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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A new 'clattering' sound has started after my oil and oil filter change. It is audible at idle but appears to go away when engine revved.
I thought at first it was from timing chain or a timing chain guide but having listened to quite a few examples on Youtube it doesn't comply. Timing chain and guide issues appear to be more even and continuous.
My noise is very erratic, ie. it goes and comes a little but is quite loud and certainly noticeable.
I will try to link a Youtube video here but in case that doesn't work, just search 'Nissan X-Trail T31 M9R Engine Unusual Noise'.


I'm obviously rather worried as I'm starting back to work very early in morning at airport and my car is essential.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I had the car out for a few miles to warm things up. Its driving normally and there are no warning lights on.
Temperature is normal.
Noise tends to go away when engine is at operating temperature.
My oil change may have been coincidental. Could also be to do with the fact that since I went on furlough 11 weeks ago, car has used less than one tank of diesel with very little use.
 

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Hi Adrian. Does the oil pressure light work correctly? Lights when ignition on, off when started? Could be hydraulic tappets not yet filled up. Check all auxiliaries and belt not catching.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, oil pressure light comes on during start sequence and goes out on start up so oil pressure presumably is good.
Accessory belt and all pulleys appear fine. Don't think I've lost any tools though that idea also went through my head ;-)

Anyway, good news it appears...

I dropped by my nearest Nissan dealer on way home from work today (where I personally dispatched the very first Easyjet flight out of Belfast International since lockdown 11 weeks ago!), and although I could not replicate noise since engine was warm, I played that video recording on my mobile phone.

They told me not to panic, the M9R engine is extremely durable and things just do not break like that when driven carefully and with correct servicing. That's why the engine is also used on various van models and does 200K+ without problem. Relief!

They quickly jumped to the conclusion that it is hydraulic tappet noise which disappears when engine is warmed up (which it does). They asked me what oil I had used suggesting it may be a bit thin. I used the very expensive Castrol Edge Fully Synthetic (with Titanium) LL 5W30 and it's staying in the engine!

But did say that the M9R is a bit tappety and rattley when cold, totally normal apparently, and I should only come back if it were to dramatically worsen.

I am inclined to take their word for it as indeed engine sounds fine when fully warmed up. However it was never quite as loud as this before the oil change and 11 week period off work with little driving.

So, fingers crossed all is good! If anything changes I'll let you all know! Being back to work now, I don't want to have to touch car besides drive it until next summer and its next service!!!

PS/The oil filter and air filter fitted last Friday were Nissan's own and came out of that same dealer.
 

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Could it be the old oil that came out had over time thickened? I had that happen on my Saab - you knew it had been serviced because when cold it sounded a little tappety.

Mine is a little louder when cold but goes v quiet when warmed up and at 175k couldn't be happier. I swapped wheels front to back on Sunday to give even wear. I always do it every 3k and so far they still have around 6.5mm on all after 16k
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It has quietened a bit now after about 100 miles, but still audible when cold.
I can't work it out though, on this service I am back to the Castrol Edge (with titanium) 5W30 Fully Synthetic that I used on my first service when I bought the car in 2017, so the car has had this exact oil before and I don't quite remember this sound. This is my favourite consumer engine oil around today.
After that, and until last Friday's service it was Mobile One 5W30, which to me was the thinnest of the two when pouring.
Both brands are expensive, despite this time buying from Ebay. Its going to have to stay in the engine until next service as I'm not going to waste it. That will not be until next year at the recommended next interval of 12,500 miles.
The only thing I can think of was that these two 4L cartons of Castrol oil sat in my very hot garden shed unopened since I bought them in April, but considering the heat they will experience in the engine, I would have thought that would have zero effect. Then I wondered if the cartons had been tampered with since I bought them over Ebay, but cartons were original and still had seals on them so don't think that is likely.

Ahto42, yes I'm doing well with current tyres also, the first decent tyres I have ever bought; Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season which look like they are going to do two years and 25K miles minimum, hard to say just yet, maybe more than that. I've never had tyres last quite that long before, but then again I've never before bought decent tyres.
 

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I expect your tappets have drained of oil due to reduced use. They may well bleed with more frequent use now.Engine oil will not degrade in your shed.
 

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Adrian4X4 said:
It has quietened a bit now after about 100 miles, but still audible when cold.
I can't work it out though, on this service I am back to the Castrol Edge (with titanium) 5W30 Fully Synthetic that I used on my first service when I bought the car in 2017, so the car has had this exact oil before and I don't quite remember this sound. This is my favourite consumer engine oil around today.
After that, and until last Friday's service it was Mobile One 5W30, which to me was the thinnest of the two when pouring.
Both brands are expensive, despite this time buying from Ebay. Its going to have to stay in the engine until next service as I'm not going to waste it. That will not be until next year at the recommended next interval of 12,500 miles.
The only thing I can think of was that these two 4L cartons of Castrol oil sat in my very hot garden shed unopened since I bought them in April, but considering the heat they will experience in the engine, I would have thought that would have zero effect. Then I wondered if the cartons had been tampered with since I bought them over Ebay, but cartons were original and still had seals on them so don't think that is likely.

Ahto42, yes I'm doing well with current tyres also, the first decent tyres I have ever bought; Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season which look like they are going to do two years and 25K miles minimum, hard to say just yet, maybe more than that. I've never had tyres last quite that long before, but then again I've never before bought decent tyres.
My wifes Golf has got Michelin Cross Climates on it and they've now done 38k and just about ready to replace!!! My Quatracs are doing really well
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Latest update...
300 miles later and I cannot hear the unusual sound now.
So as discussed, I think between us we have correctly diagnosed the sound as hydraulic tappets.
It is strange though how it took a couple of hundred miles to fully replenish the tappets despite my filter having been replaced with correct Nissan part and my oil pressure being in the normal range.
Anyway, we have learned something more about the T31 X-Trail and the M9R engine, tappet noise can accentuate after a period of minimal driving and / or an oil change but goes away after a few drives. The Nissan dealer diagnosis was also correct I should add.
Car driving nicely again with no other faults.
 

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@Adrian: I hope your problem was solved as the tappets are now filled but you should closely monitor that noise in the future. If it appears again maybe you should open the valve cover and check the rocker arms. In my M9R I found a broken rocker arm. The small shaft of the roller got out of its place and all the needles of the roller where spread under the valve cover and some went in the oil pan. I was very close to a very expensive repair job.
Look at the position of the roller with no shaft and needles in the attached photo. The engine was working OK, but there was a clicking noise similar to yours in a way. At that time I changed the timing chain set too because anyway we had to remove the camshafts and everything to replace all the rocker arms to be on the safe side.
The mileage was between 180k and 190k km and the car was serviced regularly but the car was not used for a few months before the problem occured.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks Tamango, that's one for me to watch.

But, guys, the problem is NOT over! I need to open up this discussion again!

Last night, when sitting at idle with engine running warm, the uneven clattering returned and it was even worse. I quickly realised that it got a hundred times worse with the Air Conditioning turned on and almost goes away when I select A/C off.

I'm drawn now to one of my first suspicions which is in the area of the accessory drive belt and the various components attached.
I take it that the Air Con adds significant load to the belt and all of the other pulleys so doesn't specifically mean the noise is from the Air Con unit itself?

I am thinking now about the main crankshaft pulley rubber insert deterioration that is discussed on another thread in this forum, or else the idler or tensioner. I'm going to have to get my hands dirty again, take of the plastic wheel arch surround and study the whole area some next day that I'm at home off work.

I hope its not the air conditioning unit itself as its working fine otherwise.
The belt tensioner and idler would be easier and cheaper to replace.
Reaching down the side (space is very tight), all of the pulleys feel tight. I'll probably have to let the problem worsen then examine each pulley with belt removed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Colster

If its only the tensioner, I'll be relieved, that looks like a relatively easy replacement.

However that thread is all about the main crankshaft pulley which I'd be much less comfortable with, however that would give me the chance at last to renew the oil seal behind it. I take it I don't need to drain the oil to do that as it sits well above oil level?

Unfortunately I cannot do this immediately as I'm working shifts at airport with early start next few mornings before any bus services start. Also with redundancies looming, I cannot ask time off because at present my attendance record is 100% and if I ruin that it could put my job in jeopardy at least for the next two or three weeks. I've only just been called back after 11 weeks furlough.

I've checked accessory belt. Belt remains tight, and no pulleys have any obvious looseness yet (by feel) or any visible shake.

Unfortunately on my first day off I will need to strip plastic wheel arch etc, remove belt, then check all the pulleys.
Then I will have to put it all together again, and continue travelling to work until I order and receive relevant parts.
So I would not be able to fit parts until the following week's rest day(s) :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm not massively impressed.
This is the first time I have had an urgent car fault in about twenty years of driving, requiring car to come off road for mechanical repairs.
But then again, I've always driven Toyotas and Hondas!
 

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What mileage has the motor done? I usually buy older and high mileage cars and find that a change from the recommended grade/type can make a huge difference to engine noise in a high miler.
You need to be careful about dpf filters etc but it might be worth doing some research to see if you can change to 10W40 or to Semi.
K ;)
 
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