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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey Club,

I just picked up my first E, it's an 07' EX 4x4 with 122,000 miles. The guy "said" he took great care of it and it's in immaculate shape visually, but you never know. So he agreed to meet me at the local Honda dealer where he said he always had it serviced. This dude was not joking! He's the original owner and I have a stack of records documenting EVERY single oil change EVERY 3k mile since it rolled off the lot in 2007! I couldn't believe it! The mechanics there obviously knew the vehicle very well and after a thorough pre-buy, review of paperwork/things done recently, I bought it! But you know how the story goes, within a few days of driving it home I notice........NOISE. So I mainly have 2 noises I'm trying to figure out:

Video #1 is the engine noise. I get that Honda engines are loud, and I understand that the tiny fast clicks are the ignitors? But what about the louder, almost knock sound? Honda tech absolutely assured me it was totally normal and showed me good compressions checks, etc. But it was warm when I saw it, and now when I first start it up cold, it's definitely more noticeable. I don't have a Honda shop in the town where I live, but I do take all my vehicles to a very reputable ASE shop, first thing when I got it home I took it in and had my guy do a fresh oil change and give it a good look over. He knows my style, I buy good vehicle brands, take great car of them, and literally drive them forever. So, my mechanic who I highly respect, assured me the same thing, the noise is nothing abnormal but he did comment that it could be just a normal amount of "piston slap" and "harmless". I reviewed what piston slap is, and i don't see how it's harmless? I'll also add and you can see in the video, the engine is smooth as can be, no vibration at idle on the motor or in the steering wheel, just sounds like a diesel, lol. Any advice is greatly appreciated! I find it hard to believe that I have a sick engine with 122k meticulously maintained miles, but do I?


Video #2 the low-pitch thump/rumble. This is looking at the left-rear wheel. Ignore the engine noise from above for this video, what is that low-pitch sorta rumble I hear? Exhaust leak? I have no CEL or codes showing.


Here's what's been done recently to the E before I got it, all at the Honda dealership:

04-2020: New Fuel Pump
01-2020: New Rear Brakes
12-2019: New Starter (2,000 miles ago)
09-2019: Valves adjusted (4,000 miles ago)
08-2018: New Spark Plugs (13,000 miles ago)
05-2017: New Injectors (23,000 miles ago)
Then the valves were adjusted back in 2016 and other routine maintenance done, I'm just giving you the major stuff for the last 2 years/20k miles.

At this most recent service after I bought it, my mechanic did switch me to M1 Full Synthetic 5w20 and then I filled the tank with premium gas (not sure what the previous owner used) and added a thing of injector cleaner. After that, the knock I'm concerned about honnestly did seem to be less intense and go away much sooner after start, but still there.

Also, looking back in the service records, I do see that off and on for the last 2 years/20k miles they've been chasing a Cylinder Missfire code. It started as a P0304, but then the missfire followed the plugs, coils, etc. when they moved them around. Could something still be off with ignition somewhere causing this knocking sound?

Thanks for any advice, love the E already, want to run it for a long time!
 

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I'll make just a few comments here, having owned an '03 element for the past 70k miles, so I do have some experience with them. There are other guys on this forum, however, who have much more technical knowledge than I do, but I am pretty observant about my vehicles and their running condition.

By the way, I'm not sure if you intended to post video links here for the two noises, but I don't see any links to click on. It's possible you're not allowed to post videos or pictures until you have a certain number of posts, which is the case for some forums.

As far as noise #1, my Element actually became noisier after I had the valves adjusted, and from everything I've read on here that is no cause for concern. It is also louder, more what I call 'tappety,' on a cold start, and quiets down as the engine warms up. I kind of use the tappety noise as my indicator of when the oil is fully warmed up and try to drive more gently until the motor quiets down. And yes, the 'tappety' noise can almost sound a little like a (quiet) knock -- some have said diesel-like -- but without hearing yours it's hard to say.

Noise #2: Whenever I hear someone describe a rumble from a wheel I always think wheel bearing first. However, I had a VW Passat that I thought had a bad wheel bearing, but once I replaced the tires the rumbling sound was gone. The tires on it were pretty cheap and didn't wear very evenly, plus the car needed an alignment. New tires and an alignment and the noise disappeared. Worth considering in any case. Unfortunately any noises like this are easily transmitted into the interior of Elements as the sound insulation leaves a lot to be desired. I don't know that it would be an exhaust leak as those tend to make a ticking, or a raspy sound.

It is good to be conscious of these things as you obviously are. I'm always amazed by how oblivious some people are to the (usually poor) running condition of their vehicles. In any case it sounds like you found a good one. I'm sure some others will chime in with their opinion too.
 

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Only 2 things i can add from what you mention (no videos available).

You can switch to 5w-30 to have a quieter engine. 5w-20 gives you a 1mpg gain, but 5w-30 protects your engine better.

And you can use 87 octane as the owners manual states. Anything higher is useless.
 

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Yes, good point Manny04; no reason at all to use premium gas in an Element. I'm also fortunate that 87 octane non-ethanol is available at pretty much every gas station where I live and so I avoid ethanol gas whenever I can.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the quick responses. I have no idea what's going on with YouTube, I haven't been able to upload videos for days. Is there another way to share videos here? The link option only seemed to allow videos. As soon as I can I'll get the two videos posted so you guys can get a better look!
 

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You can switch to 5w-30 to have a quieter engine. 5w-20 gives you a 1mpg gain, but 5w-30 protects your engine better.....
I disagree. :oops: Even tho it MIGHT quiet things down (thicker oil can do that), newer, today's tighter clearance'd engines NEED a (somewhat) thinner oil to squeeze through all the ultra small passages. Running a thicker oil MAY also lead to premature parts wear, as the engine works harder to push it through. I run 0W20 for better flow, especially on a higher mileage engine (mine has 160K, original owner), and the last time I did a valve job, it was almost clean enough to eat off of the valve/camshaft area (if you don't mind a little oil in your sandwich :unsure:).
I ALWAYS stick with manufacturer recommendations in regards to fluids (as long as there is no "major" change inside the engine), as they are the ones who designed/built it ( I used run an oil change place as well, so there is some background knowledge there). Hope this helps!! :)
 

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I disagree. :oops: Even tho it MIGHT quiet things down (thicker oil can do that), newer, today's tighter clearance'd engines NEED a (somewhat) thinner oil to squeeze through all the ultra small passages. Running a thicker oil MAY also lead to premature parts wear, as the engine works harder to push it through. I run 0W20 for better flow, especially on a higher mileage engine (mine has 160K, original owner), and the last time I did a valve job, it was almost clean enough to eat off of the valve/camshaft area (if you don't mind a little oil in your sandwich :unsure:).
I ALWAYS stick with manufacturer recommendations in regards to fluids (as long as there is no "major" change inside the engine), as they are the ones who designed/built it ( I used run an oil change place as well, so there is some background knowledge there). Hope this helps!! :)
I am guessing by your username that you live in Alaska, so running an even thinner oil would make sense to you. I am located in Florida for most of the year so a thicker oil makes sense here (Summer year-round)
About the engine passages: Something i discovered recently via my neighbors Civic Si's K20Z3 is that his oil cap says 5w-30 not 5w-20, i thought that was interesting being that a k20 is a 2.0L vs a k24 that is a 2.4L
 

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Would like to hear the noise before I make a comment.

As for 5W-30 or 0w-20, I have used 5w-30 syn since the first oil change at 500 miles. No problems. The thinner oils are used for fuel economy, not engine life.
 

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The noise in the rear sounds like the purge valve activating, normal sound.

Not sure about the engine noise, need more camera time along with moving the camera around to the sides and timing cover area.

These engines have short piston skirts, and tend to have piston slap noise until fully warmed up.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So as I listen back to this one, to me it's definitely more noticeable right at the dipstick or maybe on the right side....

Then I do hear it even from inside as well and especially as the RPM's wind down after being reved up....

Again, the ticking I get is normal, but I'm more concerned about the deeper, slower (about half speed of the ticking) knock sound. If it's normal, than it is, and that's what I hope! But being new to these engines I just wanted to check with all of you who are much more familiar as I've never owned an engine before where that much noise would be "normal".
 

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How about a vid near the oil pan and move around front/back side to side.

I want to say it sounds like a valvetrain noise, but it seems to be at crankshaft speed not camshaft speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Okay gotcha, that’s what I was thinking but thought you were talking about up top, so get an underneath, will do!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Okay, here's a better all around. This is after the E had been driven for about 30 minutes and is well warm. But the knock still just as noticeable. Like I said to me, standing outside the E within 6ft. or so of it you would think it had a lil diesel engine in it. To me, it sounds like the knock sound is coming right from under the cover between the dipstick and oil cap, but that's just to me, seems most prominent there. Again, my very trusted mechanic said what others have above about how these engines are made and the piston slap, etc. But I've pulled up next to other E's at stoplights and don't hear this sound coming from them, and mine would be noticeable to the next car over at a light if you were listening for it. The valves were done about 3k ago, perhaps just set loose and will tighten with time as I've read and that's what I'm hearing?
 

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I would remove the valve cover and inspect.
Sure seems to be at crankshaft speed. The oil pump and counter balance chain runs at crank speed, uhmmm.
 

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Most likely less $ to fix before, than to wait and do collateral damage.

But pull the valve cover for a look.
 
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