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Toyota Repair/'02 Highlander AWD Rear End Road Noise

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Question
Ted, we have an '02 Highlander Limited AWD with 170K miles.  Recently noticed increased cyclic road noise from the rear drivers side (I think).  Kind of like a woo-woo-woo that you can start to hear at 15-20 mph and increases with speed.  Thought was due to the tires needing replacement, but just did that but the noise remains, so I'm thinking its a hub bearing from other discussion I've seen.  

Is there any way to be sure that it isn't something else instead, like a pinion bearing?  I'm a do-it-yourselfer and would hate to throw time/money at a hub bearing if that wasn't really the problem.

Many thanks.

Ken

Answer
It's most likely a wheel bearing since it is coming from one side, a pinio bearing problem will usually be a more steady noise, not rythmic and will increase/decrease on acceleration/deceleration, while driving it put the transmission in neutral if the noise stays the same it's the wheel bearing.  

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Ted Ritter

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I have more than 28 years experience as toyota technician, I will be able to answer most questions related to the Toyota product line up to the present year models,I am located in the US but welcome questions from other regions of the world. When asking a question please provide specific information: year,model, engine,transmission information. Provide as much information as possible including a brief repair history if possible. I have been a volunteer here for more ten years an have answered over 16,000 questions helping Toyota owners with their problems and save thousands of dollars without any compensation, some of my answers are published on many other websites including google and various automotive forums. DONATIONS ARE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED, IF YOU HAVE RECIEVED HELPFUL INFORMATION PLEASE MAKE A DONATION. AS OF TODAY (JULY 22, 2014) ALL REQUESTED GRAPHICS, ILLUSTRATIONS, DIAGRAMS, PHOTOS, WILL REQUIRE THE MINUMUM DONATION UP FRONT.

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Toyota master technician, ASE certified in eight catagories, Hybrid vehicle certified. Toyota technical training: Engine Automatic transmission Manual transmission Drivetrain Electrical systems Brakes and chassis Air conditioning Engine performance and diagnostics Hybrid systems

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