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Old 08-11-14, 01:11 PM   #1
wadge22
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Default Mechanical trouble already???

I'm having a loud ticking or clacking noise that sounds like it's coming form the valvetrain area on my 2jzge. I'm not super experienced, but need to solve this issue myself if I can.

I bought my SC300 last week, and have been driving it without any trouble all week. It is slowly losing coolant from the expansion tank somewhere, which isn't leaking under the car as far as I can tell, but that isn't my main issue at this point. The car also had what seemed to be some valve noise, but nothing so bad I was worried about it. I was hoping with an oil change and maybe some seafoam treatment that would quiet down.

Well. Yesterday I took the car on a medium length highway trip down to a lake for some summer fun. On the way home, the car pooped out on me. I was diving probably 50ish on a country highway when the engine died. While I was still coasting, I was able to start it back up in neutral with the key, but it was idling low and erratically and I could hear some clicking or ticking sounds from the engine area.

Once I pulled off to the side of the road, I was able to start it up, but again, ticking sounds from the cam/valve area. It sounds like there is something loose rattling around in there. If I give it some gas, it will rev up and the sounds will either get worse or disappear for a bit, but they always come back.

I did drive it a few hundred yards to get it into a parking lot where I called for a tow. It was able to move, but it would die if I left it at idle without giving gas. I have since only started it up to hear the sounds again.

So. My best guess (and I'm not very well experienced with car repair, although I usually do my own maintenance work) is that something in the valve assembly has come loose in there and is jiggling around. I've searched the forums here and found only one especially relevant post, where it was mentioned something about the distributor or coil (cant remember) breaking up and bits of it getting in the top end, maybe that's my problem as well. I can't find that thread now.
Anyhow, my plan is to take the valve cover off and look in there. I'm guessing I'll see whatever is loose and nocking around, and hopefully I'll be able to identify it and go from there. Sure hope it hasn't caused serious damage.

If anyone has any ideas what it might be or knows of a way to diagnose it without just starting to take stuff apart, I would be very grateful. I worry that all of this might be a bit outside of my current abilities. but I'm willing to learn as I go. Also, it's not my daily driver so I have time to figure it out. Thanks for your help.
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Last edited by wadge22; 08-18-14 at 11:13 AM..
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Old 08-11-14, 01:51 PM   #2
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First thing first do you have any cell on the dash?

How many miles how you put on the car since you bought?

Did the seller told that it has some issues?

It sounds like a fuel issue to me .

Does it fall on it face with you rev it up at idle?
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Old 08-11-14, 02:26 PM   #3
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Not sure what you mean by cell on the dash. No check engine light, oil light, or anything, the lights and gauges look okay.

I drove probably 400 miles since I got it. I wasn't driving it very hard, except a couple times I had it up around 5000-6000 to see what it could do. But that was for only a few seconds twice.
It seemed good the whole time until yesterday, except maybe not quite as powerful as I expected, although I didn't know what to expect. I wasn't able to spin the tires from a standstill, don't know if I should have been able.
Then yesterday before it died (on the drive down) it seemed a little less powerful, and had some slight hesitation in the 2000-3000 rpm area. Right before it died (hte beginning of the drive home) it was acting funny (that's all I remember about it - just a vague feeling I had, I guess), but still driving okay. The engine died suddenly, and I pulled off pretty soon after that.

The seller didn't mention any issues, in fact he said it didn't have any major problems. He was selling it for a friend, although he had owned it before the friend. They got it at auction and fixed some body issues, but I think it had always been mechanically fine. Or that was his story.

Not sure if it would be a fuel issue (although I know I'm not very knowledgeable). The sound from the top end is definitely mechanical, like a nocking or ticking or clacking from the camshaft area.
I did put new gas in it right before getting to the lake, then it sat for 6 hours, then had the problem within 20 minutes of starting home. It was 93 gas from a gas station in the country, I can't remember what station.

No, it revs up okay when I run the engine, except for the noise. When I let it go back down to idle it goes low, but then hunts a little and finds a decent idle speed. It seems to be idling okay now, except the noise, which is pretty loud and worrying. It sounds like a metal part nocking into something else in the valve case, and gets louder if I rev it up.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 08-11-14, 04:00 PM   #4
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Gotta just open it up.
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Old 08-11-14, 06:33 PM   #5
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Wow. Lol, not sure if trolling.

Have you checked the oil level yet?

Does the engine start and idle on its own without you giving it gas?
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Old 08-11-14, 09:32 PM   #6
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He meant CEL (check engine light)
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Old 08-11-14, 10:53 PM   #7
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You said you had it up to 5-6 grand could be you jumped a cog on the timing belt & your ECU is adjusting for it. If the car has 100k on it or more & timing belt service plus water pump has not been done, it needs to be done every 90 to 100 k miles. Valve adjustment also if required. I've had engines jump one tooth & continue to run.
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Old 08-12-14, 03:50 PM   #8
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I'm not sure why it might sound like I'm trolling, I really am having this issue with the car.

No CEL.

Yes there's oil in the car. The oil on the dipstick is very clean looking, so I hadn't changed it right when I bought the car. I dunno what weight or brand or anything like that.

It will start and idle without me giving any extra gas.

I took the timing belt covers off today and visually inspected it. Its not missing any 'teeth,' and seems to be the right tension. I can't say for sure whether it skipped just by looking, of course, but everything looks okay with it. I get the impression it's been replaced at some point since 1993, it looks to be in good shape. the car has 182,000 miles, though, and I don't know if it was replaced once or twice.

Stilll plan on taking off the valve cover(s) later this week. I haven't looked up any DIYs on that yet, or found a manual to download, but I'll do so soon. I know it involves removing the throttle body and Y pipe, not looking forward to that. I'll be putting in new plugs at that point, probably the distributer O-ring (car came with a new ring not installed from previous seller), and valve cover gasket. Is there anything else I'll be wanting to do at the same time? Clean out the throttle body, I'm sure. Check valve clearance, look for whatever's making this noise.

Sorry for rambling posts. I want the car to work well, and I'm making up for the fact that I can't work on it just yet by asking a lot of questions here. Thanks everyone for the help.


Click the image to open in full size.

timing belt looks ok


Click the image to open in full size.

engine


Click the image to open in full size.

no extra lights
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Old 08-18-14, 11:32 AM   #9
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I got the valve covers off over the weekend. Theres nothing noticeably wrong in there. Certainly not anything "loose" inside the covers. Even I'm not sure what I thought I meant by that.

Once me and my brother got the covers off, we realized there wasn't much we could do without knowing anything about this. We turned the engine through several revolutions and watched that all the valve lifters go up and down, which they all do.

We also took out the plugs, and noticed that there was lots of oil around the outside of the plugs in between the two valve covers. Looking down at the cylinders through the plug holes. cylinders 5 and especially 2 appear to have some oil on top of the cylinders. All of the cylinders have some carbony looking "dirt" on them.

We ran compression tests on all the cylinders, which I'm not totally confident we got very accurate readings. They were anywhere from 170 to 210 after cranking the engine three times for each cylinder. I cranked it 3 times each because it only seemed to turn over once each time I turned the key. All the cylinders but one were at about 120 after just the first key turn (I think it was cyl 5 that got to 180 with one key turn).

So after a days work and now being unsure whether we'll ever get the y-pipe back on and all the vacuum hoses back in the right places, we still don't know much more. Anybody who has any suggestions for what to try or check next, I would greatly appreciate it. Again, sorry for my ignorance of engines, I know I'm in a bit over my head here.
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Old 08-18-14, 01:10 PM   #10
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not sure why you really went through all that nothing ever really comes loose in top end or sticks unless you just had the head off and didn't install something right.
timing belt looks fine and you can spin it over to TDC and make sure all the marks line up, the cam gears look roughly in phase with each other I can't tell the rest without seeing it but if its running I wouldn't jump to that diagnosis. the timing belts do not skip that often on these motors and your belt would not make me think it did.

sounds like a distributor/ignition issue to me.

when my car left me stranded on the side of the road the only time it ever has it was the rotor in the distributor decided it didn't want to work all the time anymore. it would sometimes spark on all 6, felt a miss here or there and then that day it just drpoped all cylinders. I was able to start it with some gas and it was running on 2-3 cylinders or so it sounded and I was able to get to the side of the road and it died again and did not work after that.

replacing the rotor and cap did the trick. IF you ever buy a 2jzge without the history just go ahead and do cap, rotor, and plugs.
plug wires generally last a long time unless they are pinched or bent badly but also not a bad idea to eliminate if you have done everything else.

this sounds like your issue to me check and report back. its 3 screws to take the distributor cap off (do not remove distributor from engine), be carefull those screws strip pretty easily. you can also use a 7mm socket instead of the screwdriver to remove if they are stripped out. under cap you will find a rotor with like 2 screws holding it on. if the edge is not smooth looking or it has seen better days or just go ahead and replace it with a toyota one anyways its not that expensive even at dealer. once the rotor wears enough, it will not let the spark travel from the coil to the plug, which is bad. replacing this item before it goes bad also helps with prolonged distributor life, but at this point just inspect it and if its looks all cut up then replace it and see if it works.
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Old 08-18-14, 01:39 PM   #11
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Spin to TDC for cylinder 1? I can't really see the marks on the pulley for the belt, I still have the fan and shroud on. At cyl 1 TDC the arrows on the cam timing gears are straight up.
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Old 08-18-14, 03:29 PM   #12
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what do you mean you cant see marks on the pulley? the crank pulley? there are no marks on your crank pulley?

I think you need to slow down a bit. if you line up the cam gears and see no white line on the crank pulley showing the timing, you are 180 degrees out, meaning, spin the engine around until the cams go around one more time and line straight up, now when you look at the crank there should be a white line and it should be pointing at 0.

you do not have to remove anything to read the timing. its done with the shroud and everything on.
on the crank pulley you should see the writing to the top left of it with marks for 0, 10 and 15 degrees or something like that. You are probably not looking in the right place.

when the crank pulley is lined up with 0, then you check that the cam gears are pointing straight up at the marks. just seeing that they point straight up without the crank at 0 or seeing any marks on the crank pulley is meaningless really.

what about the cap and rotor have you done those, you didn't say.

you don;t have to remove the distributor, but this picture shows how to set crank to TDC and that cam marks are aligned.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 08-18-14, 04:12 PM   #13
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Okay. Thanks for working with me on this.
I was seeing the arrow on the crank pulley (mine is orange paint marker, like the cam gears in the pic above), I wasn't seeing the 0 10 and 15 marks. Was looking further in on the pulley for that. Thanks for helping me clear that up.
So now I know it isn't the valve timing off.

I opened up the distributer again, and yes it definitely does need a new rotor. I'm sure I probably might as well do the cap at the same time, altho the contacts on the cap don't look bad. I'll replace all of that, but I still have TB and Ypipe off so won't be able to fire it up until I get those back on.

I'm not convinced that could be causing my loud ticking/clacking noises, however. They are coming from the top of the engine, and sound very much like a physical collision of two metal parts. Would not getting spark cause that sort of sound? I wish I would have gotten audio before I took stuff apart.

The last few times I started the engine (before taking off the TB and Ypipe) the oil light was on for the first three to five seconds, and the noise was very bad with that light on. Am I having oil pressure issues maybe?
The noise is noticeable at idle, and gets pretty bad when you rev it up.

Last point, I checked my valve clearances, and one valve is pretty far out (front exhaust valve for cyl 5 has .004 clearance), while the rest seem fine. Could that be my issue or a part of it?

Thanks Ali for the help.

Last edited by wadge22; 08-18-14 at 04:33 PM..
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Old 08-18-14, 05:13 PM   #14
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can you take a video by any chance its hard to tell what you mean. if the rotor is bad enough you can hear weird noises coming from that area that could be like a tick.. not sure about a clacking. sometimes its almost electrical sound as the spark is jumping inside the cap because the rotor is so worn down and it firing at possibly the wrong place can make the motor not run well and make sounds also. I would start there at least.

you could have oil issues I am not sure how I could tell from here. sometimes that light does come on for a few seconds and its pretty normal, but if always taking that long and there is noise I would also be concerned. it could also take longer to build oil pressure if you are not getting reliable spark.

Unless someone changed the valve shims at some point which if its a stock motor is unlikely they are probably fine. I guess they could have gotten them mixed up on the reinstall if the head was off but usually these motors don't make sounds like that from those unless you changed it recently, the shim doesn't fail I don't think.

you could get a gauge and check the oil pressure, but if I were you I would put the intake back on and do the easy stuff that you need to do anyways first and see if its still there. if its the cap and rotor you could save yourself alot of troubleshooting. You are right also its generally the rotor that wears down so you don't have to do the cap I just normally do both together to be safe.
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Old 08-18-14, 05:42 PM   #15
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Alright well my plan is to get everything back together and running again. I'll start it up with the distributer how it is currently, to make sure I didn't fix something without knowing it while I had it apart (since I haven't really done anything). Then I'll change out the cap and rotor to see if that was the only issue.
My hunch still is that that wasn't the only thing wrong, so I'll take some video for the audio of the clacking if it's still there.

Now my main concern is whether I'll be able to get all the vacuum hoses back together correctly. I was keeping good track of them at first, but by the time I got to some of the nuts that were more of a pain to access I think I was just disconnecting everything in my path. Hope it all goes back together without any issue.
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