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Toyota Camry Rattles



  • rlee777rlee777 Posts: 7
    Here is a copy of my usenet post -- just curious to see where the "rattly" Camrys are produced.

    _________________________________________________________________- ____

    Had an opportune chance to test drive and look over two 2003 Camry LEs --
    one produced on Japan and one from Kentucky USA. Now I realize that this is
    only a single sample from each factory, but here are my observations:

    1. The USA model has slightly better bolstering in the seats and apparently
    plusher fabrics.
    2. Japan model has quieter engine (4cyl) and better dash plastics --
    especially the clear plastics (have fewer minute scratches)
    3. Radio sounds a bit better in USA model -- clearer highs and mids --
    guessing speaker quality is better
    4. Japanese car fitted with Bridgestone Potenza RE92s seems to grip better
    on turns than USA Conti A/S Touring. Both tires noisy however.
    5. Paint on lower exterior door panels very smooth in Japanese model; some
    wavy patterns in USA model.
    6. Rattles in USA model during test drive. Most coming from dash and door
    areas. Japanese model solid as a tank.

    Very impressed with the build quality of the Japanese model. Some of the
    parts quality (interior) seems better with the USA car (yes, I know that
    Toyota vendors are required to build according to exact specs). Both
    outstanding cars, but I would prefer the Japanese built Camry.
  • Dropping you windor ever so slightly does minimize the one window rattle however the seat belt adjustor rattle just becomes that much louder!

    If there is a know rattle caused by improper radio installation alluded to several posts up, PELASE ELABORATE!!!!!
  • 98yoda--Sorry I never got back. I haven't gotten a chance to work on the car any further. Truth is, the cacaphony of little rattles doesn't bother me so much with the loud persistant one gone. At least I don't normally hear these over the stereo!

    jtbruin--If you're having to ask about the rattles, I wouldn't worry! The ones I had when I first bought my car were not the kind you had to listen for! I'm guessing they've fixed a lot of these build-quality problems in the past nine months. Also, you can take your Toyota to any dealer--they're glad to do the work as they get paid from Toyota.

    denatz--the one by the windshield, is it persistant? Mine turned out to be a bad weld in the body under the windshield and wiper assemblies. (see my earlier post).

  • stnickstnick Posts: 177
    Well, I have had my 03 XLE since Feb 21st 03, and at 850 miles. I now have one dash rattle, and at least one persistent one in the front passenger door area. So much for Toyota solving the early rattle problems. Mine was built Dec. 02. Nothing as yet in the B pillars. I took out the glove box and spent a couple of hours looking. I found one of the air duct running across high up in the dash I could make rattle easily. I padded with foam rubber, and thought I had it whipped. But at times its still there. Mine are most notable on our rough brick streets in town and also on sharp cracks or expansion joints on highways. There also seems to be an occasional loud snap once and awhile at the windshield. These noises with the exception of the door rattle seem more prominent in colder weather. I might try to have a dealer find them, but I don't have much hope in them finding them. I am disappointed with these problems, but still like this car alot, especially with gas prices now.
  • In very cold weather I have a rattle coming from the windshield area----Knowing where this rattle might be coming from, do you think the dealer would still have to rip out the dash to check the weld....I know they were on a fact finding mission when they were ripping your car apart but I was wondering, having identified the area, if it was accessible thru some less involved means?
  • 98yoda98yoda Posts: 10
    One of the noises near the radio, believe it or not, was coming from the catylitic converter. The shield around the converter it to close and they have to loosen the bolts readjust the cover and tighten it down. Honestly. Your dealer will have a book full of common known problems with all models and this was under the Camry section. The sound will sound like it is in the center of the dash.
      I was told several different things for my rattle, loose body bolt, loose radio bracket, final lie, oops, solution was a faulty clip on the cowl. Who knows?
       The also had the cracking noise from the front and rear windows. On this I was told when they installed the windows they use a guide pin in the brackets for the windows. The district Rep. had the dealer remove the guide pins. The harsh cracking noise is gone and is replaced with an annoying softer squeaking noise.
        I have a 98 Tacoma also. It is a very rough ride, but it does not make a SOUND. The cars are just getting cheaper. I read before the new style of Camry came out that Toyota's goal was to produce a car to sell for the same price as the previous model but to cost 30 percent less to manufacture. Thus the reason for our rattles and squeaks.
  • Well, so much for my theory that they started fixing the build-quality problems, sine stnick's car is six months' newer than my own. I also like my car a lot, but wouldn't buy another one. The ironic part is that my 10-year-old maxima was starting to rattle so I replaced it with a brand-new rattle trap!

    andrelaplume--I wouldn't suppose that your dash rattle is the same one that they found on my car. I'm kind of getting the impression that these cars rattle all over, and that even Toyota isn't completely knowledgeable about where they all are. (It did take my dealer three days *with constant toyota help* to locate my rattle). No, there was no other way to access it except under the windshield wiper stuff--but I don't think it takes them long to remove that stuff).

    I still say that if you can stand the hastle of dropping the car off and bumming rides, the best way to go is to let the dealer take a crack at it. (Easier if the rattle is persistant).

    98yoda--How many times did you take your camry in for them to fix that dash rattle? The first time I took mine in they glibly told me that they "added some insulation" up under the dash. Well, having been inside my dash many, many times I knew for a fact the next time I was in there that they were not truthful.

    I totally subscribe to the theory that this is an experiment in lowering the cost of the vehicles. The thing that really sucks for me is that I bought the brand based on the reputation, but happened to pick the year that they pulled out all the stops to lower costs!

    The other thing that concerns me is how the rattles seem to "develop" as the first thousand or two miles are put on the car. I can't help but to wonder how many more rattles are going to develop over the next year. I kind of suspect that I should trade it in before it gets too old!
  • stnickstnick Posts: 177
    Thanks for the info on your "behind the radio" dash rattle. I was about to get in there to see what I could find. Since I am some distance from a dealer, I have been trying to solve some of these myself. I will look at the converter shield before I go into the dash. I had thought it was coming from the right side, but when I lean to the center of the car, the noise would move right to the center behind radio. Is that how yours acted? 02camrysowner, that was what I was trying to find out by someone on this board before I bought mine. I had asked one of the dealer guys on this board if the newer production units were better, got no response, guess he didn't know. Nick
  • junepugjunepug Posts: 161
    Here is a link to the TSBs. The one you are looking for is SB628680. The link is:

    We had the dealer fix this and have not had another rattle with our 2002 LE in the past 7,000 miles.

    Good luck.
  • stnickstnick Posts: 177
    Thanks a bunch, I will look it up and print it out. Thanks for the link, Nick
  • 98yoda98yoda Posts: 10

       The noise will sound like it is moving around. My wife was in the passenger side and I was driving and we heard a new loud rattle. I said it was the passenger side, she said it was the driver's side. We argued for a minute, I stopped the car dead in the middle of the road,(at least the ABS work), and we switched places. NOW I heard it on the drivers side and she heard it on the passenger side. WEIRD. Thank god it was only her sunglasses in the overhead compartment.

       My newest flaw with the car is a gasket between the front and back door. There is a piece of rubber that you can see between the doors when they are shut. This is attached to the back door that can be seen when it is open. The dealer has ordered new one because of "fault clips". It doesn't hurt anything but I bought a Camry so I didn't have to see my dealer. If I wanted to see a dealer this often I would have bought a Chrysler or Ford.
  • 98yoda98yoda Posts: 10

       The noise will sound like it is moving around. My wife was in the passenger side and I was driving and we heard a new loud rattle. I said it was the passenger side, she said it was the driver's side. We argued for a minute, I stopped the car dead in the middle of the road,(at least the ABS work), and we switched places. NOW I heard it on the drivers side and she heard it on the passenger side. WEIRD. Thank god it was only her sunglasses in the overhead compartment.

       My newest flaw with the car is a gasket between the front and back door. There is a piece of rubber that you can see between the doors when they are shut. This is attached to the back door that can be seen when it is open. The dealer has ordered new one because of "fault clips". It doesn't hurt anything but I bought a Camry so I didn't have to see my dealer. If I wanted to see a dealer this often I would have bought a Chrysler or Ford.
  • stnickstnick Posts: 177
    Well, last night I was able to get under the car to inspect and correct if necessary the cat converter heat shield. Unfortunately, it was positioned correctly, and was not the source of this rattle. This morning coming in to work the dash rattle was very apparent on rougher parts of the road. I did check my sun glasses in the holder:). Anyway, I made an appointment this Saturday at a dealership to give them a shot at it. I tried to remove very carefully the dash trim from around the radio, but it was very firm. since I didn't want to damage it, I decided to let dealer try 1st. Usually they just use a push in style clip. I will post the results after Saturdays trip to the dealer, for others here to reference. Thanks, Nick
  • After 2 trips to the dealership for a persistent front passenger door rattle that has returned yet again in my 2003 Camry, I decided to attempt a fix myself.

    I opened up the door and found what is potentially the cause. The inner door fascia has metal hooks at the top that hang onto the framework of the door. Metal on metal. Looked to me like a potential source of clicks, creaks and rattles. My door rattles in exactly the location where the metal hooks hang onto the metal door frame. There are nylon clips and a few screws that secure the inner door fascia to the metal door, but the weight of the fascia is supported by metal hooks at the top.

    I placed a couple of strips of tough foam insulation (not the cheap, soft A/C stuff) on the metal framework where the metal hooks on the fascia rest. After securing the fascia, I took a test drive and heard no rattle. It will take a few days before I know whether or not the fix was effective.

    I've read references to a rattle at the roof liner. I think that Toyota is aware of this particular rattle and has a "shim kit" for it. My 2003 Camry rattled above the rear window. Just a touch of the roof liner above the rear window and I knew exactly where the rattle came from. I cut a strip of 1/2" cylindrical insulation a few inches shorter than the width of the rear window and shoved it between the roof liner and the glass. There is certainly enough of a gap to accommodate the insulation. Again, it will take a few days before I can confirm that this was a good fix, although I am confident that this simple fix worked.

    P.S. I rue the day that I bought my 2003 Camry.
  • 98yoda98yoda Posts: 10
  • 98yoda98yoda Posts: 10

      When you say you opened up the door,did you mean you removed the door panels? If you did, you are a brave man. I am really interested to know if it works? Please keep us informed. I have a vacation planned for mid summer, 6 hours away, and my goal is to have all the squeaks and rattles gone by then.

       Sorry about previous nothing message. Hit the wrong button
  • First here's some info on getting into the dash. The radio trim ring comes up AFTER the climate control panel. So, start with the climate panel, pulling straight out from the bottom (either) corner. Both panels use push in friction clips that come straight out. Same for both vents in the dash near the door windows--they pull straight out. The vent on top of the dash right under the window I found impossible to remove, and wouldn't recommend trying.

    Doors (front) are easy to open up and put back together. Only thing to keep in mind is that when your removing the handle/control assembly it lifts up in the back, then slides out. (After taking the screw out, of course). Don't attempt to pry the front up, or it'll just break a plastic lip that slides under the door panel.

    I've yet to take apart the rear doors, but have taken out all the kick panels, lower door sills, b-pillar covers, etc., if anybody needs info on those. (Stereo installation).
  • I think it is pathetic that it has come to folks having to rip apart their $22K+ Camry's to attempt to fix rattles that the dealers do not know how to fix, or have not been instructed how to fix or for which their simply is no fix due to cut-backs/design flaws at Toyota. As a first time Camry owner who was lured in under the guise of 'it's really very close to a high quality luxury car', I feel ripped off. I encourage eveyone to keep bitching, moaning and complaining and most of all if you subscribe to Consumer Reports be sure to fill out the annual survey an let them know the car's defficiencies. Only when Toyota takes a hit in the pocket will something be done. Keep up the posts---and if solutions are found let us know....
  • stnickstnick Posts: 177
    I got decided to tackle the "behind the radio" rattle discussed earlier. Was going to dealer Saturday to see them about it. Any how, I found that the clock/compass/trip computer module attaches directly to the radio trim bezel which 02camrysowner gave instructions on how to remove in above post. That module is attached with 2 screws, one on each end. They seemed tight, BUT I could wriggle it up and down and it made a rattle noise. I torqued the philips screws a little and that removed the movement. After re assembly, it is now much quieter. How ever I will reserve a victory celebration for a few days. Just keep this one in mind as a possibility. I am still going to the dealer for the right frond door creeking trim, and will ask about the dash rattle. BUT andrelaplume is right about this all being BS.
  • stnickstnick Posts: 177
    Well kids, I will include my experiences today at my closest dealer 45 miles away to have rattles addressed in my previous posts. My own fix post #177 made things more quiet behind the radio, but did not eliminate it. I also had popping noises at times windshield area. I will now tell you all, word for word on the repairs right off the repair ticket. Perhaps this will help some of you with these issues.
    #1,"rattle in center of dash"
     "Raise car on hoist, adjust catalytic converter heat shield vibrating against floor of car"

    #2 "popping noise from windshield"
     "Lower head liner, remove alignment pins on windshield. Remove lower windshield cowl panel. Insulate panel from windshield. Install foam around contact areas. Also Rt A pillar cover. Reass, Test ok."

      I left the dealership with little hope of success for home, a 45 mile drive, 39 degrees outside temp, over highway with very sharp cracks every 20 feet, "radio off". I was pleasantly surprised that the noises were all gone. I am now very happy that I had the dealer try to repair this. This tech knew his stuff. The car is much more enjoyable to drive. Part 2 next post.
  • stnickstnick Posts: 177
    While I was very happy with the tech and dealer and of coarse, We'll see if the repairs hold up, I DO NOT understand why these cars are still being manufactured with these same defects or processes that have caused these problems for almost 2 years. I won't pretend to know that much about manufacturing, but one would think that my car built in Dec. of 02 would not have these same problems as the first runs of the 02's. Certainly these problems should have been corrected at the plant by now, or am I wrong here? Any way, at least give your dealer a try first, and good luck to you all. Sorry for long posts. Nick.
  • In their press release (it's in here somewhere) from last year Toyota said they addressed these issues in the obvious lie. Now they pay the price with CR lowering their rating to AVERAGE and the likes of Honda and worse yet Ford owners laughing it up. Can Toyota turn things around? Well, they did not learn from the sludge issue...loyal owners ignored it. They are not learning from this issue either. Perhaps loyal owners, the ones that make up their base, will swallow thier pride and start complaining. It's sad because if these noises were not so prevalent the car would be great. Many, will say we are in the minority and this will all pass. Hopefully Toypta Corp does not make that mistake. Competition is getting fierce and AVERAGE cars can not cost as much as the Camry does and still sell the units needed to stay in competitve business....
  • My front passenger door rattle returned with the cold weather. Too bad, I enjoyed a few rattle-free days and was happy about it.

    Can you tell me how to fully remove the front door fascia? I have removed the 3 or 4 screws, removed the window & lock module, removed the plastic piece at the front of the window, and popped the nylon fasteners around the perimeter of the fascia. However, the fascia is held securely and pivots at the upper front corner. I do not want to force the fascia off in this area for fear of damaging something.

    Plan B for me is to completely remove the fascia and stow it in the trunk for a few days. My latest hunch is that the fascia itself is weak and is the source of my creaks and rattles. If not, finding the source within the door should be much easier with the fascia removed.

  • Hi,

    Let's's been six months or so. There is a piece of plastic behind the door release latch, remove it and the screw behind it--sounds like that's the one you missed.

    Sorry it took me a few days to respond--the site was not accepting updates for awhile.

  • Have you had the door pillar apart...where the Seat belt adjustor is it hard....several posts have mentioned tightening a screw in here or putting felt in....I was at the dealer today (of course it did not vibrate or rattle on the very brief test drive) but anyway the guy seamed to acknowlege the issue but did not have a firm fix...more like a 'theres a lot of stuff in the adjustor that can/will/should make noise'. Didn't prior Camry's have this new technology (adjustors) other cars never made a peep....
  • Hi,

    No, I never did take the b pillars apart--at least not the upper fascia. I know the lower fascia comes off easily enough, and can't imagine that the upper would be hard to remove.

    My thinking was to remove the upper fascia and place adhesive felt on the back of the fascia where the belt slides contacts the fascia. I would also wiggle everything in there and see what rattles while it's apart. One thing I've noticed is that the buckles hit the pillar if the seatbelt is not in use and the adjuster is not in the highest position.
  • I've opened up the B pillar on the passenger side of my 2003. The lower panel was easy. The upper panel, where the seat belt height adjuster is located, was a bit trickier to reassemble.

    Lower panel: Snaps onto the upper (lighter) portion just below the seam. Reach under the internal (color of interior) weatherstripping type material just below the top of the lower (darker) panel. Pull sideways on each side of the lower panel to unsnap from the upper panel. Note a projection under the rearward side of the panel that will be placed under the black door trim upon reassembly. There is a plastic plug further down the panel. Pull the piece straight out to release that plug from the metal car frame. Even further down, there is another very similar plug. Same deal, but be careful with the lower plug because it isn't secured to the interior panel very well and could fall into the body of the car - never to be seen again!

    Regarding the upper panel that houses the seatbelt height adjuster: It's been so long since I removed that piece that my memory of the details isn't good. I think that it is primarily held in place with clips and plugs. I recall at least one metal clip that slid below the black door trim. I also recall that reassembly was hairy because the chintzy plastic button assembly has to line up with a substantial metal assembly underneath that also has a button on it. In short, the button mechanisms must fit together precisely or the height adjuster will not operate. However, once I figured out how to realign the mechanicals, the plastic part wasn't too bad.
  • ...and did you say that after all that effort your were able to quiet to pillar/adjustor noise?
  • Yes, I found a metal seatbelt guide that was loosely attached (screwed) to the metal body of the B pillar. The metal bracket made quite a "clunk" for such a small piece. If you pull the lower panel away, you may be able to see or feel the bracket. It is at the approximate height at which the upper and lower B pillar panels meet. You can't miss it - there isn't much else in there.

    I also placed some thick a/c foam in strategic locations in the lower B pillar panel. Care was taken to not interfere with seatbelt travel. If you look at the back of the lower B pillar panel, you will find some circular projections. I wonder whether some of those projections, or other parts of the plastic panel tap against the metal B pillar. I also wonder whether the cable at the bottom of the B pillar taps against the plastic. Anyway, I stuffed some foam between the circular projections and the side of the plastic panel in about 3 spots. I figured the foam would stay secure in these locations and never hinder seatbelt operation.

    I still have clicks and creaks all over the place (but not at the B pillars), and am resigned to living with them. However, my front passenger door issue is a true rattle, and I am still working on it. The weather has been too poor lately for me to work on the car.
  • rev4rev4 Posts: 38
    I know that this is not the source of all rattles but some of you might want to check out your sunglasses in your sunglasses holder. I thought I had rattles, but it was my metal rimmed sunglasses in the case. Once I turned them the opposite direction the rattles stopped. The rattle sounded like it came from the center dash or the front passenger door.....but neither was the case. In way, you might want to experiment by taking your sunglasses out or turning them the opposite direction in the holder..........see if some of your rattles disappear...mine did.
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