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Old 12-09-2014, 11:54 PM   #1
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Motor mount or torque damper issue?

Element Owners forum has been pretty dead for the past few years, k20a.org never replied to my post, so here we go.

Relevant background info:

Around 170k miles now, original engine and trans mounts (in decent condition). Spark plugs are fine, ATF changed about 19k miles ago. Have Ingalls engine torque damper installed for more than a year now.

My Element has developed a very loud rattling from the passenger side when idle in gear, not neutral or even reverse.

Initially I thought it was the torque damper failing or the mounting bolts coming loose, however as I did a bit more searching around on Honda forums, it seems like this is an issue particularly with 4cyl Hondas, where one day the car will just suddenly develop a very noticeable vibration plus potential rattling at idle in gear. There is no rattle or crazy vibrations in neutral or in reverse, only in drive. Now I thought it was because the recent cold weather causing the engine to vibrate more which is normal, but even in a warm parking garage, the vibration and rattling is still there.

I called up Ingalls and the rep said obviously the torque damper shouldn't be rattling, but if it's only happening during IDLE in DRIVE, that probably means it's the engine vibrating a lot more than it usually does, especially if it doesn't do so in neutral or in reverse. I got my shop to tighten up the torque damper (make the shock even stiffer) to see if it would make the vibration go away, it made the vibrations much worse.

I decided to try and diagnose the issue myself, put the car in D with the e-brake applied, which essentially replicates the car in D with my foot on the brake when stationary at idle.

The rattling doesn't seem like it's an exhaust shield or anything below or towards the back of the engine, even though I recently had a catback installed, but the noise only came a few weeks after the install. It seems to be coming specifically from the engine torque damper. If I apply force with my hand on the torque damper, the rattling stops, doesn't matter if I press down or pull up on the damper, as long as there is some kind of force being applied on the damper, it stops rattling. And the rattling itself seems to be coming from the actual damper portion, not the mounting points on the chassis or engine block

I can also visibly see the damper vibrating along with the engine at idle, but with my hand putting pressure on the damper, I do not see any noticeable vibration being emitted from the damper.

Once again, this issue is only when the car is put into forward gears (not P, R, N only D, 1, 2) where there is a very loud rattling sound, which I think is coming from the torque damper.

Also, if I put physical force on the engine with my hand, pushing the engine back towards the firewall (intake manifold plastic cover because the valve cover is burning hot), the rattling from the engine torque damper increases, almost like the sound it makes when I just step on the gas a little in D, simulating what it's like when I step on the gas from idle. I'd say the rattling is only there under 1k rpm.

With that being said, I'm sure there has to be something going on with the torque damper. I checked all the mounting points again, nothing is loose, though the engine is visibly vibrating more than it used to during idle in D, so perhaps it's a combination of older engine mounts and my torque damper needing a rebuild?

It's worth noting that I do not have any signs or symptoms of worn engine mounts or transmission mounts though, no weird sounds over bumps and such, and theoretically speaking the engine torque damper is supposed to preserve the life of the engine mounts since it reduces engine movement.

Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 12-10-2014, 03:35 AM   #2
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is this "Ingalls engine torque damper" replacing an engine mount or in addition to and engine mount?

If its in addition, try removing the Ingalls and see what happens.
To me, this sounds like an engine mount is worn. Either the one closest to timing chain or the one closest to the firewall.
When the engine is in drive, the engine tilts back and loads the rear engine mount (closest to firewall)
But the timing chain side mount is known to wear or crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akinari View Post
theoretically speaking the engine torque damper is supposed to preserve the life of the engine mounts since it reduces engine movement.
Really?
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Old 12-10-2014, 07:06 AM   #3
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+1 on removing the torque damper and diagnosing from there. Check the bushings while it's out.

Have you monitored the movement of the engine under load?

What makes you so sure the engine/tranny mounts are good? You only installed the damper last year, meaning the original mounts have at least 150k miles on them.
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Old 12-10-2014, 01:39 PM   #4
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First step is going to be removing the torque damper then checking the engine vibration, because the engine is visibly vibrating more at idle in drive than it used to, which may be causing the rattling, but unless something is loose in the torque damper, it shouldn't be rattling either.

Going to get it checked.

Update: torque damper removed, it is busted. engine mounts are totally fine.
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Last edited by Akinari; 12-11-2014 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 01-08-2015, 11:06 PM   #5
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Are you going to run a different torque damper or just not use one at all after this?
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