2013 LC200 (American) whirring noise behind the dash on cold start

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Jul 12, 2018
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Pittsburgh, PA
Hi everyone- I have a 2013 LC200 (American) with about 35,000 miles on it. Last winter, when it would sit in my work parking garage during the day (open air) and temperatures would be between 17-27 degrees Farenheit, upon turning on the car there would be a 3-5 minute cycle of whirring somewhere behind the NAV/CD player. This happened for about 3 consecutive weeks, I took videos of it every time, then dropped the truck off at my dealer for a week. I literally showed them 15 separate recordings as evidence something is amiss. They claimed it never occurred during the 7 days they had it and did nothing to investigate (and I'm still under the 8yr/ 100K platinum warranty).

The weather recently dropped from about 80 degrees down to ~45 degrees, and yesterday when I started it up after sitting idle for 11 hours or so, it kicked in again. Driving me nuts! I've debated pulling apart the dash but hoping someone else knows what this is. I've seen the radio fan pop up in searches as a possible culprit, but this sounds much more like a pump running. Any help appreciated! Video link below, I have many more but they all sound pretty much the same. The noise appears to go through different cycles over the time period it's running, it is not just one constant repeated pattern.

 

gaijin

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Dec 9, 2012
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2,756
 
Hi everyone- I have a 2013 LC200 (American) with about 35,000 miles on it. Last winter, when it would sit in my work parking garage during the day (open air) and temperatures would be between 17-27 degrees Farenheit, upon turning on the car there would be a 3-5 minute cycle of whirring somewhere behind the NAV/CD player. This happened for about 3 consecutive weeks, I took videos of it every time, then dropped the truck off at my dealer for a week. I literally showed them 15 separate recordings as evidence something is amiss. They claimed it never occurred during the 7 days they had it and did nothing to investigate (and I'm still under the 8yr/ 100K platinum warranty).

The weather recently dropped from about 80 degrees down to ~45 degrees, and yesterday when I started it up after sitting idle for 11 hours or so, it kicked in again. Driving me nuts! I've debated pulling apart the dash but hoping someone else knows what this is. I've seen the radio fan pop up in searches as a possible culprit, but this sounds much more like a pump running. Any help appreciated! Video link below, I have many more but they all sound pretty much the same. The noise appears to go through different cycles over the time period it's running, it is not just one constant repeated pattern.

I also have a 2013 LC200, but have no noise like that - obviously. It sounds like something to do with the A/C so what I would do would be to set the climate controls to Auto (push the "Auto" button below the NAV display) to see if that helps. While in Auto mode, try switching between Recirc and Fresh to confirm you feel a difference in air flow.

Just my $0.02.

HTH
 
Joined
Jul 12, 2018
Messages
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Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Hi -thanks for the responses. The noise will actually continue for a little bit when the car is turn off. I’ll review some of my videos from last year as I was trying to isolate variables. I recall nothing I did had any effect, ie I turned all a climate on and off , loaded and ejected a cd (as it really sounds like a cd laser moving, but more motors). It didn’t kick in today but I’m sure it will again and I’ll continue to update this thread.

There’s also another loud noise that occurs just behind the fron driver wheel whenever I hit certain types of bumps like the one inch lip going into my garage. In the car it sounds like it’s coming from the dash, but when I rock the vehicle from the running boards to simulate the movement it’s clearly coming from just forward of the driver side door. It’s a lower pitched squeak kind of sounds like a ball bearing ina bowl moving back and forth. Ive had a hard time getting a good recording of it but that will be much more useful than my trying to explain it.
 
Joined
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Pittsburgh, PA
So I was able to check the recirculating thread and popped open he glove box and cabin filter area. That piece moves up and down silently as it should, so thankfully that wasn’t broken. However it does not yet solve me issue. I’m pretty confident the noise is coming from behind the NAV/cd player. Anyone know where to locate a blowout schematic to see what she back there?
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
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Location
Massachusetts
I have a 2013 Series 200 as well, 101,000 miles on it, and have the same exact issue. I am sitting at the toyota dealership now as they are trying to diagnose it. I have had the same recurring noise each winter since I bought the truck CPO in 2016. We had a good cold snap here in Mass this past week and just like that, whirring noise is back.

I am at a different dealership then I have brought it to previously, and the tech who seems pretty sharp said that he is almost certain that it is one of the (several) small motors associated with the CD player, and NOT one of the servos relating to the HVAC. It is not the eject motor, as that is a separate and distinct noise you can hear while the whirring noise is happening if you hit the eject button, but he said there are several other motors in there, ie laser reader or something like that, etc. and it is likely one of them.

In all likelihood the next step is leaving the vehicle here overnight, they are going to disconnect the CD (and maybe the nav?) hope for a cold night, and see if that eliminates the sound.

I was fairly certain it was related to hvac because I was sure I was smelling intermittent exhaust fumes out of the vents yesterday, which was the first day the noise started again, but techs are telling me it has to be a coincidence or another issue because the whirring noise is unrelated.

We shall see....if anyone else has experience/ insight on this, would love to hear it.
 

Markuson

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There are a surprisingly large number of plastic gears associated with the AC system. Sounds like a spinning gear with broken cogs or spinning on the motor...or something.

Have a look at the CRAZY internals behind the driver side quarter-panels for just a “few” of these gear-like toothed cog wheels & levers...

It’s amazing how much is crammed into every nook and cranny of the 200. No wonder they look a bit “pudgy” when stock.

11BBC41F-5D11-4725-9652-65BA3FF777DE.jpeg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 12, 2018
Messages
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Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Thanks for all the replies! The noise kicked in several more times since my original post.
  1. It starts as soon as the car turns on
  2. The hvac was completely off when the car was started
  3. No changes to hvac or audio had any impact to the sound
  4. When vehicle is shut off it continues for 10-15 seconds
  5. When vehicle is restarted it usually starts whirring again
  6. Went for about 5 minutes at the longest

I haven’t had a chance to take to a dealer again yet and plan to wait until it kicks in literally every time I start otherwise they won’t touch it

ANDERSND- Can you post the outcome with your dealer if in fact they fix it as well as your dealer name? Would be helpful as a reference when I eventually get mine in.
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
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Location
Massachusetts
Sorry for going silent on this. Noise has not come back but I have been traveling over past few weeks and temps have been moderate here in Mass since last post. Looks like a nice thanksgiving day in the 20s tomorrow and I'm pheasant hunting in the am so I'm curious to see if the gremlin is back.

My dealer btw is Toyota of Dartmouth (MA). I'll post solution if problem reoccurs and I learn anything new. As stated previously, tech was confident it was DVD/ NAV related but I have greater trust in the expertise on this board and Markuson's pic was pretty eye opening.

Turning focus now to some upgrades scheduled for December - working with the guys at Main Line Overland in Bow NH. Very impressed thus far - super approachable team that loves talking 200s, very knowledgeable and thorough.
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
8
Location
Massachusetts
Update - cold weather back, noise back. Didn’t start immediately upon starting the vehicle, but after I started driving, there it was. Also, big whif of exhaust upon starting.

But here’s a new one - after driving about a couple hundred yards I pulled over and listened again closely. Definitely sounds like it is coming right out of the dvd slot, like it always has. Nonetheless, I put my fist on the passenger side left leg cushion, the small piece of padding that is on the right side of the instrument panel, and gave it a good hard thump. Noise sputtered, then stopped.

For now, I’ll take it, and don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. Feels like my old Series Land Rover days - when you can’t figure out what the noise is, a couple of thumps may not fix it but might make it go away for a bit.
 

bloc

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Old thread.. also curious.

To me it sounds like it could be a bad cooling fan for the nav/entertainment unit. 80series has a 3” standard PC cooling fan lodged in the dash above the stereo.. I had my nav out to fix a button and didn’t remember anything like that but there must be a fan or two internal to the unit. Somehow the noise triggered by temp.. maybe the grease gets hard enough below a certain temp and that allows the bushing/shaft slop to wobble around?

Edit: also, the nav/audio system stays on even if it is switched off, kinda like a sleep mode. If you unhook the battery or remove the unit it has a much more involved boot up before it can be used. This may explain the noise happening even if the stereo is off.

Maybe try pulling the fuses for the stereo/nav and see if the noise stops.
 
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Pittsburgh, PA
Never thought about pulling the fuses I like that. I’ll have to get familiar with the panel. Can pulling fuses lead to any other problems? I
 

Markuson

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Before seeing a mention of the slot...I was about to suggest it may be trying to load or eject a DVD disc that is either stuck triggering a load or stuck trying to eject. Or...just a bad cog in the eject/load mechanism.

Try ejecting. If nothing... try loading a CD or DVD.
 
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Pittsburgh, PA
I did it while ejecting a disc and loading and playing. I initially through it was that mechanism as well as part of the sound is very similar but after about a minute it makes very different sounds.

Now I’m getting weird noises when I go over small bumps and the car rocks left and right. Sounds like it’s coming from the frame under driver side 2nd row. Went away for last month now it’s back and absolutely drives me nuts. I posted on a thread somewhere else hear. Dealers of course can never hear it....
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2006
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El Dorado Hills, CA
 
 
My sound is the same whether there is a disc in, out, playing or stopped. So maybe not the disc? it sounds like the disc and is in the area of the disc though.

Super annoying!
 
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