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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have this loud metallic grinding noise whenever the engine is running. Started few months ago, but then stopped after a day. Now it's back permanently. It sounds like dry metal to metal rubbing as if there's no oil in the engine and the noise becomes louder and higher pitched when the RPM increases. Looking under the hood, it sounds like it's coming from the passenger side of the engine where the belt and pulley systems is. The metal rubbing is very evident right after the engine starts and right before it turned off.

I'm still driving it since it's my daily commuter car, but don't know if I'm destroying the engine or not. HELP!

Here's the VIDEO of the noise


Might want to adjust your speaker or headphone volume before clicking. It can be a bit loud!
 

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Broken Motor Mount?

Don't own Gen1 Insight but my guess would be broken motor mount, engine dropped and pulley rubbing on frame. Regardless, I wouldn't drive a car making that racket!
 

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Its difficult to tell, what rpms did you cycle the engine through?

Assuming you didnt rev the engine to 5 grand and held it at 3500 for the duration of the video :D it sounds like its toast. Sounding like 2 trash can lids are being rubbed together. Typically that noise goes away when you rev an engine as its the crank and rods rubbing elbows as the gap is too big to hold enough oil for lubing.
 

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Idler pully bearing.
Turn on the AC and see if it changes.

Willie
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Most of the time it was held around 2,000RPM. I rev'd it to 3500RPM at the loudest part of the video.

I thought maybe the oil level is low, but it was slightly above the highest notch on the dipstick. If the engine is trashed, wouldn't the noise have developed over time? This noise started suddenly. One minute it was fine and the next it sounded like that.

Its difficult to tell, what rpms did you cycle the engine through?

Assuming you didnt rev the engine to 5 grand and held it at 3500 for the duration of the video :D it sounds like its toast. Sounding like 2 trash can lids are being rubbed together. Typically that noise goes away when you rev an engine as its the crank and rods rubbing elbows as the gap is too big to hold enough oil for lubing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If it was the motor mount, would there be other symptoms that I can look at? I would think shifting gears would be an issue or excess vibration when I'm driving?

Don't own Gen1 Insight but my guess would be broken motor mount, engine dropped and pulley rubbing on frame. Regardless, I wouldn't drive a car making that racket!
 

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Pull the belt off and inspect the idler pulley, water pump, and AC bearings, see if they turn smoothly of if they feel like there is sand in them. If it is one of these it could freeze up worst case and smoke the belt but I don't think it would permently damage your engine. But like Mrkcohen said I wouldn't drive it until you can find cause and fix it.
 

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Make the video with the AC off and then turn on the AC while the video is filming.
Please.

HTH
Willie

Like GG says loosen the serpentine belt and check the items that are driven by the belt as a final test.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Willie, here's the video with the AC on and off as you suggested. There are all kinds of noises now. So does this mean it's the idler bearing? Or is something also wrong with the AC?

I tried to remove the serpentine belt by loosening it, but can't get to the idler center nut or the adjusting bolt without removing the brake line assembly. How are you guys removing the belt?



Make the video with the AC off and then turn on the AC while the video is filming.
Please.

HTH
Willie

Like GG says loosen the serpentine belt and check the items that are driven by the belt as a final test.
 

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It's easier from below.

That sounds like the idler pulley bearing as when the belt load/tension increases (AC on) the noise is more violent.
With the AC off, minimum load/tension=less noise.

I believe autozone has the bearing. Easiest to fix and cheapest.
Once the belt is off, you should be able to feel the roughness on the idler pulley or the AC clutch pulley.

Good video.
HTH

Willie
 

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David, you will need to remove the underbody pannels and the vertical plastic panel between the wheel and the belt area,

once the wheel and that vertical plastics are removed you will have good access to the center bolt on the idler pulley, through the wheel well. then you will need to lie under the car and will be able easily to reach the 8mm bolt that controls the pulley's position. Mine was quire dirty and did not turn easily , once i took it off , I cleaned it it with wd40 and it is very easy to adjust now.

I was not sure I could replace the bearing only so I bought the whole pulley from majestic. for ~$28 , seems that rockauto.com has them a little cheaper.

My repair shop wanted $270 for the labor for water pump pulley and belt , so I did it myself and the saving justified new water pump and pulley from majestic together with the belt.

I think rock auto has the water pump cheaper too..
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the feedback guys. I'll remove the belt and test each component once the weather dries up. Southern California decided to have its once a year rain this week.

Right now I'm leaning towards replacing all 3 pulleys and the belt. Might be overkill, but the car has 188k miles on it and my guess is one of the other ones will probably go out soon.

Willie and Jivko57, thanks for the tip on removing the idler. I was pulling out my hair trying to figure out how to get the ratchet in there.
 

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Do what you want, but in fairness let us know what part was bad.

Yes the weather is bad in CA now. Just looked outside and we got snow falling.

GTH
Willie
 

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Yes the weather is bad in CA now. Just looked outside and we got snow falling. GTH Willie[/QUOTE said:
Wow. I guess we visited you at the right time. Short sleeves and AC when we were there last month.

Sam
 

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Dang. I had this same problem driving home from work yesterday. Out of nowhere the car started making a grinding noise. I finally got to my exit and stopped and the car died... I managed to get it started again but it was making a horrible loud grinding/rubbing sound and smelling like burnt something... I thought it was the engine destroying itself but it made it home which was through another two or three stoplights and the car dying at every one (maybe it kept dying because it doesn't have the IMA battery? Or worse...) It did this when in neutral and park as well. I couldn't keep it running without giving it a ton of gas. Going to take the belt off tonight and see what I can find. Hopefully it's not something too crazy. Otherwise R.I.P. Insight. :(
 
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