My brother's '85 Toyota Camry with ~190k miles started making a funny rattling sound and lost about a quarter of its power. The rattling seems to come into play when it's under load, like when he's going up a hill or trying to accelerate strongly. It sounds like it's coming from the transmission.

It sounds like it could be a bearing but that wouldn't explain the power loss.

What kinds of problems could cause these symptoms?

  • rattling sound is typically an indicator of engine pinging or knocking.
    – amphibient
    Sep 18, 2015 at 18:11
  • @amphibient He said it's not pinging or knocking; the engine seems to be running fine. Sep 18, 2015 at 18:22
  • Tap on the catalytic converter with a soft rubber mallet and listen for the rattling. Sep 18, 2015 at 19:28
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    @glenviewjeff - Not the reason I'm suggesting tapping on the converter ... if the cat is plugged due to shattering of the honeycomb, the cat will be plugging the exhaust flow and robbing it of power. That's why I put it down as a comment and not as an answer ... just trying to help eliminate things. Sep 19, 2015 at 17:18
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    @glenviewjeff - No need to be sorry and no worries. It's all about helping each other out. You just didn't understand my reasoning and I didn't spell it out. That comes down on me. Hopefully we can figure things out :D Sep 19, 2015 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


My brother said that it ended up being the timing belt; he assumes it was broken teeth. He didn't really care why because he only needed it fixed enough to pass a "cash for clunkers" program.

  • What part of the timing belt caused those symptoms? Was there too much slack and jump timing?
    – sntnmjones
    Apr 10, 2016 at 14:44
  • @yorTsenoJ i'm guessing the tensioner failed allowing the belt to slip. if there's any slack in the belt it hits against the front cover and makes a rattling sound.
    – Ben
    Apr 10, 2016 at 14:52
  • I'll ask him if he knew specifically. He tried working on it himself but couldn't proceed because of an awful stuck bolt, and brought it to a pro. Apr 10, 2016 at 18:51
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    @yorTsenoJ See my updated answer, though not much more helpful. :) Apr 10, 2016 at 20:09

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