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What can cause an occasional slightly clacking noise from the engine bay at idle?

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I have a 2000 Toyota Camry 2.2l 4 cylinder with 81,000 miles. The car was purchased from a private party with little to no service records. I change the oil with full synthetic 5w-30 oil regularly and the vehicle has been in my possession for four years. The timing belt and other belts on the engine have never been changed before. In addition, nearly all of the parts on the vehicle from what I can tell are original minus the brake master cylinder and a replaced air hose connecting the throttle body to the air-box.

I recently began noticing a very slight occasional clack from the engine bay while at idle that is only noticeable if you are standing outside the vehicle. It sounds occasional and different from the already present valve-train clatter that is quiet as well. I plan to monitor this sound and notice any changes in volume.

Is this something I should be concerned about?

 

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2 Answers
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slip the accessory belt off and see if the clatter stops

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Aside from that noise, if that car has the original 20-year-old timing belt you'd better change it ASAP. Fortunately that is not an interference engine but if the timing belt lets go you could find yourself stuck in an inconvenient or even dangerous place. Ditto for the serpentine belt.

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