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Discussion Starter #1
Over in the forum for conventional 3rd Gen Highlanders there is a massive thread about 1800 rpm droning noise, which after nearly 600 posts seems to come down to resonant vibration in various exhaust components. https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/333-3rd-generation-2014/884593-droning-2000-rpm-just-got-worse.html

I just picked up a '16 Hybrid and it has a similar issue. It's a loud vibration/buzzing type noise that happens only when the engine is under load in a very specific rev range (which seems like right around 1800-2000 rpm). It's most noticeable when climbing steep hills shortly after a cold start, which I do a lot, living more or less on the side of a cliff in Seattle. :laugh: I didn't see any thread about the issue here, or any Hybrid owners posting in the thread above. Wondering if anyone else has experienced and/or solved this.

The car runs perfectly otherwise, and has a complete and flawless maintenance history, so I don't think it's a reason to panic. It will be due for its 50K service soon and I'll bring it up then, although people haven't had much luck fixing it through the dealer.
 

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I do not recall any noises of that nature in my 2012 HiHy, what should pretty much be identical power train. But I do recall same "droning" noise at 1600rpm in my then 2015 NX200t. And not just me, quite a few at Lexus Club had same. Seriously sounds like as if Toyota, with abundance of noise dampeners all over everywhere power train, just misses that one range....
Btw, I work Seattle downtown, so I had plenty of opportunities to test local hills. Talk about James and Cherry going east...
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
So I took the car in for its 50k mile service today, and asked the dealer (Toyota of Seattle) to have a look at the noise. They called and told me a bunch of pebbles had gotten between a few of the underbody aero covers and nearby components, and were causing the buzzing. When I picked the car up, there was still a bit of resonance at the problem engine speed, but all buzzing/vibration sounds were gone. The resonance (without buzzing) is noticeable if you are looking for it but really isn't objectionable at all.

Look out for pebbles and other debris!
 
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