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Old 10-30-2013, 05:38 PM   #1
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Bellhousing rattle

I have a 97 TJ manual 4.0 that's been making a rattling noise for a few months now. The rattle "seems" to be coming from the bell housing although it echoes into the oil pan but I'm 90% sure it's coming from the bellhousing. I don't have an inspection cover so I can't open it up to look around. I'm worried it might be a main bearing but I don't have any issues with oil pressure. Also it seems to start off quiet and get louder as the engine warms. If I shut it off and then start it up after 10 minutes it's super loud then gets quieter. I pulled the oil pan a few months back but didn't find anything like shards in the oil pan and the rod bearings seemed to be ok but it's gotten way louder in the past month. I'm running out of ideas

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Old 10-30-2013, 05:49 PM   #2
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Does the noise change when you press in the clutch? If it does it is most likely a clutch related noise. Also make sure your exhaust is not up against something causing a rattle.

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Old 10-30-2013, 05:52 PM   #3
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No, no noise difference when the clutch is pressed and the noise is definitely coming from within, I pressed my ear up to the bell housing and heard something rattling inside
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:31 PM   #4
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A clutch that rattles usually has loose disc springs. Watch this YouTube video. You'll see exactly what the problem is. It's for a Land Rover but a clutch disc is a clutch disc. In the end they can fall out and being caught up in spinning parts they can get ground up and do damage. I have seen a spring punch a hole in a case. Just replace the clutch and you'll be fine.
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:42 PM   #5
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Joe, would it matter if the clutch is pressed or not? Mine makes no difference whether the clutch is pressed or not, it does go away when I accelerate though
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soad334 View Post
Joe, would it matter if the clutch is pressed or not? Mine makes no difference whether the clutch is pressed or not, it does go away when I accelerate though
The only thing that resides inside the bell housing is clutch parts, so it doesn't really matter which part is causing the rattle. The only way to fix it is to pull the transmission and replace the clutch with a new clutch kit. It could be loose or broken springs in the pressure plate, or a throw out bearing that's coming apart, or a combination.
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Old 10-31-2013, 03:28 AM   #7
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Update:

I gave it another listen and seems to be coming from the very front of the bellhousing and the middle of the oil pan here's a video:

Oil pan / bell housing chatter - YouTube
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:31 AM   #8
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Sounds like it's time for exploratory surgery to me. Chilton up and get in there to see what's what.
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:41 AM   #9
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Go to Harbor Freight and pick up one of these $4 stethoscopes Mechanic's Stethoscope it will help you to zero in closer on where the sound is actually coming from. To me, it sounds more like lifter noise, but it's hard to tell from the video.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:49 PM   #10
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Update: Tearing into the oil pan tomorrow, will report back with findings!
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:34 PM   #11
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It probably would not matter if the clutch was depressed or not. The RPM's as they increase would though as centrifugal force would take over and pin the springs in place and the noise would stop. You need to replace the clutch is all. You can be cheep about it and do just a disc but if you're going to be in there you really should do the whole thing. It's the right way to go. My suggestion would be to put a Center Force clutch setup in. An awesome clutch with lots of grab easy to press. Lots of muscle cars, drag cars and off road vehicles use them, It's all I'll use when I do a clutch. Good Luck. Just rip it out and go for it. Joe
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Old 11-02-2013, 03:29 PM   #12
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Pull the trans not the oil pan! I doubt you'll find anything in the pan. But good luck let us know...
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:08 AM   #13
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Update:

Ok so I pulled the oil pan and, just for shiggles, also did a compression test. Rod bearigs looked pretty worn, It was shiny and silver in the middle and the outsides were a brass color. Didn't get any pictures because I wasn't thinking about it at the time.(Doh!)
Main bearings were a dull silver color with scratches:




Yes I could feel the scratches on the bearings with my fingernail


A couple of the mains didn't have any size markings like .001 like some did, this one here is an example:

Could it be assumed that these are STD? the rod bearings were either marked .001 or STD. but none of the mains had an STD mark.


Here are some pics of the crank




I also checked the cam, no wearmarks from what I could see, looked real clean.
Also the timing chain had about a 1/4 inch of play in it but there's no sound coming from the front of the engine so I doubt that's the issue.

All the main clearances were around .0015 to .002 nothing over or under that. All rod bearing clearances were between .0015-.0025.
The sound is coming from both the rear of the engine and the middle. Didn't get a chance to check the rear-most main bearing, doing that tomorrow morning.

Also one more question:

I used plastigauge to measure the clearences ond one of them came out fat on one end and skinny on the other. Does this mean there's something wonky with the crank or did I just position the sting weird:


Fixed the pictures sorry about that
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Old 11-04-2013, 02:25 AM   #14
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Forgot to add, the compression tests showed 150-160psi across all cylinders. The 3rd cylinder from the back of the engine was at about 120psi dry and that went up to about 140 when I added oil. Starting to fear the worst.
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:19 PM   #15
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Bump
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:05 AM   #16
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Update: For anyone who cares or finds this post with the same issue, The problem ended up being cam bearings. Given the fact that I had bad compression, bad cam bearings and 180k on the motor, I just swapped it out with a rebuilt motor. Purrs like a kitten now

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