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Hi, and thank you to all who replied with their suggestions.
Jacked up the car and placed it on the stands over the weekend and tried the following.
Checked both front wheels for movement as suggested to test for wheel bearings. Both sides feel rock solid, and, I could feel no movement in a side-to-side or in an up-and-down plane, regardless of the rotational position of the wheel i.e. 3 - 6, 6 - 9, 9-12 and 12-3. There was no inwards-outwards/left-to-right (along steering plane) play either.
There was some rust on the edge of the rotors which I filed down as suggested, however no indication that this build up was contacting the backing plate - I figured filing it down was not going to hurt matters. The rotor surface's on both sides were quite smooth - no high spots or unusual markings etc.
When we placed the car in Drive with the front raised on stands, I could see nothing obvious that would be causing the aforementioned problem. The difficulty however, with this procedure, I discovered, was that, because the wheels/tyres were suspended, any slight imbalance or imperfection in the tyres was exaggerated. Under normal driving conditions, the tyres have the car weight load which helps minimise such wobble type movement. So this test at best was inconclusive.
There was no play or any looseness in the other nearby components, steering etc. I did however notice that on the drivers side - which in Australia is the right hand side - the drive shaft has approximately a 15mm (approx 3/4") movement along the transmission to wheel (horizontal) axis i.e. in and out of the wheel. On the passenger side, this movement is considerably less, at only 3 to 5 mm (approx 1/4"). I don't know whether this is considered normal ?. Just to reiterate - several weeks ago the Toyota dealership replaced both driveshaft/CV joints with reconditioned units, however the thumping sound was present prior and after this replacement.
I still strongly suspect it may be the tyres, even though after rotating them last week didn't appear to have any bearing on the situation. I neglected to mention in my original email, that the tyres are in fact re-treads. I also noticed that although the rotational noise appears to increase and decrease with my driving speed, it is considerably more noticeable at speeds between 35 - 45 km/h. I would have expected that any imbalance in the front tyres would have been more noticeable at higher speeds, and not at such low speeds?.
At this stage, I think my next move will be to replace both front tyres with new tyres and have a wheel balance and alignment carried out to see whether this improves matters.
Thanks again for all your suggestions.
PS. I couldn't find any cat in or around the engine bay, although we do have an indoor cat who is still alive and well.