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 Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side

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Rivi Maaaannnn
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PostSubject: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:30 pm

I just purchased a 95 Buick Riviera. From what I was told that the engine was recently replaced with the same NA 3800 series 2. While driving the car home, I noticed when accelerating or if the car is slightly going uphill, I hear a clicking noice coming from the driver side. when the car is on a flat suface and not pressing on the gas to accelerate, the motor is a sleeper. I don't hear any knocking noise coming from the motor when idling. only when taking off from 20mph and up pressing on the gas pedal. I'm hoping its not a transmision problem because the car still runs smooth & has the power it's just the noise i'm worrying about. I'm not sure if im clear enough bout the problem. I'm also new to this site which I think is cool. if anyone have any ideas, please let me know before i spend unnecessary money. All your help is deeply apprieciated.
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:40 pm

Sounds like a possible exhaust leak. Check the flanges on the crossover pipe, and also the downpipe for leaks.....
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:15 pm

the 95 cast iron headers are notorious for cracking.mine have cracked again.thank god i invested in a welder. hold a piece of toilet tissue,and pass it along either side of the header and if it flutters ,that's a good sign that its leaking.that works for the front too,just be sure the fans aren't running.that's how i found mine......
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Rivi Maaaannnn
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:05 pm

Thanks for the response.
I will check my exhaust system for any possible leakage.
I have a video of the problem. As soon as I figured out how to post videos, i will post it. The sound seems to be coming out the driver side & it sounds like something thats slipping everytime I press on the gas to accelerate or when the car is on a not too steep hill.
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Rivi Maaaannnn
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:37 pm

I was able to post a video of the noise. Sorry for the wind blowing that its hard to hear the sound the car is making. listen to it when its @ 1:36 - 1:40 then @ 2:34 - 2:40. It doesn't sound like an engine problem to me.

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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:49 pm

Maybe keep the camera more in the car so the wind doesn't get it so much but I did kinda hear the sound at the end.
That's pretty strange. I'm not sure if it's a motor/trans thing or something else. I would check out the motor & chassis mounts - see how much the motor is moving while someone does holds the brake and eases into the gas to see if it's being allowed to move excessively.

Some questions - does it happen during acceleration in all gears, any speed, any outside/internal conditions (temperature, etc)? Does there seem to be any rhythm that would suggest it's part of or connected to the drivetrain? - In other words, is the pattern of noises faster with more rpm, vehicle speed, etc? From the video, it doesn't really sound like it to me but you can hear it a lot better in person obviously.


Last edited by turtleman on Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:02 pm

Possibley Harmonic balancer pulley. They are another notorious failure on the 3.8L. It will make a clicking sound intermitently, and get a little louder around 2000 rpm, loud enough to hear it in the cab while on the road.

The odd thing is you say it doesn't do it at idle? If it were HB pulley it should do it at all times. Kinda wonder if its not an exhaust leak, check you belt for fraying to that can cause noise under the hood.

Scratch the HB pulley its on pass side, I just realized you said drivers side... long week sorry. bonk


Last edited by Hometown Hero on Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:34 pm

Sounds like a subframe bushing or strut mount kind of shifting around to me. Really hard to tell without putting the car up on a lift and checking all around...
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:23 pm

Abaddon wrote:
Sounds like a possible exhaust leak. Check the flanges on the crossover pipe, and also the downpipe for leaks.....

Based on the video and the sound right at the end, I would tend to agree with it being an exhaust problem.
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Rivi Maaaannnn
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:28 pm

turtleman wrote:
Some questions - does it happen during acceleration in all gears, any speed, any outside/internal conditions (temperature, etc)? Does there seem to be any rhythm that would suggest it's part of or connected to the drivetrain? - In other words, is the pattern of noises faster with more rpm, vehicle speed, etc? From the video, it doesn't really sound like it to me but you can hear it a lot better in person obviously.

It happens during acceleration only. Lets say i'm doing bout 50 mph, I will not hear it but if i press the gas to accelerate to 55mph, then i'll hear it. I also hear it everytime the gears change. its also happen at any speed. Yes the noise is faster with more rpm but stops when not pressing too hard on the gas or reach the speed limit.
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:44 pm

Abaddon wrote:
Sounds like a possible exhaust leak. Check the flanges on the crossover pipe, and also the downpipe for leaks.....

Since i've noticed most answers I get is about the exhaust system, I'll have to take it to a muffle shop so they can check for any leaks. My question is, if there was a leak on the crossover pipe or downpipe, wouldn't I hear the sound even if the car is not moving? when I rev the engine, i don't hear the sound at all. only when the car is moving.
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Rivi Maaaannnn
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Fri Jun 11, 2010 7:25 pm

This video here you can hear it a lil better than the previous one. like I said, When idling or reving the engine while the car is not moving, it's fine but when the car is in drive, I'll hear the noise at 2000 rpm or the harder I press on the gas the louder it gets. if the car is cruising at a steady mph, I don't hear the noise.

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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Fri Jun 11, 2010 7:45 pm

If one of the flanges has come loose, you may not hear it at idle because there is little exhaust flow. When you hit the gas harder more air is pushing out causing the flange to separate temporarily.....that's how it would be inaudible at idle. Same goes for a mildly cracked manifold.

DAMN that's loud BTW. If that is an exhaust/manifold leak, I'm betting it's at r around the rear manifold and DP.
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:12 am

Rivi Maaaannnn wrote:
This video here you can hear it a lil better than the previous one. like I said, When idling or reving the engine while the car is not moving, it's fine but when the car is in drive, I'll hear the noise at 2000 rpm or the harder I press on the gas the louder it gets. if the car is cruising at a steady mph, I don't hear the noise.


Just a suggestion: if you have a place to work on the car, get yourself a 'hydraulic floor jack' and a set of jackstands, put the car up on stands and have a look. People (thank you abaddon) are making good guesses but I suspect you are reaching the point where rolling up your sleeves is required.

On the rear aluminum control arms you will find round pads cast into the members, that's where you can put the cup of that floor jack to hoist the car. On the front control arms is similar *but* they are on the "wrong" side of the arm, turn the cup insert of the floor jack so it hods the rib and make sure not to scratch or chip the rib (aluminum can be alittle brittle). There are also other points on the front to put a floor jack but you (we all) have older cars. Problem is, I don't have my service manual set ATM - maybe one of the mechs on here can comment. Anyway, be sure to work on a flat surface and if you are buying jack stands/floor jack anyway also be sure to get those triangular wheel chocks too, put em under the tires to block the car from rolling off your jack/stands.

The bottom line for me is that we all have older cars - the last Riv rolled off the line 12 years ago this coming November - and so if you want to make it roadworthy you might well have to do much of the work yourself - the current crop of mechanics are nice folks but are not necessarily going to be experts at diagnosing or repairing a low-volume high performance luxury car. A Ford Taurus or Chevrolet Malibu would be a very different thing IMHO.

As far as taking the Riv to one or another repair shop - going to a muffler shop is not a bad idea, but muffler shop technicians are not all that good at finding/fixing problems elsewhere on the car. So if you are not going to do the work yourself you are problaby better off taking the car to a "neighborhood" repair garage where you see cars of similar type and vintage (late '90s cadillac, buick park avenue, olds 88/98, buick lesabre) around. Basically, your problem is that most but not all muffler shop techs are smart as wet sand if/when a repair involves anything more than cutting apart a perfectly good exhaust system to install a "tuner" muffler.

All that said, my guess is you've got one or more worn out engine or transmission mounts. Likely at least the tranny mount, at the bottom rear, is worn out. By worn out I mean cracks in the rubber and it no longer holds the engine where it is suppsed to be. Previous owner probably drove it like that for some time and the vibration and engine movement have caused damage elsewhere in the drivetrain and/or exhaust.

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Sat Jun 12, 2010 12:03 pm

Rivi Maaaannnn wrote:
Abaddon wrote:
Sounds like a possible exhaust leak. Check the flanges on the crossover pipe, and also the downpipe for leaks.....

Since i've noticed most answers I get is about the exhaust system, I'll have to take it to a muffle shop so they can check for any leaks. My question is, if there was a leak on the crossover pipe or downpipe, wouldn't I hear the sound even if the car is not moving? when I rev the engine, i don't hear the sound at all. only when the car is moving.

Exhaust noise is more obvious under load, the noise your hearing is basically the sound of the motor coming from a gap in the exhaust before it is muffled. Although the suggestion that the exhaust problem is a result of a bad mount sounds logical!
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Sat Jun 12, 2010 1:20 pm

BMD wrote:
Rivi Maaaannnn wrote:
Abaddon wrote:
Sounds like a possible exhaust leak. Check the flanges on the crossover pipe, and also the downpipe for leaks.....

Since i've noticed most answers I get is about the exhaust system, I'll have to take it to a muffle shop so they can check for any leaks. My question is, if there was a leak on the crossover pipe or downpipe, wouldn't I hear the sound even if the car is not moving? when I rev the engine, i don't hear the sound at all. only when the car is moving.

Exhaust noise is more obvious under load, the noise your hearing is basically the sound of the motor coming from a gap in the exhaust before it is muffled. Although the suggestion that the exhaust problem is a result of a bad mount sounds logical!

Yep. Gotta find and fix the root cause if possible. The instant problem is probably that exhaust leak. Would not surprise me to find a busted weld in the pipe near/at the cat. The exhaust parts probably would not have failed so bad had it not been for the excess vibration.

Why? because the 3800 is a very strong engine relative to its size. The Series II SC version puts out more HP (240+) than it displaces in CI (232). It is a powerful lump held in its cradle in the Riv by, what we guardedly call "motor mounts" -- because frankly there is not much mass in those so called mounts at all, some black rubber bands at the bottom and a rubber chub on one side at top.

When those mounts become weak, which does not take all that long becaus of the engine power - I'd guess 75000 to 100000 miles and your OE mounts are shot - the engine twists in the cradle and yanks on the exhaust manifold/downpipe/cat.

All you have to do to see that is to open the hood, chock the wheels, set the E-brake firmly, then start the car while looking under the hood at the engine. Holding your foot on the brake (the regular service brake) put the car in gear. You will likely see the engine writhe like the Tasmanian Devil in a cage. When the mounts are new/good it does not do that. Point is that while you are driving, that whacking is happening a lot. It happens when you start from a stop; when the tranny shifts gears as you accelerate; so forth. So - as the car ages, if the exhaust components are already weakened from salt spray/thermal cycling/internal moisture the extra whacking from the engine is, in my opinion, likely to rush them to failure.

So I think Riv Maaaannnn needs to get his cheeks under that car and inspect so that at least when he takes it to a shop he will be able to talk with some knowledgeability about what appears to be wrong. Maybe it would be appropriate to take some snapshots under there and post them to ask further questions - but I think we've done what can be done with the sound-clip-movie thing, that's all.

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Sat Jun 12, 2010 1:41 pm

albertj wrote:
that whacking is happening a lot. It happens when you start from a stop

I don't think I've ever tried that in the Riv before..... gavel joy

laughat (I couldn't resist)
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Sat Jun 12, 2010 3:47 pm

Abaddon wrote:
albertj wrote:
that whacking is happening a lot. It happens when you start from a stop

I don't think I've ever tried that in the Riv before..... gavel joy

laughat (I couldn't resist)

follow the instructions and see if your engine dances...

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Sat Jun 12, 2010 5:53 pm

albertj wrote:
follow the instructions and see if your engine dances...

I know what ya meant.....those words in that order are hilarious though!
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:11 pm

Albert's premise is quite plausible. Simply put, just park somewhere with nothing near the front of the car and gradually power-brake it up to 3,000RPM...
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Rivi Maaaannnn
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Tue Jun 15, 2010 3:27 pm

Guys thanks a lot for all your responses. I got the Rivi cheched earlier and I was told that I have a broken motor mount. I'm online now checking for a good mount (suggestions are appreciated) and prices. This is my first project for the weeknd.
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PostSubject: Re: Hearing a clicking noise coming from the driver side   Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:42 pm

Rivi Maaaannnn wrote:
Abaddon wrote:
Sounds like a possible exhaust leak. Check the flanges on the crossover pipe, and also the downpipe for leaks.....

Since i've noticed most answers I get is about the exhaust system, I'll have to take it to a muffle shop so they can check for any leaks. My question is, if there was a leak on the crossover pipe or downpipe, wouldn't I hear the sound even if the car is not moving? when I rev the engine, i don't hear the sound at all. only when the car is moving.

these cast iron 3800s are not all that noisy at idle but are loud and raspy at any load at higher revs.

Albertj
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