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Zetec Rattle


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Still scratching my head with you, first thought is still a lazy tappet have you use engine flush I know you have changed the oil. Not sure of your fuelling system so I wonder if an injector is worn they can make a sort of clicky noise, could be similar to a rattle, easy to test and remove remove injector plug.

What ignition system/ECU do you used, any risk of pinking caused by pre-ignition? Who mapped you car?

What about vibration or heat expansion, exhaust guards, CAT (is CAT breaking up) and not uncommon on Zetec’s overtighten cam cover and dissimilar expansions.

Take cam cover off and check for over heating/excessive wear on cam lobe, could be blocked or at least reduced oil supply.

Have you checked oil pressure, if the engine had a hard life or unknown history worth checking pressure at different rev range.

Timing belt can become a little loose, and move against cam cover causing a noise when moving forward and backwards, double check the tensioner settings. Also the tensioners and idlers are 5hit, hence why you get a new one when you change the belt it does not stop cowboys from just changing the belt, worth checking they fall apart from inside out for bearing or outside in with plastic wheel breaking up.

Finally before I give up oil could be too thin 5/30w and causing cam lobe slap or rattle, worth trying a thicker oil my preferred option for cold engine use break-in oil/lube such as moly paste whilst you have the cam cover off checking the other parts - instant silence!

Hope these help, if not I would have to be there to hear it for myself.

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Yeah, tell me about it!


Unlikely to be any sort of wear issue - was a crated (new) engine, so zero miles. I've done 3k miles in the last year.


I've had 2 experienced car builders who are both professional mechanics looking and listening to it and couldn't be sure of the problem. They believed they identified the rattle coming from the front and bottom of the engine - they checked the cam chains (as much as you can without stripping it all down), bearings on the pulleys all ok.


Definitely not exhaust or other non-engine parts...

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The red arrowed black bit is the lower cam belt cover but it is bolted to the oil pump. Oil pump sits round the front of the crank,and is ally. With the sump off a lump of wood between the crank and the block should stop it rotating as you remove the crank pulley bolt, pulley, cam belt drive sprocket and so on to get to the oil pump housing.

Having said that I think you're on a wild goose chase having failed to identify a rattle which with a non running engine you can't now reproduce. I've never heard an oil pump rattle. Its full of oil and running direct of the crank, no gears. If it tried to make a noise the oil would damp it. I would put the sump back on ( having increased the bend in the scraper plate or even hacked off 5mm each side). Put oil and water back in it and continue hunting the rattle until someone has a good idea where it's coming from. For instance have you run it without the alternator belt to rule out the alternator and water pump. Been round the alternator mountings water pump mountings, and idler pulley bolt? Run it with the cam belt covers off to see the tensioner and idler pulleys at work? You have to have a good idea of whats making the noise before you strip down.


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Actually, I'm glad you said that as i wasn't looking forward to trying to get that crank pulley off.


When it was running, i did all you said; rattle still there with the fan belt off so none of those bearings are the problem (i changed the water pump as well, anyway).


Cam belt covers off, all looked fine but still rattly.


Run through with fuel injector cleaner - no difference.


Sump off was last resort, trust me...

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Only just linked this thread to the sump thread. Doh! Re read it. Listened to the video. Even with my hearing aids in I can't clearly hear the rattle. I can only suggest you go round all the brackets, pulleys, ancillaries and anything else bolted to your engine (manifolds) and check they're tight. Then find a proper garage, hole in the wall/ been there 30 years type and let a genuine experienced mechanic have a listen.

Edited by Longboarder
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Hmm, after getting the sump off and cleaning it up, I noticed this mark:




Looks like the oil pickup has been very close, if not touching (rattling? :unsure: ) against the bottom of the sump?


Is there a set distance the pickup should be from the bottom of the sump? (Zetec 2L)


The pickup felt rock solid when I first got the sump off but I guess if it is only a mm or 2 off the bottom, it wouldn't take much to get it hitting - have I found my rattle?

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The oil pickup should be well clear of the sump without any chance of touching. The witness marks suggest yours was touching and all the way round its perimeter. Difficult to imagine this quite sturdy pipe moving enough to cause a rattle. It does raise the question has the pickup been able to suck enough oil to maintain full oil pressure. Certainly needs shortening. I remember cutting and re-welding the pickup on one of my zetecs when fitting a shortened sump to give clearance of 5mm. I would have liked slightly more.


Listening to your video again I imagine I can hear a flutter/tinkling rattle, not machine gun style which reminds me of piston slap rather than big/little/main bearings. Going back to the beginning of the thread running rich/bore wash was mentioned. Very tempting to think that's the problem. Zetec does have jets to spray the underside of the pistons but if oil pressure was down a bit these might not work well.


What to do? You could remove the engine and strip it, check all bearings, mike up the pistons, measure the rings, bores, etc etc. Perhaps buy a secondhand engine and slap that in for the rest of the summer. (And get it rolling roaded.)

Or shorten the oil pickup, put it back together. Do a compression test to see if significant bore/piston/ring wear has taken place. If not then borrow a decent oil pressure gauge and check that.

Both bore wash and low oil pressure can kill an engine and trying to diagnose it over the internet is near impossible. Spare bolt rattling in the ashtray?

Edited by Longboarder
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Zetec does have jets to spray the underside of the pistons but if oil pressure was down a bit these might not work well.



I saw those - I was wondering what they were for...


I'm going to try bend the oil pickup to get some more clearance, put it back together and cross fingers. I don't have enough space/tools/skill to do engine removals/stripping. :blush:


And I don't have an ashtray :)

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Well, still not 100% it's that pickup because there didn't seem to be any flex in it when I first looked at it after getting the sump off. But the fact it was touching the sump at all was bad enough.


If you look closely at that pipe:




....you can see that the head had been welded on at an offset to the main pipe (friday afternoon job, obviously). I've taken it to the same guy who just welded up the hole in my sump and he's going to re-weld that head on properly - see if that helps.

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While putting my starter motor back on, I've noticed that the main body seems to be loose? So the base that bolts to the bellhousing is solid but about an inch up from that is a join and the main body after that join wobbles, quite noticeably.


Now I'm pretty sure it didn't do that before I took it off and so is not the cause of my rattle but I could be wrong. I'm assuming that is not normal so either that is the cause of my rattle and I just didn't notice (but the rattle noise always seemed to be coming from the front of the engine) OR I've broken it during the removal/replacement process.


Does it sound like it is broken (it will be a couple of days before I'm ready to try start the engine)?

Edited by nelmo
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