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Old 08-12-2017, 11:32 AM   #1
AndersonSC1
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Default 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

I've noticed that my Saturn has developed a relatively loud ticking noise and I'm not aware of what could be making this noise. It reminds me of a diesel engine running.

The ticking seemed to develop overnight. When I first noticed the sound, I checked my oil and it was well within a tolerable range.

The car has 210,000mi on it, but a "newer" engine was swapped into the body (according to the guy I bought it from around 3 years ago ).


I've uploaded a video of what it sounds like:
youtube.com/watch?v=yuxrk65bBpg

Is it safe to drive like this? For awhile, anyway?

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Old 08-12-2017, 12:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

Does the rate of ticking increase with rpm, or does it go away? Worried this might be timing chain if it doesn't go away. I see your spark plug wires vibrating with the sound. Do you feel the vibration in the cabin?

Does the ticking go away when the engine is further warmed up?

What do you consider a "tolerable range" for your oil? FYI, if my engine oil is at one diamond below the Full mark on the dipstick I add oil. You want to keep your oil at or slightly above the Full mark at all times.

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Old 08-12-2017, 02:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

The ticking does increase with rpm, and it doesn't seem to go away once the car has been warmed up.

I don't notice any vibration in the cabin, but now that you mention it looks like there could be a slight misfire?

I try to keep my oil near the full mark, or at least in the upper half of the crosshatching.

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Old 08-12-2017, 02:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

Update: I just checked and there is a slight vibration at idle in the cabin, nothing crazy but it's there.

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Old 08-12-2017, 02:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndersonSC1 View Post
The ticking does increase with rpm, and it doesn't seem to go away once the car has been warmed up.
When the engine is cold, remove the serpentine belt. Then start the engine - if the sound is gone, the sound is coming from something belt operated, like the tensioner, water pump pulley, etc.
you can run it safely for a minute or two, but this should only take maybe 10 seconds. Richpin06a has a video on removing the belt, if needed.

A sound that goes away when warmed could be lifters, etc., or at higher rpms could be related to heat shields or mounts etc. Unfortunately, your sound does not go away

This one was confirmed to be a timing chain
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOoUJpq6dFI

It sounds deeper and faster pitched than your video, but that might be differences in DOHC vs SOHC or recording equipment
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuxrk65bBpg

(it's hard to diagnose sounds on the internet )

These cars are good at picking up misfires, so unless you have a code (P030x where x = 0-4), probably no misfire

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Old 08-12-2017, 02:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

Very slight vibes are usually the top motor mount slightly worn.

Forgot your original question, if the sound just started and it's the chain, could drive it a while, probably. YMMV, there's always a risk - everyone drives in somewhat unique conditions.

My '98 was making the sound for the previous owner, and I drove the car 60 miles home in December (icy roads, cold out) with a bad chain. Also drove the car a few miles, started it to move in and out garage, etc., while testing it out at home

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Old 08-12-2017, 04:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

My father was a Saturn tech during the late 1990's, and I showed him the video. He immediate said it sounds like a noisy lifter, and he said that a possible cure could be running top engine cleaner or ATF in the oil (though not the best IMO). Thought I would leave this here, hopefully it helps to keep this beast on the road.

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Old 08-12-2017, 07:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

Rislone Engine Treatment is less than $5 at Wal-Mart. Worth a shot, will do no harm.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

I like what Cgg17 said, that his dad who was a Saturn Tech said, to use ATF in the oil.
I have done this for decades on every car I have owned and on every oil change on these cars....it does no harm, only good.

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Old 08-13-2017, 09:51 AM   #10
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
I like what Cgg17 said, that his dad who was a Saturn Tech said, to use ATF in the oil.
I have done this for decades on every car I have owned and on every oil change on these cars....it does no harm, only good.
That was what my grandpa told me, when I explained how carboned the cylinder head was, when I got my Saturn. He told me to run ATF in the oil. I have never known grandpa to blow an engine in amy of his vehicles, either....

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Old 08-13-2017, 09:57 AM   #11
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

That sounds a little bit loud, for a lifter tap. However, it IS at the top of the engine, and definitely not the chain. Sounds similar to my friend's Kia. He ran out of oil in it, and it made almost the exact same noises, after he refilled it.

For the cost of a valve cover gasket, it may be a good idea to inspect the valve train for signs of visible wear on the rocker arms, springs, and camshaft. This will also allow you to check for play in the timing chain, and see what condition it is in.

May want to run Castrol GTX of Mobil 1 during OCIs, as they are oils on the higher side of quality, without killing your wallet.

...
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Old 08-14-2017, 12:58 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

Thanks for the responses. I took my first real drive in the car since it started ticking, and I have power loss now. Still drivable, but I know it had more power before this ticking started.

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Old 08-14-2017, 08:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

So, have you done anything or just driving it as it was?
Surely you will take your Father's advice and try adding ATF to the oil....and I myself would add 1/2 pint ATF into the gas, it MAY eliminate the ticking all by itself from what I have experienced over the years with other vehicles that HAD a tick (past tense intended)

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Old 08-17-2017, 03:46 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

Added Rislone but it didn't help.

I decided to pull the valve cover and I noticed that I could move the rocker arm vertically to depress the lifter above cylinder 1. I couldn't do that with any of the others. Uploading another video showing the problem.

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Old 08-17-2017, 04:23 PM   #15
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

I'm assuming my power loss that started when the ticking did is correlated with this...

youtube.com/watch?v=hbnTE6ZvC8A

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Old 08-17-2017, 04:56 PM   #16
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

Unless its supposed to be doing that, that does look really suspicious that you can get that one to move but not the others.

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Old 08-17-2017, 05:09 PM   #17
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

Probably stuck. IIRC, OldNuc has posted how to clean them.

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Old 08-19-2017, 06:21 PM   #18
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

I ended up going to the j/y to find a lifter in good condition and swapped it out for the spongy one, and voila! My engine stopped ticking and engine performance went back to normal.

However, another problem arose. When removing the rocker shafts to replace the lifter I noticed one of the shafts was cracked! Perhaps loosening the bolts that held it on caused it to crack,
but it must have been pretty weak already. Had to go back to the j/y to pick up a rocker shaft.

Here are some pictures for reference:



The j/y shaft all cleaned up.


The old Saturn keeps on rollin'

Last edited by AndersonSC1; 08-19-2017 at 06:26 PM..

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Old 08-21-2017, 12:34 AM   #19
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

Wow! No wonder you had a bad ticking. That engine is fairly CLEAN, too. Never seen a rocker shaft crack, like that, before. And I have pulled plenty of SOHC 1.9L Heads(thanks to the cracking-prone casting design)

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Old 08-21-2017, 10:16 AM   #20
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Default Re: 2001 SC1 Engine Ticking

Nice work there!

I hate making return trips to the JY or parts store.

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