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'09 Camry with metallic popping sound: UPDATED

I have an '09 Camry and for the last few months have been hearing a metal popping sound in the rear wheel area when I go over a bump or pothole unevenly or backout of a driveway at an angle to go onto the street. The sound does not occur when the wheels when they are even, only when the rear right wheel is “lower” than the left. It has not been in any accidents and there was no event that preceded this popping. I took it to the dealership but they were unable to replicate the issue but it happens no matter who drives the car (my husband or myself) and it is likely that the service guys didn’t go over any bumps/curbs/potholes unevenly to hear the sound. Any idea of what this is or if this is in need of getting fixed? They check the axles and said everything was good with the car but it is still popping and driving me nuts.
Current suggestions:
• cracked bearing race. It could be another problem entirely having to do with the suspension mounts or axle mounts but let’s hope these new mechanics will figure it out.
• problem with a wheel bearing
• struts and suspension components
• bushings and parts
• loose upper strut center nut or from loose upper strut mounting nuts

UPDATE: I took it back to a shop but they are thinking the sound is actually coming from the body near the roofing area in the right rear portion of the car. They seem to think based on the sound (metal popping only when that wheel is lower (like coming out of a driveway angled, or going over a pothole)) that it is the metal body but it would cost and arm and a leg to get in to even find out what it was. They assured me that it wasn’t impacting the safety of the body and is just a funky sound. The sound is much louder in the car than outside which I think kind of supports their theory. Any thoughts? Are they right and it won’t impact the safety?

I think you need to have a body shop check this out. It could be just the glue/ caulk that go’s between the roof supports and the roof has separated. But I don’t like that the body is moving that much that it causing a popping sound. They need to look at all of the unibody on the rear of this car.

I don’t see any mention of an inspection of the stabilizer bar, its bushings, and links. The stabilizer bar is the first suspect whenever you get noise with uneven compression or expansion of the axle suspension.

This car has a rear stabilizer bar. The bushings that hold the stabilizer bar insulate the bar from the the mounting points. Also there are two links with joints at each end that can wear and make a popping sound when they are loose.

I would expect the dealership to have inspected and/or replaced the bushings and links.

Hope this helps.

I’d imagine that the dealer would have checked for this but the rear control arm could make noise and that noise could travel.
Maybe put it on a stand and see if you can push the wheel up with a jack to see if there’s noise when it is bottomed out and being pushed back up.

This was happening to my Camry as well as on other Camry’s I service. The noise might be coming from the strut rod coming in contact with the upper strut mounting plate when hitting bumps or when rolling over uneven surfaces. There are two rubber bushings that are suppose to isolate the strut rod from the mounting plate. Over time these bushings shrink. The reason it sounds like it’s coming from the roof area is because the upper strut mounts are located next to the c-pillars for the roof.

The fix is to remove the rear package shelf for the rear window to expose the nuts for the strut rods. And then tighten the nut to squash the bushings so that the strut rod no longer comes in contact with the mounting plate.