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2009 Toyota RAV4 - torque converter shudder

Yeah I had the TC shudder on my 81 Olds but not since then. You could get similar issues going into overdrive so had to determine if it was the TC or the overdrive that was causing the shudder. Back then they used to say to disconnect that square four prong plug at the trans but I do believe sense then, it is not a recommended method except to diagnose.

At any rate, if in fact it is the TC, I would recommend having it checked by a good trans shop or the dealer. If it blows apart, it will send particles all through the transmission that will require disassembly and overhaul. How do I know? Lots of miles, lots of transmissions.

Good diagnosis job there OP. Good for you.

Update - Go Figure. After the dealer said I have TCS I contacted the AAA guy who writes the car column in the Providence RI paper. He recommended adding an additive to the transmission, So I finally decided to do that. I first checked the Transmission Fluid level and found it overfull by about a pint. So I drained a quart (1 pint overfull and 1 pint for additive) and added the additive (Greased Lightning Transmission Treatment) and checked the level OK. I’ve driven the RAV several times over 10 miles the fluid level has checked correct and much to my surprise the noise is basically gone. Only occurs very infrequently, much shorter duration and not a loud as before. So Go Figure. I guess at next service interval I’ll have the transmission fluid changed as it presently has 35 - 40K miles on it.

Are you saying your first diagnosis about the exhaust system rattling sound was wrong, and now you believe it’s actually TCS? As you discovered there are transmission fluid friction modifier additives available which claim to address that problem. The theory is that the additive makes the lock-up clutch a little more slippery, so it isn’t as likely to go into a catch, release, catch, release … vibration oscillation during lock-up. Similar to the reason that limited slip differentials often require a friction modifier additive.

Actually all I know is that the noise that occurred at 1500 RPM in 4th gear is greatly reduced. I have always been under the impression that if it is TCS I would experience (feel) a vibration in the vehicle which I have not, I’ve only heard a noise in the back end of the vehicle. The noise I heard at idle that was stopped by pressing on the exhaust system is still present at times during idle.

The typical complaint we hear here for TCS is it sounds & feels like you are driving over a cattle guard.

Definitely Not what I have experienced. I just hear a rattle (buzzing sound) in the back end of the vehicle right at 1500 RPM in 4th. Don’t feel any vibration no sound like driving over a cattle guard.

Hey I have an 09 Rav 4 that recently has had this shudder but only when in a high gear and your foot is barely on the gas. Taking off is fine it shifts fine but then say you are just cruising and the rpms are between 1000 and 2000 and you are just maintaining speed you can start to feel this vibration almost but as soon as you either give it more gas or let off it completely it goes away. Could this be TCS?