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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone heard something like this before?


To describe the noise, it is a freight-train like sound when moving straight (whether in Drive or in Nuetral) that varies with speed and is cyclical after the vehicle gets up to about 15 mphs (noise starts more softly at about 10 mph). The sound gets a little less loud once the vehicle is warmed up a bit. It does not have any connection the engine RPM -- only the wheel RPM. It occurs either in Drive or rolling downhill in Nuetral.

When turning in a tight radius (either right or left), there is a dribbling-like "tapping", or "popping" or "clicking", but it is not consistent (02:12 in video is the best example, but it also occurs at about 01:47). It sounds like when you drop a basketball and let it bounce until it stops (the dribbling gets "faster" before it suddenly stops). The turning noise is present right away when cold, but after warming up, it is less likely to occur. The sound is loudest on the driver's side.

I'm helping a local with her Rav4. She had the wheel bearings and struts & springs replaced within the last couple of years. I originally thought it was a CV axle, and because I was in there changing a leaking shaft seal, I swapped the driver's side axle with a known good used axle, but that made no difference at all to the sounds. The old axle was in excellent shape, as was the passenger side axle.

I next thought that the springs might be moving in there seats (it sounds like that), but I verified that they are not. I checked the torque on the strut assembly nuts, and they are good. I also verified that the calipers where not grabbing and that the brakes were not dragging. And I inspected the wheel bearings and didn't see anything obvious, but this sounds like a wheel bearing issue to me, though the noise when turning might be something on top of that.

This video is very similar to what I heard, and he has wheel bearing noise while turning, too:

One thing that I did notice is that when you have the lower control arm and tie rod disconnected from the hub so you can move the hub out to pull the CV axle, the strut assembly moves out much more than other Rav4's I've worked on. What I mean is that it is much easier to remove the CV axle from the hub on this particular Rav because the strut mount allows movement outward of perhaps 1 or 2 inches more than Rav4's with OEM assemblies (the assembly is Monroe).

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! I have a spare Rav4 from which I can swap some other parts: I was thinking next of just removing the entire strut assembly with the hub on it from the good Rav4, since I could pull that whole thing by just removing the axle nut, three fasteners at the ball joint, tie rod end nut, sway bar link, then slip the caliper off, and pull the whole thing after removing the three nuts at the top of the tower. But if there is something else to try before I do that, I would like to try it!

Thanks again!
 

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I would look at the drive-shaft or propeller-shaft as Toyota calls it, and the center bearing support for the shaft.
I have had several drive-shafts that appeared perfect until I un-bolted one end of the shaft. When I replaced mine the rear u-joint was binding, toyota considers the drive-shaft and u-joints to be a single replaceable part. After-market shafts, should you need one, are about half the dealer price and have the added benefit of having replaceable u-joints.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I would look at the drive-shaft or propeller-shaft as Toyota calls it, and the center bearing support for the shaft.
Thank you, Roundabout! I forgot to mention that it is 4WD, so yes, it has a prop shaft. I will look at that, too, and I have a good prop shaft on my good Rav that I could swap. Any ideas on the turning sounds?

I also forgot to mention in the first post that the owner said that she didn't remember it making so much noise before, but it has been sitting for several months, and now apparently the noise is more noticeable. I won't be back to work on it till next week, at which time I'd like to try something.
 
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