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I have a 2005 stick shift Toyota Camry. Sometimes when I am at a red light or stop sign and the car is in neutral I feel a slight vibration from the pedals and a slight grinding noise coming from the engine. This only happens on occasion and only when the car is idle (at neutral).

What could be the cause for this of this vibration/noise? Is it the transmission or the engine? Where can I look to further investigate the issue?

I asked the mechanic to look at the transmission oil - he said it's fine. When I took off he told me "you don't know how to drive stick, that's why you're hearing noises". It seems that I may be giving too much gas when starting off. Could that be a cause for concern?

  • Has this ever happened with the engine in gear? – Zaid Jul 28 '15 at 13:12
  • @Zaid, no only in neutral. – TheOne Jul 28 '15 at 13:19
  • My bet is the throttle body. Try cleaning the throttle body. Easy job and cost <10$ for the cleaner if you do it yourself:youtube.com/watch?v=eQpPcdvSBks This will only help the vibrations though. If you really have a grinding noise, that is a whole different issue. Try cleaning the throttle body first, then you can see if the grinding noise goes away. – rana Jul 28 '15 at 15:37
  • does the noise go away when you disengage the clutch? If so, the scraping is the input shaft bearing. – rpmerf Jul 28 '15 at 16:27
  • It actually oscillates. It comes and goes when in idle but it's not noticeable when in gear. Perhaps the sound of the engine overpowers it? – TheOne Jul 28 '15 at 16:44
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Too much gas while applying the clutch will wear it out faster, but shouldn't be cause for any abnormal noises. You'll get the hang of it with more experience.

I would bet it's the clutch throwout bearing. (Generic diagram - http://www.novak-adapt.com/images/graphics/clutch_diagram.gif) Applying pressure against it (when you press the clutch pedal at all) usually makes the sound disappear, as does increased engine speed. I've experienced this multiple times including on my own 88' Toyota Celica.

The bearing itself is cheap but requires taking the transmission out to replace. This bearing is typically replaced while replacing the clutch, and comes in most 'clutch kits'. If the car is at 75k miles I would bet that it's close to needing a new clutch, and while doing this would be the time to replace the bearing. If the clutch has already been replaced recently it's possible the mechanic 'cheaped' out and didn't replace this bearing.

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