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Old 05-23-2022, 05:33 PM   #21
I-4
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Default Re: Sudden onset of engine clacking/knocking noise while driving uphill

Running any car with a bad bearing is a risk. (I personally would take that risk and run it for 2-3 minutes to turn it around) Try not to put any load on it. It could go on knocking for another 100 or 1000 miles. Or it could fail and turn your block into junk. You could send an oil sample to Blackstone Labs, or another oil analysis lab. But that will not cure anything, just tell you if you have metals in the oil and what they are. No real way to tell what went wrong, without a teardown.
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Old 05-25-2022, 11:40 PM   #22
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Default Re: Sudden onset of engine clacking/knocking noise while driving uphill

Thank you for your ideas. I'll try the thicker oil test, but I have to get out to the store and get some first.

I'll turn the car around in the driveway, under minimal rpm/engine load which will probably take only a minute to do. Just a three-point turn to get the car oriented favorably. That will hopefully be enough running time to stir up the oil in the pan and get a somewhat suspended mix of whatever may possibly be in there.

I'll use that as an opportunity to drain the existing oil into a clear container so to look for glitter. Glitter/metal shavings should be a positive diagnosis for damaged bearings, yeah?

Also, before draining, I can record the engine sound/video with the existing 5w30 oil in place. I'll drain it, and replace it with straight 30 weight oil. I can do another recording to observe any difference in sounds. If thicker oil quiets the clacking sound, then that would be a positive for bearing damage/rod knock, again. Do you think straight 30 would be adequate for this test, or should I go higher?

Both positive results should be indicators for me to have solid enough ground on which to take apart the lower end, and bring it back to the shop that built it for me. I could show the recordings as evidence, as well as the oil samples, if necessary.

Does that sound like a decent strategy?
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Old 05-26-2022, 06:24 AM   #23
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Default Re: Sudden onset of engine clacking/knocking noise while driving uphill

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Originally Posted by steinfel View Post
Thank you for your ideas. I'll try the thicker oil test, but I have to get out to the store and get some first.

I'll turn the car around in the driveway, under minimal rpm/engine load which will probably take only a minute to do. Just a three-point turn to get the car oriented favorably. That will hopefully be enough running time to stir up the oil in the pan and get a somewhat suspended mix of whatever may possibly be in there.

I'll use that as an opportunity to drain the existing oil into a clear container so to look for glitter. Glitter/metal shavings should be a positive diagnosis for damaged bearings, yeah?

Also, before draining, I can record the engine sound/video with the existing 5w30 oil in place. I'll drain it, and replace it with straight 30 weight oil. I can do another recording to observe any difference in sounds. If thicker oil quiets the clacking sound, then that would be a positive for bearing damage/rod knock, again. Do you think straight 30 would be adequate for this test, or should I go higher?

Both positive results should be indicators for me to have solid enough ground on which to take apart the lower end, and bring it back to the shop that built it for me. I could show the recordings as evidence, as well as the oil samples, if necessary.

Does that sound like a decent strategy?
Looking for glitter in the drained oil is the least expensive way to check for internal damage. Removing and then Cutting open the oil filter and looking is another way. Without a tool to cut the filter can open, it will be a pain, and if you use a hacksaw, it is messy and the metal filings from the filter can skew what you are looking at.

For a heavier oil, try a 20w-50. Castrol or Valvoline racing. A straight 30 weight will most likely not sound any different than the 5w-30 you are using now.

If you want to send a used oil sample to Blackstone Laboratories, you would have to go to their website and ask for a kit. The sample kits are no charge. Their standard analysis cost is $30 last time I checked. If you are/have spent all this money on a rebuild, it may be a good idea to send a sample in, IMHO. I have no affiliation with Blackstone, there are other oil analysis companies out there, my direct experience is with them, for various engines.

Good luck
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Old 05-31-2022, 01:05 AM   #24
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Default Re: Sudden onset of engine clacking/knocking noise while driving uphill

So I was able to take a listen to the running engine with my doctor friend's stethoscope and the noise was loudest at the top of the engine, specifically by the #4 intake valves. Both she and I agreed on that assessment. The sound can be heard at any contact point on the engine, but it is most deferred at the bottom, under the exhaust manifold. Even with the air gap at the cover, the noise was loudest up top.

I ran the engine for a few minutes to stir up the oil pan, as well as turn the car around so it faces the other way. That's the first time I drove the car since parking it that night, only to reposition it in the driveway. It drove fine; the low rpms I used didn't make much of the noise while moving the car. I then drained all of the oil (until it was just a bit of dripping from the plug hole) and collected it into a clear tub. The oil was then strained through a piece of pillow cloth into a clean container, in case it was still good [20,000 mile Mobil1 Ext oil, with less than 2.5k on it]. There was not a spec of glitter at the bottom of the tub, nor on the pillow material. Filtering took forever. The oil was very clean and still had an amber color on the stick.

I put in 4 quarts of straight 40 and ran the engine for a few minutes. At first it seemed quieter, but as it warmed up, it seemed to make the same amount of noise as with the 5w30. The valvetrain seemed noisier with the straight 40 in it. I did take a listen again when the car was turned around before draining the 5w30 oil.

I wish that cylinder 4 wasn't wet with oil, because I don't know what the compression value is dry, like the others.

Does a lack of metal bits/glitter suggest that the bearings are ok?

Are there any other recommended tests that I should do while the engine is still in one piece?

I think it is time to inspect the valve components, especially at #4. I'm contemplating taking the head off, unless there is/are inspection(s) I should do without disturbing the head bolts/gasket.

I won't be able to do the next steps until I return in two weeks; I'm flying back to Chicago on Wednesday to check on my mom.

Thanks again for your time and input.
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