4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

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4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby sirbryanclark » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:25 pm

I have a 1991 Trooper w/ the 4ZE1 engine and could use some help identifying a problem/noise. The engine is currently making a fairly loud rattling/tapping/knocking sound under acceleration/load.

It hadn't been running rough. I was just driving along at 35mph when the noise started quite suddenly. I thought I'd check the valves adjustment first. The noise sounded louder than I would have expected tapping valves to sound, but it seemed like the obvious thing to check first. And if the previous owner's information is correct they would be due to adjust in another 1,500 miles or so anyways. So I: Removed valve cover and checked the rocker arms and for any obvious damage/problems. I was really surprised how clean everything was under there. Adjusted valves, which were not too terribly out of adjustment. Checked the headbolts torque and new PCV valve since the valve cover was off. Below is a photo I snapped while I still had the valve cover off, putting it back together.

Started right up, pulled out of the driveway and... the noise is exactly the same :cry:

I've taken it to a locally recommended shop. They haven't been able to pin point the problem yet. But compression tests low on cylinders 1 & 2. Tech thinks sound is coming from around cylinder 2, but sounds like a guess at this point. They also mysteriously said it would not start one of the times they started it. But it did eventually crank over. I think they may have whacked the starter. I've only not had it not start on the first try one time a few weeks before the noise started. I thought it may have been due to a grounding issue and replaced the battery terminals. Haven't had a problem since. Another thing I will note is when adjusting the valves; the action of turning the engine over by hand was a little hard, as in had some resistance. The tech I was speaking with made it sound like turning the crank pulley should have been really easy. I did still have the spark plugs in though. I assumed the resistance was just compression, but maybe it was more?

I feel like symptoms are pointing toward something beyond my capabilities (and that of my pocket book). Does anyone have experience with this problem? Any advice or help would be appreciated.
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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby DSUZU » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:55 am

Could easily be a head gasket. Best pinpoint would be a leakdown test - feeding compressed air to the cylinders while on their compression stroke. Dennis
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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby Oregon RS » Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:50 pm

There is a fairly big difference between engine knocking and valves rattling, but a leakdown test beginning with #1 and #2 certainly wouldn't hurt at this point.

Have you tried pinpointing the source of the noise using a stethoscope or holding a long screwdriver between your ear and the engine block at each cylinder ?

Does the noise change if you rev the engine when it's parked in neutral vs driving around ?

Have you checked the timing lately ?

Do you see any evidence of water in the oil or oil in the radiator ?

Oh, and yes, it's a LOT easier to turn the engine over by hand with the plugs out !
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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby sirbryanclark » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:20 pm

I have not heard a blown head gasket make this sort of noise before. More of a knock than a rattling. Most evident when driving, under acceleration starting around 2k RPMS. Reving the engine while in neutral does not produce the same noise.

With stethoscope to the engine block it is the loudest near cylinder #2, more toward the top of the engine. Honestly hard to pinpoint as it is most noticeable when driving...

Timing has been checked recently. Haven't drained oil to check for contamination yet.

Hoping to get some more diagnosis time here in the next couple days. The tech at the shop its currently convinced the sound is coming from the top end. Probably going to pull the valve cover back off so they can take a look. Possible push rod or lifter problem he says? Top end looked good to me.
Last edited by sirbryanclark on Tue May 30, 2017 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby RickP » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:34 pm

There aren't lifters or pushrods in the 4ZE1 since it' has an overhead cam. Under hard acceleration or light acceleration? It could be a number of things. Piston slap, bad piston pin, rod bearings, etc. I had a vehicle that I thought for sure had a knock in the engine. It turned out to be the inspection cover on the auto transmission was slightly bent and the torque converter bolts would touch it only under load. But since you have a 5 speed, that's a moot point.
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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby EricJette » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:37 am

It could be a bad timing belt tensioner. In which case it may have affected timing resulting in lower compression in #1&#2. Pull off the top half of the timing cover and see if your noise gets louder. I've heard tales that a bad tensioner can mimic a rod knock.
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Desert Trooper;
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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby squatch » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:47 am

Blown head gasket can indeed sound like a knock on these engines. Especially if accompanied but a rattle sound.

A couple of years ago I blew a head gasket while climbing a hill near home towing my boat. I thought I had broken a rocker arm. That what it sounded like.
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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby sirbryanclark » Tue May 30, 2017 9:30 am

Update.

The local shop I took the Trooper too was unable to diagnose the problem. And it became evident pretty quickly they had no idea what the f*ck they were doing. (Suggesting lifters as a problem, beating on the starter with a hammer and ultimately being stumped and telling me the engine needs to be replaced without being able to point to a single definite problem.) Long story short, don't go to Bernie's Automotive in Seattle.

A local Isuzu friend pointed me toward the distributor in my search for what is causing the noise. Distributor cap was indeed damaged, fitting loose and full of moisture/oil/gunk. Cleaned it up, replaced cap and rotor. Reassembled, started trooper and... The engine kept cranking after turning the key. Starter just kept trying to start, even with the key turned off and removed. I actually had to disconnect the battery to get it to stop!

I am not sure if the issues could be related (The noise, Distributor, and Starter), but problems seem to be compounding. And obviously I can't get much further along in diagnosing the noise without the starter working properly. Also should mention the compression results from the shop are not to be trusted as I really doubt they did the test correctly (They were that incompetent). Thoughts? Could the starter being stuck on have something to do with the original problem/noise? or is it just a symptom of something greater going on? Hard to do much more until I am able to test/address starter.

Frustrated.
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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby DSUZU » Tue May 30, 2017 10:49 am

Starter should be completely unrelated. Starter is most easily removed through right fender well (pull the rubber out of the way or off - may need new fasteners if you do)
Double check that you have your wires back on in the right order.
Here's a new thought on your original noise problem: pull the cover off your exhaust manifold and check it for being cracked (check last page of my build thread). A cracked manifold can make ticking or knocking noises).
Sounds like you took it to the "Fred Flintstone Garage". Dennis
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Previously owned: 1987 Trooper II LS, 1989 Trooper (parts only), 1994 Trooper 3.2 Auto, 1997 Rodeo 2.6 5 speed, 1993 shortbed pickup 2.3 (project - sold) 1992 Rodeo 4x4 LS (parts car, devoured by Spacecab needs) plus some 70 plus other non Isuzu vehicles over the years.

http://forum.planetisuzoo.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=64060

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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby EricJette » Tue May 30, 2017 2:51 pm

If your starter is not disengaging, check the mounting bolts are tight and the starter is on tight.....no telling what those bozos' did by pounding on it.

Check your spark plug firing order. you may have hooked your wires back up wrong if it is not starting.
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Desert Trooper;
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=61131

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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby DSUZU » Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:26 pm

No news on this? Another (real bad) possibility of a knock would be crank thrust bearings (hope not for your sake). Get a decent size screwdriver (or small pry bar) and carefully try prying the crankshaft forward at the harmonic balancer - carefully - it shouldn't take much force. Now try prying backwards (maybe at flywheel end if accessible) If it moves with any distance (1/8-1/4"), your thrust washers are shot (probably laying in the bottom of the oil pan). If this is the case, your engine block is probably history (unless you barely ran it after the knock). Hopefully, not your problem. Dennis
1991 LS Trooper 2.8 V6 5 speed conversion (Sold)
1989 LS Spacecab 2.6 5 speed 4x4 manual hubs, Rodeo torsion bars, extended shackles, 2" lift, K&N airfilter (drop in), dump bed conversion, burgundy interior change, warn brush bar.
Previously owned: 1987 Trooper II LS, 1989 Trooper (parts only), 1994 Trooper 3.2 Auto, 1997 Rodeo 2.6 5 speed, 1993 shortbed pickup 2.3 (project - sold) 1992 Rodeo 4x4 LS (parts car, devoured by Spacecab needs) plus some 70 plus other non Isuzu vehicles over the years.

http://forum.planetisuzoo.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=64060

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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby DSUZU » Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:26 pm

No news on this? Another (real bad) possibility of a knock would be crank thrust bearings (hope not for your sake). Get a decent size screwdriver (or small pry bar) and carefully try prying the crankshaft forward at the harmonic balancer - carefully - it shouldn't take much force. Now try prying backwards (maybe at flywheel end if accessible) If it moves with any distance (1/8-1/4"), your thrust washers are shot (probably laying in the bottom of the oil pan). If this is the case, your engine block is probably history (unless you barely ran it after the knock). Hopefully, not your problem. Dennis
1991 LS Trooper 2.8 V6 5 speed conversion (Sold)
1989 LS Spacecab 2.6 5 speed 4x4 manual hubs, Rodeo torsion bars, extended shackles, 2" lift, K&N airfilter (drop in), dump bed conversion, burgundy interior change, warn brush bar.
Previously owned: 1987 Trooper II LS, 1989 Trooper (parts only), 1994 Trooper 3.2 Auto, 1997 Rodeo 2.6 5 speed, 1993 shortbed pickup 2.3 (project - sold) 1992 Rodeo 4x4 LS (parts car, devoured by Spacecab needs) plus some 70 plus other non Isuzu vehicles over the years.

http://forum.planetisuzoo.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=64060

The American dream is getting farther and farther away from the American.

If your wife has 5.00, and you have 20.00, your wife has...25.00

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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby sirbryanclark » Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:55 pm

Per Dennis & Jerry's recommendation, I checked for movement at the harmonic balancer. There is no movement that I can detect. I removed the skid plate and small metal shield to get good access to the harmonic balancer. Also, double checked and plug wires are connected correctly at plugs and distributor.

I guess this is good news, but I still am unable to diagnose the problem. At this point if the battery is connected the starter is cranking non-stop.

DSUZU wrote:No news on this? Another (real bad) possibility of a knock would be crank thrust bearings (hope not for your sake). Get a decent size screwdriver (or small pry bar) and carefully try prying the crankshaft forward at the harmonic balancer - carefully - it shouldn't take much force. Now try prying backwards (maybe at flywheel end if accessible) If it moves with any distance (1/8-1/4"), your thrust washers are shot (probably laying in the bottom of the oil pan). If this is the case, your engine block is probably history (unless you barely ran it after the knock). Hopefully, not your problem. Dennis
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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby EricJette » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:03 pm

Sounds like you have a problem in the ignition switch. You can remove the switch module without having to remove the entire switch from the steering column. inside the plasic module itself are brass contacts and springs. clean these up, and reassemble using a little white lithium dielectric grease, then reinstall. More than likely this will solve the sticky starter problem.
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Desert Trooper;
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=61131

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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby sirbryanclark » Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:54 pm

Non-stop cranking problem is with the starter itself. Unrelated to ignition switch. Wish it was that simple! I tried pulling the starter relay when it first happened and the starter keeps going.

EricJette wrote:Sounds like you have a problem in the ignition switch. You can remove the switch module without having to remove the entire switch from the steering column. inside the plasic module itself are brass contacts and springs. clean these up, and reassemble using a little white lithium dielectric grease, then reinstall. More than likely this will solve the sticky starter problem.
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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby EricJette » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:18 am

Then you have a bad starter....or it is hooked up wrong.
95% mech. restored 2dr. /2 seat / '86 Trooper w/ A/C , New 1mil over-bored 2.3L (2305cc)/ All OEM Johnny5ive-built custom "5zd1", w/ 2.6 valves &"Jerry cam" in the 2.3L head/ custom built 3-core radiator/ Exedy clutch & rebuilt msg-5 tranny/ 30/9.5/15's on snowflakes/superwinch manual hubs/fully rebuilt front end - KYB shocks w/ steering dampener & Calmini torsion bars/ 89RS leaf springs w/90mm shackles/custom wood interior paneling & bedlined flooring w /Calmini tri-Y header w/high-flow cat and muffler on 2.25" stainless pipe.

Desert Trooper;
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=61131

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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby sirbryanclark » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:04 pm

Pulled the starter. Jacked up the front end and went through the wheel well. Didn't even have to take the wheel off. Thankfully it was easier and quicker than I had anticipated. You can see the hole where the starter used to be in this photo.
IMG_7635.jpg


Once the starter was out of the truck I could see that it was stuck in the forward or engaged position (failed to take a picture of this). I was able to get it to release by hand and go back into its normal position. It now seems to move freely, but I plan on replacing it with a whole new or reman starter.
IMG_7630.jpg

IMG_7631.jpg


Maybe I'll get lucky here and the sound could have been the bad starter. Perhaps partially engaged, knocking on the flywheel? Fingers crossed.
IMG_7633.jpg


Any recommendations on where to get a quality starter at the best price? Thank you all for your help.
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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby EricJette » Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:45 pm

Try O'Rielly's auto parts their remanned starters are decent...take your old one with you for the core charge.
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Desert Trooper;
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=61131

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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby gruff54 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:19 am

In the 3rd pic, are those hammer marks from where the tech "whacked" it? If so, no way would I let them work on my vehicle. May have something to do with the starter hanging? Sure couldn't have done it any good.

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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby sirbryanclark » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:51 am

gruff54 wrote:In the 3rd pic, are those hammer marks from where the tech "whacked" it? If so, no way would I let them work on my vehicle. May have something to do with the starter hanging? Sure couldn't have done it any good.

Mike


Yeah that is what those marks are from, it looks like they really beat on it...
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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby Oregon RS » Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:44 pm

Holy crap ! They really did a number on that thing.
Did they charge you for the bonus 'adjustment' ?
Any update as to whether or not replacing the starter solved the problem ?
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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby DSUZU » Sat Jun 24, 2017 7:56 am

I can see how many teeth the starter has. How many teeth did the mechanics have? :D Dennis
1991 LS Trooper 2.8 V6 5 speed conversion (Sold)
1989 LS Spacecab 2.6 5 speed 4x4 manual hubs, Rodeo torsion bars, extended shackles, 2" lift, K&N airfilter (drop in), dump bed conversion, burgundy interior change, warn brush bar.
Previously owned: 1987 Trooper II LS, 1989 Trooper (parts only), 1994 Trooper 3.2 Auto, 1997 Rodeo 2.6 5 speed, 1993 shortbed pickup 2.3 (project - sold) 1992 Rodeo 4x4 LS (parts car, devoured by Spacecab needs) plus some 70 plus other non Isuzu vehicles over the years.

http://forum.planetisuzoo.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=64060

The American dream is getting farther and farther away from the American.

If your wife has 5.00, and you have 20.00, your wife has...25.00

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Re: 4ZE1 Rattling/Knocking Engine Noise

Postby EricJette » Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:38 pm

Question is, how many teeth does the flywheel have left? Lot of metal shavings on the business end of that starter.
95% mech. restored 2dr. /2 seat / '86 Trooper w/ A/C , New 1mil over-bored 2.3L (2305cc)/ All OEM Johnny5ive-built custom "5zd1", w/ 2.6 valves &"Jerry cam" in the 2.3L head/ custom built 3-core radiator/ Exedy clutch & rebuilt msg-5 tranny/ 30/9.5/15's on snowflakes/superwinch manual hubs/fully rebuilt front end - KYB shocks w/ steering dampener & Calmini torsion bars/ 89RS leaf springs w/90mm shackles/custom wood interior paneling & bedlined flooring w /Calmini tri-Y header w/high-flow cat and muffler on 2.25" stainless pipe.

Desert Trooper;
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=61131

Shaolin school of Isuzu graduation day; "And now little trooper, when you can grab this socket wrench from my hand, it will be time to start your engine."
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EricJette
Almost Joe Isuzu
 
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