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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm hoping that this will help some frustrated owners out there.

Right around 96K miles, I started to hear a disturbing sound coming from the engine right on the tail end of a startup. When it happened, it would be loud whirring or rattling sound that would last for a second or two then disappear. Cold, hot - didn't matter. I did manage to catch it on video .

It could not be replicated consistently and was real frustrating when trying to explain it, etc to the shop. When I finally got it on video I showed it to my mechanic and was told that it was an internal timing chain issue perhaps making contact with an internal guide as the tensioner was not engaging properly. As it was explained to me, the tensioner's actuation is largely controlled by oil pressure. Once it kicks in, any slack in the chain is minimized and contact with chain guides, etc. is abated. Moreover, it would be an expensive Toyota job to go in there, diagnose the job and fix it but otherwise was not causing immediate damage - only a nuisance. Screw that.

Enter Seafoam. I've used Seafoam products in the past in other vehicles (never in the crankcase oil) and have been happy with the results and thought since I was nearing 100k I could very well have deposits and sludge in my engine that might otherwise be affecting oil passages and things (and possibly actuation of the timing chain tensioner) - why not? So I decided on an all-out Seafoam regimen. While I treated my gas with 2 cans on a full tank and cleaned out the uppers with their intake spray treatment (which is awesome, by the way, no fouled plugs and same results as vacuum line method), the real kicker was treating the oil .

I added 1.5 oz of Seafoam per quart of oil (as per SF FAQ) directly to the crankcase oil and drove it for 200-225 miles prior to changing it out - which for me is roughly a full tank. All said and done, gas mileage has improved a little, engine idle has completely smoothed out and startup noise is GONE.

I remain cautiously optimistic but it's been nearly 3 weeks since I did this and still no ghastly startup noise. I will post with another update some time down the road and report if it has returned or not but so far so good.
 

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Glad you got it sorted out.

If Seafoam treatment really was necessary at 96k miles, you should strongly consider altering your oil change regimen. For whatever reason, you might be better off using a full synthetic oil. I maintain a big fleet of high mileage vehicles and I've been using Mobil 1 in all my cars, motorcycles, and small engines; and Shell Rotella T6 in my truck, and have never had a spec of sludge in any engine over decades and millions of miles of use. The lack of sludge and long change intervals are the two biggest advantages of full synthetic oil, IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Dave. I'm a fan of full synthetic and have been using Mobile 1 since day one. My interval is 7K. Do you have any other recommendations regarding this interval?
 

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Thanks, Dave. I'm a fan of full synthetic and have been using Mobile 1 since day one. My interval is 7K. Do you have any other recommendations regarding this interval?
No, that's even better than I do... I cannot imagine you have any sludge to free up but if it's OK now, I guess I'd be happy and move on.

FYI: There are three cam chain tensioners in the engine, one primary and two secondary. They all use springs and oil pressure to apply tension, but the primary has a non-return ratchet mechanism to prevent it from backing tension off too much when there is no oil pressure, as the chain stretches out over time. Many motorcycles use similar non-return mechanisms on their cam chain tensioners. I have noticed excessive cam chain noise on motorcycle engines just before the tensioner is about to advance one click on the ratchet mechanism (when the chain is at it's sloppiest). I bet yours just did the same and the Seafoam was a coincidence.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Could be. That's interesting thanks for sharing that info. It's very possible that I really didn't have a sludge problem throughout at all and something just got "freed up" with the subsequent treatment who knows. BUT something is definitely different now for the better (so far). I do notice that when I change my oil I go through over half a quart with each maintenance interval and it's black black - something I thought synthetics were superior with as far as breakdown. Probably normal but that's it.
 

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This is quite interesting. On ToyotaNation there is also guy that claims he has fixed his 2GR-FE rattle with Gunk 5-minute engine flush. He has written several updates and it appears that the startup rattle has not returned.

2GR-FE startup clatter experiment - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums

If your rattle does not return it would seem that the problem might not be related to mechanical wear of the timing gears but something else (reduced oil flow due to sludge?)
 

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I also had the rattle in my V6 - my mechanic went to a thicker oil for one service interval, it made the rattle less frequent, but still occurred towards the end of the service cycle.

He then went back to recommended weight but put an oil treatment through and it hasnt returned until this morning where I heard it for the first time since I last got it service. Funny thing is, its booked in for its next service next week!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That is certainly encouraging to read about, Legion thank you for noting it here. I definitely feel like there is a direct relationship with the treatment and the rattle. Today is 10 days since the treatment and I still have no recurrence.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That is certainly encouraging to read about, Legion thank you for noting it here. I definitely feel like there is a direct relationship with the treatment and the rattle. Today is 10 days since the treatment and I still have no recurrence.
So I went and read through that long thread (excellent writeup) and really where his treatment was for a certain duration prior to changing the oil, I actually drove through a full tank with the additive in my crankcase oil before changing it out. Concept is the same - makes me more confident about what I've done.
 

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been using gumout regame, which contains a high amount of PEA. makes me wonder, what kind of gas have you been using?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
been using gumout regame, which contains a high amount of PEA. makes me wonder, what kind of gas have you been using?
Most of the time I fill up with RaceTrac gas @ 93 octane. Is that not a good thing? Seems ok to me - I haven't noticed any major performance issues.

Btw, I heard the noise again yesterday. First time in nearly 2 weeks. It was not nearly as loud (about 50% more subdued than when it was loud and proud) at least. I may need to try the Gumout regime next time if it persists.
 

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Most of the time I fill up with RaceTrac gas @ 93 octane. Is that not a good thing? Seems ok to me - I haven't noticed any major performance issues.

Btw, I heard the noise again yesterday. First time in nearly 2 weeks. It was not nearly as loud (about 50% more subdued than when it was loud and proud) at least. I may need to try the Gumout regime next time if it persists.


I'm not familiar with that gas, but I would not be surprised if that gas didn't have the cleaning additives that BP and Shell, for example, have. I always run 87 in this car as well.


PEA is definitely a good thing - the folks at Bob is the Oil Guy swear by it, and it's a $5-6 additive you dump into your tank when you fill up.


Not sure that it would fix the problem though.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm not familiar with that gas, but I would not be surprised if that gas didn't have the cleaning additives that BP and Shell, for example, have. I always run 87 in this car as well.


PEA is definitely a good thing - the folks at Bob is the Oil Guy swear by it, and it's a $5-6 additive you dump into your tank when you fill up.


Not sure that it would fix the problem though.
Just read about Top Tier gasoline and RaceTrac is not on there. I never paid attention but it seems that there is a lot to be said about quality additives and / or the lack thereof.

It's an interesting subject thanks for bringing it here!
 

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Just read about Top Tier gasoline and RaceTrac is not on there. I never paid attention but it seems that there is a lot to be said about quality additives and / or the lack thereof.

It's an interesting subject thanks for bringing it here!

no problem. regarding the rattle, I'd try to do an undercar video when the car starts up - sounded to me like an exhaust rattle more than anything, which wouldn't significantly be impacted by gas or oils
 
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)

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The sound is EXACTLY the same however, the TSB appears to cover only the 4 cylinder and not the 2GR-FE V6 but still it is very good information. Unfortunately, I am well out of warranty and reproducing the sound at this point is next to impossible :-/. At least I still have my video but it would certainly be a costly repair out of pocket.
I believe the V6 uses the same cam timing gear as in the TSB, but in any case - you're out of warranty.
We have the same issue on my wife's 07 Rav4 V6, ours did it periodically in the first couple years - not all the time. We had it in to the dealer & they couldn't duplicate it. Then a while later after it was out of warranty my wife says " You know that noise the car makes once in a while when you first start it up - Well it's been doing it all the time now".
Thanks honey for that timely info.
No help from the dealer - we just live with it.
I've seen a good video showing them being replaced on you-tube, but can't find it again. Good luck.
 

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It cures my start up rattle on my 07 v6 with 191k miles. I think seafoam cleans and unstuck the vvt lock pin from the cam gear bore and eliminates the noise by allowing the spring loaded lock pin to lock the cam gear when shutting down the engine. It used to make that noise in about every 2 start ups and I been changing oil using pennzoil ultra every 5k since 7 years ago 87k miles. I added about 6 oz of seafoam in the oil 100 miles since. I plan to change the oil after 150 more miles.

I have to bring up this old thread because this has to be the cheapest solution to my problem.
 

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It cures my start up rattle on my 07 v6 with 191k miles. I think seafoam cleans and unstuck the vvt lock pin from the cam gear bore and eliminates the noise by allowing the spring loaded lock pin to lock the cam gear when shutting down the engine. It used to make that noise in about every 2 start ups and I been changing oil using pennzoil ultra every 5k since 7 years ago 87k miles. I added about 6 oz of seafoam in the oil 100 miles since. I plan to change the oil after 150 more miles.

I have to bring up this old thread because this has to be the cheapest solution to my problem.
I have 2010 v6, 2gr-fe, with 173000 miles. This has been happening for about the last 6 months (maybe a little longer) and much more often in the last month or so. I've read and watched more videos about vvt cams, motor oil and additives then I ever thought possible. No straight solutions. But glad to learn, and this thread has been helpful, thanks to all. I switched from 5w30 full synth to 0w30 mobil 1 hoping the thinner cold viscosity would get oil to the cam gear faster. It worked for about 3 wks and then...that damn sound. I just started the Marvel Mystery oil "Flush." Plan to change oil this weekend, to clean oil. Then after a week change again, with Seafoam flush, and see if anything changes. It did consistently happen on cold start since MMO has been in.

The Rav is purring otherwise, and would really like to avoid the heavy cost of recommended repairs. Vast majority of miles are highway cruising at 65-75mph and with the few other replacements I've done, car could last a really long time. Anyone know exactly what the dealer is supposed to replace to fix this, and about how much it costs? Worry is they'll rake me over, and replace a tone of stuff, then the sound remains. Thanks
 
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