Cause of lower glove box rattle - REVEALED!

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by phoenixgreg, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    WARNING: Do not attempt this drastic repair! This was a highly risky process that involved actually BREAKING the glove-box assembly apart to discover the rattling mechanism. The Prius glove-box is not made to be disassembled for repairs.

    Many members here have a similar complaint about a ticking-rattle coming from the lower glove-box. Some have had the glove-box replaced under warranty with satisfaction. I decided to investigate what the cause was and take the risk that the assembly could be broken in the process.

    With the glove-box removed from the car, I used a series of knives first separating the seam along the bottom of glove-box. A thin-bladed knife worked well for this. Next, I ran the same knife along the side seams to insure they were separated. With a firm bladed putty knife, I worked from one end to the other along bottom between the glued panels slowly prying upward with the front panel facing a carpeted floor. This reduced the chance for scratching the front panel during separation. I could hear snapping noises from inside as a series of internally glued “ribs†were breaking apart. At any point, the front panel could have cracked and the whole glove-box would be “toastâ€, but for me it did not happen. I got lucky and rib by rib, the front panel separated from the glove-box body without cracking or breaking. Before the final separation near the top, I squeezed the black latches inwards into their holes to allow the front panel to separate without disturbing the latch mechanism inside.

    Once the glove box body was freed from the front panel, the errant mechanism was in full view (see picture). There are several design flaws with this concept:

    1) The end latches could vibrate and rattle inside the plastic “honeycomb†housing causing noise.
    2) The center plastic channel was loosely mounted allowing for movement and noise with road vibrations (see small screw)
    3) The spindle-gear between the sliding grooved plastic bars could shift about causing a ticking rattle.

    Here was my fix to these problems:

    1) Using felt tabs with one sticky side (at Home Depot), I put one on each end just below the latch plates on the plastic honeycomb housing. This would insure that if the latches were vibrated, they could not touch the plastic base causing a noise.
    2) I carefully tightened the Phillips screw holding the central channel firmly in place – I did not over-tighten for fear of stripping the soft plastic. This made the channel more rigid in its mounted location.
    3) With a needle-tipped grease gun, I injected plenty of silicon grease into the channel area where the spindle-gear was and along each edge where the 2 plastic slide bars with grooves pass thru it. The grease helps to stabilize the gear and plastic bars preventing any rattling.

    For the reassembly, I first put a piece of linen sheet (actually, a rag sheet cut to size) inside the now exposed front panel where the “ribs†are located. It needed to be very thin so as to not cause a bulge once the panel was re-attached. My reasoning is that this would prevent a possible new rattle from the front panel chaffing against the glove box body. I decided not to re-glue the assembly back together just in case there is future trouble. Instead, I used 5 very small sheet metal screws (not more than 1/4 inch of thread) to rejoin the two sections. I drilled a small hole thru each “end area†above the latches as there is honeycomb plastic behind it to connect to. This took care of the upper area. On the bottom edge, there is some thick plastic along each side and towards the middle. I drilled small holes and used the rest of the screws to re-attach the bottom area.

    One final note: before re-attaching the front panel to the body, I made sure the latches were in correct alignment as the latches have to recess the same distance on both ends for the release to work properly.

    After a road test on a cold morning, the ticking/rattle was gone. Sadly, I just noticed the upper glove box door has the same mechanism, but on my car, it does not rattle (yet). I wanted to pass along what I did here so you, the members, have an understanding of what is causing that irritating rattle.

    Pictures below:
    [​IMG]
    Main view of mechanism

    [​IMG]

    Close up of center channel where spindle-gear is inside. Long black bars run along front and back of gear. I loaded this with plenty of grease after tightening the screw above it.



    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. direstraits71

    direstraits71 Member

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    Nice research and report and pictures, helpful to many. Thanks!
     
  3. donee

    donee New Member

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    Hi All,

    Wonder if there is a small hole that could be drilled where the two pieces mate, and then use a hypo to squirt in some grease ?
     
  4. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    donee - I tried that but the area above the gear is shielded by the small black plastic channel I described. One of the problems too is that the screw holding the channel assembly to the front panel was loose.

    Sorry to report that Toyota did not design this glove box to be easily worked on.
     
  5. danvee

    danvee Blizzard Brigadier

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    Hi Greg!

    Very impressive--and VERY risky. Probably more than I'd be willing to try.:confused:
    HOWEVER, could it be possible, given accurate measurements based on your work, for somebody to then drill a hole in the proper spot (directly over the errant screw) and try to fix it that way?
    If we messed up the hole, some tape or adhesive felt padding or some such could cover our tracks.....

    Great Job!:rockon:
     
  6. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    Dan, you could try that but I believe it is a combination of things wrong back there causing the ticking rattle. If you look at my first pic, you can see the 2 holes I drilled behind the back sticker to get view of it. Well, I didn't know what I was looking for until I separated the assembly! At least the sticker covers up my first attempt.

    If you think you can do the screw tightening and lubrication "laparoscopically", please let us know how your results go. It should be possible to put the felt tabs in place without my drastic measures. Good luck.
     
  7. danvee

    danvee Blizzard Brigadier

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    Thanks Greg,

    I'm pretty sure that I can make this work with a little help from you: if you could please post some measurements as to where the assembly is, I'll try to neatly cut out a "window" through which the work will be done.
    Since I'm planning to line the interiors of the gloveboxes to minimize items rattling within, there should be a pretty decent margin of error.
    Of course, I'll post results either way.....

    Thanks Again,
     
  8. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    Dan, since I've put it all back together, I can only extrapolate the dimensions as they would be from the perspective of the front panel where the spindle mechanism is mounted. Your view will be distorted as there is a bulbous contour to the glove box body that covers the mechanism. That is the area you would need to drill holes in to tighten the screw and attempt to grease from. But here are the dimensions - again from the perspective of the FRONT panel:

    The screw should be located 8 1/4 inches in horizontally from either of the uppermost top edges of the panel (see first pic). Then measure down 1 3/8 inches vertically from that point. If you can locate that spot on the backside and drill, you should be right over the screw. Tighten very carefully as to not strip the threads!

    If you decide to inject grease, measure 5/8 inch down from the first hole and then 3/4 of an inch left and right from that point. If you have a needle point grease gun, you might get lucky by turning the glove box vertically and hope that your injected grease will "fall" into the spindle gear. You would need to inject from both sides of it so upon each injection, press on the latches to work the grease into the gear, then flip the box over and do it from the other hole which would lubricate the gear and slide bars from each end of the channel - again, pressing the latch in and out to work in the grease.

    No guarantees this will work - good luck!
     
  9. danvee

    danvee Blizzard Brigadier

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    Thanks Greg,

    I'll give it a shot over the weekend (time permitting)
     
  10. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Good work.

    I'd hope someone at Toyota takes notice. The frustrating thing is that it doesn't seem like it would take much in change of design or material improvement to ensure that the rattle doesn't exist in future incarnations. If you could discover it with a personal disassembly, you'd think Toyota would know about it...but maybe they don't.

    Good Job, but hard to recommend that anyone with a car under warranty break glued seals and as you admit, disassemble something clearly designed to NOT be disassembled.

    As beautifully as The Prius is designed in many, many ways...this seems to NOT be one of them.
     
  11. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    Thanks - I've got to believe Toyota knows exactly what the problem is, and if any local dealership doesn't, I encourage members here to print this and present it to them. My guess is the box assembly was outsourced to some other country and they just didn't care about quality.

    I have to say that for all the cars I've owned in my life (and that's a bunch), this one has had the most rattles right off the lot.
     
  12. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    Unfortunately I agree with that assessment.

    Good job on your glove box I hope this fix works for you, thanks for the writeup and pictures :thumb:. I will remove my glove box again for a while and see if it really is one of my rattles also. If it is I'll try your fix, nothing to loose but a rattly glove box.
     
  13. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    Thanks! I wanted to "share with the world" what was really causing this irritating rattle - even at the risk of ruining my glove box. Luckily, I did not break it beyond repair. Once opened up, you can clearly see the sources of the noise.

    Another member here, danvee, is tackling his noises a different way. He plans to either drill holes right over the trouble zone and do the repairs using the "braille" method (blind). Or if that doesn't work, he's cutting a "window" into the inner glove box body to get at the errant mechanism. Once done, he was going to cover the holes or window with tape. Watch here for his updates. I wish him luck, and you too if you decide to go my route.

    Take the separation part slow and methodically and you might not break the front panel either - it's made of fairly thick plastic. The snapping sound it makes during the break-apart process is unnerving! Once you re-assemble your box, you might notice that the right-most contour does not line up perfectly with release button. A small price to pay to have it quiet forever.

    So far (4 days in) no noises from my glove box. I plan to line the inside with foam rubber so anything stored in there cannot make a noise. Good luck!
     
  14. s1njin

    s1njin New Member

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    So, did the drill a hole and shoot lube into it work?
     
  15. danvee

    danvee Blizzard Brigadier

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    No, it didn't. :mad:

    I'm just going to let the Dealer deal with it. I'm not in the mood to risk damaging the door by snapping it apart to fix an issue that Toyota should own up to.
     
  16. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    I agree with you Dan...this is just a bad design, IMO. Hopefully if you can actually demonstrate to the dealer that it's making the noise, they will replace it.

    The bad news is: The upper box has a similar design.
     
  17. danvee

    danvee Blizzard Brigadier

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    All of this could have been avoided by lining the channels with felt or something soft to "tighten up" the tolerances.....
     
  18. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    True - in fact I did put some felt tabs in areas where I thought they would do some good while I had it apart. I'm sure Toyota wanted to go the least expensive route on this design. I also suspect much of the rattle was due to the one screw on the inside of the assembly that you can't get to without snapping it apart. That screw was loose on mine.
     
  19. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    Awesome breakdown. Reminds me of Hobbit's writing.
     
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  20. skilbovia

    skilbovia Member

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    Thanks, Greg. You are the Rattlemaster. Lately I have just been bashing the crap out of it. Seriously, thanks for all the help finding my rattles, especially the one in the hatch.
     
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