Gen 3 Dashboard rattles & creaks

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by L8rnr, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. jetsaviator

    jetsaviator New Member

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    My friend and I each ordered a Gen 3 - II Prius in 2009, about a year before their release, from the same dealer so we received the first two cars to arrive in Central Indiana. The cars are identical including paint color. I have about 21,000 miles and my friend has about 35,000 miles. Both cars have been and still are rattle free. Even large bumps do not cause any noise anywhere in the car. The "Tight as a Drum" applies to these two vehicles.

    All the reports of dash rattles makes me wonder if the initial cars were built with special care or were changes made in the production at a later date. My 2004 Prius developed a dash rattle after several thousand miles, but was fixed by the dealer. It was rattle free when traded in on the 2010.

    My average mileage is in the mid to high 50's in the summer and mid to high 40's in the winter. I believe the 2010 to be about 6 or 7 mpg better than my 2004. I use Toyota's recommended tire pressure and drive in a normal manner without hyper mileage techniques. In my opinion the G3 is a far superior car compared to the G2. Not as much fun as cruising at Mach .84, but if one is earthbound then the G3's technology is my choice.
     
  2. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    It could be dependent on which assembly line (I think there are 4) and which shift built the car. My car, manufacture date 7/09, had missing bolts, headlights aimed wrong, and brake light switch adjusted wrong in addition to a lot of rattles. In spite of that it has been very dependable and I have had no mechanical or electrical failures, however after fixing rattles for a year and half I still have rattles.

    So I keep thinking if I could just get all the rattles fixed it might be a pretty good car but rattles really detract from the driving experience.
     
  3. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    Maybe you've got a lemon? Every time I suspect rattles, it always turned out to be something loose placed in the car by myself (which is funny because I used to have all sort of crap in the trunk of my previous car and never heard anything). I do hear some electrical/high-pitch annoying noises about 10-15% of the time but they don't sound like rattles.
     
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  4. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    No I wouldn't call it a lemon, the rattles are annoying but not dangerous and they won't leave me stranded. Car seems sound in all other respects except the rough start problem and I have a "work around" for that.

    It is a bit frustrating to chase rattles for so long, some of them are very hard to find. There isn't a dealer around here that I would want to remove the dash or anything that complex, I would probably end up with more rattles than I have now.

    I'll keep looking and either find them or learn to live with them until it's time for another car.
     
  5. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    I'm still chasing down one last intermittent "buzz" somewhere on the passenger side. It's deep in there somewhere, but I'm determined to find it. I need a helper to drive it so I can diagnose at least the zone it's coming from. All the rest of rattles, ticks and noises were cured by a local dealer here. I can't fault them on this one as it's only under certain driving conditions that it will present. It's a "sympathetic vibration" - here come the jokes. The engine reaches a certain RPM and the buzz begins. It's the last noise so it is irritating!

    BTW, the online manual has been extremely helpful on showing how to extract dash components and in what sequence...didn't you order one, Tom?
     
  6. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    Yes Greg, I have the CD and plan on putting it to good use as soon as the weather warms a little. I prefer to work on it outside where there is good light. I think I have the same buzz you are talking about, it is worst on one stretch of freeway just East of Portland.
     
  7. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    @Tom...If I find it, I will pass along the cause and fix. I've gotten good enough that I can duplicate my "buzz" now. First, the car oddly needs to be warmed up - it's not a cold thing. Second, if I accelerate so the HSI is just below PWR zone, I can create the right vibration to get the buzz. I want to say it sounds like it's just below the passenger A/C vent tube towards the firewall, but it's hard to tell. I'm taking it on a long test drive today and hope to nail it down.

    My pdf manual refers to many of the dash components you can remove as "garnish" pieces. I had to get used to Toyota's nomenclature. Removing the right passenger "A" pillar cover (or "garnish") was easier than I imagined. Start near the headliner and gently pull towards the steering wheel (or left). A white body-button pops out to reveal the next holder which is a black piece of plastic. You rotate that 90 degrees to extract the rest of the cover (carefully). That seems to be the "rosetta stone" and from there, other cover plates can be removed. Once off, you can see the side air bag curtain. That black plastic I referred to prevents the cover from completely flying off if the bag deploys, so on re-installation, be sure to rotate it back so it locks.
     
  8. sitruc

    sitruc Junior Member

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    I have a feeling many of these "garnish" pieces, probably contribute to the noises we get. While they are easily removed for our various projects and upgrades, they are not as secure as other methods of attachment.
     
  9. evpv

    evpv Active Member

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    You have an amazing list of excuses for the Prius 32kcolors. Hmmm, Torrance is your residence. I'm betting you work for a company that starts with a T, ends with an A, and has the letters OYOT in the middle.

    I took everything out of both glove boxes and the center compartment as a test. It still had creaks and rattles, some of them were worse because the manuals etc dampened the noises.

    Let's see you spin this one into an owner misconception:

     
  10. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    @evpv: LOL! That sounded more like the folks who lived upstairs from me years ago (late at night)! I did notice that the center console is leather - mine is cloth. Can you tell if the noise is from the lid making contact on the body of the console? If not, perhaps if you tighten the 5 bolts that secure the console body to the floor and frame might help.
    Remove the felt at the bottom to see 4 bolts (10mm socket). You will need a socket extender so your ratchet wrench can comfortably reach each bolt - snug them but not so tight as to strip the threads. There is a curved piece of plastic forward of the cup holder in the console. Carefully pry it out from one of the sides and the 5th bolt will be revealed. Snug that one up too. Maybe that will stop the creaking. If not, try putting felt tabs where the lid makes contact with the console body. Good luck - good video too.
     
  11. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    Check my profile again. I live in Redondo Beach, not Torrance. What's a biomedical researcher doing working for Toyota?

    So it creaks when pushed on. I have a habit of not pushing on anything because I've seen worn out elbow patches on the door/armrest on other cars and don't want to do the same.
     
  12. Lottamoxie

    Lottamoxie Member

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    My Prius, so far, is very quiet. (and that's 'quiet' not 'quite')

    The only rattling is from stuff I put in the glovebox that is moving around.
     
  13. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    OK - this took me the better part of a week to finally locate the passenger side "buzz" during accelarations. It turns out 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. Case closed finally!
     
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  14. twittel

    twittel Senior Member

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    I like your detective work! I think I have the same "buzz" and location. I wrote on a previous thread somewhere that my buzz sounds like a harmonic distortion tied to the engine RPM. It goes away if I let up or push down further on the accelerator.

    I'm thinking rags will pickup moisture and contribute to some underside rust issues. I hope not, but it's possible, I suppose. What's your opinion about a rag coming out and getting caught up on an axle, or moveable engine component?

    I'm going to take a peek at mine. Thanks for the work on this one.
     
  15. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    @Twittle: I guess it's always a possibility in wetter climates. Living in the southwest - that's not a concern. I doubt the jammed in rags will get wet, but I will go out and see what path water takes off the windshield. I don't think Toyota would route water-flow inside the engine compartment as that's where these holes are. Look carefully and you will see a second hole below the first. Some sheet metal separates them. To remove all chance the second, or lower hole could also be culprit, I stuffed rags in both. These holes are high on fender-line and I really doubt water could splash in there either. The wheel-well protects it from up-splash. There's also no chance it could get caught in an axle. You'll see this when you discover the holes.

    The symptoms you describe were identical to mine. In fact on my HSI, I could make it happen consistently where the indicator was about 1/4 inch before the PWR (or maroon) zone. Do that test with the car warmed up. For some reason, when my car was cold, it wouldn't do it as consistently. Again, be careful not to damage your fender as you load the rags.
     
  16. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    Good job, thanks. I'll check mine out and see it it's the same thing.
     
  17. phoenixgreg

    phoenixgreg Senior member

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    UPDATE: I did a water-pour test over the windshield into the front vent intake and water did flow out of the back of the wheelwell. I did not see any evidence of wet rags, but to be on the safe side, the smaller lower hole closest to the top of the strut should maybe just have a bit of foam rubber tucked in there. The high hole directly into the support beam was not near where water could flow. There is also a large hole next to the fender wall (lower) and its rag stayed dry as well. I advise you all to do these same tests to be sure.
     
  18. DataWrangler

    DataWrangler Prius Owner (finally!)

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    So take it back to a Toyota dealership, repeat the squeaking, and ask them to fix it for cryin' out loud :violin:
     
  19. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    I rode in a friend's Civic over the weekend. I can honestly say it was quieter and more solid.
     
  20. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    If that worked there would not be any "rattle threads" on PriusChat. Dealers don't like to fix rattles, they don't make any money at it. There is no job in their flat rate manual that is called "finding a rattle". When you take a car in to have rattles fixed under warranty they usually don't put their best and brightest technicians on the job. You can easily end up with more rattles than you had when you dropped it off, or they will drive it around the block on a smooth street and tell you "it looks fine to us".

    My experience, if you have rattles you are better off trying to find and fix them yourself. There are a few exceptions, some dealers do actually care about their customers but they seem to be in the minority.
     
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