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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all!

I posted about this more than a month ago, but the problem now has evolved and have a lot more information to share.

2007 Sienna Limited FWD with 162k miles on it. Very well maintained.

For the last 2-3 years, from time to time (less than 50% of the time) when driving and turning to the RIGHT i can hear a rubbing/clicking noise inside the cabin, coming from the front of the car. It almost sounds like a tire or some other rotating component is rubbing against something but it also has a bit of a "clicking" sound to it. No vibration. Just the sound. I have been under the car MANY times and there is nothing rubbing anywhere. No rubbing marks, no wear marks, nothing loose, nothing broken, nothing wet.

Here are some important observations:

** The noise happens only when the car is accelerating. If we're going downhill, coasting, etc... and turning right, the noise is NEVER there.
** In the past, unrelated to the noise, from time to time, i would get the traction control beep and light for a few seconds, usually when making turns. There was no obvious reason for it to trigger. I blamed it on bad tires, bad roads, etc.... but it slowly became worse. Keep reading below.

** Since we got the car with less than 50k miles on it (162k now), there power steering rack has been slowly leaking on the passenger side. The rubber boot was also torn, i replaced it 10k miles ago... but it still leaks. I can see a good amount of PS fluid accumulated inside the new rubber boot.
** Steering feel seems pretty loose and kind of disconnected in general, compared to all my other cars. It's not horrible or dangerous by any means and i am not sure if i should blame tires or the fact that it's a 12 yr mini van, or there is something wrong with the steering rack itself.

** Tie rods look dry and healthy

** Car had an alignment about 18 months ago but i see that the front tire, on the passenger side, is wearing significantly more/faster on the outside. The inside of the tire is at 80%, the outside is at 30%.

After i posted about the clicking noise here a month ago people suggested to check/replace CV axles and wheel bearings. Here is what i have done:

** Pass and driver side CV axles were both replaced with NAPA units. The original ones looked fine visually. This made NO difference. Noise still there and still the same :(
** Wheel bearings look good and solid. No excessive play or noise. I did not replace them.
I replaced the original shocks and coil assemblies with brand new KYB assemblies. Made no difference in noise but ride is better.
** I cleaned the ABS/speed sensors in the hubs. One was very dirty. Made NO difference.
** Brakes calipers & OEM pads are only 2-3 yrs old and pads have 70%.

To make things more interesting.... after i did an full test drive yesterday, trying to simulate the issue again, i discovered that now when the rubbing/clicking noise happens on right turns (it happens now more than 50% of the time, so it's slowly getting worse!!!) PLUS now ... the traction control light/beep and some BRAKING also happens with the noise! The car activates the brakes now trying to prevent a slip, even though it's a false alarm. This is disturbing!
IN the past, it was just the rubbing noise..... OR occasional random traction control light/beep, (seemed unrelated) but now it seems they happen together and the brakes also get activated for few seconds to slow down the car. Clearly, the rubbing/clicking is associated with the traction control.

I lifted the car in the air yesterday and i ran the engine with the wheels spinning in the air in "drive". When the wheels are in the air, the traction control comes ON right away. This is expected.
What i discovered is.... when the traction control is on and the car is off the ground..... i hear the SAME exact rubbing/clicking sounds, without even turning the steering wheel to the right. If i turn OFF the traction control, there is no rubbing/clicking sound.

** What this tells me, is that all along, i have been hearing the traction control making this noise and that there was nothing actually rubbing/clicking..... it was just the Traction control system doing its thing .... when i was turning to the right, (from time to time).

Obviously, the issue is getting slowly worse, whatever it is,.....because now when driving and turning right, i am getting the rubbing/clicking sound, the track control beep and the brakes applied. :(

The BIG question is..... what is causing my traction control to activate when turning to the right??
Is it a bad sensor somewhere? Like a steering position sensor? ABS sensor? Others?
Or Is it bad steering rack being "loose" inside?

ANY ideas.... are more than appreciated. I have already replaced a number of parts with no luck.
I hate this process of guessing and swapping one part after another.


Thank you in advance!
 

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Hi Dan,
I too am having these issues with our 2007 Sienna. From another post, it seems that it may be the steering rack bushings that are the cause for this. Wondering if you came up with any solution.
John
 
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