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I have a 1996 RAV4 with 96,000 miles on it. I have had a rattle noise somewhere in the front end in the or around the engine bay for a while, normally right after start up and when first driving after the car has been sitting awhile. It has gotten worse. i can here all the time during cold weather, when sitting idle, when braking, but not when normal driving. I have tried to stand outside the car and find the noise but have been unsuccessful. I was think ing a wore motor mount or sway bar bushing, but thought I would check on here for any suggestions first.

Second question is lifter noise. I know these small engines have some lifter noise but in colder weather it seems to be worse. The car is running fine otherwise. I have used some heavier weight oil and that seems to help, but any suggestions.
 
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I have good water circulation so I do not think it is the water pump. As far as the timing belt, I have not had it checked but there is no missing and the car runs fine, just that nasty rattle sound.
 

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When the bearing in the water pump is going out it rattles. You will not loose any water. It should be replaced around 85-90,000 miles. there are also two idles bearings that when they are going out rattle. The timing belt get old and may break. I don't think you can tell without looking at it. It should also be replaced at about 90,000 miles.
In the past four years - 320,000 miles on two rav's, two water pumps and three timing belts on my '98 and one water pump and timing belt on the 2000. also replace the front crank seal.
'98 - 272,000 miles
2000 - 101,000 miles
 
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