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Engine Pinging Noise


Ken1
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Hello, i have a Corolla 99 and lately i've been hearing a pining noise comming from my engine. I think this happend because i was driving on the highway at a high speed (170km/h) for about 20 minutes with very little Oil. After this happend, i added Oil and the noise lowered a little bit. Now, whenever i start my car the noise is minor but when i drive on the highway for about 30mins at 120km/h and then get off the highway, the noise gets louder and i can easily hear it. I'v read something about using Rislone treatment for this but i'm not sure whether this is a good idea... could this damage the engine even more?

Will the engine damage more if i keep driving and not do anything about it?

Any suggestions will be really appreciated.

Thank you.

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How did a '99 Car become low on Oil in the first place?

Is it already a high miller?

What I would do from now on is treat the car more like an 'olde' (espacially if it is a high miller already). Don't thrash from cold, regular Oil changes (every 3000 mile).

Does it burn Oil?

If it does and in the next couple of months if 'noise' gets louder add a can of 'STP' it does wounders for reducing 'blue smoke' and quitening 'clapped engines' for a while :rolleyes: .

As Mick24 said certain damage has already been done, but if it gets no worse then engine (if you abide by recommendations above) will probably last a good while longer.

I've ran (and do run) many an 'oldtimer British & American Banger' like this it's amazing how long a knackered engine will last if you take it steady/nurse them along. ;)

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It burns oil slowly... but is there anything i can do to try and get rid of this noise?

:bookworm: Hello Ken1. I am writing this answer far away from you, from Puerto Rico, but I understand that the noise you are hearing is also called engine knock or spark knock. It may sound as if something is broken inside the engine, and this could actually happen if the problem is not reduced and controlled. Hope that is not your case, but a good mechanic could help you to diagnose your car.

After I had many years of experience with my 1993 Nissan Sentra 1.6 lts automatic, I learned a lot about engine or spark knock.

Is true what the others say, regarding the fact that something else could be damaged. And certainly, if the car is low on Oil, the engine temperature will increase and engine knock is related to too high temperature within the combustion chambers, or to be more clear, when it is too hot just at the top of the pistons within the engine.

As I learned over the Internet, and you could search too on the Google search engine using the phrases "engine knock" and the like, as the thousands of miles start to acumulate on an engine, the combustion chambers have a tendency to acumulate residues, carbon residues to be more specific. This happens also around the intake and exhaust valves, which are located just above the pistions.

To make the story short, after many thousands of miles of use, more carbon residues are inside the engine and one of the properties of carbon is that it retains heat. With the excessive heat inside the combustion chamber, the mixture of fuel and air wil ignite out of synchronization with the spark plugs and because of this we can hear that metallic knock noise, similar but worse than the one of a diesel engine.

To my point: My 1993 Nissan Sentra 1.6 lts has this problem since it was new, and the dealer mechanic told me that all were that way, and that I needed to buy premium fuel for it in order to reduce the problem. Also, because the problem is also related to carbon residues, you need to add to the tank a very good fuel system cleaner. That is what higher octane fights: engine knock or pinging.

General Motors and other recognized manufacturers use the Techron Fuel System Cleaner, made by Chevron. The interval of use is at every Oil filter change, but you have to add it to the fuel tank when the fuel level is low. It treats up to 20 gallons of fuel and they recommend also the use of a second treatment, that is, you add one bottle of it when the fuel level is low or about 1/4 of a tank, fill the tank with fuel, and then you do the same again the next time before filling again the fuel tank at the gas station.

Techron is very effective cleaning, specially when used as directed. For example, my new 2005 Toyota Corolla does not seem to have the engine knock problem, but no matter I will add Techron from time to time to help clean the system. Techron also cleans the injectors and is safe for all the car components and parts. In the owner's manual Toyota recommends the use of fuel system cleaners, and that is the owner's manual of my 2005 Corolla.

Is true that the use of a fuel system cleaner will add some expense to your pocket, but it has to be used at Oil filter change intervals. Fuels also have cleaners, but in small amounts.

Other than that, although the owner's manual says that this Corolla may run on regular gasoline or fuel, it also says that you may hear engine knock form time to time when accelerating. And it also says you can use higher than 87 octane fuel. That is what I always use, premium fuel, no matter what anybody says. If you read closely, Toyota says that the MINIMUM octane rating is 87 octane, I don't know the equivalent using other methods like the RON method or the Research Octane Number method.

So there is nothing against using premium fuel on your Toyota. In fact, modern engines have higher compression ratios, even the little 4 cylinders engines, and that means that higher octane fuel is required. Of course, that means we have to pay more for fuel these days, so the companies do not promote that because it is a disadvantage of modern engines, which use unleaded fuel since many years ago.

In the past, lead was added to the leaded fuel in order to fight engine knock, precisely. But, with the modern catalytic converters, unleaded fuel is required so those converters are not damaged.

You don't know that the only real problem my 1993 Nissan Sentra has is the tendency to engine knock and I lived with it for more than 150,000 miles. How I reduced the problem, because it was never eliminated completely? Doing what I just told you and one more thing: always use 5w-30 oil, or maybe thinner like 5w-20 or 0w-30. Why? Because it flows better and quicker inside the engine, cooling it faster. Modern vehicles since the year 1993 within the United States have the recommendation for 5w-30 oils, now there is the 5w-20 oil for Hondas, Fords and Mazdas.

To add something else, the requirement for higher octane fuel within the useful life of an engine is also called Increased Octane Requirement. As the engine turns old, the octane requirement increases due to accumulation of carbon deposits that are not easy to clean. Nissan has a technical bulletin for my 1993 Sentra that even talks about opening the engine for cleaning, and you can understand how bad the problem could go: to the point of requiring to open the engine to clean it.

This is done usually when is time for a major engine overhaul or rebuilt, because once someone or a mechanic opens an engine, he or she will usually recommend to take the opportunity to replace the key parts because the work required to do this is big and expensive.

I wrote a lot, but I think you could benefit from my experience with engine knock for more that 194,000 miles and counting, on my 1993 Nissan Sentra which is now used by my brother. The engine has never been rebuilt, but it still knocks lightly or moderately, and it is annoying, no doubt about it. heavy traffic also contributes to more heat on the engine, and it could easily make more engine knock when you are coming out of a traffic jam too.

...I forgot....I read what Nissan did to fight engine knock on their engines, starting with the 1995 Nissan Maxima model, which is a V6 engine......I read this I think on Popular Mechanics, Motor Trend, or Car and Driver magazine.....

Because engine knock is related to excessive heat, Nissan decided since the year 1995 that its Maxima model, called differently in other markets, will have ALL of its coolant capacity flowing around the combustion chambers. Before that year, only part of the total amount of coolant was flowing around and maximum cooling capacity was not reached at that area. With all the coolant flowing around the combustion chambers, the temperature there is reduced, reducing engine knock. I think that current models have also knock sensors and the engine timing is changed automatically, as required or needed by the engine so it makes no engine knock.

I also learned that Nissan also uses a molybdenum coating for the pistons, which also helps reducing heat. Probably Toyota has similar technology.

Good Luck. :thumbsup:

Edited by Pablo 23
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