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Popping sound in right rear wheel area has mechanics baffled

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.

I would find another Toyota dealership and have it checked there. All dealer service departments are not the same. The last time I fixed a problem with the rear axle on a front wheel drive vehicle that had a “popping” sound…it turned out to be a 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.

I too was thinking maybe a problem with a wheel bearing. If it’s been doing it for several months and it is a wheel bearing it’s likely to leave you stranded on the side of the road before much longer. Bearings would be the first thing I’d check. Might also need to have someone take a look at the struts and suspension components.

Rear suspension on my 2000 Camry is noisy over bumps, and has been for years. There are sway bars and trailing arms and some other stuff on the rear suspension. The rubber bushings can wear and get loose and hence some noise. In my case these are annoying but not a handling or safety issue. So, I just live with it. You should have this checked out until the source of the noise is found. The rear suspension is more complex than the old solid axle days, so you need to rule out any safety concerns.

The attached link shows a rear suspension very similar to if not the same as your Camry. As you can see, there are a number of bushings and parts that could be the culprit. Personally, I’d suggest a bad shock, a tired old bushing, or a sway bar link sticking at one end. I agree that you should get a new shop. This one ain’t rocket science.

http://tijil.org/Scion_Docs/05_tC_Shop_Manuals/Repair%20Info/Repair%20Manual/Rear%20Suspension/Rear%20Suspension/conponen.pdf

Here’s what the rear suspension on your Camry actually looks like. http://www.repairmotive.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/2004-Toyota-Camry-L4-2.4L-Rear-Strut-Assembly.png There’s four lateral links with bushings, a stablizer bar with two bushings, two stabilizer bar end links, two trailing arms with bushings, and two strut assemblies. I doubt that the bushings or the links are worn on this new of a Camry.

I’ve heard a popping sound from not only from the rear of my Camry but in other Camry’s. And it was caused from a loose upper strut center nut or from loose upper strut mounting nuts.

Have them remove the rear package shelf and check if any of the upper strut mounting hardware is loose.

Tester