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What's that noise?


Desert Rat 23

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Hey all, new to this site and this is my first thread. Searched for an answer but couldn't find it. Hope I'm not repeating an old covered subject.

Got a '97 xlt 2.3L 4 banger with a noise I can't pin down. It's a knocking sound kinda like a diesel and kinda like that marble sound the 4.0's get. At fist I thought that it was just an exhaust leak, which I do have, and then thought maybe it was coming from the block. The thing is, it's loudest at idle, in neutral, and with the a/c on. (Brand new a/c system and I'm positive it's not the compressor) Yesterday I discovered that the knocking goes away when I push in the clutch. At that point I just stood there looking at it with a dumb look on my face and scratching my head.

:icon_confused::icon_confused::icon_confused:

Other possible factors include: rear dif bearings and seals are bad and soon to be replaced, possible bad u joints, and the drive shaft can be twisted about 20 degrees back and forth (unsure what that means)

Does anyone know what this is? Or maybe just have some ideas cause I'm fresh out.

:sorrysign:
Sorry for the long post. Just wanted to be thorough.
 


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Duane867

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Throw out bearing or it could be your timing belt.
I say timing belt because when there is a load on the engine the rmps have to increase, when they increase the belt spins faster and if its stretched out a little will slap the inside of the timing cover and sound like a knock.

The throw out bearing will generally sound like a muffled base ball card in spokes only a lot faster. ( almost like rocks in a can )
 

Desert Rat 23

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Referring to the timing belt, if the truck is idling in neutral with the ac on providing the load, then why does it go away when the clutch is engaged? Isn't the load still the same? Also, wouldn't I be hearing the knock right there at the timing belt cover? Being a plastic cover I would think that it would be a different sound all together.

Never having had either one of these issues I'm totally in the dark. Is there a good way to inspect or test for these? My wrenching abilities are all right. If I don't know how to do it I can usually learn pretty fast.
 

Duane867

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This is my take on what I went through with mine. I'm not an SAE mechanic or anything so a lot of my terminology may not mean to some one else what I mean it to be in my head and probably sound like a retard repeating LOL ! So I'll do the best I can to explain my self.
A loose belt will also knock around down by the crank. It could be hitting the inner timing shield as well. Which may or may not transfer in to the outer cover giving an easily audible or "feel test" pin point.
At a certain rpm a loose belt knock can also go away or get worse. I have found that under normal driving conditions ( shifting like you want it to last @ 3 grand and not like you stole it at 4.5- 5 grand :) ) it will generally be fairly quiet. and as you drive will all but go away for some reason. Maybe the timing belt tensioner in mine was making up the difference or possibly bad or loose that caused this ? Never know for sure because I replaced it when I did the belt last night. I do know it will make you think any thing from lifters to main bearings to throw out bearing the way it acts.
Its a freaky little POS when it loosens up. Especially if you prod around on it before you change it checking the belt out. Its very temper mental when it stretches out.

Now on the opposite end of the spectrum mine slapped the cover as well when rpms were low. There was only a narrow rpm range when it wouldn't slap around.
I had the same knock when the AC was on and in neutral as well. But not when the clutch was depressed and it was in gear and only when the AC was on. When the AC is on and in neutral the engine bogs down changing rpms. When your driving with the clutch engaged you can make this up at the pedal. While parked in neutral try giving her a little gas standing out side the truck at the throttle body and see if the sound dampens or goes away and comes back when you left off or increase.
As I saw it the lower rpm was letting the belt slap around more loosely as well as high points. But like I said .. what makes sense to me make make no sense to some one else.
I'm just blessed like that I guess LOL !
 
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Desert Rat 23

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Ok, sweet. You pretty much described my dilemma to the tee. I never suspected the timing belt. It's got a little over 60,000 on it so either way it's time for it to meet the trash can. Was really dreading it being the throw out bearing. I much rather work on my feet than my back. (Can I get a "that's what she said"?)

Are there any short cuts or tips you can pass on in changing in out. The Haynes manual says to remove just about everything within earshot of it. Knowing Haynes this is often not the case.
 

Duane867

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I'm not saying this is your problem for sure. It could also be the throw out bearing.... If it is then remember that PB blast and time are your friends. As well as an impact wrench if you have one because the trans mount bolts, X-member bolts and drive shaft bolts are on there frickin' TIIIIGHT ! and will be rusty.

You will be tempted to just remove the fan, pump, pulley and shroud and work from their on... Yeah get that right out of your head now. LOL !!
The crank pulley has to come off with every thing else. The cover is to fat to be pulled up and out like it looks like it should. The AC/power steering bracket is in the way and will stop it from coming up and out. You cant even twist it out and slide it forwards towards the radiator because of the crank pulley. Its actually a two piece cove that does not surround the crank as one piece. BUT the crank pulley must come off to remove to remove even the top half.
Alternator is fine, as is the coolant lines if you have fairly long arms.
I just reached around the right side of the upper hose and it was out of my way.
You will need to pull the plastic keeper out of the side of the lower front coil pack mount though so you will be able to move the wire loom out of your way that passes in front of the cover.
Remove the number one plug on the exhaust side of the head before you do anything though. Then loosen the fan bolts/water pump pulley bolts with the drive belt still in place. After loosening then remove the drive belt with a standard 3/8" ratchet in the square port on the tensioner pulley ( I used the boxed end on a large wrench as a cheater bar on the end of the ratchet ). Then remove the bolts you loosened on the fan/ pump pulley. then remove the ran shroud and remove the fan and shroud at the same time straight up and out of the way. 4x10mm bolts on the crank pulley, 4x10mm bolts on the water pump pulley, 2x10mm bolts on the shroud. Then remove the inspection plug in the top portion of the timing cover. Use a 7/8" socket and a cheater bar and rotate the crank by hand around until both the line on the crank pulley and the mark on the timing gear both line up together. knock off the crank pulley, remove the large phillips head retaining screw from the timing cover, pops out the tabs all the way around the cover and wedge the cover free. Make sure all your marks are still lined up.
Then release the tension on the timing belt tensioner and remove the belt making sure not to rotate the cam shaft. if it bumps over a tad just realign it moving it the opposite direction it moved from. Remove all slack from the nontensioned side of the new belt 1st ( straight side ). Then release the belt tensioner. Make sure you are still lined up and then hand rotate the crank two full turns to give the tensioner time to remove any remaining slack in the belt. That part is particularly important. Then put her all back together.
 
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Desert Rat 23

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Well, it sounds like what you said. Even if it's not, that lil bastard's gots to go. Seems like a good place to start. Wish I thought of this three days ago when I replaced the a/c condenser along with the whole a/c system. Ah well, live and learn.

Thanks Duane! I'll post my findings when I git er done. Going to be a couple weeks though.
 

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I for got the most important part !
You MUST remove the pulley hub after you remove the crank pulley.
This will be a PITA. Use a 7/8" star point socket and a Big F'n cheater bar with the engine in gear E brake on Wheels chalked and you will probably need to use a pipe wrench on the flats of the hub and lock it against the alternator pulley to break the crank bolt loose.
Use plenty of PB blast and patience.
 

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Yesterday I discovered that the knocking goes away when I push in the clutch.
When a noise goes away when the clutch is pressed in, it's a good guess that the trans is making the noise, could be the input shaft brg.

Louis
 

Duane867

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Not always the case.
A loose tensioner on the cam belt will do the exact same thing.
So can a drive belt squeak, a noisy alternator , a tensioner pulley, a idler pulley, a noisy compressor, noisy lifters ect ect ect.....
Just about all moving parts on the engine are effected by the load put on them by both the throttle and drive line.
 

Desert Rat 23

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Well holy crap on a stick! I spent all day today trying to get this done and no luck. I got to the point where I had everything off the front of the engine. Fan, shroud, upper hose, 4 exhaust plugs, ac compressor, pwr steering pump and bracket. Even got the timing belt cover off without having to remove the water pump or thermostat housing. Crank bolt came off in about 30 sec using the breaker bar strapped to the frame and turned over the engine with the starter for a hot second.

My problem started when I couldn't get the crank pulley off. I tried everything that I could think of. Rubber mallet, pry bar, torch, universal pulley remover, even yelling at it. It wont come off. Its the kind that just has the crank bolt and nothing else. There is a tiger gear attached to the back of it that looks like it comes off with it and there's no holes for a remover or anything. Talked to a mechanic and he said it should just come off with some elbow grease. I must have the wrong kind of elbow grease.

Does anyone have any wisdom or tricks. Maybe I'm missing something. It seams pretty straight forward but I've missed things before.

After thought: I was able to inspect the timing belt and it seams fine. The noise is still coming from the area around the number 2 cyl valves and the knocking is in step with the cam speed.
 

scotts90ranger

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collapsed lash adjuster, pull the valve cover, and rotate the engine, and push down on that adjuster see if it's softer than the rest, they're only like $8 each and once the followers are off they just pull out, apparently it works well to stick a dime under each one before reassembly to space them up a little. to get the followers out use a couple pry bars to compress the valve spring then just pull out the follower
 

scotts90ranger

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go HERE and you'll see the explanation I made a while ago, it would be easiest if you took the upper intake off, from there you just need two strong screwdrivers or a couple small pry bars, once you get the valve cover off you'll see what I'm talking about. intimidating but really not that complicated
 


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