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Discussion Starter #1
Alright so my baby has about 180k on her and is doing pretty well all things considered. The only problems I have are with the suspension system.

Problem #1:
There seems to be something loose in the suspension system of the front driver-side wheel assembly. Every time I go over a rough patch of road, this part of the car rattles. It is not a scraping or a grinding noise. It sounds like two metal components rattling against each other. Additionally, whenever I make a sharp right at a speed greater than 5mph, a kachunk noise comes from the same area of the vehicle, and sounds like the same components that rattle when the car is shaken.

Problem #2:
My rear suspension works but is squeaky af. I want it to not be squeaky af anymore.

Not exactly a problem, more a question:
How hard are '99 Rav4 shocks supposed to feel? Mine are pretty rough but definitely not non-existent. My 150lb self still can rock the car around when I jostle myself around (jostling is so much fun).

These are not new issues, however I recently moved to Tucson, AZ where the roads are absolute garbage. I swear theres more potholes than road here. It would honestly be more comfortable if they weren't even paved at this point. It's bad. My car has enough rattles on the inside and the suspension noises are driving me insane.

Anything helps.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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Hey, sorry to hear about your problems with the suspension. The suspension is fairly easy to work on, I've totally rebuilt my front suspension recently.

Loud clunks is a warning that something serious may be about to let go, particularly on rough roads.

- I would start with the tranny mounts and engine mount. Inspect the rubber bits for rot or if mostly gone and if they are in poor or bad shape replace them. They aren't hard to do if you have some mechanical aptitude.

- Check the stabilizer bar bushings and end links, mine were in very bad shape. You can also jack up each tire one at a time and attempt to shake the tire top to bottom and side to side. If you have much play or noise, check the bushings on the control arms, control arm mounts, and the ball joints. Play can demonstrate a problem with wheel bearings as well. By the way it is about the same price and a lot easier to replace the front control arms rather than rebuilding them. Check prices on Amazon.com

- Gotta hate those annoying squeaks! Do the shake test and inspect the bushings, if the bushings appear to be okay you can lubricate them with a silicone spray lube.

- Check the exhaust system hangers, they can be a source of squeaks and rattles as well.

I hope some of this helps, keep us posted as to what you find.
 
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The upper strut turntables on these cars can make a lot of weird metal to metal sounds. Look there if you don't find any play in endlinks or ball joints. Cv axle can make noise on sharp turns too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
UPDATE 3/28/17

Ok so I just got some new tires on the car, and the mechanic said the noise is definitely my front strut mount bearings. Oddly enough, now the noise sounds a little looser, and I feel juuuuuust a little bit of play when accelerating and braking, where the wheels move just a little before the rest of the car. (Like less than an inch, but noticeable)

Now, I don't have a lot of money right now, so how important is it that I get these changed out? Am I gonna die?

Help.
 

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Turntables will clunk but I don't see how you would have that much play as you describe from just those. Are you sure ball joints, tie rod ends and wheel bearings are tight?
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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Discussion Starter #8
It probably won't kill you but if it's in the suspension but it'll wear those new tires in some weird way. Were your old tires worn on the inside or outside, cupped, feathered, or even; tire wear can tell you a lot. See - https://www.pepboys.com/tires/treadsmart/typical_treadwear_patterns/ for more info.
I don't think the old tires were ever rotated, and the front ones had significantly more wear than the rear ones. I found no other signs of uneven wear on the tires, though. Individually, they were super even.

Turntables will clunk but I don't see how you would have that much play as you describe from just those. Are you sure ball joints, tie rod ends and wheel bearings are tight?
In my shimmying under the car after work last night, with my phone as a flashlight, I did the best inspection I could. My ball joints are looking a little crusty, and there are two attachments on the top of the lower control arm that look pretty worn out. Everything I grabbed and violently shook around seemed to be really solid. I'm not so sure how to check the wheel bearings, so if you have a method I should try that would be appreciated. The only jack I have is my spare jack however, so would it be safe to use that just for troubleshooting? Should I take my car back to the shop where I had the alignment done if I can't find the source of the new problem? Thanks for the help!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
UPDATE 3/29/17!!!

Ok I had some time to really dive deep into the problem today, and I made a profound discovery.

:doh:It's the sway bar:doh:

Here's how I figured it out:
I got under the passenger side of the car, and wiggled the sway bar around. A little bit of play, worn end brackets where it connects to the control arm, but nothing too big.
Then, I got under the driver's side.

BIG DIFFERENCE

Heck, that thing's floppier than a cat on muscle relaxers. It just jostles about as it pleases, bashing into whatever gets in its way (including the cv joint:surprise). The rubber grommets on the end bracket thing are shredded, and there's significant signs of long-term wear on every point the bar comes into contact with under the car. But then I thought "Hmmm, the bar seems to be attached to a pivot point on the passenger side of the car that's not one of the end brackets. What could that be? Oh right, the sway bar bushing that's supposed to keep it from flopping around and bashing into things and rattling and driving me crazy! Well why in the hell isn't there one on the driver's side?" Well, I found the sad remains of what may have been the driver's side sway bar bushing, which was drenched in steering fluid from my terribly leaky rack and pinion, and was otherwise unrecognizable.

The lack of that component's existence, combined with the worn-out end brackets have to be what is causing these problems, right?

Is this an easy fix to do on my own? Am I gonna die?
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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It is a very easy fix, take the stabilizer bar and or one of the bushings with you to a parts store get the bushings, as there appears to be more than one size; don't even attempt to order on-line. When you put them back on use wheel bearing grease as you put it together. Mine had a new retaining bracket with grease fitting that I also pumped up with synthetic wheel bearing grease. You will need to replace the end links as well, both easy fixes. The hard part is getting the stabilizer bar out and back in, take some pictures. Fix that leaky steering system or it will continue to eat your bushings up. Search the threads here something like this "RAV4.1 steering box"

You won't die unless you climb under your car while it's not securely supported, she'll fall on you and kill you... slowly!
 
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