13th Jan 2004, 14:14
Failure of the strut mounts (which appears to be the main cause behind the "rattle" noise) does not constitute a safety issue, in the words of who I consider to be a very qualified mechanic. Although the deterioration of these mounts will cause very dramatic noises, apparently the strut does not become any more likely to separate from the body. In addition, the squeaking noises that can result from A) worn steering rack housing bushings; and B) steering rack ends (among other potential causes) do not qualify as safety issues either. I would rather have heard something to the contrary, so Toyota would be more motivated to help out the many dissatisfied customers. Has anyone been convinced that these could be safety issues?
In order to test the strut mounts, this mechanic suggested one could have an assistant feel the strut body, while causing the front end suspension to travel (naturally, caution and safety should be observed), which is how he diagnosed my car. If it can be felt that there is play between the strut and mount, then the mounts have likely deteriorated. I hope that this may spare some people from having to unnecessarily replace their struts. I'm slowly getting rid of all the little sounds in my 1997 Avalon XLS (which has/does suffer from a very bad front end squeak, front end rattle, rear end rattle and dash rattle), but I have to admit I am disappointed in the build quality of this Toyota.
18th Jan 2004, 12:31
I'm right there with you all. I have a '99 Solara that has a ridiculously loud rattle coming from the front end. Started on the passenger's side, but it seems to be on both sides now. A friend jokingly asked me if I had a "rattle trap" in my dash board (fishing lure for the uninitiated).
It tends to rear it's ugly head in colder weather. Not sure what I'm going to do. But it sounds awful.
25th Jan 2004, 05:43
1998 Toyota Avalon front strut knocking noise @ approx 50k miles. This also applies to the 1995 and later Camry. I pulled the strut assembly out, disassembled, and inspected. The strut mount for this year comes in three pieces; strut mount, bearing, and upper spring seat. I noticed that the three pieces didn't fit together snuggly like a pressed bearing would and that there was a lot of play when unit was assembled. I took a hammer and carefully snugged up the bearing cup around the bearing and the spring seat bushing that inserts into the bearing. No more play. Reassembled and test drove. No more strut knocking noise. Also, no more ABS pulsing when braking hard. Cost of repair: $0.00. WARNING: strut springs are dangerous... do not disassemble unless you have the right tools and knowledge.
29th Jan 2004, 08:28
99 Camry 4 cylinder CE. Bought used with 31K. Not until around 70K did it start exhibiting this problem. The front end makes so much noise in the mornings and when cold. Ridiculous. My first and last Toyota. I see no reason to fix this though. I can put up with the noise and it would appear there is no safety issue. Haven't even had this checked out by a mechanic--why pays $ to find out what is obvious--Toyota isn't owning up to its problems and is losing customers as a result. I'll buy a Honda next time.
My new tires have completely worn bald on the outsides, but are great in the middle and inside. I thought it had to do with the struts since I had this noise. Guess I'll go get it all aligned and forget about the noises.
Trevor Rees in MD.
29th Feb 2004, 00:10
I have a 1998 Toyota Camry LE V6 with 126,000 miles. I have the same loud clunking sound coming from the front passenger side of the vehicle. It sounds like something is loose in the suspension/wheel area. It is loudest in the morning when I first start driving. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does happen it sounds like something is about to fall off the car. I've taken it to the dealership twice. The first time they weren't able to find anything wrong with the suspension and didn't hear the sound when they test drove it. I even drove around with the guy, but wasn't able to recreate it for him. At his suggestion, I left the car overnight so that they could drive it first thing in the morning. They told me that they still couldn't hear what I was hearing and told me that the suspension looks fine. With all of the information about this problem on the Internet and the service bulletins, I can't figure out how a Toyota dealership wouldn't seem to be able to diagnose the problem. I think I'm going to just take it in and have them replace the struts and strut mounts and hope that solves the problem.
15th Mar 2004, 11:07
1998 Toyota Avalon XL - This car has been garage kept and only has 60K miles on it.. Noticed the rattle in the right front around 52K miles, at around 58K the left front started rattling. Also the right rear window stopped going down.. Took it to the Toyota dealer and was told that my rack & pinion was bad, upper strut mounts bad and rear window motor bad.. Fortunately everything, but the strut mounts were covered under warranty ($2K +). Well a month later the rear window stopped working again and the rattling is terrible from the front end. Took it to another Toyota dealership and they told me that my front and rear strut mounts are bad, all my struts are bad, and my front tires are worn out.. Total price tag (not covered under warranty) $2400.00.. My comment to the Service manager was don't you find this somewhat strange that my shocks are gone at only 60K miles. This car has been babied and very infrequently carries anyone, but my wife to work. My Acura on the other hand has 126K miles and has yet to see the inside of a garage except for routine maintenance. This will be my last Toyota as soon as I sell it. Looks like Honda or Nissan will be next vehicles of choice.
31st Mar 2004, 09:36
1999 TOYOTA AVALON XL -- I purchased the car new in December 1998. The rattling noises appeared in mine also shortly after purchase (about next winter). I tried several times to have the work done under warranty, but no luck. I had purchased an extended warranty and after the original Toyota warranty had expired, the dealer said they would validate replacing both front strut assemblies. I do not remember precisely which components were replaced, but it sounded like entire units were rather than individual components. For a while, sound improved, but now the rattling has returned, especially when I drive over bumpy surfaces. The car has performed well and is very reliable, but this suspension noise issue is galling, and will influence my next purchase.
9th Jun 2004, 19:56
Following up this thread and my comments posted Dec. 29, 2003 regarding front and rear suspension noise and rattle on my 98 Avalon.
I cured most of the front suspension noise by tightening down the nut that connects the strut rod to the strut bearing mount assembly. Both my nuts were very loose and not torqued down properly. The remaining occasional noise in the front suspension was due to worn sway bar bushings.
I completely eliminated the rear suspension noise by replacing the worn sway bar bushings. I used "Energy Suspension" polyurethane bushings front and back.
I do plan on replacing all four struts with "Tokico" brand, Toyota front strut bearing assemblies, Toyota rear strut mounts, Toyota sway bar end links and all control arm bushings with "Energy Suspension" polyurethane bushings.