View Full Version : Rattle on startup

04-18-2010, 02:56 AM
NEW-B here.....I have a 1988 Celica GT Convert. On morning startups or after she's been sitting for 3 or 4 hours, there's a rattle/tapping sound for about 3 or 4 secs. Also, I hear the sound if the RPMS are at or above 2.5 or 3000 before shifting. Can someone tell me if this is normal? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

04-18-2010, 03:12 AM
Your "rattle" noise after a startup after sitting for long periods (3 or more hours) is likely due to the short time period where there is no oil pressure yet, because all the oil in your galleys, filter, etc., have drained back into your oil pan. So the sound you are hearing are the cam lobes hitting the lifters with no oil to prevent metal to metal contact.

Assuming your 88 Celica GT is a 3S-FE? I think those are very close cousins to the 5S-FE engines, and that is the engine I also notice the same exact thing after it sits overnight.

My other two Celicas with the 4A-FE engines don't make this sound on a cold startup, for some reason. But the 5S-FE does. Watch your oil pressure light. I'll bet you hear that rattling noise right up until the oil pressure light goes out - when the oil pressure light goes out, the rattling noise either stops or is significantly quieter. I check my valve clearances all the time, and on my 5S-FE, there are within spec (on the loose side, but within spec). I think this is just the nature of that engine, and probably of yours as well.

I would recommend you always put oil filters with anti-drainback valves in them (like Toyota oil filters or upper end Purolator, Wix, Mobil 1, etc.). That will help a little, but after 3-4 hours, most of the oil will eventually drain down into the oil pan anyway.

Any other inputs on this?

Regarding engine speed at shift points, your message really doesn't make any sense to me. Do you have an automatic transmission? You "hear" the sound of the RPM's?? You have a tachometer in your instrument cluster, right? What is that tachometer telling you?

04-18-2010, 06:29 AM
93CC, Thanks for the response, I'll check to see what filter I have, and if it doesn't have contain the valve, then I look to replace it on next oil change, if not sooner.....The second part of my question pertains to the same rattle. My Celica has a manual transmission. I can be heard when I'm shifting between 2nd and 3rd if the RPM's are over 2 or 3000.

04-18-2010, 06:34 AM
You can try a thicker oil, or some addictive (lucas/etc) to help keep it lubed to avoid dry starts.

The rattle you're talking about sounds like it could be valve chatter. A simple valve adjustment will correct this.

04-18-2010, 08:16 AM
castrol gtx high milage 20w50, nuff said

dont use lucas, see the test on it at bobstheoilguy.com

04-18-2010, 09:09 AM
i have an 87 and i hear that too when i start it up after it sits for a bit....i also use 20-50 weight oil....but it goes away quickly tho too.

04-19-2010, 08:45 AM
Gentlemen, thanks for the knowledge. Last thing before I turn into a mad scientist.....How difficult is it to adjust valves?....I dont mind getting my hands dirty or is it worth letting someone else take care of it.

04-19-2010, 09:15 AM
it really depends on how good you can follow directions...ive never done a value adjustment so i would take mine to a shop....but if you've done shyt internally before, take a chance......look up the information on how to do it then follow the advice. pretty easy advice i give huh?

04-19-2010, 01:27 PM
Don't worry about adjusting the valve lash, not before you check it. Check it first and see what you have. Your valve lash more than likely will be good.

Remember, I have the same symptoms on my 5S-FE, and my valve lash measurements are within the tolerance ranges. My noise only exists on cold startups. From the time the engine starts to the time my oil pressure light goes out (and I have an oil pressure gauge, which starts reading pressure as soon as the oil pressure light goes out), I also have this valve train rattling. As soon as the oil pressure light goes out (oil pressure gauge starts reading pressure), the noise stops. For me, I can't eliminate this 2 seconds of valve noise on cold startup by adjusting valve clearnace, because mine are already OK.

Now if someone can help on the oil pressure side - is it normal for these 3S-FE & 5S-FE engines to make this kind of valve noise on cold startup until the oil pressure light goes off?

04-19-2010, 05:25 PM
^^^^ i have a 3sfe and i have the same noise on start-up. and i only have 58 thousand miles on the original engine.

04-19-2010, 05:50 PM
I was having the same issues and I had checked my valve clearance and it was fine. I then though it might be a tensioner in my timing belt, but actually turned out to be a rod knock. I had the same issues that you had. If you keep driving it and it keeps getting louder and louder over time, then it might be that.

Valve clearance is pretty easy to check, all you need it the values which can be found in the BGB, and a set of feeler gauges, which or only like $3 at Advance or any other auto store.

04-20-2010, 06:36 AM
Now if someone can help on the oil pressure side - is it normal for these 3S-FE & 5S-FE engines to make this kind of valve noise on cold startup until the oil pressure light goes off?
Depends on what you mean by "normal." It's common enough to say yes, but technically not proper. I still wouldn't worry much unless, as Naemion mentioned, it gets louder.

And I'd like to mention that in colder climates you'd generally want a lower viscosity oil to combat this problem. However, I can't think of a part of Cali that's cold enough to require that. :) In EKN's situation thicker is better.

04-21-2010, 01:04 PM
Anyone have any ideas why some/many 3S-FE & 5S-FE engines rattle at the valve train on cold startup, right up until the oil pressure light goes out, then sound fine, especially if the valve lash is checked and found to be within spec?

The bearing caps on top of the cams don't look scored or anything. But, I suppose they could be worn. And there isn't anything that can be done about that, is there? Cam bearing surfaces are part of the head at the bottom. I suppose caps can be replaced, but can't change the bottom bearing surface of a cam in the head, right?

Other than cam bearings, I really don't know what could cause this kind of startup rattling when there is no oil pressure on an engine that has normal valve lash. So any experiences/ideas for within this forum are welcome here.