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ea81 in BRAT making sporadic clicking noises


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#1 Feanor

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:30 PM

My ea81 engine in my '83 BRAT has been making fairly loud and sporadic clicking noises. I know it's not the CV joints or anything because it makes the noises when the car isn't moving at all as well as when it is moving. The clicking is regular sometimes but very sporadic other times. This seems to have come up recently with the very cold winter, so I thought it was the cold doing it, but it has done it when the engine is warmed up and at varying outside temperatures.
The clicking is accompanied by a loss of power or a sluggishness and a sort of jerking when I rev the engine too suddenly or when I drive under 2000 RPMs. Also, my car usually idles at 1000 RPMs or so, but when it has the clicking it idles at a little under 2000 RPMs. It also doesn't happen every time I turn the car on. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. It almost seems to start to happen in the middle of a drive if I try to accelerate in too high of a gear and the RPMs drop below 2000.
Additionally, the onset of this problem has recently led to what seem to be electrical problems. Today I couldn't run the headlights and the defrost at the same time or the engine would noticeably slow down. The defrost fan wasn't even moving air so I had to turn everything electrical off for a while until I got enough charge. The clicking increases in frequency pretty much proportional to how many electrical things I have turned on (headlights, defrost or heat)
Could it be battery? Spark Plugs? Please help with any comments.

#2 TajMan

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:34 PM

I don't think battery or spark plugs, possibly alternator?
(this is my old car I sold to him)
The engine swapped into this 83 Brat was an '84 I believe.

#3 Frank T

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:39 PM

Id try the alternator first. Loss of all that electrical stuff means the voltage is not what it should be-it should be putting out 12.5-14volts across the battery while running, If not it needs to be replaced or you have a loose wire/ground that is preventing it.

The clicking noise and loss of power sounds like you have plug wire that fell off a plug or the insulation is split and jumping the spark to ground before it gets to the plug. The click would be the spark grounding. Could be a cracked distributor cap or bad rotor also.- Solution: run the car in the dark and look for jumping sparks from the wires or around the cap then replace what is bad.

Let us know what you find.

Frank T

#4 Feanor

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:35 PM

Will do, thanks for the info. I will let you know how it works out.

#5 Feanor

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:48 PM

It has stopped with all of the problems now. Could either be due to either the new water pump, the fact that the alternator belt is tightly fitted now (from installing new water pump), or because it's not zero degrees any more. Who knows?



#6 gadberry

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 12:03 PM

Regarding the 'tightly fitted alternator belt', i have been through a few new Alternators in the past couple of years, and I

believe the premature failure of 2 of those $30 crappers from the chain parts stores were due to my 'over-tightening' of

the alternator belt...  The latest alternator was installed with less (yet adequate) belt tension and its holding up so far,

so... just wanted to throw that out because I think the over-tight belts have killed my alternators early...

 

the experiment is ongoing though.. :)

 

cheers!

gadberry



#7 Feanor

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 10:13 AM

Ok, so with the oncoming of Spring here in Utah, which tends to roller coaster between 30 degrees and 60 degrees (sometimes 70 degrees), I have noticed that it only does the clicking and lagging when it is cold. Super weird. I haven't gotten around to seriously trying to repair because I have had to replace leaky brake calipers and a leaky water pump and a leaky oil pump among other things.

 

But it really only happens when it's cold. I can hear electrical spark-clicking-or-snapping sounds, and the engine will lag when i accelerate when this happens. The lagging is always accompanied with the spark-noises. It does it when the engine is idling too and you can feel the engine rock a little whenever you hear the spark noises.

 

I haven't had the problem where I can't run my lights and defrost at the same time anymore, but then again, I haven't needed my defrost since it is spring. However, my volt meter is all over the place, and tends to be lower when it's cold, but I don't know whether or not to trust the old volt meter anyways.

 

Any ideas? I will try to get the alternator tested soon.



#8 Feanor

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 07:12 PM

I found the problem! There was a loose wire that attaches to something not part of the engine (cylinder about the size of a can of peaches, maybe bigger. it's towards the top of the engine bay, centered on the left side) so I finally saw it sparking and grounding early. So I just pushed the wire on tighter. It must have been looser when it was colder because the thing it was attached to contracted a little bit with the cold. That's all I can think of, but it hasn't happened since so that's good.






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