2007 Toyota RAV4 V6 rattle on start. Cam gear problem Should I sell it?

Hi Knowledgeable car folk!

I have this problem that someone else has recorded here on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18d1uiiKkzI
This sounds like an expense repair and a problem that can only get worse over time. My mechanic thinks I should sell the car while the problem is intermittent rather than pay probably at least $5000 to get it fixed. It seems to be the problem in Toyota TSB 0094-09 but the dealer wont fix it because it is out of warranty. Id appreciate any advice here. I love the car otherwise…

I bought this car used with 90K miles from a Toyota dealer and it had a problem within weeks after I brought it - an oil leak from the timing cover which involved taking the engine out to repair, which they did and the noise seemed to start after that which would confirm the problem in the TSB but they wont take responsibility for fixing it as its a known problem I guess so it could have just happened anyway.

One of the posts on youtube said:
"Wife’s RAV4 w/ the V6 had been doing the same thing for years. She took it to dealer, who told her everything was OK. Last weekend @ 101k mi, the intake cam gear exploded and took out the timing cover, valve cover, and threw metal shrapnel into the oil. "

Eek - if that’s going to happen, I want to sell or trade in the car first.

Please help - I would be so grateful for any advice…


Apparently it costs around $3500 to get all the crap done in the SB. Here is the Toyota forum describing the grinding sound at start.

Thanks a lot for the link - sorry I didn’t get notified that there was a response. Any idea what will happen if I do nothing? Will the engine explode and bits of metal come flying out??!! Wondering if I should get rid of the car now?


If you do get rid of the car, PLEASE tell the prospective buyer about the problem

It would be a shame to pass the car off as a creampuff, only to have it fail catastrophically on him 2 days after buying it from you

Well as an update, I still have the car and the noise seems to occur less frequently now - rarely in fact. Has anyone else experienced this issue? I’m still not sure if I should sell the car before it gets worse, or, if its not getting worse, keep it! So I’d really appreciate any input…

It sounds to me like the bendix gear hanging up on the starter. It seems to coincide with the release of the ignition. I would remove the starter…put some gear grease on the bendix and see if the noise goes away. If it does…you should be in the clear. Does the noise only happen when you start the car? I’ve heard this noise several times before and it’s not exclusive to RAV4’s. The fix was a starter or bendix gear replacement. If you do remove the starter…make sure and inspect the flex plate to see if there are any broken/worn teeth.

Trade it in hope its not picked up. They rake enough folks over the coals IMHO to cover their costs and risk.

I would not sell it to anyone privately however.

I agree with missileman, sounds like the starter gear is hanging up. Has anyone checked the starter?

Plus, if it was a cam gear problem, you’d expect the noise to become more frequent, not less frequent.

That sound on the video is a starter.

Get your sound checked by an independent mechanic. you can stick a 1/4 hose in your ear and listen to quickly determine where the nose is coming from.

If it is coming from the timing cover then trade the truck in for a four cylinder.

Sounds like a starter hanging up to me.