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You are probably just hearing the shift interlock system. You have to put your foot on the brake to shift out of gear. When you put your foot on the brake pedal you hear the shift actuator move which allows you to shift out of gear. This is completely normal and if you dont hear that noise you will have issues shifting into gear.
It makes the noise while driving too.
while driving and applying the brakes I should add. Like something is grabbing and letting go. Makes me wonder if the CV joints are dry or suspect.
Oh, ok. Your previous post said in gear. Do you hear the noise outside the vehicle or inside? The shift interlock may be operating everytime you use the brake pedal regardless if you are moving. I wouldnt suspect cv joints as they will give you a vibration if they were dry. Sometimes the brake pads have too much clearance in the caliper bracket and as you apply the brakes they move slightly and hit the bracket. Its not a safety issue, just a noise issue.
sounds like it comes from outside of the cab under the hood or beneath the car. We recently had to replace the steering rack due to a failure of the steering column shaft link to the steering rack. That was an expensive repair and some noise preceded it. I'm just hoping to avoid another expensive potentially dangerous failure incident such as that.
Very understandable, the shift interlock is located in the right rear of the engine compartment so you would be able to hear it. If it will do it all the time I would recommend trying to narrow down the location of the sound or have it inspected by the toyota dealer to rule out a dangerous issue.