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Old 09-04-2012, 02:18 PM   #1
Agent Runkle
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2002 SL
Default Knocking sound at idle

Iíll try my best to explain this clearly without writing a 10,000 word essay.

2002 Saturn SL SOHC
169,500 Miles
Original Owner

This is at idle: I hear a knocking sound from under the hood and it seems to have some kind of cycle of about 10 secs and repeats the pattern and during this my tachometer will do a quick dip of a loss of maybe 100-150 RPMs but never stalls. When I check under the hood I can see the engine doing a little wiggle during this and when I put my finger on the spark boot starting at number 1 I can feel a knock and as I move down the line to number 4 is gets weaker but I can feel it in all 4 cylinders. At driving speeds the engine feels fine but maybe a little weak due to the miles. When I come to a stop from driving it idles fine for about 30secs before it start the knock and vibrate cycle.

Spark plugs have about 1,000 miles on them (cheap AcDelco) and the wires have about 20,000. My question is can this be related to the ignition coils or the ignition control module?

*on a side note I have a sputter from my muffle which is new but it has been doing that for the last 3 years without and change for better or worse*

Thanks,
Scott

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Old 09-04-2012, 02:29 PM   #2
BV22
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Default Re: Knocking sound at idle

Have you ever replaced the intake manifold gasket? Common failure on 3rd gen SOHC cars which leads to a soft misfire in cylinder # 1 and a light popping sound from the exhaust at idle.

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2002 SC1 5M
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:34 PM   #3
Agent Runkle
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Default Re: Knocking sound at idle

Back in March 2012 I had the classic P0410 Pump code so I cleaned the TB and installed a new gasket. I cleaned everything involved in that code including removing the exhaust manifold to clean the air passage way and installed a new gasket. I did the same for the EGR, cleaned and new gasket.

Honestly I think the knock got worse progressively from then on.

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Old 09-04-2012, 03:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Knocking sound at idle

I'm talking about the gasket between the intake manifold and the head. Almost all 3rd gen SOHC's suffer the "drunken robot" syndrome where the gasket got wrinkled during installation and develops a leak. A simple test is to spray some TB or brake cleaner at the junction between the intake manifold and head with the engine running at idle. If the idle speed changes when you spray, you likely have the leak.

The noise may be a tired motor mount clunking in response to the excess vibration from the misfire. Surprised you never had a P0301 cylinder 1 misfire code if your issue is indeed the intake manifold gasket.

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Old 09-04-2012, 03:35 PM   #5
Agent Runkle
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Default Re: Knocking sound at idle

I'll have to wait for the rain to slow down before I go try that spray test. I never changed that gasket and it looks like a SOB to change if I had to. I never had a code related to this and my Engine light in not currently on.

I was thinking it could be the bottom "dog bone" mount because when I'm in the drivers seat the noise sounds like its coming from the passenger floorboard.

You are correct it sounds like a "drunken Robot" bouncing around inside the motor.

Let you know the spray results soon.

Thanks,

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Old 09-04-2012, 03:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: Knocking sound at idle

I didn't detect a leak with the Throttle body cleaner. While the car was running I did stick my head under the car near the pass wheel and it does sound like the rattle is louder there so I'm going to pull the tire and remove the oil filter access panel and see if I can see that motor mount jerking around.

Thanks

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Old 09-04-2012, 03:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: Knocking sound at idle

"Drunken robot" refers to the machine than installed the gasket on the assembly line - sorry, I could have been more clear. A worn upper mount or lower dogbone mount will make some ugly sounds, particularly when the engine loads and unloads. But to make noise at idle, some vibration input is usually required, which is why the intake manifold gasket is suspect. There is a great instruction in the "How To" section here for changing the gasket, if your spray test comes back positive. While not a fun job, it is not that bad.

Another possibility for the noise source is the serpentine belt tensioner. Should the spray test not show any idle change, I'd remove the belt and run the car briefly with the belt off to see if the noise goes away. Be aware that the water pump is not spinning in this condition and your battery light will stay on. Limit running without belt to a minute or so.

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Old 09-04-2012, 04:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: Knocking sound at idle

After I did the spray test (idle never changed) I removed the tire and access panels to see how the dog bone engine mount looks when the car is running and that was the first time I started it after the spray test and my check engine light is now on with a P0301 code..think its the gasket?

Odd that that it came on after I sprayed that area with cleaner 10mins before.

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Old 09-04-2012, 04:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Knocking sound at idle

Yes, the gasket gets my vote!

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Old 09-04-2012, 04:38 PM   #10
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Default Re: Knocking sound at idle

Well, the good news is I now know the problem. I watched a video once on changing it and it didn't look as fun as removing the exhaust manifold.

In your advanced member opinion would you think I would be okay with driving it as is for a few more weeks? I def have to change it this month because I live in upstate New York and I don't like working outside in the wet rainy cold snow.

Thanks
Scott

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Old 09-04-2012, 05:05 PM   #11
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Default Re: Knocking sound at idle

Yes you can run the car with an intake leak, drive gently.
Here is how to the job. This will take an afternoon and be sure to collect all supplies before starting or have spare transportation available.

Intake Manifold Gasket Leak How-To
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...ntake+manifold

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Old 09-04-2012, 05:24 PM   #12
Agent Runkle
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2002 SL
Default Re: Knocking sound at idle

perfect and thanks for the info and the link..I see that member doesn't like to far from me..think he wants to do another one? haha I wish.

It looks like I have all the tools needed and I might go for it next weekend.

200,000 miles here I come!

Thanks,
scott

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Old 09-04-2012, 06:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: Knocking sound at idle

You could PM him and ask....

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