2004 tacoma double-cab metallic rattling when cold
My non-garage kept truck has a metallic rattling noise when I start it in the morning on cold days. The rattling lasts the entire ride to work (about 35 miles). Could this be a stuck valve lifter? Any other ideas?
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This is most likely a noisy lifter (or valve tappet). In cold weather, the clearances in the valve train open up because metal contracts due to the cold. Once the oil pressure comes up after start the noise goes away because the larger clearance fills with oil and the lifter becomes "cushioned" with the oil. The proper fix is to have the valves adjusted. I believe in your model, that is done by putting shims on the lifters. This will quiet the noisy lifters. In the short term, you can try using a lighter weight oil for cold weather. This will get the oil to the lifters faster after start up and quiet the tapping more quickly. Once the weather warms again, shift back to the normal weight.
When is really cold, and vehicles with non electrical power steering start for the first time after a good period of inactivity the power steering pump tents to wine, that is normal, some other cars or almost all the cars when they pass 100.000 miles develop a little metallic noise that goes away when the oil pump distributes and lubricates all moving parts inside the engine when the car starts first thing in the morning in a really cold morning.
Take it to a place like Autozone, where they will read the stored causes for you for free. If it is intermittant, such as going up a hill or on wet mornings, then don't worry about it. If it is all the time, after say 40,000 miles, it could just be a timed maintenance indicator.
When you release the parking brake, the handle goes down, but the cable in the casing is probably not moving. When you drive away, your parking brake is still set. The movement of the wheels against the brake shoes (or discs) produces heat pretty quickly and causes the brakes to release (at least enough so that there is no longer any contact between the brake shoe or disc and the brake drum or rotor).
The casing normally runs from the back of each hub to a point somewhere forward where they come close together so the brake handle can pull both brake cables at once. The casings could be lubbed, but that is something you probably want a garage to try to do (pretty messy, spraying lub into a casing with the cable is in it, and not a guaranteed solution unless both cables are disconnected, removing from the casings, and cleaned).
Probably the best thing to do to solve the problem in the short run is NOT to set the parking brake in very cold weather.
Hope this is helpful.
4.0l's are notorious for valve rattle on cold start-up. There is really nothing you can do to make it go away short of completely replacing the valve train in the top end, and that isn't a permanent fix. It's is an top end oiling issue from the factory. Just don't race your engine on cold start-up until the rattle stops.
The rattle in the transmission sounds to me to be more of a loose dust shield/heat shield around the transmission or exhaust than a mechanical issue.