Metallic rattling on cold start

Tiny
MIDWEST-DAVE
  • MEMBER
  • 2012 HONDA CIVIC
  • 1.8L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 70,000 MILES
On a cold start (regardless of ambient air temperature) there is a metallic rattling coming from what sounds like the top of the engine block. The noise can only be heard when shifting from park to drive or reverse. It is not present while in motion. On occasion it can be heard while the engine is still cold at a stop sign or light. In all cases, the noise goes away once the engine has warmed up.

The first Honda dealer checked and tightened all heat shields. They mentioned the bolts that hold down the wiring harness were loose (wiring harness was replaced by Honda last fall), so they tightened them and said all should be okay.

Its been two months and the rattling noise is still present. I have read it could be the timing chain tensioner, among other things. Is there any way to diagnose the timing chain tensioner? What symptoms would I experience if it was failing?

Thanks in advance.
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 AT 7:51 AM

9 Replies

Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
You would not experience any thing if failing only at the very end which may be hard starting. Check exhaust system may be converter shield or converter shield inside converter doing this.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 AT 12:18 PM
Tiny
MIDWEST-DAVE
  • MEMBER
Went to the dealer the other day for an unrelated issue (tire repair) and asked about the noise. He mentioned that on these engines it's not common to lose 1qt of oil every 1k miles or thereabouts, and that the noise *may* be due to low oil. He also mentioned the likelihood of it being a timing chain tensioner or VTC was incredibly low. I had been following the maintenance minder schedule and only changing the oil once it was down to 15%. That meant that at 50% oil life (which is what it was at on Wednesday) it had gone about 4.5k miles since the last oil change.

Figuring it wouldn't hurt anything, I had them change the oil just in case. Miraculously, the next day and this morning, the rattling wasn't present even though the conditions were right. In the time I've owned the vehicle I usually go roughly 7k miles between oil changes. The previous oil change is the first time I've noticed the metallic rattling. I'm going to guess the tech either didn't fill it all the way, or I really did lose some oil over 4.5k miles. Either way, I think I'm going to get back on the every 3k mile schedule for oil changes.

I'll continue to monitor incase the issue resurfaces down the road, but for now, it may be fixed.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, May 20th, 2016 AT 6:44 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Hey midwest dave,

Yep those engines go through oil when they have an oil control ring broken in one of the pistons, remove all spark plugs to see if one of them looks different, this would be the cylinder that is having a problem.

Let me know what you find

Best, Ken
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Saturday, May 21st, 2016 AT 1:29 PM
Tiny
MIDWEST-DAVE
  • MEMBER
Thanks Ken, I'll do that this coming weekend.

Is it possible that the dealer somehow botched an oil change and didn't put in enough oil? Also, for something like an oil control ring, would I be experiencing other symptoms such as smoke, rough idle, etc?

Some background on the car:
70k, Certified Pre owned, been to a Honda dealer for any and all service (including oil). Not running rough, mileage is normal, etc.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, May 23rd, 2016 AT 9:19 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
It could be that the dealer didn't fill the engine completely but its hard to say, fill the oil completely to the full line then monitor it the next few time you fill up the tank. That way you can see how fast you are going through the oil. As far as the smoke coming out of the tail pipe that can sometimes be tough to see because it is only under power would you notice it. Is there any oil dripping on the ground?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, May 23rd, 2016 AT 1:12 PM
Tiny
MIDWEST-DAVE
  • MEMBER
That makes sense. It was full as of yesterday, so I'll monitor it during fill ups.

For the smoke, I had a friend follow me and look for smoke. I was hard on the gas a few times and they didn't see any smoke.

There's no oil drippings on the ground.

I'll reply back to this thread in the coming days / weeks if the oil level changes. If I really am losing 1qt every 1k or so then I should be down a qt after a trip this weekend.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, May 23rd, 2016 AT 1:21 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Sounds good, let me know, have fun on your trip.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, May 23rd, 2016 AT 2:18 PM
Tiny
MIDWEST-DAVE
  • MEMBER
It's been roughly 1600 miles since the oil change a week or so ago. I haven't lost any oil (as of last night) and am not hearing the rattling noise. Any other symptoms I should be checking for that we haven't already gone over, or should I just continue to monitor and see if the noise returns around the 3k mile mark?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 AT 12:06 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Just continue to monitor it. See what happens with it.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 AT 12:58 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides