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  1. #1

    Default Weird engine noise.

    Hi, so I'm new here on the forum and I'm a little worried about some noise I've heard in my girlfriend's 2001 Jetta Wolfsburge edition that she just bought. It's a manual trans. with 90,000 miles on it.
    Once the engine's been on for a little bit and has had some time to heat up we hear a very loud clicking noise coming from it. Now, I'm thinking that it might be caused by some valve problems, though I don't know a ton about cars and so I thought I'd ask you guys if you had any ideas about what could be causing it. Then, after we drove it around town for the first time today the check engine light turned on.
    Also, the reverse gear is a little finicky. The first time I tried to back the car up it popped out of gear and it seems to have a little difficulty going all the way into gear when you're going into reverse. I'm just wondering if the reverse gear tends to be touchy on a Jetta this old or if it shows unusual wear given the age.
    I'm worried she might have bought a lemon and if that's the case I'd like to get it dealt with as soon as possible. So, Any help is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Boost > Vtec SickToy is on a distinguished road SickToy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    The clicking noise could be the knock sensor. Your engine might be knocking. Also the clutch sounds like its gone.
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    Senior Member lifelikechild is on a distinguished road lifelikechild's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    hello - i have the same car as you, year and all. the clicking you hear i'm confident is the injectors, and the temperamental reverse gear is not totally unusual for this model. while mine doesn't slip out of gear, i find that getting into reverse sometimes takes two tries. as long as there is no clutch chatter, i wouldn't worry too much about it. i've had many manual cars that have done this, and it has always proved to be a non-issue. again, i would be more worried if you were hearing clutch chatter to go along.

    get the CEL addressed & report back!

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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Quote Originally Posted by SickToy View Post
    The clicking noise could be the knock sensor. Your engine might be knocking. Also the clutch sounds like its gone.
    The clicking wouldn't be from the knock sensor, a knock sensor detects knocking from the engine.

    The clicking is probably from your injectors or a lifter in the valve train.

    We need the code to further diagnose your car.

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    Senior Member vr king13 is on a distinguished road vr king13's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    The clicking noise isnt the injectors its the lifters starving for oil clean the oil pump screen. i wouldnt drive alot untill the screen is cleaned. the cams could seize up and blow the timing belt.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Thanks for the advice. The lifters thing makes sense, because when we got it there was almost no oil and it had been sitting for about a month.

    It seems like it could be a lot of things.. Valves, injectors, lifters, timing belt, etc. If this helps, you can only hear the clicking while it is idling. It goes away after about 1000 RPMs.

    Either way, we'll be getting it in to the mechanic sometime soon.

    And the reverse gear does seem like it's just a bit finicky. I think it had just popped out that one time because I hadn't put it in all the way.

    Again, thanks for the tips, and if anyone else has other ideas let me know.

  7. #7
    Senior Member lifelikechild is on a distinguished road lifelikechild's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    well vr king, you have your opinion and i have mine. i am simply relaying what the mechanic at the VW/AUDI specialist i bring my car to told me.

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    Senior Member palehawaiian is on a distinguished road palehawaiian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Quote Originally Posted by lifelikechild View Post
    well vr king, you have your opinion and i have mine. i am simply relaying what the mechanic at the VW/AUDI specialist i bring my car to told me.
    Not really a thing to argue over, but i will ask the questions that both of you should have asked the OP before you get into a debate about who is right.

    OP when your car makes this noise is it a metal knocking noise? Like does it sound like it is mechanical? This noise would indicate a problem with the lifter or possible wristpin issue. Or is it more of a clicking like a loud relay or an electronic sorta click like the noise of a turn signal clicking? An injector would make an electric sorta click.

    You can listen to your injectors by putting a long handled screwdriver on the injector while it it running, and holding the handle to your ear. You would know if its the noise from the injector cause it would sound the same as it does but louder.

    Being as you stated that the sound goes away with an increase in rpm, here is what I think. I would say lifters, because when you increase RPM your motor uses more fuel so that would cause a noisy injector to be louder because it is working harder to deliver more fuel to your engine. On the other hand it goes away at 1k rpm, with an increase in rpm your oil pump will increase its flow to the motor, and consequently your hydraulic lifters, thus expanding the lifters to take up the small amount of slack between the rockers they are contacting causing the noise to go away.

    I will take a stab at it and say you have the 1.8t cause if i am right thats what the wolfsburg comes with. If thats right you might wanna talk to to this guy, http://jettajunkie.com/vw-jetta/member.php?u=2149

    He knows the 1.8 better than most people and he could tell you more about your engine and what to keep an eye on that anyone one here.

    My advice is to seafoam your crankcase with a 1/3rd of a bottle and after you have driven it for an hour or so come home drain your oil and drop your oil pan. Pull out your oil pump screen and either change it or clean it well. This should make the problem better. It is what i would do in your situation.

    Good luck remember to get that engine code it may shed more light on this.

    Oh and welcome to jettajunkie... Pics of your car are mandatory.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Quote Originally Posted by palehawaiian View Post
    Not really a thing to argue over, but i will ask the questions that both of you should have asked the OP before you get into a debate about who is right.

    OP when your car makes this noise is it a metal knocking noise? Like does it sound like it is mechanical? This noise would indicate a problem with the lifter or possible wristpin issue. Or is it more of a clicking like a loud relay or an electronic sorta click like the noise of a turn signal clicking? An injector would make an electric sorta click.

    You can listen to your injectors by putting a long handled screwdriver on the injector while it it running, and holding the handle to your ear. You would know if its the noise from the injector cause it would sound the same as it does but louder.

    Being as you stated that the sound goes away with an increase in rpm, here is what I think. I would say lifters, because when you increase RPM your motor uses more fuel so that would cause a noisy injector to be louder because it is working harder to deliver more fuel to your engine. On the other hand it goes away at 1k rpm, with an increase in rpm your oil pump will increase its flow to the motor, and consequently your hydraulic lifters, thus expanding the lifters to take up the small amount of slack between the rockers they are contacting causing the noise to go away.

    I will take a stab at it and say you have the 1.8t cause if i am right thats what the wolfsburg comes with. If thats right you might wanna talk to to this guy, http://jettajunkie.com/vw-jetta/member.php?u=2149

    He knows the 1.8 better than most people and he could tell you more about your engine and what to keep an eye on that anyone one here.

    My advice is to seafoam your crankcase with a 1/3rd of a bottle and after you have driven it for an hour or so come home drain your oil and drop your oil pan. Pull out your oil pump screen and either change it or clean it well. This should make the problem better. It is what i would do in your situation.

    Good luck remember to get that engine code it may shed more light on this.

    Oh and welcome to jettajunkie... Pics of your car are mandatory.
    This is the girlfriend here. OK, so I put seafoam in the oil yesterday, ran it for about 15 miles, came home, and drained it. We then took off the oil pan and cleaned the oil pump screen as best we could. We didn't take off the screen because neither of us are mechanics and it was a fairly involved process. So we dipped it in brake cleaner and wiped it down as best we could. We put the pan back on, then filled it up with fresh oil. We drove it around and the clicking noise seemed to be quieter at first, but after driving it again today, it was back to the same loudness as before. That is probably because we only drove for about five minutes yesterday, and I drove for twenty today.

    I'm not quite sure of the difference in the sounds. It's very rapid, but at the same time the clicks are distinct from each other, if that makes sense. When Geoff (the creator of this account) gets home, I'll have him do the screwdriver thing.

    The engine is a 1.8T. We thought maybe the engine was knocking because the previous owner had put low octane gas in it, but after filling it up with premium, obviously the problem hasn't gone away.

    The reason we haven't just gotten it looked at professionally is our normal mechanic is booked till next Monday and the nearest place that'll check the code is about 30 miles away. We'll probably have to just find some time and head out there at some point.

    I'll see about messaging that member at some point. Thanks for the reference.


    Quote Originally Posted by lifelikechild View Post
    hello - i have the same car as you, year and all. the clicking you hear i'm confident is the injectors, and the temperamental reverse gear is not totally unusual for this model. while mine doesn't slip out of gear, i find that getting into reverse sometimes takes two tries. as long as there is no clutch chatter, i wouldn't worry too much about it. i've had many manual cars that have done this, and it has always proved to be a non-issue. again, i would be more worried if you were hearing clutch chatter to go along.

    get the CEL addressed & report back!
    Did the noise you were experiencing stop after revving the engine a bit? Or did it get worse?

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    Senior Member palehawaiian is on a distinguished road palehawaiian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    You can get the code scanned at any autozone and most parts stores for free.
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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    is the sound more of a "tick tick tick" or a "cluck cluck cluck" - if it's the second, you have a chicken for an engine, and you need to take the car back.

    no but seriously, if the car runs good i don't think you should be worrying too much. is the sound noticeable from within the cabin, or just while standing over the hood? if it is noticeable from within, i would say something is off. but again, the CEL could tell all.

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    Senior Member vr king13 is on a distinguished road vr king13's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    I have had the 1.8s apart many times. And the injecters really dont make that much noise atleast a noticible noise. If the engine has anything over a 100k the main bearings may be worn and thinning the oil pressure when in gets hot. Try running thicker oil maybee 10w-40 syn. I have also heard the chain tensioner inside the head make noise, and go away at higher rpm's. The only way to tell is takeing off the valve cover and checking the tens.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Alright, after fixing an oil leak that sprung (oops), and driving it around a bit more today, the clicking noise has subsided to a manageable and normal-sounding tick. I have fully synthetic 10W-40 in there now. The guys at Pep Boys agree that the ticking is the lifters and that they sound normal. At first I was being oversensitive to the sound, but when they said it sounded normal I realized it was MUCH quieter than pre-oil change.

    They also checked my code, which turns out to be p0420 and p0455. Anyone know what this means? I was told it means I need a new cat - greeaat.

    EDIT: I think the 455 ("gross emissions leak") was because my gas cap was loose. Tightened it. That should fix that. Hoping the 420 is an O2 sensor and not the cat. I'll see if Pep Boys can test the sensors to check if they're working correctly. Will report back.

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    Senior Member palehawaiian is on a distinguished road palehawaiian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    the P0420 is Catalyst below threshold, which in a perfect world means that your post cat O2 is telling your ECU that it is sensing unburnt fuel coming from your cat, which means the cat is not doing its job. But being as this is not a perfect world and OBD codes really suck to help narrow stuff down, it may be a faulty O2 sensor. I believe the O2 sensor would mostly likely be the problem.

    However my suggestion is to have the place that read the codes make sure they are cleared and wait to do anything till they come back up. If they come back up. I Just had a problem with my Primary O2 code was for a "primary O2 no activity detected" Cleared the code with my scan tool and called the dealer to have it fixed under our warranty, took 3 weeks to get in to see the mechanic but the light had not come back on. We tested the old O2 and it was fine so sometimes it just takes a few seconds of a bad reading to throw a code. Maybe you hit a cold puddle and it cooled your cat enough that it stopped burning fuel for a few seconds and it threw the code. Just reset it and wait to see if it comes back up.

    If it comes back up change the O2 if it still comes back up after that just get an aftermarket Hiflow Cat.
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    Senior Member palehawaiian is on a distinguished road palehawaiian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Here is a quote from another thread that will tell you how to test your Catalytic converter if your interested.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boost Addicted View Post

    With a vacuum sensor hooked up, in park/neutral, very gradually press the accelerator and raise rpm's up to 3 grand. With a good cat, vacuum will increase. With a bad cat, vacuum will decrease (due to the fact that the cat is clogged/partially clogged, stopping exhaust gasses from getting out, increasing pressure in the engine).
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Thanks for the referral sir lol. However as I forgot to mention in that thread, the test only works for cats in the mid-late stages of clogging. In the early stages, no real clogging has occured, just the inability to burn leftover fuel.

    Always worth a shot though, you never know.

    Rotten egg/sulphur smell coming from the tail pipe also indicates your cat might be starting to go bad.
    Quote Originally Posted by darksidedub View Post
    come on dude really? most states in this country dont require a front plate. some states dont require an inspection sticker. new york just wants our money. i may as well leave the house with my pants down so i can make it a lil easier for this state to f**k me in the a$$.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
    I will fight you.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Welp, the 455 went away, and we had the light reset. Going to drive around and see if the thing comes back on. And if it does, I think I'm safe to wait till Monday and have my mechanic work on it. At this point, I'm looking at spending around $400 (it also needs a new alternator) to $700 on parts and labor for this car. If it needed a valve adjustment, like I had originally thought, it would have been closer to $1200. So, either way I feel safe waiting till Monday to have it all looked at and repaired.

    You guys were seriously a huge help, and I've now become obsessed with lurking around this forum. (I should probably make my own account and make some posts, huh? Lol.) Thanks a ton. I will update ASAP with pictures of the car and the diagnosis.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    You've got hydraulic valves... There are no adjustments like Honda's would have (valve lash adjustment) lol.

    Don't go getting ripped off!
    Quote Originally Posted by darksidedub View Post
    come on dude really? most states in this country dont require a front plate. some states dont require an inspection sticker. new york just wants our money. i may as well leave the house with my pants down so i can make it a lil easier for this state to f**k me in the a$$.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
    I will fight you.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Actually i have read that you can adjust hydraulic valves.
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Our hydraulic lifters are self-adjusting. Solid lifters are necessary to be able to shim clearances.
    Quote Originally Posted by darksidedub View Post
    come on dude really? most states in this country dont require a front plate. some states dont require an inspection sticker. new york just wants our money. i may as well leave the house with my pants down so i can make it a lil easier for this state to f**k me in the a$$.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
    I will fight you.

  21. #21
    Senior Member vr king13 is on a distinguished road vr king13's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    hydro's r non adjustable. VW stopped using solid lifters in the 80's and switched to hydrolic lifters. dont get ripped off.....

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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    (I've made my own account. Same owner of the car referred to by the OP.) OK, the exhaust doesn't smell like sulpher.. I've driven quite a bit but the CEL has stayed off. I understand it may take 100 miles or 20 ignitions to give it time to come on again, but we'll see. It also just passed smog with pretty decent ratings. So here's hoping.

    Bad news: The ticking has now become intermittent. Sometimes it's quiet/normal, sometimes it's very loud. It doesn't seem to be related to anything. Now I'm really confused. :\ Is this normal? Should I be driving it in this condition?

  23. #23

    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Well.. If the oil light comes on or starts blinking, pull over immediately, shut the engine off, and call a tow truck lol
    Quote Originally Posted by darksidedub View Post
    come on dude really? most states in this country dont require a front plate. some states dont require an inspection sticker. new york just wants our money. i may as well leave the house with my pants down so i can make it a lil easier for this state to f**k me in the a$$.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
    I will fight you.

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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Nothing is wrong with your cat (the p0420) i guarantee you, get your ECM reprogrammed if you want it gone (that is if it comes back lol), from the factory the parameters were too sensitive.

    Well they are hydraulic lifters but they can only compensate for so much play before a clicking becomes evident. If clearance between the lifter and the cam lobe (when the peak of the "lift" is pointed upwards) exceeds 0.2mm (which can be checked with a feller gauge) then its considered a bad lifter and requires replacement.

    If you install a new lifter (or all of them) make sure you don't start your engine until 30 mins has past from installation. Otherwise risk your valves coming in contact with your pistons.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Theres no way you can guarantee that a specific code for ''catalyst efficiency below threshold'' has nothing to do with the catalyst not doing its job... especially when you cant see the car in person.
    Quote Originally Posted by darksidedub View Post
    come on dude really? most states in this country dont require a front plate. some states dont require an inspection sticker. new york just wants our money. i may as well leave the house with my pants down so i can make it a lil easier for this state to f**k me in the a$$.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
    I will fight you.

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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boost Addicted View Post
    Theres no way you can guarantee that a specific code for ''catalyst efficiency below threshold'' has nothing to do with the catalyst not doing its job... especially when you cant see the car in person.
    Well thats what you think lol, check the TSB

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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liftedsktr View Post
    Well thats what you think lol, check the TSB
    I can tell you that if her car was over filled with oil at a previous point (or many other things) it could very well be a bad CAT. Just cause one thing worked one time in another application does not make it a sure thing to work again in another situation. What if the PO of the car was a "ricer" and thought that race gas means you win races and put some 110 leaded in it? That would kill a cat to.

    What i am saying is that there are so many variables to it that you can not possibly know for sure that what you said is right, not saying your not right though. Cats are not something that should go bad ever, but if other areas of the car malfunction it can still kill it.

    Boost was right you need to be looking at the car hands on to say without a doubt what the problem is.

    Look at it this way, your GF can cheat on you, you can know she did, but you will never know if she liked it.
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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Quote Originally Posted by palehawaiian View Post
    I can tell you that if her car was over filled with oil at a previous point (or many other things) it could very well be a bad CAT. Just cause one thing worked one time in another application does not make it a sure thing to work again in another situation. What if the PO of the car was a "ricer" and thought that race gas means you win races and put some 110 leaded in it? That would kill a cat to.

    What i am saying is that there are so many variables to it that you can not possibly know for sure that what you said is right, not saying your not right though. Cats are not something that should go bad ever, but if other areas of the car malfunction it can still kill it.

    Boost was right you need to be looking at the car hands on to say without a doubt what the problem is.

    Look at it this way, your GF can cheat on you, you can know she did, but you will never know if she liked it.
    Haha good analogy, i do apologize for saying "guarantee" im not supposed to used that word anyway.

    But do you know what a TSB is? Just curious because you said
    Just cause one thing worked one time in another application does not make it a sure thing to work again in another situation.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liftedsktr View Post
    Well thats what you think lol, check the TSB
    Did not check the TSB lol. Class is over... I'll hit up alldata tmrw and check it out.
    Quote Originally Posted by darksidedub View Post
    come on dude really? most states in this country dont require a front plate. some states dont require an inspection sticker. new york just wants our money. i may as well leave the house with my pants down so i can make it a lil easier for this state to f**k me in the a$$.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
    I will fight you.

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    Default Re: Weird engine noise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liftedsktr View Post
    Haha good analogy, i do apologize for saying "guarantee" im not supposed to used that word anyway.

    But do you know what a TSB is? Just curious because you said
    Its a technical service bulletin. Basically its a thing for technicians to reference when they need to diagnose a problem, if you have a copy of one for an 01 1.8t then post it up, or the link to check it out.
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