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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone

Vehicle: 2008 RAV4 i4, 4WD, 96K miles/155K km

Yesterday, I started having some noise under the hood.
Link to video:

It's much more apparent when the car is idling. It does not seem to be a heat shield.
I initially thought that it was the water pump going bad but the noise seems to be coming from the pulley area.

I have taken some pictures and videos. Let me know what you think.
Noise seems to be coming from the pulley marked with the red arrow.

Any idea what might be wrong? How can I diagnose this noise?

Thanks
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Definitely sounds like a dry bearing. If you remove the belt and the noise goes away it's obviously one of the pulleys. Spin each by hand and one won't be perfectly smooth like they all should be.
 

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In your opinion, how dangerous is it to drive like this? Mechanics want me to drop the car and pick up later but I cannot do this at the moment. If I can order parts and fix the car over a few days that would be ideal.
 

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If it was my car I wouldn't drive it out of my driveway making that noise.
If you have the ability to release the tension and get the belt off you will very likely be able to replace the defective part which will probably be available on Amazon or Rockauto.
 

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Yeah, I wouldn't drive it unless you absolutely have to also. I was going to guess the tensioner pulley was bad. Good advice to remove the belt and start the engine. If the noise goes away, you should be able to spin each pulley and determine which one is bad......good luck.
 

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As suggested, I took off the belt and the noise was gone.
The alternator pulley looks good.

However, I am not sure how the other pulleys are supposed to feel. I made 2 short videos.

I have numbered all the pulleys except the alternator pulley. Hopefully, one of you can tell me which one (or ones) is the culptrit.
151113


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I'm quite sure it's idler pulley #5, the one you first suspected, and the last one you tried in your movement test. It didn't spin.
It's a Gates 36472. Rockauto has it on sale (last one) for $17USD, about half price if you order immediately.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I started thinking the same only 5 min ago!
Thanks for the confirmation.

Shipping from RockAuto is too slow. I need something to work over the weekend. I will have to call around tomorrow.

I might have to drive 20 miles over the next 2 days hopefully nothing bad will happen. Belt looks new; it was changed a few years ago when I replaced the alternator.
 

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I started thinking the same only 5 min ago!
Thanks for the confirmation.

Shipping from RockAuto is too slow. I need something to work over the weekend. I will have to call around tomorrow.

I might have to drive 20 miles over the next 2 days hopefully nothing bad will happen. Belt looks new; it was changed a few years ago when I replaced the alternator.
Again I'd caution against driving anywhere. Besides the bearing noise I heard the belt slipping which is likely due to the idler locking up as you felt. If that happens the belt gets destroyed too and makes a bigger mess and cost.
Near me there are three AP stores and Toyota who probably have the part in stock (for twice the price+). Maybe so in your area too. Borrow a car to get it or have it delivered.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Update:
I was able to get a idler Pulley for about US$60 ( Dayco brand).
I was able to to loosen the bolt holding the idler pulley but, as I had suspected, the long bolt cannot be easily removed because it is blocked by the frame.

At the moment the car is on ramp. Is there an easy way to lower the engine 1.5" so that I can remove that bolt e.g. put all wheels on ground and jack car up at a specific place?

Or do I need to drop the engine slightly? Of course, I have never done that :(
 

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What idler pulley are you trying to replace? I've changed my tensioner assembly and never had to lower the engine. I had to raise the engine actually so I had to disconnect the engine mount covering that area.
Take a picture of the pulley and bolt you're trying to get out. We have the same engine....
 

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What idler pulley are you trying to replace? I've changed my tensioner assembly and never had to lower the engine. I had to raise the engine actually so I had to disconnect the engine mount covering that area.
Take a picture of the pulley and bolt you're trying to get out. We have the same engine....
It's the one with the red arrow in post 1 and number 5 in post 6.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Here's a picture that I found on the net. Similar to my RAV4. It possible to push the the engine so much that I can clear the AC lines to get this bolt out.
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Seems like a challenge with just a floor jack but maybe I am wrong.
 

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Excellent video found by DCF! Hopefully the "power steering" idler will fix it and you won't have to keep chasing the noise as in the video.

I have an inexpensive stethoscope which helps isolate which bearing is making the most noise. You just have to be very careful using it around all the moving parts.

 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Well, I cannot take out those 2 bolts. For sure for the top one there is no clearance to even back the bolt out.

I think I might have to either jack up the engine or take it to a mechanic on Monday.

Fyi, I am now not able to remove my breaker bar from the top bolt! Socket not coming out with breaker bar :( another fight :(
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Kind of risky with no water pump and alternator turning while you drive, but possible if you have no other way of bringing it to them. You may get stranded on the way and need a tow anyways.....good luck
SORRY.......thought you meant 10 miles......no problem for 10 meters
 
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