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Triumph Repair/69 tr6 internal engine rattling


Yesterday. I started my 1969 TR6 to go for a drive. All the normal creaks, squeals, rattles, etc. But after about ten minutes into my drive i noticed a loud rattling sound that increease as rpms increased. It made no difference whether i was in neutral or in gear. I checked for obvious external sources but nothing jumped out at me. I replaced the water pump last year, but this new rattle is a different sound. I'm thinking it's a timing chain issue but I'd like an expert opinion before I tear into it. Thanks.

Hi Jim,

Engine noise can be minor or major but must be attended to very quickly so as to minimize any damage.

The first and most important is to look at the oil pressure. You should see from 25 PSI to 45 PSI at idle and at 2000 RPM you should see from 45 PSI to 65 PSI.
If you have that much or more you most likely have good bearings and the bearings ar not the noise.

The next step is to kill cylinders one at a time with it running. If you have installed an electronic ignition system you must not pull plug wires to do the cylinder kill test.
If you have rubber boots on the spark plug wires at the plugs you can take a test wire with clips on each end and take a pick (with a plastic handle) or even an ice pick and connect the test lead to the metal point of the pick and ground the other end of the test lead. Then with the engine running at the RPM that you hear the noise and individually kill one cyclinder at a time to see if you can stop or change the noise by killing a cylinder. Test all 6 this way.

If that don't ID the noise then either get a mechanic's stethoscope or you can take a long screwdriver or even a long wooden stick. A mechanic's stethoscope is not expensive. But many old mechanics still use a long screwdriver to listen to noises in engines. Place the blade of the screwdriver against each part of the engine where the sound seems like it is. and place the handle of the screwdriver against you ear. This will amplify the sound and allow you to pinpoint the sound position. When you pinpoint the sound that will ID the sound.

Do this and pinpoint where the sound is and let me know and I may be able to tell you what is is and what to do about it. What ever you do, don't drive the car with an engine noise as it may be minor now and if you continue to drive it the noise can become a major problem.

Let me know,


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Howard M. Fitzcharles III


Triumph TR-4 up & Spitfire, and Engine theory


Dealership line mechanic on MG, Triumph, Jaguar for 15 years, Instructor in commercial mechanics school 2 yr. Product information manager for piston and valve manufacture, Instructor & hotline answer man for import car parts importer 15 yrs.

Associate member SAE EAA member

Import Car magazine

ASE Master Auto with L-1 certification up to 2000

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