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Old 12-13-2004, 03:11 PM   #1
ramsa4200
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car clicks no idea what to do

i have a 90 celica
just recently my check oil light comes on, i am a newb when it comes to cars and ask my friend who says "you just need an oil change".... much to my surprise after two days of driving with the light on my car starts making a pretty loud clicking noise (like when you roll your tongue) and i found it makes the noise louder when accelerating and when it finally made a screech noise i pulled over and called for help. so i pull over have my friends dad look at it and we find out that i have almost no oil... so he hooks me up with some nice thick oil hoping that giving the car some oil will stop the noise... the noise didnt stop but it did become less loud only when accelerating past 3000 to 3500 rpms is when the noise becomes really apparent. now my friends dad who helped me out works on cars and told me that the engine is hurt but he didnt tell me what was hurt about it... and i cant go to a mechanic because lack of funds. now i am afraid to drive it because i was told that riding with little oil could have screwed my rods or pistons up and since i only know the basics of cars i cant tell you anymore than that. i assume its pretty serious and any information on what might be causing the clicking noise will be very helpful.
i feel like a complete jackass because some not getting my oil looked at could of prevented this whole thing but instead i am searching for answer trying to find away out, anything suggested will be greatly appreciated... thanks.
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Old 12-13-2004, 04:12 PM   #2
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Re: car clicks no idea what to do

Don't feel like a jackass but you should def learn from this mistake. The check oil light generally comes on from lack of oil pressure, not "I need an oil change". If your oil is so old that its viscosity values have deteriorated that much, wow. (It can happen that your oil filter gets clogged from lack of changing it and the oil, when this happens the filter is designed to let the oil by to as not starve the motor of the oil) However its low on oil pressure best chances are that its low on oil. (There are other more castrauphic scenarios but this is generally more common. The 'ticking' sound that you hear was not coming from the light itself rather than from the lifters. I would imagine you to have a pushrod motor, (one lacking over head cams). What ends up happening is that since they're at the top of the motor, the lifters/rockers/valvetrain are last in order to recieve the much needed oil. Since all modern day motors use hydraulic lifters that are charged by the oil pressure, a lack of this pressure causes these lifters to collapse. Also, the lack of oil allows for metal on metal contact from the pushrods to the rocker (as well as most other parts within the motor), this also contributes to the 'ticking' sound. Obviously running a motor with low to little oil is not good for it. How long did you run it with the low oil pressure light?

Where you should go from here: Do an oil change, and make sure you have sufficient oil. It would behoove you to learn how to do this. Also, watch for any puddles of oil under where you park your car. Oil is generally in a closed system but can be burned off slowly. Check to see if you have any leaking seals or such. You should check your oil once a week just to make sure. You starved the motor of oil, even with the new oil, if the motor is going to go, its gonna go. You say you're on a budget, I would say a prayer and hope that everything is ok. Best case scenario: everything is fine. Worse case scenario: You damaged a bearing or a piston wrist pin causing it to sieze and launch a piston or connecting rod out the side of your engine. I hope everything works out fine, but if you do suffer catastrophic engine failure, please take pictures and post them, I think we'd all like to see ... Hope for the best!

If it offers any hope I had my mazda 929, was doing an oil change, when I was putting they new oil in, I forgot to put the drain plug back in. As such, all the oil just drained right back into the oil bucket. I usually used 20W-50 but used 10W-30 this time. When I started the car my oil light was on. (remember, no oil in motor) I hastely drove to the local auto store which was 8 miles away to pick up some 20W-50. I get there, buy the oil, then leave. Halfway back my blunder hit me "Did I put the drain plug back in?" quickly pulled over realized I didn't, not a drop of oil was coming out of the oil pan. So I walked back to the store and picked up a plug. I used mobile 1 always, and with an experience like this will continue to.
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Old 12-13-2004, 04:26 PM   #3
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ty randomtask for answering, yes i will be learning from this one, i think it was 3 days that the light was on. i am going to get my oil changed and try stp treatment (i think thats what my dad's friend said to do) and go from there... hopefully its nothing serious, otherwise when my engine does s'splode i will be sure to post some pics lol...
thanks a lot, any other suggestions/help tips are appreciated.
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Old 12-13-2004, 08:20 PM   #4
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Re: car clicks no idea what to do

I'm not a Celica expert, but usually the oil pressure light just says "oil", or "Oil Pressure". Most cars that have a "Check oil" light have an oil level sensor and are indicating low oil, not low oil pressure. Easy to check...is there an "oil" light when the key is on and not running? Or, does the car have guages only? Sounds like an expensive lesson that could have been learned by reading the owners manual, calling a dealer, or just checking the oil. Bummer.
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Old 12-13-2004, 08:46 PM   #5
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Re: car clicks no idea what to do

Indeed, some cars (like mine) actually have an oil LEVEL sensor, that throws a little light when the oil level is too low.
However, seeing as you have a 90 Celica, I would have to say that you have at least a single OHC (OverHead Cam).
A lot of OHC engines had (notice the past-tense) mechanical lifters (well, they're not really lifters, but they're called that anyway). Now they have Hydraulic Lifters, where oil pressure is absolutely NECESSARY for proper operation.
Not knowing Toyotas, I would have to say that you have an "interference" engine, where the valves open far enough as to hit the piston if the timing belt were to break.
Alternately, you could have a "non-interference" engine, where your engine would be "fine" if the timing belt was to break.
Of course, none of that has anything to do with your situation, but it's good knowledge to have, none-the-less...
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Old 12-13-2004, 11:49 PM   #6
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Re: car clicks no idea what to do

use 5W-30, the "Nice Thick oil" your friend's dad put in is probably too heavy to properly coat the drivetrain of your OHC engine and is only perpetuating your valve-chatter or lifter tick situation.
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