Loud Clicking from Front of Engine - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Loud Clicking from Front of Engine

I’m 4 hours away from home on a job (literally in the middle of a pasture) and I have to drive about 5 miles from the hotel to the rig. The X has been doing fine & running great; when, suddenly, a loud clicking began when I started it up to leave last night (very noticeable). I had to drive to town yesterday afternoon to use the hotel’s WiFi to download a few files too big for my phone’s hot spot & filled up the tank & drive back to the rig with no noise. I unsure if it’s the timing chain or an accessory pulley. I pulled off the intake tube to get a better view of the front of the engine & track down the noise. BUT, the X will not run for more than a few seconds before it dies.

How quickly can the timing chain tensioners fail & how loud is it when they do? The clicking varies by engine speed. Also, it seems to be running fine (apart from the noise). Any knowledge or ideas?

BTW, I was luck I found a 10mm socket in my tool bag.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 06:18 PM
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So, you say

"BUT, the X will not run for more than a few seconds before it dies"

and then

"Also, it seems to be running fine (apart from the noise)."

so which one is it?

also did the noise appear and then disappear? timing chains wont just disappear once they starting singing.

could it have been something caught in the fan or somewhere?
any SES light on the dash? codes?
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mtnbound View Post
So, you say

"BUT, the X will not run for more than a few seconds before it dies"

and then

"Also, it seems to be running fine (apart from the noise)."

so which one is it?

also did the noise appear and then disappear? timing chains wont just disappear once they starting singing.

could it have been something caught in the fan or somewhere?
any SES light on the dash? codes?
It dies without the intake tube. It’s a constant clicking.

Nothing is in the fan. That was my first thought. Followed by a bad accessory pulley bearing. But, I can’t tell because the engine won’t run without the intake tube.

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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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I’ve had a constant SES light because of the faulty FLS.

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 07:41 PM
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I’ve had a constant SES light because of the faulty FLS.
Im guessing FLS= fuel level sensor?

I replaced that just for the fact that i wanted to know when the SES light went off from something else!

does the sound happen when stationary or only when driving?
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 07:53 PM
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Record the sound for us.

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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 10:39 PM
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If you have access to a long screwdriver where you are it can be used as a makeshift stethoscope. Put the tip around the timing chain covers or anywhere on the engine really and the handle to your ear and you should be able to narrow down where it's coming from.

The sound gets louder the closer you are to where it's coming from and softer the further you are away from it. I used that method when my timing chain guides wore through, there was no noise at idle I thought but once I used this method I could hear the scraping of the chain on metal pretty clearly right on the covers.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 04:08 AM Thread Starter
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The noise is coming from the engine bay. It occurs whenever it is running. Driving makes no difference.

I’ll see if I can get one uploaded before I leave for work.

I was thinking a stethoscope would great. I completely forgot about the screwdriver trick.

I’ve got my hand tools with me, but not my ratchets & sockets. Just a small 1/4” drive SAE set plus a random 10mm.

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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 07:01 AM
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How many miles on it? With an 05, you may be overdue for timing chain job if it hasn't been done. I got to 187k on mine, but I know it had good oil and regular changes it's whole life. Have you been ignoring any whining? If the main tensioner broke or the main chain stretched, you could get ticking, but that means it's VERY bad and you should not drive it

Find the source of the noise asap.
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
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It’s been quiet until the other night. It started suddenly at startup after sitting about 2-3 hours.

How loud does a bad timing chain sound? I can’t get the video to post from my phone out here with the horrible cell service. But, it is rhythmic that will increase & decrease with engine speed. I’m leaning towards a bad accessory pulley bearing, but I can’t tell for sure.

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