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Is this sound normal for 2GRFE highlander engines?

  • No, it needs engine replacement soon

    Votes: 3 60.0%
  • No, but this is not to be concerned of

    Votes: 1 20.0%
  • Yes, this is normal

    Votes: 1 20.0%
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2012 HL Ltd
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Everyone,

I am new to this forum and would like to get your thoughts if the sound at idle is normal for 2GR-FE highlander engines as this is my first highlander. I recently had an engine swap and was advised engine has 33K miles. please let me know if I should further investigate or this is nothing to be concerned of.

Engine warmed up at idle - hood closed
Engine warmed up at idle - hood open
Engine warmed up - higher rpm

Any thoughts on what this is will be appreciated. Thanks in advance

also adding cold start up sound for reference:
Cold Start-up
 

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I think that motor was secretly a diesel! Lol. Mine does not sound like that... Was that motor tested at all? Hopefully you got one with the 90 day or 30,000 mi warranty.
 

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Hi Everyone,

I am new to this forum and would like to get your thoughts if the sound at idle is normal for 2GR-FE highlander engines as this is my first highlander. I recently had an engine swap and was advised engine has 33K miles. please let me know if I should further investigate or this is nothing to be concerned of.

Engine warmed up at idle - hood closed
Engine warmed up at idle - hood open
Engine warmed up - higher rpm

Any thoughts on what this is will be appreciated. Thanks in advance
My 08 Highlander.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think that motor was secretly a diesel! Lol. Mine does not sound like that... Was that motor tested at all? Hopefully you got one with the 90 day or 30,000 mi warranty.
I started to think so too lol. It was checked for oil leaks but wasn't tested prior to installation. After the install, there are no codes currently - just this sound that is noticeable. Luckily, it came with 6mo replacement warranty but no labor
 

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2012 Camry SE, 4 cyl
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533 Posts
I would try a can of additive to clean the valve lifters. Stop by your local NAPA dealer.

I doubt if this is a low mile engine. If you find a VIN number on it you maybe able to find out the real mileage through Carfax. Not sure if the VIN numbers are still used on engines.

My Highlander V6 and Camry 4 crlinder both have about 130K on them. 4 cylinder is very quiet compared to the V6, especially at start up. My V6 sounded like yours at start up until I added the additive.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My 08 Highlander.
Thanks so much for posting. Runs very smooth and barely any engine sound / only sound from tires. Would you be kind to share (whenever it is convenient) how it sounds at idle?
 

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I started to think so too lol. It was checked for oil leaks but wasn't tested prior to installation. After the install, there are no codes currently - just this sound that is noticeable. Luckily, it came with 6mo replacement warranty but no labor
There's a lot of experience uses on here, hopefully they'll chime in and see what their opinion is!
 

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Thanks so much for posting. Runs very smooth and barely any engine sound / only sound from tires. Would you be kind to share (whenever it is convenient) how it sounds at idle?
I can send you a video tomorrow of the idle! (Sound).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I would try a can of additive to clean the valve lifters. Stop by your local NAPA dealer.

I doubt if this is a low mile engine. If you find a VIN number on it you maybe able to find out the real mileage through Carfax. Not sure if the VIN numbers are still used on engines.

My Highlander V6 and Camry 4 crlinder both have about 130K on them. 4 cylinder is very quiet compared to the V6, especially at start up. My V6 sounded like yours at start up until I added the additive.
Thanks for your response - I also added cold start up sound for reference as well. The knocking/ticking sound seems to be more noticeable when the engine is warmed up at operating temperature.

I will try the lifter cleaners after the first oil change (as I am planning to send the first sample for oil testing analysis). Any recommended brands that is known to help reduce lifter sound?

Engine was inspected visually for oil leaks and physical damage and unfortunately, it did not have any vin number on it to be able to verify the mileage.
 

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Thank you!!
What was the original miles on the car? And what caused to have an engine replacement?

Also it's a Toyota, good luck finding oil leaks. (They build great cars) This isn't a Chevy traverse where it's spilling at the guts in your driveway. 😁
 

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Discussion Starter #12
What was the original miles on the car? And what caused to have an engine replacement?

Also it's a Toyota, good luck finding oil leaks. (They build great cars) This isn't a Chevy traverse where it's spilling at the guts in your driveway. 😁
Haha! luckily no oil leakage of any kind as I have been keeping an eye on. Original engine has 80K miles. Not sure what the root cause but when I got it, it had a very very loud metal to metal banging /clatter sound. I had two Toyotas (both corolla though) in the past and I am still very surprised that engine had failed at 80k
 

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Haha! luckily no oil leakage of any kind as I have been keeping an eye on. Original engine has 80K miles. Not sure what the root cause but when I got it, it had a very very loud metal to metal banging /clatter sound. I had two Toyotas (both corolla though) in the past and I am still very surprised that engine had failed at 80k
Poor maintenance. I've seen Idiots not change their oil for a whole year.... They just drive until the cars physical not moving...
 

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Some very slight tick is normal. What you have is not normal "ticking" sound these engines make. That sounds like an engine that was run for it's entire life on the same sludged up oil.
I would try a couple of oil and filter changes with proper 0W-20 synthetic and see if it changes one way or the other. BTW rule out the belt tensioner as I have heard them sound like an engine ready to fail. But yeah that one knocks louder than the Kubota diesel tractor I looked at to buy the other day. Sorry
 

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I too had an engine failure, it was likely the camshaft gear which is a weak point. I swapped in a used engine a few months ago and can verify that the VIN is on the block. When I shopped around, I correlated the block VIN to the car and got the service history that way. I did that for me now but will also be a + at resale.

The cold start sounds fine. I do hear something at idle, warm... a slight knocking sound. I would run it w/o the Serp belt installed and see if it changes. The answer to that will narrow things down quite a bit.

A great way to check the overall engine sludge condition is to remove the VVTi screens (either clean or replace). Very easy to do from up top, there's one on each bank behind the oil line banjo bolts.

Bob
 

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My 2010 Highlander with 76,000 mi makes a somewhat similar noise at idle after the engine has warmed up, but it's not as loud as yours. I don't hear it while driving around or even when sitting still if the rpms are revved a little. I don't hear it at start up or while the engine is warming up on high idle. The previous owner had the oil changed at the dealer every 5,000 miles, so I think it is not related to oil sludge or other abuse. While I find it mildly annoying, I'm not really worried about it. But I'm not a mechanic, so I could be wrong.

I've also heard a couple other 2GR engines that made similar noises. I remember reading something a while back about the 2GR-FE engines being noisy.
 

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Thanks for your response - I also added cold start up sound for reference as well. The knocking/ticking sound seems to be more noticeable when the engine is warmed up at operating temperature.

I will try the lifter cleaners after the first oil change (as I am planning to send the first sample for oil testing analysis). Any recommended brands that is known to help reduce lifter sound?
I would try this additive. NAPA dealers carry it and I trust their brands more than I do big name parts stores. It is only 1/3 a quart. If you are sending oil for analysis, I would not add it until after you send it as planned.


The V6 is a noisy engine.

My lifter noise was loud at start up and when hot until I put in an additive. The lifter noise is mostly gone but there is some noise when cold under slight acceleration which I believe is piston slap. This noise goes away once warmed up.
 

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I too had an engine failure, it was likely the camshaft gear which is a weak point. I swapped in a used engine a few months ago and can verify that the VIN is on the block. When I shopped around, I correlated the block VIN to the car and got the service history that way. I did that for me now but will also be a + at resale.

Bob
Hi Bob
Is the VIN number stamped into the block or is it on a sticker? If stamped somewhere, can you please tell us where or send a picture showing us?
Thank you
 
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