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Old 08-27-2010, 05:57 PM   #1
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Default Loud Clattering from the Head at Startup??

When I start up my car after it's sat a while (30 minutes-1 hour), I hear a loud clattering from the head. After about 1-2 seconds, it goes away and everything sounds great. If I immediately restart it, it sounds normal. If it's only sat for 20-30 minutes, it only clatters for about a half second or less. It happens when the oil is cold and when it's hot.

Strange thing is that this started happening in my old stock motor too, around 70K or so miles. My current motor is a completely different block, head, oil pump etc etc and is freshly built.

WTF is this ****? I am not low on oil. FWIW if I crank with the valve cover off, oil does shoot up the VVT stalk. Not a huge stream of oil, but it does spray. I do also have oil pressure on my gauge after startup, in cruise etc.

I am guessing this clattering has to do with oil pressure building up in the head? WTH is it happening in both my old and new motor? Does anyone else hear this when they start up? Help please. I don't want my fresh motor to die young.
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:08 PM   #2
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Here's a pic of the cams fwiw. As you see, there is oil in the head.

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Old 08-27-2010, 07:32 PM   #3
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My 1.8 does it every time I start it up. Pretty sure both my 1.6's did it also. I don't know much about accusump but if you are worried about damaging something due to low/no oil pressure on startup maybe you should look into it.

I am pretty sure when you turn the car off the oil drains down into the engine and the ticking from the lack of oil for the few seconds it takes the pump to supply oil to the head.
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:57 PM   #4
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Well, it's not really a ticking. It's a loud BRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAATTTTTTTTTTTT

I will make a video soon.

In the meantime, anyone else experience this?
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:06 PM   #5
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When I start up my car after it's sat a while (30 minutes-1 hour), I hear a loud clattering from the head. After about 1-2 seconds, it goes away and everything sounds great. If I immediately restart it, it sounds normal. If it's only sat for 20-30 minutes, it only clatters for about a half second or less. It happens when the oil is cold and when it's hot...
Do you still have hydrollic lifters? If you do, don't sweat it.

It takes a few seconds for the oil pump to push oil into them. Until then there is no "pillow" of oil inside the HLAs and they click when they bottom out. If the sound continues for more then 5 seconds or starts randomly while driving then worry.


Make sure you are using an oil filter with an anti drainback valve (it'll be on the box and you usually can see the the rubber like material in the little holes on top of the filter itself) and the correct weight oil for your temp range, too thin can cause the same issue.

This is part of the reason you should let your car idle for 30 seconds to a minute before driving, just to make sure the oil have traveled everywhere it needs to.
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:06 PM   #6
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My gosh...how many of you people don't understand that 99-05 heads DO NOT HAVE HYDRAULIC LIFTERS?!

I know that noise you are talking about- almost like a spinning bearing that is loose. Next time it does it, immediately turn the engine off and restart and it should go away. Mine did it now and then...but I never figured out why. It *seemed* to happen when oil was a bit low...but I never determined that for a fact.
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:47 PM   #7
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My gosh...how many of you people don't understand that 99-05 heads DO NOT HAVE HYDRAULIC LIFTERS?!

I know that noise you are talking about- almost like a spinning bearing that is loose. Next time it does it, immediately turn the engine off and restart and it should go away. Mine did it now and then...but I never figured out why. It *seemed* to happen when oil was a bit low...but I never determined that for a fact.
Does it happen every single time you start? For me, it goes away after 1 second so I just let it go after I start.
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:00 PM   #8
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Oops probably should have looked at the year. Admittedly i know nothing about NBs or NCs.

Did they go to solid tappets?
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Old 08-28-2010, 12:09 AM   #9
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Does it happen every single time you start? For me, it goes away after 1 second so I just let it go after I start.

I only had it happen awhile back on the engine before I replaced it. Since the sound was very hard on my ears, when it would happen, I would cut the ignition and restart the car....I didn't want to take any chances, ya know?
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Old 08-28-2010, 12:37 AM   #10
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Oops probably should have looked at the year. Admittedly i know nothing about NBs or NCs.

Did they go to solid tappets?
Hmm can you tell from my awesome picture? I don't know much about heads.
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Old 08-28-2010, 12:51 AM   #11
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Nope but I think I read somewhere that they weren't hydrollic.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:47 AM   #12
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The VVT actuator kinda gives it away.
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:37 AM   #13
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Are your cam pulley bolts tight? Get the feelers out and measure at cold and hot on the lifters.
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Old 08-28-2010, 01:52 PM   #14
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Are your cam pulley bolts tight? Get the feelers out and measure at cold and hot on the lifters.
Yah they are tight. How do I measure the lifters and what specs do I look for? I do have feelers. Is this in an online manual or something? I did some searchasaourusing but didn't find details.
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Old 08-28-2010, 04:13 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Doppelgänger View Post
The VVT actuator kinda gives it away.
Is the Actuator hydrollic?
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Old 08-28-2010, 05:36 PM   #16
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Is the Actuator hydrollic?
Yes. Operates via a solenoid that sits on top of the valve cover.
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Old 08-28-2010, 05:43 PM   #17
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I am pretty positive if his cam bolts were loose he would loose timing quickly (as I did). So where is the video of this "noise"???
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:00 PM   #18
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Yes. Operates via a solenoid that sits on top of the valve cover.
Anything hydrollic acts on fluid pressure. If the is no fluid there is no pressure. This causes lifters and actuators to bottom or top out. The metal on metal contact makes the hash clicking noise until fluid pressure is built up to pervent said contact.

I would treat it exactly the same as HLA noise.

Do you have heavier valve springs? This would magnify the effect because the cams would have just a bit more resistance to rolling because of the increase pressure on the lobes.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:24 PM   #19
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happens to me everytime i start the car cold....i should get into the habit of starting the car in 'flood clear' mode for 5 or 10 seconds. It's just the oil pump self priming. The ticking would probably go away with near perfect cam->lifter clearances.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:53 PM   #20
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9 times out of 10 my car doesn't do it. Only after I drive it hard, park, and start it 5-10 minutes later. It'll tick from anywhere from 20 seconds to 5 minutes.
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