Suddenly developed grinding noise while running.

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Oct 11, 2018
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#1
Make
Dodge
Model
Caravan
Year
1990
Miles
213921(20000 on engine)
Engine
3L v6
Driving home frome work just now my 1990 Dodge Caravan developed the most horrendous metal-machining-type noise I've ever heard out of a car. It sounds like the engine or transmission has something kicking around inside of it. At certain speeds it sounds like there is less severe grinding happening, and turning also seems to affect the noise level. I'm home now and she's off. Goes into park like normal. I'm almost afraid to fire it back up to troubleshoot, but what do I even do to test here?
 

billr

wrench
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#2
Lift it up so you can inspect underneath for signs of anything being loose or rubbing; things like leaking fluid, shiny spots, metal dust, slop in wheels/axles/ suspension. Rotate each wheel and see if they are smooth. Maybe power up the drive wheels with the engine, if you are confident you can do that safely. If no joy with that stuff, remove the cover at the bottom of the flywheel/flex-plate and check that the torque converter is secured to the flex-plate and that the plate isn't cracked. After that? Remove the starter and see if it or the ring gear on the flywheel is chewed up, indicating the starter isn't disengaging properly.

Oh, also remove the accessory drive belt (serpentine belt ) and see if the noise goes away. You can idle a cold engine like that for several minutes, even though the water pump may not be turning.
 

big al

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#4
I agree with bill, pull the belt and see if noise dissapears. Just a toyota in on friday, customer says going down road starts making noise bad and is scared. Ended up being the water pump bearing were completly shot (it never leaked a drop of anrifreeze though,and yes the antifreeze was full). With the pump off the engine could hand spin it and feel the grinding. Installed new pump and she says sound like normal. By removing the belt you (de activate all accessories and see if its internal or not, hand spin pullies and see if any make noise
 

grcauto

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#5
Did this happen all of a sudden or started small and got louder as you drove. You indicate two different types of noise. One is grinding and the other like kicking around, which makes me think of a can of rocks being shook around. Regardless start with the accessories drive belts. I think this has a couple maybe three depending. Take the front one off...Noise gone....take next one off....I think you know where I'm going with this.
If it's not an accessory see if you can record it for us.