Rav4 Front End Vibration

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I replaced the front struts and sway bar links on my 2010 Rav4 recently and have been having an intermittent front end vibration at 35-40 MPH with a steady throttle since then. If i speed up or slow slightly it will stop. I ran up to Autozone and bought some cheap links after I had to cut off the old links. The vibration was on the passenger side with those, but I replaced them with OEM links and now it seems to be on the driver's side. I went through and made sure everything was tight, and retorqued the links to 55 ft/lbs. There is no clunking and it rides and handles great. I'm wondering if the sway bar bushing might need to be replaced.
 

SlipperyPete

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Sorry for the delayed response. I got in an engine service kit for one of my motorcycles and I've been adjusting the valves on that.

There is no play at all in either wheel. I'm not sure I have the end links torqued correctly. I found the 55 ft/lb torque for the Rav4 somewhere on the internet, but I've also read end links are generally torqued to 10-20 ft/lbs. That seems awfully low for a suspension component and I'm very leary of trying that.
 

AutoMechanic

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Sorry for the delayed response. I got in an engine service kit for one of my motorcycles and I've been adjusting the valves on that.

There is no play at all in either wheel. I'm not sure I have the end links torqued correctly. I found the 55 ft/lb torque for the Rav4 somewhere on the internet, but I've also read end links are generally torqued to 10-20 ft/lbs. That seems awfully low for a suspension component and I'm very leary of trying that.
Yep can’t always rely on the internet lol. Don’t take them down that low. Generally 35-40 is what they are I don’t think 55 would be too tight either. May want to check your tie rod ends as well, I know in my dads car they caused a vibration because the person who had the car before us had someone install them and they didn’t tighten down all the way so they had vibrated loose. I have also seen bearings go bad with no play too. Also how many miles does it have? The bearings usually go out between 150,000 and 215,000 on Toyota I used to be a dealership mechanic and that’s usually when they go.
 

SlipperyPete

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It has 128,000 miles now. I've bird hunting out of it the last two years so it has probably seen harder use than the average RAV4. It seems odd to me this started as soon as I changed the front struts and end links. Is it possible the new struts working better exposed a bearing on it's way out? I'll get out a pry bar and see if anything has any play in it. I'm 99% sure it's a vibration, and I'm stumped why it would change sides when I switched to the OEM links from the parts store brand. I didn't take loose any plastics or shields that might lead to a vibration. The sway bar itself doesn't have any play in it.
 

AutoMechanic

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It has 128,000 miles now. I've bird hunting out of it the last two years so it has probably seen harder use than the average RAV4. It seems odd to me this started as soon as I changed the front struts and end links. Is it possible the new struts working better exposed a bearing on it's way out? I'll get out a pry bar and see if anything has any play in it. I'm 99% sure it's a vibration, and I'm stumped why it would change sides when I switched to the OEM links from the parts store brand. I didn't take loose any plastics or shields that might lead to a vibration. The sway bar itself doesn't have any play in it.
It is possible. Sometimes that’s just the nature of the beast when you change suspension components it sometimes puts extra pressure on other components causing them to fail.
 
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I replaced the front struts and sway bar links on my 2010 Rav4 recently and have been having an intermittent front end vibration at 35-40 MPH with a steady throttle since then. If i speed up or slow slightly it will stop. I ran up to Autozone and bought some cheap links after I had to cut off the old links. The vibration was on the passenger side with those, but I replaced them with OEM links and now it seems to be on the driver's side. I went through and made sure everything was tight, and retorqued the links to 55 ft/lbs. There is no clunking and it rides and handles great. I'm wondering if the sway bar bushing might need to be replaced.

Did one of the inner cv joints pop out when you were doing the struts? Not out of the transmission, but from the cup itself. If so did you get it back in correctly?
 
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I replaced the front struts and sway bar links on my 2010 Rav4 recently and have been having an intermittent front end vibration at 35-40 MPH with a steady throttle since then. If i speed up or slow slightly it will stop. I ran up to Autozone and bought some cheap links after I had to cut off the old links. The vibration was on the passenger side with those, but I replaced them with OEM links and now it seems to be on the driver's side. I went through and made sure everything was tight, and retorqued the links to 55 ft/lbs. There is no clunking and it rides and handles great. I'm wondering if the sway bar bushing might need to be replaced.

Test it, take the links out (temporarily just to test it) and drive it, if the vibration is gone you are on the right track.
 

SlipperyPete

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Without the end links, the noise is still there but isn't loud or as frequent. There was no noise with the original end links, loud, frequent noise on the passenger side with the Autozone links, and less frequent and less loud noise on the driver's side with the new toyota links.

The rest of the suspension feels solid and doesn't move, except a small amount of lateral play in the CV axles on both sides.
 
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The end links should not be the source of vibration but they can amplify it. A quick strut could change the alignment because of a different ride height. Last year I worked on two vehicles in the family. Both were hub bearing replacements. The vibrations at various speeds were pretty much gone after that. So if you haven't done the wheel bearings with that mileage you might want to consider doing it.
 

SlipperyPete

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No quick struts, I used KYB struts and the OE springs. It does seem the hub bearings are the only things left. I checked the front wheels for play, but I didn't spin them.
 
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