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Loud clunk when giving gas in reverse! 2005 2WD AT

14080 Views 17 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  dnachoices
Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for the assistance on this one! I'm pretty scared that I may have an expensive repair in the future :(

This problem has occurred about 5 times intermittently over the last 6 months (ever since we bought it used basically!):
Here's what leads up to the clunk: I put the '05 Rav (2WD 130K) in reverse (no noises there), and give it some gas, about as much as I do when I start off in forward (so a little more than the usual amount since it's in reverse) and I hear a loud clunk that sounds like the transmission is going to fall out of the vehicle or something! It is very noticeable, and everyone in the vehicle hears it and thinks the car just went kaput. (One way I described the noise it was like the transmission was loose spinning around inside the chassis and hits something: clunk!)

I immediately get off the gas (reaction) and give up whatever I was doing to just put it back into Drive so as not to hurt anything worse. The car seems to operate normally! The first time it happened was about 6 months ago, and it's still driving fine today (so it seems) My wife usually drives this car and has never had any issues in forward or reverse (we reverse every day)

It seems to only occur either with a more than normal reverse, basically only when I give it that little extra bump of gas to get going faster, or when there is an extra load, like to get up an incline (which is when it happened this weekend, starting to go up a driveway backwards with 5 ppl in the car) But this type of reverse should never be a problem! I know something is wrong here! I couldn't even touch the gas pedal this weekend without the sound.

Anyone with a similar experience? I hope I don't have to replace the transmission! Could it be from abuse from a previous owner (it was in a accident to the left front end about 60K miles prior to our purchase<rebuilt title>)? Any suggestions?

Thank you so much for the help!
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Hi robots,
Sorry for the delay - and hopefully you've got the problem resolved already.

Either the motor mounts or trans mounts sound suspect just by hearing your explanation. You should be able to investigate this yourself by crawling under the car (on ramps is great or park it on a curb, chock wheels etc) with a flashlight.

Often bad mounts are misdiagnosed for rough transmission shifts, problems etc.

If you don't have experience with what motor mounts look similar to:

http://www.google.com/search?q=rav4...oAQ&biw=768&bih=928#biv=i|5;d|EccaHcf1FQDYLM:

You're looking for cracks/tears in the rubber portion of the mount. These generally are due for changing anywhere from 80-100k depending on the vehicle and driving style.

If worn, once replaced you'll find an immediate improvement in driveability and positive shift engagement. As far as replacing them...they are usually a bear to get to, but I've done motor mounts on 3 cars (80-150k miles) all of which were in dire need and made an immediate improvement. The repair is not difficult, but not for the faint of heart either.

Keep us posted on what it is.




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Also, I meant to add that you can check the mounts a second way by standing to the SIDE of the engine compartment (to safely view the motor while running) and have a helper put the vehicle in gear, depress the brake, and tap the gas. It does not need to be a long press of the gas. Only long enough to see if there is slop in the motor mounts. If the. If the mounts are faulty you should see the motor (and possibly hear) the motor thunking around under torque. You'll visibly see the motor rise up and away from the frame to which it's mounted.

Repeat this same process with the car in reverse to look for the same symptoms.

To demonstrate this you can also do a search in YouTube. There are examples shown there.

I hope this helps.


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Hi! I have the same problem on my 2005 2wd Rav4. It all started when I changed the tire size to a bigger one. In the dealership here in Mexico said I needed a new transmission but they couldn't explained why or what's the problem. I don't trust them at all, they once tried to sell me Spark Plug Wires for my Rav4. I'll just describe my problem since I have not found a solution or explanation yet. When you put reverse in a slope or in a slippery surface and press the gas, the transmission feels as robot says, it's going to fall off. I could compare it to the feeling of the traction control working to prevent the tires from slipping but multiplied x10. It sounds awfull and feels worse. I would appreciate if someone has an idea of how to fix this. I already checked my engine and transmission mounts and are in good conditions.

Thank you.
 

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I have the same problem with my wife's '07 4cyl sport. A loud clunk in reverse under load, especially back in uphill into the driveway. If i ease on the gas it doesn't do it but if I accelerate abruptly it makes the sound and you can feel a clunk too. The dealer said it was a strut bushing or something like that. I had them flush the ATF just in case as they suggested it was due. I'm at about 90k miles now. The sound has been going on for at least 5k miles. As I said, mostly when backing up into our driveway when you initially press the gas.
Anyone else have this happen or have a solution? (haven't checked my mounts yet)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I wanted to revisit this thread, since I still have this problem with our RAV4, and it's been 2 years and still driving with no repairs. I checked the motor mounts as was suggested, it didn't seem like the motor moved much when in reverse. I have not been able to find a solution to this and I'm still very worried about it. I basically drive with the plans to never have to reverse except on level ground.

Other symptoms:
in Drive- The transmission takes forever to shift into the highest gear, especially when cold. I can drive up to 45mph or so, and it still refuses to shift. I set the cruise control, and instantly it shifts to the next gear, and I can continue to accelerate by using the cruise control adjustments.

The loud reverse clunk happens much more commonly when the vehicle is warm. In fact I have backed up my driveway after having the clunk, then parking it right there until it cools down (30min), then the rav can reverse up the driveway ok. This seems to me that it can't be a motor mount problem right?

Thanks again for the help! Anyone else with this issue feel free to chime in!
 

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I would change the transmission oil and see what happens. (may have to do it a few times if it is really dirty). This does not look like a motor mount problem by the sound of it because reversing does not make that noise at low speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have not had it serviced. I can and will change the transmission fluid (that's what I would be changing right?)

Is there a good reference on what type is best? (2005 2wd sport) I thought I read somewhere that the transmission fluid was never supposed to be replaced in the RAV4. I hope I didn't remember that wrong.

Thanks again for the help!
 

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I have not had it serviced. I can and will change the transmission fluid (that's what I would be changing right?)

Is there a good reference on what type is best? (2005 2wd sport) I thought I read somewhere that the transmission fluid was never supposed to be replaced in the RAV4. I hope I didn't remember that wrong.

Thanks again for the help!
The safest is to use Toyota Type T-IV transmission fluid. If you are ok with aftermarket brands then try Valvoline Max Lilfe Dex/Merc (100 % synthetic) or Castrol Import Muti-vehicle ATF (semi synthetic).

There is a myth that is spread about transmission fluid is never replaced. That is a lie and anyone who does not research this will easily believe it. Transmission fluid lubricate and cools metal parts and over time accumulate dirt and metal shavings. The fluid breaks down until it no longer can do its job. Heat caused by towing or driving in slow traffic breaks down the properties of the fluid and speeds up the aging process. Sometimes Toyota is guilty of telling customer their fluid is good for life but there is no proof that conventional ATF does do this. This causes confusion for many people who are not familar with maintaining a vehicle. It is like me saying this Toyota will last for a life time bla bla bla. So if this is true I should never need to buy another car in my life time but we all know this is just a marketing gimick to make you believe we should only buy this brand.
 

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Has anyone here found a solution?

I own a 2012 RAV4 AWD 4 Cyl. It has roughly 100k on it, I bought it at 30k and it has developed this issue slowly over the past year. The first time that I remember the problem was around 80k.

The problem: I live on a steep driveway, and when I back out of it the car will violently thump or jerk with a loud thud. Usually it's about 3 times, sometimes it's just once. If I am backing up on flat I can also reproduce it but I need to hit the gas fairly hard. It won't do it if I am on flat ground and do not hit the gas or I'm light on the pedal.

Here's what I've tried:
- Disconnected the rear differential controller (basically making it a 2WD car), still happens but the thud is more in the front. This should rule out a bad U-Joint in the driveshaft or rear CV joints.
- Turned off traction control - Still happens
- Unplugged ABS controller - Still happens, this should rule out a brake locking up that thinks the wheel is slipping.

Other info:
- It won't do it unless I've been driving at least 5 mins and it's warm. If I leave it idle until the engine is warm without driving it won't do it - the drivetrain needs to be warm.
- Brought it to the dealership twice, I showed the tech the problem on a hill nearby. Service manager said that was normal. Bought it in again and they said it might be a tranny and wanted a bunch of money to open up the trans pan and look for metal... didn't do that.
- Trans fluid is full and doesn't smell burnt and looks normal in color, I got it flushed at 30k when I bought the car just to be sure.

My suspicion is either a bad tranny, a bad front CV joint, tranny mount or engine mount but the only thing that makes sense to me with the problem only occurring while warm is the bad tranny. Other than that the car runs great.
 

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2008 Rav4 2.4 liter, automatic, AWD
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Following. I have the same problem. Going uphill in reverse, big clunk, and the car actually stops for a second. Can't make it happen on the flats or going forward. Mounts all look good, but they are hard to see completely. I checked the mounts to the rear differential and drive shaft as well, just in case AWD is kicking in on the gravel driveway.
 

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I have taken the car to a auto transmission shop. They said the 1st/reverse clutch is slipping and replaced it for quite a lot of money. Unfortunately, the problem wasn't fixed. They are saying apart form the worn clutch, the transmission is absolutely fine and have no idea what is causing it.
From what I have found on the internet, 2nd generation ravs had a problem with the ECU that was causing the reverse clunk – there are plenty of places that fix them. Mine is a 3rd generation where the problem seems to be less common, still looking for someone to have a look at the ECU.
 

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Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for the assistance on this one! I'm pretty scared that I may have an expensive repair in the future :(

This problem has occurred about 5 times intermittently over the last 6 months (ever since we bought it used basically!):
Here's what leads up to the clunk: I put the '05 Rav (2WD 130K) in reverse (no noises there), and give it some gas, about as much as I do when I start off in forward (so a little more than the usual amount since it's in reverse) and I hear a loud clunk that sounds like the transmission is going to fall out of the vehicle or something! It is very noticeable, and everyone in the vehicle hears it and thinks the car just went kaput. (One way I described the noise it was like the transmission was loose spinning around inside the chassis and hits something: clunk!)

I immediately get off the gas (reaction) and give up whatever I was doing to just put it back into Drive so as not to hurt anything worse. The car seems to operate normally! The first time it happened was about 6 months ago, and it's still driving fine today (so it seems) My wife usually drives this car and has never had any issues in forward or reverse (we reverse every day)

It seems to only occur either with a more than normal reverse, basically only when I give it that little extra bump of gas to get going faster, or when there is an extra load, like to get up an incline (which is when it happened this weekend, starting to go up a driveway backwards with 5 ppl in the car) But this type of reverse should never be a problem! I know something is wrong here! I couldn't even touch the gas pedal this weekend without the sound.

Anyone with a similar experience? I hope I don't have to replace the transmission! Could it be from abuse from a previous owner (it was in a accident to the left front end about 60K miles prior to our purchase<rebuilt title>)? Any suggestions?

Thank you so much for the help!
I have one doing the same thing I hope and pray it's the motor mounts mounts
 
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