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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
last winter let oil run low and van has had grinding noise when starting since then. Is getting worse, longer in duration at start.

was wondering if anyone here has repaired an engine after oil loss and if it is cams or something else in engine.

no sense calling me an idiot or fool etc...I am fully aware of being such for not checking the oil. (My brain had subconscious notion that Japanese motors did not burn oil since having 83 and 88 accords with over 100k that burned no oil, also a Celica and Corolla.) These did not run 5w20 oil though.
Anyway I was and still am sick, and neglected maintence and damaged what was the best motor of any vehicle I have ever owned.

This is obviously a major f-up and it can't be easy to replace this motor.
If it is the cams, can mechanics other than dealers remove the heads or are special tools needed ?
 

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Noise only at startup doesn't sound like a blown engine. Are you seeing any other symptoms. Is it noisy when running? Can you listen and determine where the grinding is coming from? The starter can cause a grinding noise if its gear doesn't extend into the flywheel because of binding or low voltage. Further explanations needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi William, thanks for input.
The noise is like a tiger growling- if you created a tiger out of metal.
Sort of a metallic shreak but lasts for maybe a second.
It started happening about the same time I discovered I let the the oil drop 2 qts low and get thick. I think the noise happens after the starter has performed its function, not concurrent to the very initial engine cranking.
The noise occurs at every cold start but only 50 percent of hot starts.
The check engine light comes on intermittantly.
Mileage seems to be down but this could be gas with more ethanol in it.
No oil smoke or excessive consumption now.
 

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I agree with the starter thoughts. I think it might also be the starter not fully disengaging and over spinning for a second making that noise.

I would think that if the engine had an issue related the the low oil event, it would make a constant noise once damaged. Did the low oil pressure light come on? Have you checked what the CEL code is? Places like Advance Auto will read it for free with an OBD scanner.
 

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Even though the CEL goes back off the information is still in the history. The parts store may not be able to read them so if they can't you may need to go to a mechanic with an OBDII scanner. You may need a stethoscope to trace the location of the noise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
BobThe, I don't recall for certain but don't think the oil light had come on.

Next time the engine light comes on I'll see if AAP can read code for me.

The over-spinning starter sounds plausible I was unaware such could occur.
and thanks for your input.
 

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It is most likely the starter problem. It is also possible that the flywheel (or whatever is the equivalent terminology for an automatic, flex plate??) has chewed up. Getting oil two quarts low is not going to cause that problem.

What is happening is that the starter gear needs to retract once you let the key go but it is hanging in your case and thus grinding. It will make extremely shrill mechanical noise because you are grinding the starter and flywheel gears. When engine starts, it spins lot faster than the starter speed and causing that mishmash. If caught early, you should be able to replace the starter without fixing the flywheel/flexplate.

- Vikas
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So sontakke it seems you suggest I get the starter replaced or it will damage something other than itself. The noise is not just an annoyance. thanks.
 

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***snip*** The check engine light comes on intermittantly.
Mileage seems to be down but this could be gas with more ethanol in it.
No oil smoke or excessive consumption now.
Could you confirm that you mean the check engine light, not the oil pressure light?

I agree with the others that being down two quarts of oil would not ruin the engine. However, you said it was also thick. Now, that could cause problems...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi, it is not the oil indicator but what the manual calls the "malfunction indicator."

This had never come on before except one time when fuel cap was not torqued down.

The indicator has not lit today nor yesterday but was for almost all last week.

Maybe it is unrelated and there is another issue to address.
 

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Yes, every time you hear that awful screeching noise, you are grinding the flywheel/flexplate along with the starter. Replacing flywheel/flexplate involves dropping the transmission ($$$$). Replacing starter should cost you $$$.

If the yellow check engine light comes on and then goes off randomly AND it does NOT FLASH while the engine is running, it will most likely be P0420 i.e. catalytic converter efficiency low. Eventually, it will stay on all the time. Anyway, get the starter replaced and get the code from auto parts store.

You have not mentioned if you do all the repair yourself or you have trusted mechanic.

- Vikas
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Vikas and others you were right. I had a mechanic listen to a few starts and luckily the third time the noise occured and he confirmed starter issue.

I wish it had made noise when at garage last 2 times for tire work and oil change.

This chain wants $ 213 for starter and 190 for labor - they say its a "bear" to change.
Not sure how true this is. 5 year warranty.

Also had the code read at AAP as the dash light is on today.
Codes are P0154 and P2254 they said O2 sensor issues.
 
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