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E. Frank
07-24-2009, 02:24 PM
Hey I need some help here.

On my way home from AutoZone today some clicking noises started coming from my engine and I don't know what it is. Earlier today I took off what I think is the valve cover (it's the big metal plate on top of the engine itself that the spark plugs are underneath) to prep it for painting. I cleaned it and put it back on once it was dry and went over to AutoZone to pick up the paint. On my way back this clicking noise started. It's gotta be something that rotates, I would assume, but I couldn't see anything that looked wrong. It didn't really get any worse when I turned, and it got faster when the revs were higher (makes sense, don't it) and when I got home it stalled. I have no clue what's going on other than the sparks are arcing, I read about this guy with the same sound in a Camry and some dude said the plugs could be arcing. That's the only thing I can think of right now since that's the last thing I played with on my car. I don't know what it is, but it can't be good.

07-24-2009, 05:03 PM
If you had to unplug an electrical connector on the end of that plate remove it than the chances are that the piece you removed was actaually the distributor shell on that engine. If so when removed you can see the spark plugs. There should have been 4 rubber sparkplug boots attached to the bottom of that plastic shell. If they weren't there than they stayed on the sparkplugs. Now in order to make them stop "clicking" , you need to pull that plate off again, remove those 4 rubber sparkplug boots from the sparkplugs, and place them on the electrodes protruding out the bottom of the plastic shell. You then put the shell back into position ensuring that the boots all side over the sparkplugs. Plug your electrical connector back in and install the four long attaching bolts that go down thru the plate. You should ten be good to go.... If you do not put the boots onto shell first then the shell will collapse the boot when installed and allow spark to jump around the boot and to the Cylinder Head (instead of the sparkplug) making that clicking noise you are hearing... If so, don't feel bad, it is a very common mistake. I've gotten in a hurry and done it myself. It is easily fixed though.

E. Frank
07-25-2009, 10:25 PM
that sounds like it could be possible, but wouldn't it have shown up when i replaced the plugs? i did that a couple months ago and put the boots in with out putting them on the plastic shell and this clicking noise is only just now showing up. i had one of my friends listen to it and feel around (he's a mechanic but that's not his job, so he knows what he's talking about) and he thinks that i might have a worn out valve guide thing. him and i are gonna take it apart and check it out hopefully soon, see what we can find out. but thanks for the reply, i'll try it and get back to you.

07-26-2009, 11:53 AM
Putting the boots on the shell first is just simply a way to keep the condition from happening. I am not saying that you can't hit the center of all 4 boots, you can... I just suggest putting them on the shell first because it eliminates the chance of missing one and causing a "clicking noise".

A little more advice , your friend ... The one you described as being a mechanic, but that not being his job.... He may be knowledgable , BUT DO NOT LET HIM GO INTO THE VALVE TRAIN OF THAT ENGINE ... That 2.4 L Quad Four design engine is one of the toughest in the trade to set up. When it was manufactured the engineers got a little carried away. Everything on it was set up too percisely. Meaning you probably can tear it apart and possibly even find the problem but the chances of you ( two guys in a garage working without micrometers, torque wrenches,or any special tools whatsoever) getting the cyl head alone , reassembled properly, then sealed to engine block (perfectly... not to even mention correctly timing the cams to the crankshaft ) , are right next to ZERO. I am a very seasoned veteran in the trade and even I am very reluctant to tear the head off a Quad Four. Even if I did it there'd be a 50-50 chance of it not sealing back up due to simply age and distortion of the machined surfaces. Do not even try.

E. Frank
07-26-2009, 09:10 PM
You bring up a valid point, one that makes me much more hesitant to start this tomorrow, and i see where you're coming from. but if this means anything (i'm not sure if it does, i don't know much about the inner guts of any engine) he did a head gasket job on a 99 sunfire a while back and everything went just fine. i'm not sure which engine it was, but it was a convertible if that means something, cause i know that with some cars the convertible is only available with certain things. like the new eclipses, if you want the gt v6 engine, then it's automatically a convertible (that annoys me so much!). but thanks again for your input, i will take it into consideration.

07-27-2009, 09:38 AM
Okay.. Let me clarify that a little. Yes it is possible that he did one. But once you go into it the chances of stirring up trouble down the road is almost certain. When I said earlier about not being able to get it to seal, should have been phrased as, get it to stay sealed. This is what they do... after you do the headgasket and everythings fine. weeks to possibly months down the road ( depending on how often it is driven complete heat up and cool off cycles) , it will start to leak oil from under the head. If you ignore that it will start to consume coolant (usually suck it out the exhaust), then if you don't catch that ,eventual overheating and surface warpage. There is a 50-50 chance of getting those results everytime you go into one. That problem comes up because when assembled at the plant the block and head are perfectly machined flat surfaces mated together. as they run through heat cycles they eventually distort but that is not a major problem because they were mated perfectly together. When you seperate that head and block you lose that and suddenly the distortion becomes a problem. For that reason they say," the 2.4L Quad Four is a great little engine unless you have to work on it.".

E. Frank
07-27-2009, 09:51 PM
ok i gotcha. well we did check it out a little, but we didn't really get into it. that plate that i'm painting i learned is not the valve cover, but some other cover that goes over the valve cover. anyways, we tried to remove the valve cover but couldn't cause we would've had to remove the plate on the side of the engine (i can't remember what it's called) that covers the timing chain and pulleys and shit in order to access 4 bolts that were going into the side of it. so basically we took off the top bolts and learned what we could from that, we we tried to lift up the valve cover the cam shaft came up with it. we eventually put it back down and bolted it back into place and did a pressure check. we went from left to right and they all checked out except the third (middle right), which we consistently got different pressure readings on. that was also the one that we heard the noise coming from when we put a screw driver to the cover on the individual valves and listened to it. so we're pretty sure that i'm gonna need some sort of valve job on this. how much do you think that would run me on average at a shop?

07-28-2009, 02:54 AM
I give up....

E. Frank
07-28-2009, 06:25 PM
turns out that i'm either gettin a new engine or replacing the car. i took it to the guy i bought it from, he runs a shop close to where i live, and he told me to get a new engine or replace the car. the work needed and cost wouldn't be worth it.

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