noisy engine when starting

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Robert, Jun 7, 2006.

  1. Robert

    Robert Guest

    I just "found" this group and it is good to find some Subaru owners and
    fixers :) I have a sound like hydraulic valve when I start the engine.
    It goes away fast and is less obvious when starting the car with the
    engine warm. Also a ticking at speed when cruising. Less when
    accelerating or slowing down. Has anyone had these symptoms and managed
    to narrow them down to a cause. This has been going on for over a year
    without getting worse. Dealers want to remake or replace the engine.
    Noise is also loud when fast idle in neutral. I am pretty sure this has
    been brought up before! The ticking could be THAT piston slap.

    Robert, Jun 7, 2006
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  2. Ticking could be piston slap, it could be something worse though.

    The "hydrolic valve" sound is it a whine or more like a hiss? The hiss is
    supposed to be the fuel pump preasurizing the fuel line. (You can get that
    by turning the key to the notch just before it starts and listening.)

    If its a whine that goes away after a bit then you might have your
    alternator checked. Mine did that in the cold and finally blew.
    Funkadyleik Spynwhanker, Jun 7, 2006
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  3. Robert

    Robert Guest

    Thanks for the input. By the hydraulic sound I meant the noise you hear
    when the hydraulic lifters are sticking or your oil pressure is low. It
    sounds exactly like low oil pressure at start up, then a few seconds
    later it goes away. The info I have been able to pick up is the valves
    have solid lifters, so I have ruled that out EXCEPT some places say in
    the 97 model year they used hydraulic lifters on some models. The road
    speed ticking is more than likely piston slap. If is is low oil pressure
    it could be that oil pump O ring I have read about! Still not sure. DO
    you know of any 97's with other than mechanical valve lifters?

    Robert, Jun 7, 2006
  4. I don't recall which years are involved - but a noisy TB tensioner is a
    know problem with a few soobs. See if it seems to come more from the
    front of the engine.

    try also searching for piston slap and noisy tensioner at

    Carl 1 Lucky Texan, Jun 7, 2006
  5. Hi,

    IF your engine turns out to be one w/ hydraulics, the noise you heard is
    so common w/ Subies (at least the earlier ones) it's even noted in my
    owners manual ('90.) Their only advice is basically "if the noise
    doesn't go away after a few minutes, see your dealer." In other words,
    as long as the noise goes away fairly quickly, you're doing ok.

    Many "cures" have been prescribed, but you can start with simple stuff.
    Get an OEM oil filter. Some owners (myself included) have noted a
    reduction in startup noise w/ OEM filters. Don't ask why, it just
    happens! If I had to guess, I'd go with better anti-drainback valves for

    "Doctor in a can" treatments sometimes help if the lifters are gummy:
    Rislone and Marvel Mystery Oil have been suggested and reported to help.
    I've used Rislone in the past, and did note some improvement for a

    Leaky O-rings on the oil pump are often implicated, but that's much more
    work to cure, and isn't guaranteed any more than other ideas.

    Now, if you engine's got solid lifters, have you checked the valve
    adjustment? My experience w/ loose valves indicates the noise will
    usually still be present when the engine warms up, which sounds like
    something you've experienced, too?

    Piston slap may be on the list, too, but I'd look at simpler
    explanations first.

    Good luck!

    Rick Courtright, Jun 8, 2006
  6. Robert

    Robert Guest

    Thanks Rick,

    The noise goes away quickly, a couple, maybe 5 seconds. Just loud! I
    also read the timing belt tensioner could be the problem, it appears it
    gets it's tension from oil pressure. Thicker oil, like a can of
    "restore" seems to make a difference for a while. I'll try a some
    detergent should the gum on the valve works or the tensioner be the
    problem. Thanks for the help.

    Robert, Jun 9, 2006
  7. Robert

    AS Guest

    Not sure that this applies to your car but in my wife's car, the loud
    engine was caused by a worn out o-ring that goes where the oil pump
    sump/strainer tube assy. meets the engine block. The flattened/worn-out
    oring would somehow allow for the oil to be drained back to the carter
    or for air to be sucked in.

    Replacing the oring, a p.i.t.a for having to remove the carter, took
    care of the problem magically.

    Good luck.
    AS, Jun 10, 2006
  8. Robert

    pheasant Guest

    My 86 GL started this about a week ago. Gonna tear it apart next week and
    try the o ring bit. If that doesn't cure it then it's part out time. :(

    But still beats staining the house for a vacation project.
    pheasant, Jun 10, 2006
  9. Be sure to offer your parts to the guys at - they love to
    keep older soobs on the road.

    good luck

    Carl 1 Lucky Texan, Jun 10, 2006
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