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Old 10-03-2023, 09:08 AM #1
ryannemeth ryannemeth is offline
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Grinding/squealing from the bell housing - Cracked flex plate?

Hey all. hoping someone can help identify this noise before I start buying parts and pulling the trans.

2003 4runner sport, v6, 3040LE trans with dipstick. 175k miles

I get a grinding/squealing noise when the car is in drive or reverse, but stopped with the brake applied. It goes away when i start moving. The noise does change with AC clutch engagements or steering, but i took off the belt and it still made the noise, so its not coming directly from any belt driven accessories.

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This only happens after driving a few miles when things warm up.

I used a mechanics stethoscope and am 99% sure its coming from behind the bell housing.

I think its may be a cracked flexplate, but has anyone heard this before? I cannot find many other threads for 4th gen flex plate issues.

Does anyone know if its possible to swap the flex plate by just pulling the trans back a few inches on the 4th gen?

Thank you all for your help!

Last edited by ryannemeth; 10-03-2023 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 10-03-2023, 09:29 AM #2
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I had a cracked flex plate in the TH350 trans in my '83, it made quite racket.
On the bottom of the trans there should be an access plate you can remove and see it.
Then just rotate it and look for a crack. Mine was so bad it was obvious.
And yes you should be able to replace it by pulling the trans back a few inches.
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Old 10-03-2023, 03:40 PM #3
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I have had a bad flex plate on a van I used to have, it made noise as soon as the car was started and eventually broke completely. I don't see how it could be intermittent as it is moving as soon as the engine is spinning. Sounds more tranny related unless something is resonating to the area.

BTW, that van had had the tranny replaced at some point and there was dirt in one of the alignment holes which made it not seat all the way. Something would have to be off to break one of these I would think.
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Old 10-20-2023, 10:31 AM #4
ryannemeth ryannemeth is offline
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Update:

I went ahead and replaced the flex plate and the sound went away. There were no visible cracks, just a small gap between the plate and the gear ring welded on the outside.

Also replaced driver manifold (oem), and the 2 rear cats (walker) while I was at it.

Notes - I tried to use 4 120mm bolts to slide the trans back on to keep everything aligned. I could take out the flex plate bolts, but there was not enough room to slide the flex plate out past the frame cross member.

If anyone needs a passenger rear cat, amazon had the walker california version for only $230 ($645 on rock) - Amazon.com

Thank you all for your help!
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