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Rattle or Buzz on Passenger Side? Check Here:

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubles' started by skilbovia, May 9, 2011.

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  1. skilbovia

    skilbovia Member

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    I know that there have been lots of posts about passenger side rattles that seem to be coming from the dash. My problem arose all of a sudden and then got consistent. Sometimes it resonated from the engine RPM other times it did it on its own. Boy did I find a doozie of a problem I'm sure will resolve many of these issues.

    You'll need a screwdriver and may sacrifice a plastic expander bolt.

    Open the hood and notice that there is a panel that goes all the way across where the hood meets the car, just under the windshield. At the very left hand side of the panel there is the aforementioned plastic bolt which will need to be removed. Also there are a series of clips that run across the front of the panel. Loosen 5 of these starting from the left side gently prying with a screwdriver. These will clip back in easily when you are done. You will not be able to remove the panel because it is blocked by the windshieled wiper assembly. I used an old sneaker and wedged the heel at the very left side so I could keep it pried up.

    You will find a large open area under the dash. It is metal and slopes away from you towards the passenger compartment ending in a V shaped area that will gather anything that gets in there. You'll have to reach in about half way up your forearm to get to the bottom of the V. I bet you'll be surprised what you find in there. In my case there were three opened acorns deposited somehow by a squirrel. This area resonates with the vehicle and being metal probably explains why lots of these rattles and buzzes are coherent with engine RPM's. Probe all the way across the bottom of the V. The trough's about eight inches long and can hold a lot of stuff. Remove all the junk you find in there and reclip the panel back together.

    Since I found acorns, I am guessing that this area is part of the air circulation system such that a squirrel was able to get access and drop acorns in there.

    Good Luck....I hope this helps.
    Jeffrey Jessup and Econ like this.
  2. twittel

    twittel Senior Member

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    I think this is the same rattle/solution discovered by another poster from a few months ago. I'm not fussing with my vibration since it only happens at low RPM on slight acceleration:

    Toyota built a "rabbit hole" inside the side beam that runs along the windshield edge under the passenger "A" frame pillar cover. It goes directly into the engine compartment! With a good mag-light, you can see this hole above the passenger wheel strut towards the left (under the hood). In fact, there are 2 holes which pick up engine vibrations and then transmit the noise all along the frame piece inside where the side curtain air bag is mounted. To solve it (this is ugly), I jammed several small rags into the holes over the strut using a firm stick. You can see the outer sheet metal move a bit so be careful. I kept packing rags in there until no more would go in. Then, along the frame piece inside, there are a number of extra round holes. I plugged each one with foam rubber (the highest hole is for the white body button - don't plug that one). Also, I lined the entire "A" frame cover insides with foam rubber as extra sound insulation.
  3. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    Thanks Tom for reposting that. That was my findings several months ago. I have since done the same "fix" for a friend's Prius that was making the same noise. It worked for his too. This must be a more common problem than I first thought.
  4. skilbovia

    skilbovia Member

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    I read your post over and over and tried the rags to no avail. Please read through my post carefully and let me know if I am describing the same thing in a different way or if in fact this is a different issue.

    In your post, you mention body noise transmitted into the passenger cabin attenuated by stuffing rags in some holes. My situation involved actual debris (in my case acorns getting into the open space which is far larger than a rabbit hole). The solution involved opening up the area and removing the debris. It wasn't the body hardware that was vibrating, it was the acorns because when I removed them the noise went away. That is very different than filling a hole with rags, I think.

    I don't know how stuff gets into this area but when it's in there it's gonna rattle or buzz and there's no way to get it out except to go in there and remove it.
  5. skilbovia

    skilbovia Member

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    This is different, Tom. Follow my instructions and you will find an area directly behind and above the glove compartment, under where the passenger windshield wiper rests that is large enough to hold a loaf of bread. This is not up against the side of the car and nowhere near the fender wall that phoenixgreg takes care to mention not to damage. When I opened it up, I was surprised that there was a totally empty area in the dash that large. The problem is that it's not flat and descends to a low point about 8 inches wide where debris can accumulate. I don't know how debris gets in there, but if it does, it's gonna rattle. You have to stick your arm in there well past your wrist and go down the trough with your fingers across its length to make sure nothing is in there.
  6. twittel

    twittel Senior Member

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    I'm glad you replied because I just couldn't remember who posted. At my age, my 'membery doesn't remembery so good! I actually keep your post in my PDA, but I forgot to reference your userid. I may want to quiet mine later, but right now the rattle doesn't vibrate much. I guess I'm driving softer, or keeping the radio turned up louder.:D
  7. twittel

    twittel Senior Member

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    Thanks for clarifying the difference. I'm assuming the rattle is more than loose debris/acorns. I'm going to check out my car.
  8. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    LOL! I did discover that there are actually two "rabbit holes". One runs along the slanted up pillar that goes along the side of the windshield and the second runs below the small front triangular window. Both should get the "stuffed rag" treatment to prevent noise transfer into the cabin - especially on the passenger side.
  9. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    Out of curiosity, I followed your instructions and sure enough, that plastic "body button" broke. No problem though as I had a nice machine screw and nut that I used after my search back there to re-attach that plastic grate. After pulling some of clips free, I reached around in that cavity and did not find any debris. I think this buzz could be from 2 different sources then:

    1) the "rabbit holes" or
    2) debris in the cavity below the air intake grate.

    I would suggest our members who experience this noise check out both solutions starting with yours as it's fairly easy to do. But as you said, that plastic button will probably break.
  10. EthanC

    EthanC Junior Member

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    Can anyone post a picture of the location I should put "rag" or "clean" it?

    Thanks
  11. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    Sorry Ethan, my camera just isn't working correctly today - I tried. Maybe Skilbovia can get some shots and post here.
  12. EthanC

    EthanC Junior Member

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    Thank you, phoenixgreg! I will try to match your description with the car after work. I have been following your posts for a while. You have been a great help.

    I do have another noise coming from my hatch area that drives me crazy, I can hear it when I am pulling out from my garage. It sounds like as you described in another thread:"it sounded like a screwdriver or some tool flopping around in a bulkhead."
    I followed your instructions to patch the spacers with felt tab, noise still there. Took out everything in the trunk , even took out the "cover thingy" to check the seat belt mechanism (there is a steel ball that rattles). I also tried it with the hatched open while driving. Noe of these can find where the noise comes from.

    I can tell the noise is around where the gas tank door and rear shock area. But I can not find anything that creates the noise. Any idea to track this down?

    Thanks
  13. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    There is a simple test to determine if the hatch rattle is coming from the spacers or not. First, if you have any silicone spray, spray some on a rag and wipe the seal around the hatch opening. This insures that the seal itself isn't rubbing creating a noise. Then take 2 washcloth-size rags and lay them over each base of the plastic spacers. Gently close the hatch over these rags so they are squeezed between the upper and lower spacers. Drive around and see if you still get the rattle. If so, it could be your license plate and frame (if you have one). Put a small rag between the back of your plate and the hatch forcing it out a bit. Drive around to see if that was the culprit.

    I recently found another source of rattles - the car jack kit on top of the spare. Make sure it's tight against the tire. If you shake the kit with your hand, you might notice rattles. My solution was to put foam rubber pieces in the areas that could rattle and then put an old folded bath towel over the kit so the large black tray that goes over it would prevent it from rattling. Good luck!
  14. skilbovia

    skilbovia Member

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    Wifey has the camera and will be gone for the day. I'll take pics as soon as I can
  15. GWhizzer

    GWhizzer not so Senior Member

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    that would be much appreciated as I too suffer from the passenger-side "buzz".
  16. Canard

    Canard Member

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    Hey guys,

    Here's a short video of the RPM-specific rattle that is coming from the passengers-side dash (near the windscreen) on our car.



    Do you think it's the "acorns in the cavity" rattle? With careful throttle modulation, I can get it to rattle like that almost indefinitely. :)

    -Iain
  17. skilbovia

    skilbovia Member

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    Here is a video showing how you get access to the 'acorn pocket" and where I believe phoenixgreg's "rabbit holes" are. I also show where the squeaky alignment slots are on the hatchback and how I fixed mine.

    phoenixgreg, let me know if I have the part about the rabbitholes correct.



    Hope this helps!
    Sergio-PL, Feri and zzonie77 like this.
  18. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    Skilbovia - Yes! You nailed it. Again, I broke open the area you identified first to check that cavity for any debris. In my case, I did not find anything in there. To be sure as to not introduce a new rattle, I found a bolt and nut to replace the one I broke out (left) to do the inspection.

    The second part of your video is also correct and it is very difficult to shoot a picture of the "rabbit holes" I refer to. They are openings just to the left of the hood hinge and down behind it. You almost need a mag-light to see in them. As someone brought up (and it appears to have rained in your area too), moisture could be trapped by rags jammed up in those open channels perhaps leading to corrosion. It's not a problem where I live (bone dry here most of the time). But somehow an engine vibration is traveling up those openings and transmitting the "buzz" along the inside of the passenger's A framing. I used a fairly rigid wooden dowel to jam small rags in both open channels to where I could see them sticking out a bit. It took several to fill those voids. Now that buzz is gone for good.

    Your third solution for the hatch rattle should work too. As feared, it will get wet with rain, snow and car washing. What I did was take the upper stop off (there is a 10mm bolt in a hole you can easily remove on each side) and surround each piece with a large section of black sheet-felt with an adhesive backing (available at Michael's). I put a hole in the sheet so I could re-attach the piece. I also wrapped the felt on it so it would be on the backside. The reason is that it would be locked in place once the bolt was tightened. Also, since my solution is on the upper piece, it would not get as wet. I will try to post a picture of it here later on.

    Anyway, thanks again for the video clarifying where those rattles were and how to solve it - good job!
  19. EthanC

    EthanC Junior Member

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    Thanks for the video. that clears the question about where the rabbit holes are.

    I also have a noise seems from the trunk or under. It's more like a clunk sound. I have done what yo have in the trunk but problem remains. I suspect it maybe a problem from the caliper that many threads had described. Because that noise still exists when I let the hatch opened and drive around.

    Thanks again for the video.



  20. PaJa

    PaJa Senior member

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    Yes, the photo of your solution will be more then helpful.
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