Toyota Rav4 EV Forum

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 Post subject: Ready to hit the gas, but the whining scares me...
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 2:13 am 
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Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 1:36 am
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Greetings, all,

I have been lurking for a bit as I have considered the purchase of a 2013 RAV4 EV. I found one for $16k with 55k miles on it. The battery seems to be in good condition as the displays 103 miles when fully charged.

However, under acceleration (up to about 30 mph) there is a crazy pulsing whine, which is actually rather loud. It's loud enough that my wife said it is a deal-breaker for her. It sounds like the Starship Enterprise warp drive, literally. (The original Star Trek, with the pulsing sounding engines in Scotty's engineering section.) Maybe the sound is higher pitched than the Enterprise, but I've never been on board the Enterprise; so, I cannot say for sure...

Anyway, the guys selling it says, "They all sound that way." He said it is the motor controller. He claimed to have taken it to the dealership, and they told him, "They all sound that way." Reading in here, I gather that is not the case. Cars that have had the unit replaced are really quiet. This is not quiet.

At 55k, I believe the drivetrain warranty is still in effect. So they all make that sound? Do you all think this car has a bad motor? If so, how hard is it to get Toyota to replace it? I think I can get my wife to bite on this little gem if I can address the engine whine.

Thanks in advance,
Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Ready to hit the gas, but the whining scares me...
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 2:59 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:51 pm
Posts: 621
I would test drive it to the Toyota dealer and get the diagnostic in writing.
Make sure there will be an EV specialist there when you go.

NO, they do not all make that noise.
Also check the heater. There is a list of things to check on here somewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: Ready to hit the gas, but the whining scares me...
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 7:56 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:53 am
Posts: 55
A four year old car with 55k is well out of range for a platinum service agreement with Toyota Motor Finance.

If I were you I wouldn't buy this car unless you're willing to get your hands dirty replacing the drive unit, dc/dc converter, cabin heater, and possibly even the traction battery, all on your own dime. I got my 2013 with 27k miles, and that's the boat I'm in.

Please, someone chime in if they think I'm mistaken.

I would definitely buy one of these if it's got less than 36k miles and it has been comfortably less than three years since it was placed in service.


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 Post subject: Re: Ready to hit the gas, but the whining scares me...
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 4:30 pm 
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smkettner wrote:
Also check the heater. There is a list of things to check on here somewhere.


Thanks. I saw the list. Heater was at (or near) the top of the list. I did not check the heater in the car when we looked at it...

Here's another data point that confuses me a little: the guy selling this RAV4 EV says he has had three of them. He seems like a straightforward guy; so, I have no reason to doubt him. He is an EV car dealer. He said all three that he has had make the same noise.

So, I wonder if all three of the cars he has had have been in various stages of motor failure? The information here seems to suggest motor failure is fairly rare. Is that true? Is it a rare occurrence? Or do they all fail at some point...hopefully under warranty?

Thanks,
Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Ready to hit the gas, but the whining scares me...
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 6:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:53 am
Posts: 55
billy bee wrote:
smkettner wrote:
Also check the heater. There is a list of things to check on here somewhere.


Thanks. I saw the list. Heater was at (or near) the top of the list. I did not check the heater in the car when we looked at it...

Here's another data point that confuses me a little: the guy selling this RAV4 EV says he has had three of them. He seems like a straightforward guy; so, I have no reason to doubt him. He is an EV car dealer. He said all three that he has had make the same noise.

So, I wonder if all three of the cars he has had have been in various stages of motor failure? The information here seems to suggest motor failure is fairly rare. Is that true? Is it a rare occurrence? Or do they all fail at some point...hopefully under warranty?

Thanks,
Bill


My revision "F" motor makes noise. It doesn't bother me at all. It sounds like the car of the future to me.

Image

For drive units prior to revision "Q", getting noisy is an inevitability. According to remarks on the Model S forums Tesla has fixed the issue that causes them to get noisy as of revision Q.

I've seen some remarks on this forum that getting noisy is just the precursor to total failure, and it's inevitable for all Rav4 EVs. But there's the issue of the speed sensor in the drive unit that fails and evidently cannot be replaced without changing the entire drive unit. I don't think the failing speed sensor is related to the noisy bearings. Perhaps the speed sensor starts getting flaky due to vibration from the noisy bearings. I don't think anyone knows for certain.

I've also seen Tony remark that the flaky speed sensor can be dealt with via a software update, which is more tolerant with the flaky speed sensor. I've attended to all of my recalls, and I think I have the latest software. So, I am banking that I can roll with a drive unit that makes sound for a long while. (I'm also keeping my eye out for a rev Q drive unit in the second hand parts market.)

In My Opinion:
It boils down to the question of whether or not you're willing to face a drive unit replacement without the backing of a platinum warranty.

Any Rav4 EV that's not eligible for a platinum new car service agreement should be regarded as a "project" car. It's an awesome project car that I am thrilled to own. If you're buying such a project car, only do it if the price is a bargain, such $15k tops. As project cars go, be willing to spend money on it and have a backup car.


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 Post subject: Re: Ready to hit the gas, but the whining scares me...
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 9:12 pm 
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ddoxey wrote:
In My Opinion:
It boils down to the question of whether or not you're willing to face a drive unit replacement without the backing of a platinum warranty.

Any Rav4 EV that's not eligible for a platinum new car service agreement should be regarded as a "project" car. It's an awesome project car that I am thrilled to own. If you're buying such a project car, only do it if the price is a bargain, such $15k tops. As project cars go, be willing to spend money on it and have a backup car.

This is why I am active in these interwebs forae. (Forae is plural for forum.) I have been active on several--Adventure Rider, Expedition Portal, Wild Goose Chase (Moto Guzzi)... Eventually somebody says something that makes sense and clarifies an issue for me. So, thanks ddoxey. I'm 55 and place an increasingly high premium on reliability in my vehicles (yet, I still own/drive a SAAB, an Alfa, and ride a Buell). I am ready for more Toyotas, but not one that has potential for lots of expensive work. I don't want to spend the rest of my 50s, 60s and 70s bent over an engine bay. I prefer to spend more time enjoying the drive.

So, $16k is more than I am willing to pay for a project car. I have far too many other projects--like my '71 Alfa Spider 1750 that is begging to become an autocross car. I have built and rebuilt several ICE engines; however, I feel out of my league with the EV stuff. I can learn, but if feels like it would be a steep learning curve for me.

We are still considering an EV, but probably not a RAV4 EV. Oh, well...I was really ready to pull the trigger.

BTW, if somebody is interested in this vehicle, I have laid eyes on it. Very clean and straight. Could use new floormats. But otherwise a very presentable car. We looked at a 2014 RX450h at the same time and the RAV4 EV was by far the cleaner of the two. Anyway, both cars are currently on CL in San Luis Obispo, CA. Again, the seller seems like a decent guy. Well informed, even if he thinks all RAV4 EVs make a pulsating whining sound...

Thanks, all,
Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Ready to hit the gas, but the whining scares me...
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 9:52 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:13 pm
Posts: 1788
Location: Los Altos, CA
ddoxey wrote:
Any Rav4 EV that's not eligible for a platinum new car service agreement should be regarded as a "project" car. It's an awesome project car that I am thrilled to own. If you're buying such a project car, only do it if the price is a bargain, such $15k tops. As project cars go, be willing to spend money on it and have a backup car.

I disagree. There is a "Used Car" Platinum Warranty also. Some people have bought this from a Toyota dealer after purchase, but that is not guaranteed. The only guaranteed way to get the Used Car Platinum Warranty is to buy the car and the warranty simultaneously from a Toyota dealer. You can buy up to 5 years and 60,000 miles, effective from the used car purchase transaction.

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 Post subject: Re: Ready to hit the gas, but the whining scares me...
PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 5:50 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:51 pm
Posts: 621
Drive unit should be under original factory warranty. If that is the only issue then see if the local Toyota dealer will replace the drive unit.


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 Post subject: Re: Ready to hit the gas, but the whining scares me...
PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 4:45 am 
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Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 1:36 am
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smkettner wrote:
Drive unit should be under original factory warranty. If that is the only issue then see if the local Toyota dealer will replace the drive unit.


I know this makes sense on the surface, but the seller says he has already been to the dealership and they were not inclined to fix anything as they said, you guessed it, "They all do that." So, I think I am S.O.L.* at my local dealer. There is another dealer about 30 miles away in Santa Maria. They might have a different take on things. It might be worth a drive down there...

I think I mentioned this, but my wife really likes the car except for the sound of the R.O.U.S.'s coming from under the hood.**

Bill



*Sh_t outta luck

**Buttercup: What about the R.O.U.S.'s?
Westley: Rodents of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist.
R.O.U.S.: RAGH! [attacks Westley]
— The Princess Bride


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 Post subject: Re: Ready to hit the gas, but the whining scares me...
PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 6:35 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:53 am
Posts: 55
billy bee wrote:
smkettner wrote:
Drive unit should be under original factory warranty. If that is the only issue then see if the local Toyota dealer will replace the drive unit.


I know this makes sense on the surface, but the seller says he has already been to the dealership and they were not inclined to fix anything as they said, you guessed it, "They all do that." So, I think I am S.O.L.* at my local dealer. There is another dealer about 30 miles away in Santa Maria. They might have a different take on things. It might be worth a drive down there...

I think I mentioned this, but my wife really likes the car except for the sound of the R.O.U.S.'s coming from under the hood.**

Bill



*Sh_t outta luck

**Buttercup: What about the R.O.U.S.'s?
Westley: Rodents of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist.
R.O.U.S.: RAGH! [attacks Westley]
— The Princess Bride


Did you say Rats Of Unusual Size? I think you just gave up the secret of the Tesla Drive Unit.

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