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The other day I noticed that my engine was making a bit of a soft rattling noise. I checked the dip stick and it was low on oil. I capped oil off and went about my errands with no more noise.

A few days later, I noticed a new noise that was awful. I took the car out for a spin and it didn't have a problem running speed limit on the highway (70-80mph).

I checked the spark plugs and they had oil on them, so I replaced the valve gasket and spark plugs. Noise is still present.

I have no clue what it could be. I do notice the sound is toward the from of the engine, maybe more right front. It is very loud when the engine is cold, and becomes less strong as it get warm, but doesn't disappear. No engine lights are on. It is depicted in the following video:

https://youtu.be/NYgtu4lpQY4


Any insight would be GREATLY appreciated!
 

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Sounds like it could be a bearing - possibly the alternator, the coolant pump, or an idler pulley?
 

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Sounds like the water pump. What is the year, engine and how many miles? My water pump needed replaced last year. It started out much like what you described. It is a 2007 V6 and had 93,000 miles at the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sounds like the water pump. What is the year, engine and how many miles? My water pump needed replaced last year. It started out much like what you described. It is a 2007 V6 and had 93,000 miles at the time.
It is at 107,000 miles. Year 2006 and 4 cylinder. Where is it located?
 

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On th right side of the engine, with the belt and pulleys. The V6 is known for water pump failures, I'm not sure about the four cylinders RAV4s.
 

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From the sound I'd guess either alternator or idler bearing. Remove the belt and spin them by hand and you'll find it.
I any case I wouldn't drive it that way. It'll leave you stranded.
 
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You might want to keep a closer eye on your dipstick, the 4 cyl are known for sometimes having an oil consumption problem.

As the previous post mentioned, it sound more like a bearing going out on a pulley. If you feel capable of removing the belt and reinstalling it, you can spin the alternator and other bearings by hand (engine OFF!).

Another method is to take a 2-3 foot piece of rubber hose, hold one end to your ear and the move the other end near the loud area until you hear the noise REALLY loud. That will tell you what is causing the noise without dismantling anything. Be careful of course around the moving parts.
 
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