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Bad squeal and rattling noise


Wroth
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2 hours ago, Cuong Nguyen said:

That' journal is toast.

Sorry, the time frame is confusing. Did you say that before or after you saw the picture? I figured it would be toast but, bearing in mind that I am not a mechanic or experienced with crankshafts, it looks okay to me... 

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Sorry, I didn't realize that you posted an old photo of the other motor that went. 

From what I can tell it looks ok. Did the piston get pushed passed the ring lands? If it did, I would be worried about bent valves possibly. If you did not, you can push it back down using a wooden dowel rod through # 2 spark plug hole. I'd be worried about a bent rod possibly. 

I replaced the bottom end under the truck, but I have a solid axle front front. It was still kind of difficult with limited tools. 

 

 

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Oh, OK. I got worried for a minute. Looking back, maybe I should have not included a photo of the old engine, it's almost too horrible to look at. That block and crankshaft were both totally ruined.

 

I could have left the engine in since I pulled the front diff, the torsion bars, the crossmember under the front of the diff, and the front of the lower control arms. The only reason I pulled the engine was because I had been thinking it was the flexplate. Now that it's out though, I can put on the correct thermostat housing and do a few other things I'd forgotten when I first put everything together. Like gasket sealer between the dust cover and the bell housing... Being rushed on car repairs sucks. 

 

I actually grabbed the bolt through the rod that the cap came off of and pulled the piston back down so I don't think it stuffed into the valve, but I'm taking the head off anyway so I can make sure. 

IMG-20181104-153010550-HDR.jpg

I've strapped the engine down to a furniture dolly i beefed up months ago for the engine and in a while I'm going to start taking off the stuff over the driver side head. So far my parts list is: the one rod, all the bearings, oil pan seals, head gasket, and loctite and that black RTV gasket stuff. 

 

So far it's looking less expensive than the torque converter and flexplate i originally thought I'd have to replace, but only because I'm not going to put in all new rods. Though now I'm wishing I could afford a set of the forged steel ones... 

 

Thanks again to everyone who has chimed in on this, and everyone else too. If not for this forum I don't think I would be prepared to do all this and I'd be stuck with paying a mechanic probably $3000 for everything I've already done to it. 

Edited by Wroth
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I think one or two rods from my old VG33 were undamaged. Is it okay to use rods from different cylinders?? If it is I’ll grab some pics of them when I get to work tomorrow. Are you going to replace the pickup tube? I don’t know what mine looks like but I’ll check it out tomorrow morning as well.

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I forgot to schedule a PM here at work so me and my one maintenance guy have both been super busy today. I am going to get my old engine out a little later and we’ll see about the rods and pickup.


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I have a #6 rod and it is in good condition. The pickup is okay too, but the screen is squished a little.

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I’ve also got a whole set of intake and exhaust valves with springs and everything.

 

I think I’d use your piston if you can. The oil ring on this one won’t budge (not really sure if it supposed to or not..) and this engine smoked a little bit. The smoke could’ve been the valve seals as well though.. I don’t know what’s best it’s whatever you think.

 

eb741659212af8a450852229e4f6080d.jpg

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Sorry, I took the day off yesterday since it was raining the whole time and caught up with my sleep. I know practically nothing about the pistons and cylinders, all I know is that the engine is apparently from a 2000-2004 frontier.

 

I'm pretty sure I don't need the whole rod, just that cap and maybe the bolts and nuts. I just can't find anyone selling just the cap. I'm definitely replacing the oil pickup tube. Mine didn't have a hole in it but it's seriously pinched and I'm concerned about the flow rate, being so restricted. I'm hoping to not have to take out the piston, or the valves or springs or any of that since I'd then have to go find a spring compressor IINM.

 

I'm still hoping to be able to just slap another cap on that rod, install all new bearings and check torque, put it all back together with a new oil filter, and go back roading. All these mud covered jeeps rolling around out here and my truck is down... 

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  • 6 months later...

Well, it's been quite a while since I've updated. I had to get a new (reman) crankshaft and do a partial rebuild.

 

I put the camshafts from the 3.0 in while I was at it. I replaced the broken rod and the cap thanks to some help from a friend and checked out all the valves, lifters, springs, rings, etc. I don't have a micrometer so I was unable to check the bearings that came with the crankshaft, but when I installed it and the pistons it rotated easily by hand (large wrench, actually). I reassembled and installed the engine, indexed and torqued the TC, and replaced all the accessories etc.

 

Obviously it turned over by hand when I installed the torque converter, but then I had to leave it for a few weeks between working on it. Anyways, it's now seized. Won't turn a single degree in either direction there's about 50 ft-lbs on the crank bolt and it just tightens and loosens.

 

I had put a small amount of marvel mystery oil in the cylinders so I pulled the plugs. I had trouble aligning the starter so I pulled it to eliminate the possibility that it was binding. I pulled the accessory belts so they wouldn't drag. It still won't budge.

 

I'm kinda freaking out here trying to figure out how it could have bound. I guess I need to pull the oil pan and check out the bearings and maybe take the heads back off (another round of head gaskets, yay) but that's such a pain (front diff, centerlink, stabilizer, skid plates, etc) that I'm looking for any other suggestions to check before I go that far.

 

Dropping the front differential is really hard by yourself without the proper type of jack. I had to set it on a furniture dolly, jack the front of the truck up, position the differential, lower the truck onto it, bolt it in, and then jack the truck back up to get the dolly out, all with a high lift jack. So, any ideas? Need any more information? Am I kidding myself thinking i can do this at all? 

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I read one time about a bike motor seizing up because the guy had tried (and failed) to start it with ether, which washed all the lube off the cylinder walls. He let it sit like that and it seized. Seems unlikely in this case, especially if you've had oil down the plug holes this whole time. I doubt a bearing seized while just sitting there (you put some kind of oil/assembly lube on them, right?). How much of the engine was together when it still turned easily (when you did up the TC bolts)? Is it stripped back to that point now?

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Man I love this site. Thanks for the quick responses, guys. It turned over fine while I was installing the torque converter, a little stiff but it turned. I had worried about the bearings and the cylinders but I figured it was fine since it turned. It still turned after the torque converter install. I probably should have stopped by the truck every couple of days and turned it more, but oh well. 

 

I haven't tried using anything for starting fluid, ether or otherwise but it's been so long since I assembled the engine i suppose it could have dried up anyway. I never heard of assembly lube until a few weeks ago. If I remember correctly, I had the heads on, timing belt on and set, and basically fully assembled except for the starter, distributor, accessories, and various electrical plugs. I pulled the starter back out and removed the accessory belts but haven't got to the distributor yet. 

 

I guess I panic a bit easily with this sort of thing. I've never had a vehicle i liked enough to work on myself before and this is my first time doing anything on this level. My truck has been down over a year now and I had expected originally to only take a month or two. Life is crazy and plans nearly useless. 

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I can't remember the last time a repair project took less time than I expected!

 

Sounds like we can rule out the pistons seizing up, or a problem with the heads. Did you put anything on the bearings, or were they completely dry? If the reman crank went in clean and dry, and the bearings were dry, then I would be concerned about possible corrosion between the bearings and the crank. When steel is oily it keeps just fine, but bare/dry metal can rust up pretty quick depending on conditions. Hopefully that's not it, but if you can't get it to budge, you may need to pull the pan and check those over. Hopefully a little lube and at the worst a light polish is all it needs. I'm not sure I'd want to start it up with a dry bottom end anyway, and there's no way to pre-oil these (some engines have oil pumps you can spin up with a drill before the first start, no such luck with the VG's crank-driven pump).

Check the dizzy first, on the off chance. They do have the odd bearing failure, though I don't think I've heard of one seizing hard enough to lock the engine. If it's not that, you may need to open up the bottom end again.

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  • 3 months later...

AARGH! I pulled out the front differential, pulled the oil pan, partially loosened ALL the bearing bolts and took off the timing belt. Everything spun freely so I started putting things back. I set the time and went through several revolutions so I figured it was ok and started putting things back. I put on the fuel rails (only took that off because I expected to have to remove the heads), the starter, the distributor, and the imitation Mr.510 pulley adapter without checking and now it's stuck again. I guess I narrowed down the possible issue but this is massively frustrating. I swear those two little coolant lines on the very back of the engine (from the weird octopus thing bolted to the bottom of the upper intake to the back of the block that T from the heater core lines are the most irritating part of working on the top end besides lining up the EGR tube with Pacesetter headers when most of the stuff on my 33 is from the 30. Complaints aside, I realized that if you have the differential and the oil pan off it's really easy to get to the torque converter bolts. If i ever pull the motor out again in putting it back in without the oil pan. Going through the starter slot is a pain, especially when your dad is right there talking about inspection plates on mopars. 

 

I typed that several days ago and evidently forgot to hit post. Anyways, earlier i pulled off the starter, the distributor, and the pulley adapter and it spun freely again. I put the distributor back, it spun, and then I put the starter back and it was like dragging on the flexplate. Granted I lost one of the bolts so I have an old head bolt with two inches of washers on the bottom, but it shouldn't be interfering with the flexplate. I bought the starter new last year and it's only been engaged a couple of times but I have a warranty on it so I'll probably go have it tested. I'm starting to think I'll need some sort of shim to keep it out far enough to clear but still engage the bendix when I need to start the truck. If anyone has any ideas, advice, or previous experience with this issue I'd like to hear it. Thanks for everything guys, I never would have made it this far without support from the community. 

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Going through the starter slot is a pain, especially when your dad is right there talking about inspection plates on mopars

Lol

 

As for the starter dragging the flex plate, the exact same thing happened to me but mine was caused by me bending the flex plate (I left the tc bolts in the tc while I bolted the engine to the bellhousing and crushed the flex plate against the bolts— it bent it perfectly so I couldn’t see any wobbling when turning the engine over and watching the flex plate thru the starter hole)

 

Is there any chance the flex plate is bent?

 

FYI I shimmed my starter to get the engine turning but the flex plate drug across the starter housing a wee bit while the engine ran and made it extremely hot. Point is you will have to get it perfect for it to work shimmed like that.

 

Also, my flex plate being bent required the tc to come up just a little bit to meet it and it caused the tc to starve for oil (that’s a guess as to what actually happened) and murdered my beloved flawless transmission.

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It very well could be the flexplate. There were a couple moments when I was putting in the engine around the front differential when I felt like it was binding or something. I guess I need to check the clearance between the flexplate and the bell housing dust cover all the way around. I was hoping to not have to take the engine out again but you do what you must. On the plus side I feel like I am getting really good at doing this stuff. 

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Yeah, i think it's the starter. I don't have any good measurement tools so I was eyeballing it with a tape measure but the clearance was uniform within a sixteenth of an inch all the way around. I roughly determined that the starter sticks into the bell housing about 1/16th too much. Since the starter is a reman job from autozone (and since i bought the warranty) in inclined to believe that the dimensions of the starter are off, possibly from remachining the mating surface, and that a brand new one will work fine. It's interesting that for the past year I've been thinking it was a problem with my work and lack of experience and the whole time it was either the starter or the flexplate and apparently was completely unrelated to the cheap spray lube i used before i knew that assembly lube existed. It's too bad that i turned in my old starter for the core charge, i could otherwise slap that baby in and if it cleared then i would know that the problem isn't the flexplate. Oh well, I now know definitely the it's one or the other. 

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I hope so too. I'm returning the starter for another today and trying to find a replacement for the lower intake manifold that I broke last week trying to install the fuel rails. I read somewhere that they're pretty much compatible between the two engines so long as they look the same so I'm hoping a 3.3L xterra intake will fit under my 3.0L upper intake. I used the starter and bracket for the 3.0 because I think i remember reading that it's supposed to match the bell housing, not the motor, but it totally worked with the old starter. I'm mentally kicking myself a bit over that, you suggested bearings and I didn't want to believe it so I bought a new starter and that's the one I'm having trouble with now. And I forgot to write down anywhere which lower intake and oil filter mount i used and I don't remember what I did with the other intake. At one point I had two but now I can only find the other upper intake and that won't fit with my accessory setup for reasons i also forgot. Note to self: document everything because i already know that my memory sucks, and try not to take over a year on an engine swap and rebuild. Also work on paragraphs... 

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  • 1 month later...

Problem after problem after problem. I wound up grinding the casing back on the starter and it's not rubbing anymore. I tried putting washers in to space the starter out a bit but it sounded (to me, but what do I know) like it wasn't engaging properly so I took them back out. I then put my crankshaft pulley adapter on and tightened it down and it's like pressed against the timing belt cover. I realized that I had left out the washer that goes over the timing gear for a belt guide so I spent two hours looking for it. Finally found it and got it installed and tightened the pulley back down and it's still rubbing. So now I'm trying to find another of the timing belt guide washer things to double stack them and try to get the clearance. I can't find a listing for them for a 3.3L, i can barely find one for a Nissan at all. I found a few for Hondas, one for a 300zx, and one for a Nissan engine I've never heard of (ca18 or something?). Not one of these has the dimensions listed and I can't tell if they'll fit. So, does anyone know the part number for the timing belt guide? Would it be a bad idea to get a washer that fits just to space the pulley out? And since I didn't have this problem when I first installed the 3.3L and I had to replace the crankshaft does that mean that something is wrong with the engine or the crankshaft? I don't get it and this is massively frustrating. 

 

 

EDIT: oops, I just put the pulley on without the timing chain cover on a whim and it's not turning when it's tight. It almost seems like it's being pressed into the front of the oil pump somehow. Guess I'm taking stuff back off and looking for even more random pieces. 

Edited by Wroth
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:scratchhead: Something ain't right. I've never heard of someone having to shim a balancer on one of these. Some guys mill out the VG30 pulley to a larger diameter to fit a VG33 crank, but AFAIK the length is unchanged. Besides, the length of the balancer shouldn't matter. The crank sprocket should bottom out against the step on the crankshaft regardless and not clamp against the oil pump. I'd pull the crank sprocket back off and make sure the step on the crank is sticking out past the pump. If the step on the crank isn't sticking out past the oil pump, something is very wrong in the bottom end. Alignment issues on both ends of the engine (flywheel hitting the starter and now this) makes me wonder if the thrust bearings might be backwards (I don't know the VG bottom end well enough to know if this is even possible) or if your crank had something weird done to it.

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  • 1 month later...

Well, first off I'm using a custom machined adapter instead of the harmonic balancer, very similar to the ones that Mr.510 was providing. The thing is that I had the same adapter on the original crankshaft in that engine and it was running for two weeks until it threw a rod cap and bent that shaft too much to be turned.

 

All the parts are the same as then except for one rod, the shaft, and the bearing. I finally thought of taking the timing cover off and verified that the crankshaft was a good eighth of an inch short of the washer seat on the pulley adapter. I had the adapter shaved so it wouldn't bind and it's turning over now but the starter sounds like it's dragging and my flexplate might still be interfering with the casing a bit. 

 

I emailed the company i got the crankshaft from since it was a reman job and as far as I can tell it's short 1/16th of an inch on each end (which i have never heard of) and they want me to send them a photo of both shafts side by side so they can "identify the original" despite the fact that they confirmed that there's only one size on the 33 cranks, unlike the 30s which had three or four. 

 

I really don't want to pull the engine back out of my truck AGAIN, but if I have to i guess I have to. I figure I'll just pull the pulley adapter off for now, try to get the starter working properly (i just recently realized that I don't actually need the accessories to see if it'll start...) and then move on to getting the pulleys on. If I can't get the starter to work right then I'm going to assume that the problem is either the flexplate or the crankshaft and pull the motor back out and check those. 

 

I keep looking at Craigslist and I need to stop that. I found a 91 2 wheel for $500 and it said that it just needed head gaskets, so I started thinking about how it would only take a couple hours tops to get new gaskets in, and how I have both heads off my old 3.0 in a box in storage and then I realized that if I had $500 in my pocket I could have my truck towed to the engine rebuild shop nearby and give him 400 down to figure out what's going on. Plus I took those heads apart to get the camshafts for the 3.3 and i didn't properly store the lifters and who knows where the rocker arm bolts are.  like my truck in particular and until it's completely destroyed I'd much rather fix it than replace it. 

 

I really appreciate the continual community support. i probably wouldn't have been able to replace the cracked head way back when i first got my truck if I hadn't found this forum. I definitely wouldn't have thought to put a 3.3L in the pathfinder if people here hadn't already done it and documented it fairly well (it sounded a bit easier than it was, but that's life). I'm looking forward to being able to tell you that I got it running again and finally feeling like I deserve a 'built not bought' sticker.

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