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2003 SE 4x4 V6 100k miles
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
03 SE 4x4 NA VG33E

Hey everyone, so im having some trouble identifying a sound. Sounds just like an exhaust leak, from the drivers side. Has been happening only since I removed the plenum a week ago and had a whole cluster**** of things going wrong putting it back together. It only happens under load, I can't replicate it in park, but there might be a very faint sound when in park. These are new manifolds from Eastern Catalytic with like 1,500 miles on them, I've examined the manifold to find no cracks on top and running my hand over the whole underside and seeing what I can there was no crack on the bottom. I've replaced the new gasket with the original 3 metal piece gasket that was on it prior to changing the manifold to see if the new gasket had an issue and there was no change in the sound. I have new pipes on the exhaust after the first cats and while they were a pain to get on, I went ahead and replaced the crush gasket in between the cat and the pipe and thoroughly secured the bolts and there was no change in the sound. While it sounds like it's coming from the exhaust, it may be coming from anything on the right side of the engine, which unfortunately includes everything hiding under the plenum. When I first put the plenum back on a week ago the injectors i put it were crap and flooded everything, which means my cats and exhaust manifold were flooded and probably had all sorts of crappy detonation happening in there, which made me originally think this would be a cracked manifold, but I'm not seeing that. I have also checked to make sure my spark plugs were tight enough and there weren't gases escaping through there, and that changed nothing. There are a bunch of other things i fooled around with but I don't know if they can create this noise.

What I'm asking for help here is 1. what else could be making this noise/is there a part of the exhaust I could be somehow missing that this noise is coming from? and 2. Before I take it to someone to help, what would be recommended to continue troubleshooting for exhaust leaks. Plugging the end with a towel didn't do much for me and I'm still thinking of how I can create a smoker to check for leaks.

I'll be quick to respond so ask me any sort of questions you can think of that can help, thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I also plan on going to the auto store in the morning to get new manifold gaskets and i plan on doubling up the gasket on that drivers side to see if it is a warping of the head or of the manifold that is causing a leak
 

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Only advice I can think of off hand, DON'T DOUBLE GASKET!! The only thing I've ever seen double gaskets do is make a big huge mess on the ground (Oil from filters, and Coolant from intake Manifold)!

Save your money, unless someone can tell you a good story about double gasketing.
 

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03 XE A/T, SC coming soon
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Seeing that this noise only started after removing the intake plenum, I would certainly start there. Unlikely the exhaust manifold had a surprise crack/warp/gasket failure at the same time. Many of these are equipped with EGR that would have needed to be removed which is the most likely source of an exhaust leak if it is indeed that. Many vacuum solenoids that are duty cycled can create similar noises if the solenoids vacuum piping is connected incorrectly.

as far as double gaskets: almost always a horrible idea in just about every application. If you’re concerned the exhaust manifold isn’t sealing properly, basically three solutions exist. 1) replace it, preferably with a quality manifold
2) use an extra thick gasket, typically lead based. These can blow out prematurely but will seal for a time and help identify the cause
3) send the manifold to the machine shop and have it milled flat. This is likely the cheapest and most effective way to guarantee a long term seal
 

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Only advice I can think of off hand, DON'T DOUBLE GASKET!! The only thing I've ever seen double gaskets do is make a big huge mess on the ground (Oil from filters, and Coolant from intake Manifold)!

Save your money, unless someone can tell you a good story about double gasketing.
This^^ Don’t Double the gasket it will just leak. The factory gasket is a metal stamped crush style gasket and is what you should be using. Doubling the gasket will ensure a bad seal and a leak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone I agree the double gasket sounded funny to me but I was reading on another forum about peoples successes with it on aftermarket headers so I was considering it here, but I see nothing that hints at this being the cause of the noise other than the type of noise itself and so I will focus on the EGR for now. If anybody has any tips on testing EGR parts that’d be great. But the egr valve itself has a new gasket and the pipe is tightened up and in proper working order. I guess the solenoid with the two tubes going to it is something I don’t know how to test so I will be looking into that. Thanks again everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
On top of this, could the PCV valve cause a noise like this in any way? I took the hose off and couldn’t get the old valve out of it without breaking the hose so I just put it back on cause it didn’t need replacing, but maybe I didn’t screw the valve back in far enough
 

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I use a stethoscope at times with the probe removed. You can point the hose at different components and listen to aid in finding noise sources
 

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03 SE 4x4 NA VG33E

Hey everyone, so im having some trouble identifying a sound. Sounds just like an exhaust leak, from the drivers side. Has been happening only since I removed the plenum a week ago and had a whole cluster**** of things going wrong putting it back together. It only happens under load, I can't replicate it in park, but there might be a very faint sound when in park. These are new manifolds from Eastern Catalytic with like 1,500 miles on them, I've examined the manifold to find no cracks on top and running my hand over the whole underside and seeing what I can there was no crack on the bottom. I've replaced the new gasket with the original 3 metal piece gasket that was on it prior to changing the manifold to see if the new gasket had an issue and there was no change in the sound. I have new pipes on the exhaust after the first cats and while they were a pain to get on, I went ahead and replaced the crush gasket in between the cat and the pipe and thoroughly secured the bolts and there was no change in the sound. While it sounds like it's coming from the exhaust, it may be coming from anything on the right side of the engine, which unfortunately includes everything hiding under the plenum. When I first put the plenum back on a week ago the injectors i put it were crap and flooded everything, which means my cats and exhaust manifold were flooded and probably had all sorts of crappy detonation happening in there, which made me originally think this would be a cracked manifold, but I'm not seeing that. I have also checked to make sure my spark plugs were tight enough and there weren't gases escaping through there, and that changed nothing. There are a bunch of other things i fooled around with but I don't know if they can create this noise.

What I'm asking for help here is 1. what else could be making this noise/is there a part of the exhaust I could be somehow missing that this noise is coming from? and 2. Before I take it to someone to help, what would be recommended to continue troubleshooting for exhaust leaks. Plugging the end with a towel didn't do much for me and I'm still thinking of how I can create a smoker to check for leaks.

I'll be quick to respond so ask me any sort of questions you can think of that can help, thanks!
I had an exhaust leak in my x, saw a guy on YouTube stick a shop vac hose up the tailpipe and set it to blow. I tried it, found the leaks in only a few minutes without the heat or noise of running engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I use a stethoscope at times with the probe removed. You can point the hose at different components and listen to aid in finding noise sources
I plan on doing this this week with the girlfriends stethoscope (vet tech)
I had an exhaust leak in my x, saw a guy on YouTube stick a shop vac hose up the tailpipe and set it to blow. I tried it, found the leaks in only a few minutes without the heat or noise of running engine.
this sounds like a great idea, I don’t think my cheap shop vac has a blow setting so I’ll check that out and maybe get myself a new one haha. But it’s really just the noise and heat and the fan blowing that I can’t find the leak with my hand or my ears, it’s just a cluster**** up there when it’s fires up
 

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Leaf blower and some duct tape also works for reverse pressure leak finding. I had the little short vertical tube under the EGR / EGRC break and it chuffed audibly.
 
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run some seafoam through the brake booster vacuum line with engine warmed up, let it sit for a few minutes, engine off, then start it up and have you or a friend underneath and another guy up top and watch the exhaust, if it is indeed leaking this will also revaeal the leak as white smoke will come from the leak point thats how i knew my 2000 had an exhaust mani crack that caused the valve ticking noise many report here, i just ignored it as it passed yearly smog and caused no issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey everyone I would love some help again! So i've got an air compressor running through the exhaust pipe up to the manifolds and it seems that the base of my egr pipe is the leak. Hopefully it's whats been causing the noise because its loud and annoying and im sick of driving with it! But what seems to be the issue is that I can't tighten the nut that holds the egr to the manifold anymore than i have, and i'm torquing on this thing hard! I inspected the pipe and everything looks sound on it, but as i assume how they all work is that when you disconnect it from the valve, the pipe can just kind of swing around in the manifold nut, which mine always has. But now I can't seem to figure out if the air is coming out from the threads of the nut or the area between the pipe and the nut. Any help here would be great! I'm going to take the pipe off and put it on the old original manifolds i have lying around to see if the nut fits on snug on that one. It's also strange that this is happening though because it worked fine before taking the plenum off, but now its got this leak. It seems as if though the nut isn't able to fit the bottom of the pipe snug onto the manifold in the way that the top nut fits it snug against the valve, even though the valve is bolted up perfectly with a nice new gasket is it possible that the valve has repositioned itself a bit higher now? Sorry this is all over the place but I just can't seem to figure out why this is happening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Alsoooo, is there something that I could put around the pipe/on the threads that may help to seal this? I've been putting anti-seize on but i don't think that is gonna help with anything
 

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you could try thread tape
 

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Alsoooo, is there something that I could put around the pipe/on the threads that may help to seal this? I've been putting anti-seize on but i don't think that is gonna help with anything
Im having the same issue with my 2004 SC. Did you ever figure it out?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Im having the same issue with my 2004 SC. Did you ever figure it out?
Aye mate. Mine still makes the noise but not as obnoxiously. I have put a copper washer inside of the bung that the pipe threads into on the exhaust manifold. It seems that without it, my pipe doesn’t quite reach the manifold as well as it should, but this washer has filled in the gap and allows a better seal. I did just recently try to remove this pipe to replace the copper washer because it’s probably getting burned up a bit in there, but the pipe wouldn’t budge so I’m gonna need to hit it with some lubricating spray a few times. Let me know if some pictures would help I can try and take some later
 
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