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Discussion Starter #1
I went to the dealership to get the airbags replaced and they came back with a bill to fix the water pump. There's a rattling noise in the engine bay. The dealer quoted $500 to replace the water pump. I ordered the parts and did it myself. Nothing changed. Any suggestions? A while back I replaced the serpentine belt and tensioner. The alternator was replaced in 2015. I'm not sure what else it could be. The old water pump didn't feel wobbly and now it seems that there wasn't anything wrong with it. haha.

Here's a video I took after replacing the water pump and engine oil. Do the valves need adjusting or something? Is the engine just nearing it's end of life?

 

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Is your belt tensioner old, I wonder if the spring is weak allowing the serpentine belt to slack ever so slightly.

Is the sound significantly different with the AC running. If so your AC clutch and pulley could be dragging when not in use. Cause it a chatter instead of freely rotating with the AC clutch disengaged.
 

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ianmel22's suggestion is very valid and worth a try but I think I recognize that sound. I've heard it way too often. Our Elements have rock solid damn near bulletproof k24 motors with a timing chain. Sadly, I think that sound is a failed timing chain guide/tensioner. That sounds like chain slap against the cover. It is a DYI job but not a ton of fun. I hope for your sake is it something much simpler but like I said, I have heard that sound before :(
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I ordered a tensioner a while back and went to install it last night. (Forgot I had it, lol.) Unfortunately, the pin holding in the extended part came out and now I can't figure out how to compress it small enough to fit in there, so I ordered another replacement. (FML) In the mean time, I'm going to see if I can compress it enough to clear.

Does anyone know how to compress the tensioner back down like in this picture?

201796

Here's my replacement tensioner.

201795



I hope this fixes it, but honestly, the old timing chain tensioner seemed fine so....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Is your belt tensioner old, I wonder if the spring is weak allowing the serpentine belt to slack ever so slightly.

Is the sound significantly different with the AC running. If so your AC clutch and pulley could be dragging when not in use. Cause it a chatter instead of freely rotating with the AC clutch disengaged.
I replaced the tensioner last year and it feels okay. I have not checked the AC compressor. I am tempted to remove the serpentine belt and start it up momentarily and see if the noise persists.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nevermind, I'm dumb. I just needed to hold the rocker piece correctly and got it to compress all the way down. That being said, has anyone ever put a dowel or washer or something to increase tension?
 

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ianmel22's suggestion is very valid and worth a try but I think I recognize that sound. I've heard it way too often. Our Elements have rock solid damn near bulletproof k24 motors with a timing chain. Sadly, I think that sound is a failed timing chain guide/tensioner. That sounds like chain slap against the cover. It is a DYI job but not a ton of fun. I hope for your sake is it something much simpler but like I said, I have heard that sound before :(
Mx_racer1 excellent point, timing chain noise. Glad to hear the OP has a tensioner on hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Okay, so I got the new tensioner installed but in the process I believe I got the engine out of time. I moved the crank back and forth to get the tensioner in. After putting everything back together, the engine won't start. I now have the valve cover off and am searching for info on how to get the thing back into time without tearing the entire engine apart.

Thanks for the help so far everyone. This has turned into a bit of a mess for me. Ugh.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Okay, so I believe I have this at TDC. These pics are kind of hard to make sense of though.

First up, the crank pulley has several marks and if I recall correctly, the left most one is TDC.
201814


But here is how the camshafts gears look:

201815

201816


It looks like I somehow got the chain off by 3 or 4 teeth. What do I do here? Remove the camshafts and retime everything? From my understanding, the intake camshaft is off here. I was hoping I could just remove the exhaust camshaft gear and reposition it, but now I'm not so sure.

Is it possible to take the exhaust gear off, loosen the chain around the intake gear, reposition it correctly on the intake side, then reinstall the exhaust side?
 

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That’s pretty off, turning crank back and forth was a mistake but you already know this.

If it was mine I would take of timing cover and redo it, probably put a chain and new guides on while I was there
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That’s pretty off, turning crank back and forth was a mistake but you already know this.

If it was mine I would take of timing cover and redo it, probably put a chain and new guides on while I was there
I don't want to tear down the entire engine at this time. If I'm doing that, I'm just swapping in a lower mileage engine.

I think if I take the tensioner back out, I should be able to pull the slack up to the cam gears and reposition everything, right?
 

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Possible, but you are needing to get all the chain slack to the tensioner side before putting it all back together and without seeing what you are doing fully it’s going to be hard.
It’s not that bad to take the accessories off, pull crank pulley and then zip off the 10mms holding the timing cover on
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Possible, but you are needing to get all the chain slack to the tensioner side before putting it all back together and without seeing what you are doing fully it’s going to be hard.
It’s not that bad to take the accessories off, pull crank pulley and then zip off the 10mms holding the timing cover on
I don't follow exactly. If the crank is at TDC and I remove the tensioner, why can't I pull the slack up and orientate the cams to the correct position?

The reason I don't want to tear off the cover is because I just replaced the water pump and couldn't get the engine side's motor mount completely off. The bolt was blocked by the engine bay.
 

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I haven’t done a timing chain on this exact motor before but on others but there is some slack in the chain which is what the tensioner is taking up.
You could try and set the crank to tdc, hard to tell from the pics but one cam is matched to the crank for tdc correct? Lift chain up and rotate the cam that’s off back to tdc, and somehow lift and move the chain without moving anything that’s on tdc to the tensioner side. Insert tensioner, takes slack out and hopefully it works
 

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Set the crank at TDC. Remove the tensioner again. Align the intake and exhaust The top dots should align with discolored links on the chain, usually black but I've seen other colors in the aftermarket. With all three in alignment re-install the tensioner. DO NOT EVER CRANK AN ENGINE TO CHECK Always make at least 4 full revolutions by hand using a ratchet on the crank.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Set the crank at TDC. Remove the tensioner again. Align the intake and exhaust The top dots should align with discolored links on the chain, usually black but I've seen other colors in the aftermarket. With all three in alignment re-install the tensioner. DO NOT EVER CRANK AN ENGINE TO CHECK Always make at least 4 full revolutions by hand using a ratchet on the crank.
I believe I have it. Does this look about right?

Crank aligned:
201822

201826


Camshafts positions:
201827
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Okay, got it back together, applied silicone to the 4 points on the valve cover and on the timing chain tensioner cover. Waited an hour and started it up. Still has a noise, but now I have a noise and a check engine light. FML

So, I removed the serpentine belt for fun and started it up again. Running like a sewing machine; no noise whatsoever. Now... we can eliminate the water pump since it's brand new. The belt and tensioner are from last year so they seem unlikely. The alternator is a bit older, from 2015. The power steering pump doesn't feel as if it has any play in it and when I started it the first time, I engaged the AC to see if the noise changed and it did not.

What gives?!? It sounds like it could be either the alternator, power steering pump, or AC compressor. The noise didn't change when I engaged the AC and it doesn't seem to vary when I turn the wheels. I've never done this, but I think I'm going to buy an automotive stethoscope and see if I can narrow it down.

This is so frustrating!
 

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Man, that sounds an awful lot like my knocking, but mine, I believe is coming straight from the engine itself. It speds up when I go faster, and it's been diagnosed by most as t-rod issue or something, or some sort of rod LOL. Yours seems external, though. The suggestions here are great.
 

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(hate to say it so late, but a factory service manual would have saved some trouble with installing the chain tensioner and getting the chain/cams back in time...)
can't really tell from the video, is the sound more prominent from the top vs. the bottom of the engine?
does it sound any different with the oil cap open?
 

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I’m back on the AC clutch..... when they wear out they make all kinds of sounds an eventually seize snapping your serpentine belt.
 
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