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Old 03-31-2023, 10:20 AM   #1
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Questions About Start-Up Rattle

Hi gang!

I know this has been discussed ad nauseum, but I have some questions related to this, some of which I can't find answers to. I of course have the notorious start-up rattle, which sounds like the motor is coming apart for a second or two. It's not a comforting sound. My '98 has around 38K miles on the clock, and the IMS has been done. One thing to mention is that I can go 2-3 months at a time without starting/driving the car, which I'm sure exacerbates the issue. On to my questions:

1. I've read quite a number of instances where folks have installed the updated tensioners, only to find that the rattle persisted. What I haven't found is a root cause as to why the new tensioners did not correct the problem.

2. Related to #1, if the tensioners didn't fix the problem, then folks seem to point to the ramps. Could an engine with 38K miles have that much ramp wear to cause the rattle?

3. Thinking of ways to get around this, is there any harm in pulling the fuel pump fuse and turning the engine over for a few seconds to build pressure in the tensioners?

I'm getting ready to bring the car in for a service, and am wondering if I should go ahead and have at least the bottom 2 tensioners replaced as a precaution. I'm just trying to stay ahead of the curve, but I'm not ready to address the guides, as that's quite an endeavor.

Thanks!

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Old 03-31-2023, 10:29 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Seadweller View Post
Hi gang!

I know this has been discussed ad nauseum, but I have some questions related to this, some of which I can't find answers to. I of course have the notorious start-up rattle, which sounds like the motor is coming apart for a second or two. It's not a comforting sound. My '98 has around 38K miles on the clock, and the IMS has been done. One thing to mention is that I can go 2-3 months at a time without starting/driving the car, which I'm sure exacerbates the issue. On to my questions:

1. I've read quite a number of instances where folks have installed the updated tensioners, only to find that the rattle persisted. What I haven't found is a root cause as to why the new tensioners did not correct the problem.

2. Related to #1, if the tensioners didn't fix the problem, then folks seem to point to the ramps. Could an engine with 38K miles have that much ramp wear to cause the rattle?

3. Thinking of ways to get around this, is there any harm in pulling the fuel pump fuse and turning the engine over for a few seconds to build pressure in the tensioners?

I'm getting ready to bring the car in for a service, and am wondering if I should go ahead and have at least the bottom 2 tensioners replaced as a precaution. I'm just trying to stay ahead of the curve, but I'm not ready to address the guides, as that's quite an endeavor.

Thanks!
1. Because the chain ramps are worn.
2. Yes.
3. Won't hurt, but will not help if the ramps are worn.

Easiest way to find out is check your cam deviation values, if they are high, the ramps are worn.
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Old 03-31-2023, 01:42 PM   #3
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Another possibility is that the variocam actuator loses oil pressure over time because of the worn/rigid O-rings inside. It takes quite a few revolutions of the crank to re-pressurize them. Does it rattle every time you turn on he engine or only when you don`t use it for long? I think for a `98 a couple second rattling is not the end of the world after a 2-3 month resting.
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Old 03-31-2023, 09:46 PM   #4
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As a winter project couple a months ago, I did replace cam- and IMS-to-cam chainramps as well as tensioners, now the start up rattle has disappeared. Well worth the effort.
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Old 04-01-2023, 05:07 AM   #5
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Another possibility is that the variocam actuator loses oil pressure over time because of the worn/rigid O-rings inside. It takes quite a few revolutions of the crank to re-pressurize them. Does it rattle every time you turn on he engine or only when you don`t use it for long? I think for a `98 a couple second rattling is not the end of the world after a 2-3 month resting.
No, it only rattles at start-up when the car sits for a while. Once the rattle is gone, it's gone for good if I drive it again within 2-3 days.
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Old 04-01-2023, 05:08 AM   #6
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1. Because the chain ramps are worn.
2. Yes.
3. Won't hurt, but will not help if the ramps are worn.

Easiest way to find out is check your cam deviation values, if they are high, the ramps are worn.
Thanks JFP. Is there much involved with checking the cam deviation? At what value would you consider the result to be "high"?
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Old 04-01-2023, 05:10 AM   #7
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By the way, if the car has sat for a period of time, is there any harm in pulling the fuel pump fuse, and turning the motor over a few revolutions to pressurize the system before starting it?
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Old 04-01-2023, 06:41 AM   #8
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By the way, if the car has sat for a period of time, is there any harm in pulling the fuel pump fuse, and turning the motor over a few revolutions to pressurize the system before starting it?
I hyear what you're saying... but, in my limited knowledge, believe it isn't going to help much.

You've got those three hydraulic tensioners that "pop up" to put pressure on the chains riding on the rails. They're going to "flop around" a bit until the oil pressure is enough to mate the chain with the rails. I believe that whether the car is running or not... those chains are going to flop around.

My car does the rattle upon a cold startup. Once the car is warm, and it has sat for a few hours or better... and I go to start it... the rattle is absent.

I believe pulling to fuse isn't going to reduce any wear. Have the cam deviations checked... see what you;re looking at... and go driving.
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Old 04-01-2023, 07:14 AM   #9
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Thanks JFP. Is there much involved with checking the cam deviation? At what value would you consider the result to be "high"?
A Porsche specific scan tool like the Durametric system can read it, specs are +/- 6 degrees.
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Old 04-04-2023, 12:08 PM   #10
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Awesome, thanks gang!
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Old 04-16-2023, 04:42 PM   #11
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not meaning this suggestion to become an inadvertent oil war - but if you're willing to deviate from the manual, try 15W50 Mobil 1. It makes for much quieter starts in my experience. My theory is that the thicker oil doesn't drain from tensioners when the car sits. Florida is generally warm enough that any reduction in cold flow won't be a concern.
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Old 05-04-2023, 09:37 AM   #12
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Here's one possibility for dealing with the rattle It may be a short lived solution.

For cars with metal spin on oil filters, you get a new anti drain back valve every time you install a new filter.

For the 986, the anti drain back valve is in the plastic filter housing.

You can go to dealer or shop Pelican and obtain a new plastic housing + filter + o-ring as a single part number.

With a new anti drain back valve you may notice less or no startup rattle. My experience says this may or may not last until the next oil change.

But, there has to be a reason why Porsche packages this "kit."

https://www.pelicanparts.com/More_Info/99610702055.htm?pn=996-107-020-55-M100&bc=c&SVSVSI=0784
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Last edited by lkchris; 05-04-2023 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 05-04-2023, 09:56 AM   #13
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But, there has to be a reason why Porsche packages this "kit."

https://www.pelicanparts.com/More_Info/99610702055.htm?pn=996-107-020-55-M100&bc=c&SVSVSI=0784
Because of the number of cracked plastic housing from either road debris or mishandling during oil changes.......................
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Old 06-04-2023, 04:11 PM   #14
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Because of the number of cracked plastic housing from either road debris or mishandling during oil changes.......................
AND the fact the anti drain back valves don't last forever

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