ZZE122R - Engine Noise

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Greetings all,

My 2005 Corolla has been going great for the past 14 years with only a few things needing work every now and then.

It currently has 216,152 km on the clock.

Yesterday, while driving back out of town, it suddenly started making a rattling noise while accelerating (mainly when it goes over 3,000 R.P.M.)

Nothing leading up to this - it just started up out of the blue without warning.

I'm wondering if anyone here has already come across this problem and knows what it is.

I haven't had any experience with the VVT-i engines, so it's new territory for me.

I would think if it were something loose or out of adjustment in the valve train, it would be coughing and farting and misfiring (or simply not running at all).

As I drove it back after the sound started up, it was still running well, still had power, and could sit comfortably on 100km.

No overheating, no warning lights on, nothing. There looks like there's a small oil leak around the rear of the R/H side of the engine, but it hasn't been using up oil.

All the posts I found on the internet suggested anything from loose heat shields, to something broken in either the inlet or exhaust manifolds.

The only other thing I could think of was the timing chain - whether they might have some sort of tensioner arm on them or something that might be coming loose, or could the chain itself be stretched ?

If that was the case though, I would have thought that would also affect the timing and make it run badly ?)

As far as trouble shooting goes, I've only tried locating the sound with a stethoscope, but the noise can't be pinned down to any specific area.

So at the moment, I'm leaning towards: 

a.)  Taking the serpentine belt off and running the engine for less than a minute just to see if it might be a bearing in something that runs off the serpentine belt rather than something inside the engine (doubtful).

b.) Taking the valve cover off, to see if there's anything obvious with the OHC or the valves. Not sure if the timing chain would also be visible, or if that's another cover somewhere else.

Before I start doing any of these things though, I thought I'd first post a video link here, and see if any of you might recognize the sound as something that you've dealt with first-hand.

And what suggestions you might have.

Apologies for the shaky video.






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