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Toyota Camry Rattles

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  • Those who subscribe to Consumer Reports...the annual questionaire has been sent out. Please relay your feelings about rattles in the appropriate category when you rate your Camry!
  • Perhaps I was overtired, but I was driven to the brink of insanity by the numerous interior rattles in my 2003 Camry last night. The dashboard is getting noisier lately, as well as the rear deck area. The rattles in 3 of the 4 doors have been with the car since day #1.

    I opened up the front passenger door today for about the third time. I've also had the car at the dealership twice for the same rattle. There is a clear plastic liner glued to the metal door frame that obviously had never been touched by dealership techs during either visit. I took the entire inner panel off, examined it and shook it to check for loose parts, then stashed it in the trunk for a test drive. The issues that I found were that the latch cable and the lock cable crossed over each other where I heard the "upper" rattle. I wrapped the cables. There is a foam block attached to the bottom of the inner door liner. It rocked slightly on its permanent (melted plastic) attachment points. I shimmed it with a small piece of foam. This may have accounted for the "lower" rattle, which could easily be mistaken for a B pillar rattle. The clear plastic liner is rigid and crinkly, and a cable or the inner door liner bumping against it might be heard. So, I placed a 16" x 16" piece of felt rug pad over the clear plastic liner before replacing the fascia.

    I've had an intermittent rattle at the top of the driver's side door in the area of the latch/lock mechanisms. The sound was like a cable bumping against something. So, I pulled off the driver's door liner and poked around. By the way, the lower rear clip had been broken at the factory. I surely did not break it, and the broken off head was nowhere to be found. I found that the cable to the mirror was uninsulated and touching the metal door frame. I wrapped it. I also noticed that the "shell" that surrounds the latch and lock mechanisms was very loose in the door liner. I could shake it around in the door liner - the fit was that poor. Since the "shell" is secured to the metal door frame with a screw when the inner door liner is installed, the poor fit probably did not result in a rattle. To be sure while the door was already open, I shimmed the part from behind. Once again, the lock and latch cables crossed over and were uninsulated. I wrapped them while the door was open even though I did not have a rattle in the vicinity. The uninsulated window and lock cables were leaning against the metal door frame, so I wrapped them. Lastly, I also placed a 16" x 16" piece of felt over the clear plastic liner only because I had done the same on the passenger side.

    Time will tell whether my efforts were worthwhile.

    Weather permitting, I'm going to tackle the rear passenger door next week.
  • 98yoda98yoda Posts: 10
    Keep it up camrytimes2. My wife has suggested we rent a van for vacation because I cannot stop complaining about the rattles.
    I hope all your work pays off. If it does I have a friend who is a bodyman who will do the same to my Camry.
    Are you sure the rattle in your dash is not the cat. converter as discussed in previous messages?
  • 98yoda,

    Most of my new dash noises are clicking sounds from the area at which the dash meets the windshield. I think that somebody has commented on this rattle either here or elsewhere. I'll have to research that one.

    Other parts of the dash speak up when the car flexes, typically when I back out of my driveway and onto the street.

    My feeling is that the current, extended Camry platform isn't really as rigid as Toyota claims it is, and body flexion (along with cost cutting design) has contributed to the interior rattles that we hear.

    My two front doors have been better, but the interior rattles are the worst when temps are in the 30's and 40's, so the doors haven't been through thermal testing yet!
  • 98yoda98yoda Posts: 10
    camrytimes2,

        Is it a clicking sound or louder cracking sound from your windshield. If it is a cracking noise, I mentioned in a previous message the the Toyota tech removed guide pins in the brackets that hold the rear window in. I assumed the front window is attached the same.
         If it is a clicking noise it may be a faulty clip in the cowl of the windshield. This is what the shop told me it was and the noise finally went away. Now is that the truth? Who knows.
         Driving home tonite a new noise started coming from our driver side area. I believe I read before that the outside mirror screws were loose and a noise started to come from there. My car has 16,000 miles on it and it is noisier than my 91 nissan with 150,000 miles on it.
        I agree totally with you. I believe it is a much less rigid platform. And the noise drives me insane when it is 30-50 degrees out. That is tough because my car rattles like crazy in the morning when I drive to the dealer. I will check in, wait a while, as my car sits in the sun warming up, and the tech finnaly drives it and says "I don't hear a thing." Reports "cannot duplicate noise." Very, Very frustrating. I
  • junepugjunepug Posts: 161
    We must have only rattle free Camry in existence and believe it or not, the car was asembled in Kentucky.
  • Symptoms: 2002 Camry, 10 months old, 8500 miles. This addresses dash rattles that appear to eminate from the back of the dash towards the windshield. The rattles at times appear to come from the drivers side, center or passenger side. The rattle may sound like a creak, crackle or pop. The rattles are generally worse when the weather is cold. The rattles are present when braking, pulling out, rough road surfaces etc.

    After reading a few posts on possible solutions I decided to stop by the dealer one cold morning and go for a test drive. The tech heard the noise as we drove. He almost immediately thought the noise was actually outside the car and was either windshield clips or the piece of plastic under the wipers but over the windshield. I was skeptical as we drove along because the rattles appeared at different locations. When we stopped I remained in the car at the wheel. He exited the car and closed the door. On the passenger side he started poking around the plastic piece just under the wipers/over the windshield. Sure enough I heard crackling that at first came from the drivers side and then else where as he poked around. He said the noise was actually from outside the car and passing in thru the glass.

    I dropped the car the next day. I have had it back now for four days. The creaking is gone (so far) when I brake or pull out. It also appears to be gone while driving. I HOPE IT LASTS!!!!! Of course now the passenger pillar door rattle is that much louder as is the driver side. I will return to Toyota in a few weeks and give them a shot at fixing this too.

    I too, remain skeptical but those of you waiting for a solution might want to schedule an appt for this fix. It was not very invasive and the chance of it making things worse appears nill. Here is what the work order (covered under warranty of course) said:

    Cowl Panel making contact with windsheild, Tech R&R cowl panel. Installed noise reduction tape and road tested, noise is gone.

    GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • stnickstnick Posts: 177
    I had posted a while back in this thread about the fix on my 03 XLE by dealer. There are some windshield alignment pins used during assembly that will make the noises you describe. They lowered the head liner at the windshield, and removed the cowl panel to remove these pins. Since then I have been without those noises. Post # 178 gives all the details. Good luck, Nick
  • I did see your post and a few similar so I figured I'd bring in my car. The tech was aware of the problem. From what he said they have a way to look up the car and see if the windshield pin fix is necesary or whether t just a matter of instlalling the noise reduction tape. Personally I don't care so long as the rattles are gone! Keep on postin'!
  • I've had my 2003 LE4 Camry (made November 2002) for almost two months now, with 1600 miles on the odo. From day two (day one was a waste as I was on cloud nine), I've heard intermittent snapping/creaking noises coming from the passenger side dash/door area. This seemed to have happened only when the temps were below 50 degrees. I pray I am not jinxing myself, but I think I have rid my car of this noise. The airflow dial for the vent on the passenger side was set somewhere between open and shut. I started moving it back and forth, and it made those same noises. I simply snapped it into the open position, and I've not heard a peep since. It was forty-something this morning, too.

    PS...Love this car!! Bought the split five-spoke alloys, and body-colored mud guards off the Internet. Sharp, sharp, sharp!
  • Thanks for all of the information on the windshield creaks/cracks/rattles. I'm not sure what to make of the sound. To me, it sounds like the top of the dash, very close to the windshield, creaks as the car flexes. This one is new, so I'll give it a bit more time and check the outer cowl, etc. before making a trip to the dealership re: alignment pins.

    I took the rear passenger door liner off today and did some investigation. Unlike the front door liners, the rear door liners do not hang on the metal door frame. Instead, they are just held in place using 5 screws and many plastic fasteners. I found a few spots where the unpadded window/lock harness and the unpadded latch and lock cables were in contact with the metal door frame, so I padded them.

    Interesting to note that the rear interior door fascia has an open gap at the B pillar. For those of you with B pillar rattles, check this one out. Open a rear door and observe/feel the front of the interior door fascia where it meets the metal door frame. The gap that you will find extends right into the door. Could rear door rattles be mistaken for B pillar rattles because of this gap?

    Again, it will take some time and perhaps weather changes before I can report back on rattle reduction.
  • edmund2460edmund2460 Posts: 293
    My instincts from the number of posts reporting rattles are that this looks like an isolated problem. Is that true or is there some web site like the one angry Ford owners had about their head gasket problems (which I found after my 93 Sable blew its gasket) Our new 03 is the VVT-i (HOW DOES ONE TELL THE PRODUCTION DATE - HELP) had about 100 miles on it when we bought it. Not a rattle in sight (or rather hearing) yet. Lowest temp since we bought it has been in 40's.

    Like APlume we are fleeing from Ford/Mercury Taurus and Sable. I think I will be upset too if I had a bunch of rattles. On the other hand I'm betting I won't be replacing darn near everything on the car as I did with the 93 Sable.

    Why are some people here attending on these problems themselves without dealer assitance?
  • edmund2460,

    Congratulations, and I hope that you enjoy your new ride. The new V6 must be a pleasure to drive.

    CR has downgraded the current Camry model because of the interior rattle issue, and Toyota has acknowledged (but not fixed) the interior rattle issue as well.

    I'd like to think that the problem was low volume on 2002's and corrected for 2003, but that was not the case. Many of the rattles are not present during the first few hundred miles but develop during the first few thousand miles. My new dash rattles developed fairly quickly at 6.5k miles.

    The rattles in my car have come so fast and furiously that I probably could make weekly trips to the dealership if you count attempted fixes and attempted refixes. This a summary of the rattles:

    front passenger door
    passenger side B pillar
    rear passenger door
    driver's door
    rear headliner
    rear deck area
    dashboard rattles near windshield (new for Spring)

    I made 2 visits to my dealership to fix a very pronounced rattle in the front passenger door. The rattle was so constant that the dealership service representative heard the rattle as he drove the car 100' over smooth pavement to a parking spot. The rattle was not fixed. When I later opened up the door myself, I noticed that the interior weather liner had not been touched since the car had been assembled - contradicting the information on my completed work report from the dealership.

    I don't work on Fridays and could in fact spend every one of them sitting in the dealership waiting area, or being a crank at the service counter complaining about fixes not performed.

    However, despite my diligence with disassembling the interior of my 2003 Camry in hopes of finding and fixing the sources of rattles, I have placed the issue in perspective and just want the rattles fixed in the most expeditious manner possible. If I must perform the work myself in order to reach my goal of rattle reduction in the most efficient manner possible - so be it.

    In a few years, I will express my confidence in Toyota and American design and assembly quality with my wallet by purchasing another make and most certainly a model of Japanese assembly. Too bad, because my 1997 Camry (assembled in Kentucky) was the best car that I have owned - and I had 3 new Hondas before that.
  • edmund2460edmund2460 Posts: 293
    I hope I don't run into this problem, but it has cast a pall on my purchase in my mind. I'm not handy so I wouldn't dare try to do this.

    Can you have a car 'lemon'ed because of rattles that can't be fixed?
    Are the dealers being cooperative about this and trying to give satisfaction?
    How do I tell the production date on my car? Is it on the sticker somewhere?
    I don't know what the inside of a well designed car's door panel should look like, but do you see signs of poor design that has caused these problems or are they assembly problems. You can design rattles out of a car by having more integrated parts.

    Keep us posted, I hope you soon reach zero rattles.

    This is my wife's car and she is much less tolerant about rattles than I am.
  • edmund2460,

    My car looks very well assembled. Everything lines up, and nothing was askew upon delivery. I found a broken fastener in the driver's door, but that is very minor and there are no overt signs that the car was slapped together. In fact, the paint job is far superior to that of my 1997.

    This has lead me to believe that cost-cutting design deficiencies may play a greater role than final assembly quality in the case of interior rattles. The fact that most of the rattles are temperature sensitive points to same. Cheaper or fewer fasteners? It isn't for nothing that my 1997 and 2003 were 6 years and just a couple of hundred $ apart in price.

    Which brings up the issue of finding rattles. They are so tough to ferret out because the interior looks properly assembled inside and out. That means multiple trips to the dealership can yield no positive result because the rattles are like gremlins. I can fault the dealership for falsifying their completed work reports, but not for having so much trouble finding rattles that may be by design.

    I had the front wheel bearings fail on a Honda at 20k miles. The wheel bearings were replaced and a period was placed at the end of the problem. Not the case with rattles - they are far more difficult to remedy and seem to have 9 lives.

    Aside from interior rattles, the car has been mechanically sound, and the performance gain with the 2.4 liter VVTi engine is significant. I averaged 30.5 MPG's on a recent tankful that was used 80-90% highway.

    I think that the local (Massachusetts) Lemon Law would require me to lose use of the car for X number of days over the same problems. The car runs fine, so I doubt that persistent rattles are covered.

    The rattles have been aptly described here as akin to "water torture", and I agree. That's what drove me to 'open my first door'!

    I believe that a plaque in the driver's doorjam will note the month of manufacture. I found that someone had written 9/26/02 on a metal plate inside my rear passenger door, so I assume that my car was assembled on that date.
  • wainwain Posts: 479
    seems they need to put out a rattle recall.
    my 94 camry is quiet at 105K miles
  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    RE: windshield pin fix / noise reduction tape. SEE PRIOR POSTS. After several weeks still no dash noise! Yea! Now I MUST get those door pillar noises and that darn intermitant radio vibration rattle fixed. They are even more annoying now that the dask rattle is gone.
  • jtbruinjtbruin Posts: 40
    My '03 camry le (Japanese made) seems to be developing a soft rattle at 2000 miles. I live in sunny california, so i don't think that it is temperature-related.
        it sounds like light tapping so far and seems to be coming from the steering gauges, or front dash/windshield. It isn't very loud, but seems like it can get annoying. From what you guys are posting so far, it seems that the rattles develope in these first thousand miles, so i'm sure it may develop later. anyone know if this is how their rattle started? should i be concerned? thanks
  • jtbruinjtbruin Posts: 40
    from what everyone is saying, i have a feeling that these rattles develop with more miles. So my question is that if the rattles develop after you are out of your warranty, will Toyota still look at it and repair it at no charge?? any toyota salespeople here know?
  • rev4rev4 Posts: 38
    I made a post quite awhile ago that no one responded to. I discovered that what I thought was a rattle was ACTUALLY MY SUNGLASSES VIBRATING/RATTLING IN THE SUNGLASSES BIN. When I reversed their position in the bin....the rattle stops........when I put them in the wrong way...I get the rattle/vibration again. I discovered, for me, it wasn't the car at all.....but my sunglasses...and I had an easy fix. HAVE ANY OF YOU EXPERIMENTED TO SEE IF SOME OF YOU HAVE THIS SIMPLE SOLUTION???
  • jtbruinjtbruin Posts: 40
    thanks for the info aboutr the sunglasses, i keep that in mind, but i don't put anything in there, so it can't be that. mine sound like light popping and is intermittent( streerts in my area are usually paved very well), so it is hard to ID.

    can anyone answer my question about the warranty/rattle? thanks.
  • 98yoda98yoda Posts: 10
    I think I can fix your rattles.
    Put your window down with your left hand, place your sunglasses in your right hand, throw your sunglasses out the window and, no more rattles forever.
    I think you can plainly see that you are a lucky one, you have no real rattles, or squeaks. Others, myself included, have rattles in the dash, doors, pillars, and rear windows. Just not a sunglass problem.
    Next Thursday I get to see the area Toyota Rep. again for the third time in a year to try to fix the noise in pillar or door or both. I believe my recent noise is coming from my window rattling in the frame of the upper door. I will write next week if I have any luck.

    There rev4, there is your response, and if You look back in past postings, I reported the sunglasses issue a long time ago.
  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    My brother-in-law fixed his Camry problems. He's driving a Jetta now. I can't believe he switched! And now he's talking about replacing his 2nd car with a Jetta wagon. Both TDI models (>50 MPG).
    My father-in-law has a '92 Camry with 260,000 kms on it ... and no rattles to speak of. He's talking about an Altima for his next car. He's driven Toyotas for almost 30 years!
    Toyota has almost US$30 BILLION in the bank. Could there be a correlation between their record high profits and signs of quality issues?
  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    Initially I read Toyota was #1 in overall quality recently. I could not believe this! Upon further investigation Toyota Corp was #1 due to the Lexus brand. The Toyota brand had slipped to number 10 I think....what a surprise!
  • n4tyn4ty Posts: 5
    I posted back in #84 about my 02 LE (aka The Rattler).
    The passenger door buzz has disappeared. I'll take it.
    However, the dash buzz has really got to go.
    You can hear it over the radio and it's driving us nuts.
    Even worse, it's intermittent, and seems to operate in a certain temperature band, not too cold, not too hot, just right (which means most of our driving time). And it never fails for the dealer (consistent NTF's).
    It sounds like metal-on-metal contact, and here is the wierd part: I can stop it at will by laying my hand on the dash between the right center air vent and the radio stack.
    Even better, I can just lightly touch my fingers to the dash material above the upper-left of the radio stack.
    It almost seems as if there is metal underneath the dash material, and it is vibrating against some metal on the radio stack, and just light hand/finger pressure will dampen it.
    Does anyone know how this area is put together?
    The dealer hasn't been able to fix it, although he did the TSB on the heat-shield. He claims the other TSBs are for the sunroof (not in my case) and removing pins around the windshield area on Japanese-built models.
    Any ideas?
  • slov98slov98 Posts: 112
    i have the 03 camry with about 700 miles on it, i've noticed pretty much from day one, when the turning signal is on, left or right, and you make a turn there is a click/squeak coming from the steering wheel, if you don't use the signal, it's fine
    anyone ever experienced this?
  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    Dealer lubricated the door seals on my passenger door and it greatly quited a bunch creaks and rattles. I did the other doors myself. There is still an issue in the door pillars though and it seams these door seals will need to be lubed every few weeks. Obviously a defect with Toyota will no doubtably ignore yet likely change the seal composition on future Camry's...if they have not done so already. The intermittant dash rattle (described a few posts above) still comes and goes. It is annoying as all hell...it's a good thing I don't have a sledge in the car or I beat the hell out of the dash to try and shut the thing up...what really birns me up is Toyota denial of all these issues...perhaps that is why suddenly the supposed #1 selling car needs a rebate as an incentive to sell...when the car came out new they did not offer one!
  • n4tyn4ty Posts: 5
    I posted recently in #213 about my dash rattle, and gave the dealer another shot at it.
    As usual, it did not fail on the way over, but I insisted on showing the service writer and mechanic how to squelch the rattle by applying finger pressure on the dash in certain areas.
    The mechanic decided to let the car sit in the sun for awhile to warm up the dash, and it FAILED for him right off.
    He pulled the radio stack, and insulated where the radio stack and the top of the dash contacted the HVAC ductwork.
    Fixed! andrelaplume and camrytime2, hope your rattles get fixed too :--)
  • stnickstnick Posts: 177
    I too have one that emanates from behind the radio stack. But it usually has to be under 55 to 60'temps. When warmer,its quiet. The first fix was the cat heat shield. Seemed okay for awhile, but its not that. I had not noticed being able to press anywhere on dash to quiet it, but I will try it next time and print your fix,n4ty, for later investigation. By the way, I am moving to Arizona next week from the mid west, so maybe I won't hear the dash rattle any more anyway with the warmer temps. Ha!
  • canoe2canoe2 Posts: 128
    The noise emits from B pillar every time braking, turning, pulling out.
    Any quick fix ? Thanks
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