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Noise after timing belt and water pump replacement

I had the timing belt, water pump and thermostat replaced on my '97 RAV4. The next morning while braking at a red light I heard a rapidly repeating sound that sounded like metal on metal. The car never made that sound again but now I’m hearing a noise coming from the passenger side of the engine (timing belt side). When the engine is cold I don’t hear it. After driving a while its starts, then once the engine warms up it generally goes away (except for this morning which was the coldest morning since this started, temps in the 40s). I was only hearing the noise when the car was stopped either in drive or reverse (reverse sounded louder) if I lightly let up on the brake pedal (there’s no pulsing in the brake pedal). Once under way the sound goes away. This morning it was making the sound virtually every time I came to a stop (once the car warmed up) even with my foot firmly on the brake pedal. I recorded the sound Saturday while standing still with the car in drive and my foot slightly easing up on the brake pedal. The sound starts at the 20:30 mark, any idea as to what it could be?

"I had the timing belt, water pump and thermostat replaced on my '97 RAV4."

How long ago?

I’m curious. Why are you not returning to the shop that did the maintenance work, rather than asking us, if you suspect it has to do with the work?

I’ll agree with CSA. Get that car back to the shop and ask them to find that noise. It may be that the timing belt tension isn’t correct. BTW, is the engine a V-6 or I-4? I saw several of the rear wheel drive 3.0 Toyotas with badly worn crankshaft keyways caused by timing belt slack. They required a new crank and harmonic balancer.

Good question. I brought it back to the shop last Friday. The mechanic told me he drove the car around and didn’t hear the noise. If I could have some idea as to what’s going on before taking it back in, I’m thinking that would be helpful,

Get a mechanic’s stethascope and use the wand to isolate the noise. When you narrow down the source the shop should make an effort to determine the cause. And when you return to the shop ask what they will do if the timing belt fails and results in extensive damage.

Ironically, just a few hours ago I was discussing timing belts with a fellow old fart. We were discussing all the problems from the timing not being properly reset, and our feeling that multitudes of problems caused by timing belt work over the years might have been a factor in manufacturers’ decisions to go to chains… I cannot think of one manufacturer that uses belts anymore.

Yeah, IMHO this is the shop’s responsibility to diagnose and correct.

Can’t say for sure if this is the OP"s problem, but I had something like that happen one time I replaced the water pump on my Ford truck. As part of that process I flushed the cooling system, using a flushing product designed to dissolve cooling system deposits. At the time I used a reverse-flow-flush process. Then with the new pump, after a day or two, the front of the engine started making a scraping noise, more evident at idle than driving down the road. It turned out some marble sized pieces of calcified-junk has dislodged in the cooling system and were scraping against the impeller of the water pump.

Your recording means almost nothing. We hear all kinds of noise,as if you’re walking in crunchy snow or you’re under the hood shaking the air filter housing, then it goes silent except for occasional passing traffic.Without narration we don’t know what you’re doing.
At one point it sounds like the belt is shredding and hitting the plastic timing covers. Not likely. I would suspect a loose pulley namely power steering.Could be the motormount is loose.Take it back, get written work order that it was reinspected.

let us know the outcome. Is check engine light on? What is code?

If this noise appeared directly after the T belt service…TRUST US… Get the shop that did the work to live with the car for a few days. You want them to own this. What can happen with failed, suspect new, or not replaced parts during the T belt service are NOT pretty. Put it thisa way… Out of the 5 last cars I have purchased for a song…4 of them Grenaded the T belt. I buy them…fixed them…and sold them, fully repaired and at a massive profit margin. If I was paying a shop to do the work it would not work out financially…by any means.

I myself have done so many T Belts I truly cannot count them… If I hear any noises… I STOP…and get to the bottom of it…POST HASTE. A lot of us know what happens if the T belt fails…but few know the actual detail by detail damage that must be remedied… Trust me you do not want a crash course in this.

It could be something simple…the problem is…that simple thing is buried under the Timing belt cover and takes a lot of “getting to it work” just to get to the part…worse is the fact that every component under that cover relies on the other to function flawlessly…there can be no weak link…they all fall if one piece fails… This may be something outside the t belt cover…but for Pete Sakes get the shop to get to the bottom of it. Because I promise you do not want the lovely gifts something like this can produce.


Completely agree with Blackbird. The shop that did the work needs to keep it for a few days so that they can narrow it down. I was always taught that if a new noise or problem appears after I made a repair, the likelihood is that I created it. The shop needs to track it down right now.