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Old 11-28-2022, 10:59 AM #1
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Cannot identify sounds - wheel bearing did not fix

I have a 2007 4Runner Sport with about 175,000 miles. It's making an abnormal metal sound when driven over bumps or pot holes. To me it sounds like a clunk or sometimes a rattle. I originally thought wheel bearings because sometimes you'll get a bit of a metal shaking sound. But that's only sometimes. I don't hear the sound when the windows are rolled up, but it's pretty load when the windows are down.

Here is a short video I took with my hand outside the drivers window. This is how it sounds: car sound - YouTube

I took it to a shop and they thought it might be the front driver's side wheel bearing. They said the wheel had excessive play. I just replaced the entire hub and bearing assembly. That did not fix the problem.

I got under the car and checked the skid plates. No loose bolts or vibrations. I then removed the front skid plate to check the front sway bar bushings. They looked tight without any gaps.

I've gotten under the car and pounded my hand against most things I can see and cannot replicate the sound. Also, the sound does not occur when cornering. It does not change as I accelerate or decelerate. It appears to be completed tied to bumps and holes.

Help!

Last edited by fateshand; 11-28-2022 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 11-28-2022, 11:12 AM #2
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Are you on your original suspension? If so, that would be my first thought. Also take a look at your LCA bushings. Mine aren’t making noise but they’re clearly shot at 235K miles (rubber is cracked and some has worn away). I’m replacing them with a pair from 1A Auto. If yours are worse than mine, that could be the source. In any case, please update once you track it down.

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Old 11-28-2022, 01:43 PM #3
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Does it sound like loose change or loose bolts? Only on one side? After I had my brakes done on my 03 I noticed what sounded like loose change being rattled around every time I went over a bump. Turned out they did not install anti-rattle springs, can't remember if that's the official name or not. Picked up a set from the dealer and had the shop that did the brakes throw them on, boom - noise was gone. Just had one get bent and removed on my 2011, and now there's a rattle over bumps. AFAIK, it's harmless.
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Old 11-28-2022, 03:44 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluesky 07 View Post
Are you on your original suspension? If so, that would be my first thought. Also take a look at your LCA bushings. Mine arenít making noise but theyíre clearly shot at 235K miles (rubber is cracked and some has worn away). Iím replacing them with a pair from 1A Auto. If yours are worse than mine, that could be the source. In any case, please update once you track it down.
Yes I am on the original suspension. I will take a look at the lower control arm bushings to see if I notice any cracks or damage. Thanks for the idea.
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Old 11-28-2022, 03:47 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balong48 View Post
Does it sound like loose change or loose bolts? Only on one side? After I had my brakes done on my 03 I noticed what sounded like loose change being rattled around every time I went over a bump. Turned out they did not install anti-rattle springs, can't remember if that's the official name or not. Picked up a set from the dealer and had the shop that did the brakes throw them on, boom - noise was gone. Just had one get bent and removed on my 2011, and now there's a rattle over bumps. AFAIK, it's harmless.
I'm not sure I would associate the sound with loose change, but there are some times when it can rattle almost like the sound of a bag of marbles moving around. But the sound can also be a single thud or clang.

I will upload the video with audio when I get home today and hopefully that will help some of you who are smarter than me start to pinpoint where to check.

I replaced the front brakes yesterday (and was sure to put in those little springs for the pads) and will try and do the rear in the next few days. But those springs are definitely not the issue. Thanks for the idea though.
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Old 11-28-2022, 05:59 PM #6
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Check the sway bar bushings where it attaches to the frame. They get worn and loose and can make odd noises.
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Old 11-28-2022, 06:29 PM #7
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It could be anything: bad front strut mounts, worn bushings anywhere, exhaust hitting the frame somewhere, loose spare tire, loose, exhaust heat shields etc...

Start with bushings. Lift up the front and get a medium sized pry bar and pry the bushings up and down or the control arms up and down. Then just keep moving on to the next possibilities.

Good luck.
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Old 11-28-2022, 06:32 PM #8
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Yes I am on the original suspension. I will take a look at the lower control arm bushings to see if I notice any cracks or damage. Thanks for the idea.
It's 99% certain your X-REAS suspension is done for (mine lasted 150K; see link in my sig for more on that), and that could be the source of the sound. To me, the fact it's triggered by potholes and bumps makes it likely the suspension is involved somehow.
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Old 11-28-2022, 10:33 PM #9
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Here is audio to hear the sound

OK, here is the video I took with my phone outside the drivers side window. You can here some of the sounds.

car sound - YouTube
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Old 11-28-2022, 10:36 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluesky 07 View Post
It's 99% certain your X-REAS suspension is done for (mine lasted 150K; see link in my sig for more on that), and that could be the source of the sound. To me, the fact it's triggered by potholes and bumps makes it likely the suspension is involved somehow.

I really hope you are not correct. But, I would not be surprised if that turned out to be the issue. Any tips on diagnosing an issue with the suspension? Am I looking for oil leaks or other common issues also?
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Old 11-29-2022, 07:39 AM #11
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I wanted to share a photo in case this could have anything to do with the sound Iím hearing. This is the drivers side front wheel well.

The top of the knuckle has oil runoff near the joint. Not sure whatís causing that but know it shouldnít be there.
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Old 11-29-2022, 09:54 AM #12
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I wanted to share a photo in case this could have anything to do with the sound Iím hearing. This is the drivers side front wheel well.

The top of the knuckle has oil runoff near the joint. Not sure whatís causing that but know it shouldnít be there.
There's fluid on the shock body visible between the spring coils; it appears to be leaking. Forgive me if you know this, but 4th Gen Sport Editions have X-REAS, which is a system that pipes fluid in an X pattern (hence the X in the name) between shocks on the opposite corners of the vehicle. So, front DS to rear PS and front PS to rear DS. This provides better cornering and so on, as the Toyota video below explains (it shows a 5th Gen but the system works the same).

But if (well, when) the shocks start leaking, you're done. Toyota "recommends" replacing the entire system, which costs many thousands of dollars. I've heard the shocks can be replaced one at a time but it's very expensive and not worth the bother since it won't work correctly if you get a leak somewhere else.

FWIW, I took a very conservative course when replacing mine b/c I didn't want to drop a grand or two on a setup I wouldn't know if I liked until I drove the truck. It's not a shirt you can return if you change your mind. FB Marketplace usually has Tacoma take-off suspensions, which are a great choice to start with. The 2nd and 3rd Gen Tacomas are plug-n-play on 4th Gens except for the lower rear shock bushings, which are easy to replace. The link in my sig explains everything, including how to remove the X-REAS (you must follow the process b/c the system is pressurized).

Anyway, my first Tacoma setup was from a 2015 TRD Offroad and I bought new FJ springs for the rear to go with it. Total cost? $200 and a day of my time to swap it in. That gave me time to get a feel for what's out there. I upgraded to a 2020 Tacoma setup for about $300 more a couple years later and have now decided to go with Eibach. (There's lots to like about them but that's another discussion.)

There are a lot of X-REAS problem threads and I encourage you to do more research, but if that shock is leaking, that side may be bottoming out and that's making the sound. It's not 100% certain but it's pretty darn close IMO.



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Old 11-29-2022, 10:37 AM #13
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Crap

Just found this video on YouTube with a guy showing what his X-REAS suspension sounds like with damage. This is exactly what my car is doing. Crap.

Hoping Iím capable enough to replace the old system with some new bilstein 4600 shocks :-)

Found some online for $360. Seems reasonable.

2013 4runner front end suspension noise - xreas shocks were the problem - YouTube
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Old 11-29-2022, 12:20 PM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fateshand View Post
Just found this video on YouTube with a guy showing what his X-REAS suspension sounds like with damage. This is exactly what my car is doing. Crap.

Hoping Iím capable enough to replace the old system with some new bilstein 4600 shocks :-)

Found some online for $360. Seems reasonable.

2013 4runner front end suspension noise - xreas shocks were the problem - YouTube
Silver lining is that you'll be very pleased with the resulting ride and handling. Post linked in my sig has removal instructions. It's not that hard, just tedious. For the installation of the front shocks, you'll need a spring compressor or you can find one of the "no spring compressor method" threads here.

I know this suggestion is kind of me spending your money, but it makes sense to replace the springs too. Reasons:

1. You won't be doing another install when the originals eventually sag, or wondering how much better the ride and handling would have been with new ones.
2. They're not horribly expensive.
3. Otherwise, you and your new shocks will be riding around on metal that's 15+ years old and has carried a 4500-lb. SUV for the equivalent of 7 trips around the equator.
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Old 11-30-2022, 07:53 PM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balong48 View Post
Does it sound like loose change or loose bolts? Only on one side? After I had my brakes done on my 03 I noticed what sounded like loose change being rattled around every time I went over a bump. Turned out they did not install anti-rattle springs, can't remember if that's the official name or not. Picked up a set from the dealer and had the shop that did the brakes throw them on, boom - noise was gone. Just had one get bent and removed on my 2011, and now there's a rattle over bumps. AFAIK, it's harmless.
Lord I thought I was the only person who had this happen to them. Same deal, had a shop replace my rear wheel bearings (they were shot at 250K) and while they were in there go ahead and replaced the parking brakes and rear pads. Rattled constantly, took it back and told them and they did nothing, finally I pulled the rotor and saw the springs were missing, took it back again and got the run around. I just bought a hardware kit from NAPA and put them on myself and reminded myself why I learned how to wrench on my own cars.

To the OP, this is worth a check. Have you had any brake work done, specifically on the rears? Have you used the parking brake a lot recently? Its possible the rattle springs degraded if they haven't been serviced regularly and suddenly getting used could cause them to break and fall out.
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