2003 RL - Rattling engine noise - AcuraZine - Acura Enthusiast Community

Notices

2003 RL - Rattling engine noise

 
Old 08-31-2018, 01:13 AM
  #1  
Registered Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Age: 53
Posts: 30
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
2003 RL - Rattling engine noise

I have this rattling engine noise that developed slowly over the last 6 months or so (about 8k miles).

So I wonder if perhaps Iím lucky and someone else has dealt with that at some point and can give me some adviceÖ

The rattling noise seems to be coming somewhere from the area marked in red in the photo.


And here is how it sounds. Like many mechanical noises it is a little hard to hear on a recording, but notice the different sound as I move from the passenger side of the engine to the driver side. The noise you hear when I move the video to the driver side is the more normal engine noise. When I record on the passenger side of the engine then the rattling sounds more pronounced.


The noise is a rattling noise with a little bit of knocking into it. To me it sounds sort of like a bad bearing shifting positions but Iím not that confident in my diagnosis.

The car has 245k miles.

I had a garage change the timing and balancer belts at 120k miles and supposedly they also changed the water pump. Then at 233 miles I changed the balancer and timing belts myself (did not want to pay another $1000) but I did not change the water pump or any of the idler pulleys.
Anyone had similar experiences?

Opening the timing belt covers is quite a bit of work with all the electrical harnesses attached to it, even if I just remove just the top covers. Besides, once I open the covers it is no longer possible to start the engine to reproduce the noise. So getting some diagnostic hints on what it may be will help a lot.

Thanks much
STV8261 is offline  
Old 08-31-2018, 01:41 AM
  #2  
Registered Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Age: 53
Posts: 30
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
A few other things I forgot:

I have observed that the rattling pitch and intensity only depends on the engine RPM. It does not depend on the engine load, acceleration/deceleration etc. It is less noticeable at highway speeds but that is probably because of the added road noise.

Engine power seems fine, gas mileage normal, no vibrations, rattling is the same in neutral as in gear, moving or stopped. No fluid leaks other than a small power steering leak that has been there for the last 100k miles (PS reservoir goes from high mark to low mark every 10k miles or so).
STV8261 is offline  
Old 09-01-2018, 03:40 PM
  #3  
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 74
Thanked 11 Times in 10 Posts
An automotive stethoscope is invaluable for finding the real source of the noise:

Amazon Amazon
RL98 is offline  
Old 09-01-2018, 04:05 PM
  #4  
Senior Moderator
 
Ken1997TL's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Better Neighborhood, Arizona
Posts: 45,427
Thanked 2,151 Times in 1,227 Posts
When were the valves adjusted last?
Ken1997TL is online now  
Old 09-04-2018, 02:14 PM
  #5  
Registered Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Age: 53
Posts: 30
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
RL98, Thanks for the stethoscope suggestion. I did not know they made such things but it makes perfect sense. I ordered one, will have it in a week.

Ken1997TL, Thanks for reminding about the valves. The valves have never been adjusted in 245k miles. I sort of assumed it was not necessary since the 2003RL shop manual does not mention anything about valve adjustment in the maintenance section -- but I could be wrong. They do mention long term items like replacing transmission fluid and coolant at 120k miles and then every 90k and 60k respectively, or replacing timing belt every 105k miles but no word on valve timing. After reading your suggestion I looked at the valve description in the shop manual and seems like this car uses ďhydraulic tappetsĒ on the lifters, so perhaps those also act as automatic valve adjusters? There is also no mention in the manual of any valve adjustment procedure using thickness gauges etc.

Another interesting (to me) thing on valve adjustment: I remember valve adjustments in older cars. But starting with a 1987 Mazda 323 I once owned seems like they started using these hydraulic tappets, so I thought that valve adjustment had become a thing of the past. Now on my 2012 Honda Odyssey the shop manual mentions and describes a manual valve adjustment procedure using thickness gauges. So perhaps manual valve adjustment is returning once againÖ
STV8261 is offline  
Old 09-04-2018, 03:30 PM
  #6  
Moderator
 
thoiboi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: SoCal, CA
Posts: 37,341
Thanked 5,741 Times in 4,605 Posts
It could also be something as simple as a catalytic converter heat shield that got loose, so don't overlook those things.

Valve adjustments work wonders on our cars, I remember on my older J30 Accord (6th gen), I didn't do a valve adjustment for 200K miles but on the second timing belt job, decided to do it and that baby purred so quietly afterwards.
thoiboi is offline  
Old 09-04-2018, 03:40 PM
  #7  
Senior Moderator
 
Ken1997TL's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Better Neighborhood, Arizona
Posts: 45,427
Thanked 2,151 Times in 1,227 Posts
I would definitely do it, it won't hurt at all!
Ken1997TL is online now  
Old 09-04-2018, 03:57 PM
  #8  
Registered Member
iTrader: (1)
 
losiglow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Age: 37
Posts: 2,997
Thanked 710 Times in 501 Posts
That's funny, I just did a valve adjustment on my 4G TL yesterday. Took about 3 hours altogether. Also cleaned the fuel injectors. It didn't make much noise to begin with but it makes even less now. Seems to have better pickup though it could just be a placebo.

Does the noise level change by temp? If the noise changes when the car warms up, it could certainly indicate valve clearances. Not necessarily a tell-tale sign, but a common symptom.
losiglow is offline  
Old 09-04-2018, 06:57 PM
  #9  
Registered Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Age: 53
Posts: 30
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'd be happy to look into doing a valve adjustment on my RL, but I'm afraid there's no such adjustment to be made. At least I cannot find one in the shop manual. All I see is the "hydraulic tappets" at one end of the rocker arms, where the adjusting screw would normally be. There's a procedure on how to bleed the air out of these tappets before you (re)install them. That's all I see. I imagine that the purpose of the tappets is to dynamically maintain zero clearance, so no need for valve adjustments. It could very well be that these hydraulic tappets proved problematic and that is why manual adjustments have returned on my 2012 Odyssey (and likely other cars from what I gather reading the comments). But on the 1st Gen RL's there may not be any valve adjustment to be made.

Has anyone done a valve adjustment on their 1st generation RL?
STV8261 is offline  
Old 09-04-2018, 07:00 PM
  #10  
Moderator
 
thoiboi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: SoCal, CA
Posts: 37,341
Thanked 5,741 Times in 4,605 Posts
OH wow, didn't realize the 1st Gen RL had a C series engine, and not the J .


thoiboi is offline  
Old 09-04-2018, 07:17 PM
  #11  
Registered Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Age: 53
Posts: 30
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by losiglow View Post

Does the noise level change by temp? If the noise changes when the car warms up, it could certainly indicate valve clearances. Not necessarily a tell-tale sign, but a common symptom.
No, in my case the noise does not change with temperature. It is there at the same pitch and intensity from the time I start the engine until I turn it off. Also, it does not have that very regular rhythmic tapping that I imagine is characteristic of a valve. That's why it sounds to me more like a bad bearing. The balancer belt pulley or the timing belt pulley comes to mind, except that those are a little more centrally located and I hear the noise a little higher. But perhaps noise bounces around in the engine compartment, that is why the stethoscope may help. If it were a quick job I'd just open the timing belt covers, but it's not a quick job and once the covers are off the engine is no longer in a state that can be started.
STV8261 is offline  
Old 09-07-2018, 08:08 PM
  #12  
Registered Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Age: 53
Posts: 30
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Well, I poked around with the stethoscope (useful tool indeed, thanks RL98) and perhaps itís the power steering pump. The bearings seem ok, there seems to be no play in the pulley, but perhaps the pump itself is noisy. Iíll take all the belts off next and start the engine, see if the noise is still there.

I bought the stethoscope that has two attachments, the metal rod and the small rubber funnel. They are both useful. The rubber funnel helps you identify where the noise is coming from. The metal rod is much more sensitive but when you use it you start hearing all kinds of other noises, so it can be confusing to discern the original noise.
STV8261 is offline  
Old 09-10-2018, 12:28 AM
  #13  
Registered Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Age: 53
Posts: 30
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It is the power steering pump that is making the noise. I removed the 3 belts (Alternator, AC, PS) and when I finally removed the PS belt the engine got very quiet.

Funny how the noise bounced around and initially appeared to be coming from the top of the engine. Things got clearer once I bought and used the stethoscope, and now the belt removal seems to leave no doubt that it’s the PS pump.

However I do not think it’s the PS pump bearings, there is very little play in the PS pump axle. I think it’s the pump itself inside making the noise.

Any tips on changing the PS pump?
STV8261 is offline  
Old 09-18-2018, 01:22 AM
  #14  
Registered Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Age: 53
Posts: 30
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I changed the Power Steering pump this past weekend. The noise is gone. Engine compartment is quiet once again.

It is not a difficult job. You just have to remove the air filter and the rubber air tube carrying air from the filter to the intake. With those two removed there is enough space to remove the two power steering bolts and the tension adjuster. The space is tight but itís just a few bolts. Itís a messy job though because of the oil spilling. On the pump itself you just remove the rubber oil intake hose (hose from oil reservoir to pump) and the metal high pressure line (two bolts holding that one). I covered the disconnected hoses with a small plastic bag and a rubber band to prevent dirt from entering the system. I had also removed the bottom black plastic splash guard to have better access to the belts, because you do need to take out all three belts (Alternator, AC and Power steering). I got a remanufactured PS pump for about $100. I had to take the metal inlet out of the old pump and fit it on the new pump. The remanufactured pump came with the two sealing O-Rings. Another small challenge was to take out the pulley from the old pump and fit it on the new pump. You donít need an extractor to do that however you need to hold the pulley still to loosen the bolt because it is tightened to 47 lbft. I cut two 3Ē of ĹĒ allthread and squeezed them on the vise then put the pulley with the allthreads through the pulley holes to create enough torque to loosen the pulley bolt with a wrench.

Took me about 4 hours doing it for the first time, mostly because of all the messy details of dealing with the oil, then refilling, then flushing etc.

--------------------------------

There may be another problem though. I still see quite a bit of oil flow in the reservoir and a few air bubbles. But Iíll make a different thread for that because if it is a problem then itís a somewhat different problem.
STV8261 is offline  
 
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
frenchy69
First Generation RL (1996-2004)
7
02-08-2012 05:12 PM
E DOUBLES TL
3G TL Problems & Fixes
1
12-19-2011 11:55 AM
MZCar
2G TSX Problems & Fixes
2
11-08-2009 03:29 AM
vocabsr
1G CL Problems & Fixes
8
12-27-2007 06:45 PM
kduong722
Second Generation TL (1999-2003)
4
10-30-2004 03:56 PM


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: 2003 RL - Rattling engine noise


Contact Us Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.