise. I did change my differential and transfer case with Amsoil gear lube and let me tell you it started running NICE! The ride was much better, but that was 5 years ago. Technically, I can leave that fluid in there for many years (I think it said lifetime, but 100K+ is just too much for me) because it's synthetic. Due to my NYC severe driving, I will change it every 50K miles. Next time, I'll get my husband to help me change it.

I did have some kind of noise from the tranny and I finally changed that fluid and it's riding smoothly. Our tranny oil lasts many years, unlike most tranny oils. Then again, it could be from the computer reprogramming too from the P0420 code problem. I doubt it. I could feel the difference in the shift and I have an automatic.

I'm wondering. If you were to pay them to find out what's wrong with your car, do you think they'll tell you or will it open up a whole can of worms? After all, you are paying them.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
It's been a while since I checked this thread.

The last time I brought the car in for service, the noise from the differential came back :x

One day, I just walked into a different dealership and spoke with a service advisor. He was able to describe the problem before I did. He told me he has the same problem with his celica.

He said, this problem happens randomly with recent toyota cars, regardless of age. The problem is with the differential fluid thinning too much when heated. The fix is to put an "ADDITIVE" into the fluid to prevent it from thinning.

I just made an appointment to replace the fluid. The service advisor at this dealership doesn't know much of the problem. See how my luck goes this time.

Does this fix sound reseaonable to anyone???

Thanks
 

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Bmorton, $40 does not sound bad. MrLube wants around $90 + $90 + tax for both. You can get Amsoil at Parts Source for around $14 each if you did it yourself.

Wkeyau I too have the limited slip diff. With the synthetic oil and Diff. In good condition, you don't need an additive.

How long was the Rear Diff. change intervals done on your RAV?

One thing to remember is that your AWD system cost money to maintain.
If you go to a lube shop they may offer you 3 choices:
1- cheep oil --- Not that great
2- OEM oil ------- Good
3- Mobil or other Good Synthetic ------ Excellent

Second thing to remember is the frequency of change. You can have the best oil in the world but still have metal debris and other contaminents so better to change on schedule.

I do mine under the Special Operating Conditions at 15K using Mobil 1, next time Amsoil (cheeper and easier to find in Toronto)

They also have a magical way of charging more for the same work when it comes to synthetic. So like Rdon said it’s much cheeper to do it yourself.

As for the Noise I don’t like the answers that you are getting so I would definitely get another opinion.


Walt
 
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Discussion Starter #11
i have mostly followed the toyota recommended maintenance schedule.

Is changing the differential fluid easy??

Any step by step that I can follow??

Thanks a lot.
 

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wkeyau said:
i have mostly followed the toyota recommended maintenance schedule.
Is changing the differential fluid easy??
Any step by step that I can follow??
Thanks a lot.
It's very easy to do.
The car must be fairly level to start.
You need to remove 2 bolts. 1'st the filler on the upper side, then the magnetic drain on the bottom.
After the 1 quart drains out into your pan, then take a clean rag and remove the slug on the magnetic drain nut.
Replace the bottom mag. drain bolt.
Then you get the oil pump (sold in autoparts stores), fill the side hole with oil until it starts to overspill.
Close with the bolt and your done.

Cheers, Walt :D
 
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I went to Mr. Lube...they change my differential fluid with whatever regular they use + plus an additive. Noise gone :D

Now I just don't know if the additive had anything to do with it. Wonder if I should try Mr. Lube again without the additive the next time.

Never going back to toyota for the differentail service...
 
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Discussion Starter #14
what is the recommended interval for changing differential fluid, as i've never had it done (i don't think)?
 

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jklBruin said:
what is the recommended interval for changing differential fluid, as i've never had it done (i don't think)?
Every 20 K or 2 years (normal operating conditions)

Or 15K or 1 year for Special Operating Conditions.

Cheers, Walt :)
 
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