Rattling sound when idling

My 05 f150 lariat rattles real hard when idling or in reverse, I've been told it could be a timing chain. Other than this the truck runs and sounds great until I'm stoped for a period of time or if I'm backing up in my yard( on dirt not a driveway). Do you know what the problem may be?

My car has 131000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hi There,
This could be a number of things, however a common rattling that may be heard when idling when in gear could be a loose exhaust heat shield. This is somewhat common as heat shields tend to come loose as a result of the change in heat and vibration over time. A loose timing chain would generally cause much more serious symptoms that would usually cause the truck to not run properly as this may cause issues with valve train components. I would suggest having a professional from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your truck.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

One common problem that will cause a rattle at idle is a failing hydraulic valve lifter. The lifters are small parts that open and close the engine valves, activated by oil (hydraulic) pressure.
The Problem: Variable cam timing (VCT) has been identified as one of the main causes of the rattling engine sound in the 2019 Ford F-150. The VCT system adjusts the timing of the engine`s valves to optimize performance and fuel efficiency.
The most common reasons a Ford F-150 engine makes a ticking noise are low oil level or pressure, an issue with the ignition system, or an exhaust leak.
A common problem that may be causing a rattling noise while idling involves the engine`s hydraulic valve lifters. This part of your car is responsible for opening and closing the engine`s intake and exhaust valves. When a lifter is not working properly, a loud ticking sound can usually be heard under the hood.
It sounds like a light knocking or growling sound. Gear rattle is an audible noise transmitted from the impacts between the transmission gear teeth. A vehicle engine`s torsional vibrations (momentary angular acceleration) pass through a transmission causing the separation and resulting impact of the gear teeth.
The Ford death wobble defect may be caused by premature wear or loosening of various components such as the ball joints, control arms, track bar bashing, damper bracket, or shocks. Unfortunately, fixing the problem involves trial and error.
If your car makes rattling noises when stopped in drive it could be due to loose parts, an item stored in your car or a more serious problem that`s cause for concern including: Failing catalytic converter. Loose heat shield. Low oil pressure.
Lifter Ticking

Often, a lifter tick will be most prevalent as soon as you start the engine, and may get quieter or disappear completely as the engine warms up. You may also notice the sound is more prevalent at idle. If you hear lifter noise, get it checked out.

A ticking lifter is usually an indication there is a problem with your oil, especially as your car ages. It`s possible the lifters themselves are simply worn. If you have a much older car you`ve been driving for a long time, it is more likely this is the problem.
If you hear a rattling noise while driving, the first step is to not ignore it. The sounds and vibrations coming from your vehicle could be signs of a serious mechanical issue. Seek help from a professional who can find the source of the noise before any further damage is done.
When your engine is lubricated properly with fresh oil, it should run fairly quietly. As the oil ages and it loses its ability to lubricate the components, the parts will start to move harder against one another causing friction and grinding. These rattling, rumbling, and knocking noises will be hard to miss.
What does a bad catalytic converter sound like? Often, a clogged catalytic converter sounds like a rattling noise is coming from under your vehicle and engine when you`re starting, idling or driving. Excess heat or damage in the converter can break apart the honeycomb materials, resulting in the rattling noise.
Odd sounds are a symptom of a bad torque converter

When you begin to hear unusual noises, you should take notice. Rattling is one sound you want to be aware of. If you hear odd rattling sounds when you accelerate, this might be a symptom of a bad torque converter. The same can be true of whirring noises.

This noise sounds like a rattle or whine coming from the gear box, and it`s commonly referred to as “gear rollover noise” or “gear rattle.” While it may seem counter-intuitive, this noise is not a symptom of a problem. The noise is a natural consequence of the vehicle design.
When the spark plugs malfunction, they reduce the effectiveness of the engine`s cylinders, which then causes the cylinders to rattle. These unpleasant noises indicate that the cylinders are being overworked and will lead to further troubles down the line.
There is a rattling sound. A lax timing chain, or worse, a broken timing chain with loose parts within the engine, will produce a rattling sound when your car is idling. This rattling sound is typically most prominent while the engine heats up and disappears after some time.
The Ford Tremor® package details highlight 35-inch off-road tires, unique front springs for increased ride height, electronic-locking rear differential, and Rock Crawl and Trail Control™ modes.
And, in researching the F-250 issue, the Ford F-150 series has been plagued by the “wobble” since at least 1995. Some say that the auto industry has known about the “wobble of death” since the 1960ss, while others say it dates from the 1980s.
Detonation, Pre-ignition (Pinging) Noise

Most people call this a pinging or rattling sound. This noise is caused by an air/fuel mixture in the engine cylinder being ignited prematurely by the heat of compression as the piston is moving up on the compression stroke.

Unfortunately, the truth is less mystical. The “pinging” noise you hear is coming from the hot metal cooling under your car. As you drive, the engine and all the parts around it start to heat up and expand. Once you turn the car off, those metals will cool and contract.
the valve lifters are the components that do the actual opening and closing of the valves. they can be either mechanical or hydraulic. if they get worn, stuck or out of alignment, a rattling noise may be heard, especially at low rpms.
If your engine has a lifter tick, or tap, you need to have it fixed as soon as you can, because it can cause serious and expensive problems with your engine.
Liqui Moly`s Hydraulic Lifter Additive damps the noise produced by worn hydraulic lifters. Cleans valves and holes in the lifter and promotes optimum operation. Add to engine oil, for all gasoline and diesel engines with and without turbo-charging. Tested for compatibility with catalytic converters.
Another common source of ticking within an engine is faulty, damaged, or worn valve lifters. These critical components are responsible for ensuring that an engine`s valves open and close as directed by the camshaft. An engine`s lifters often make a ticking or pinging noise when they begin to fail.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Rattling noise upon starting and then louder rattling at idle if load is placed on engine such as A/C
ANSWER : Hi there. Given your mileage and your maintenance of the idler pulley, your problem is likely worn/weak hydraulic lifters (or other valve train wear) or the timing gear set. Starting the engine briefly (less than 30 seconds) without the serpentine belt attached, will eliminate noises from all accessories if the problem is with one of them. I would recommend having the engine inspected in person by a professional so that the rattling noise can be diagnosed and properly corrected.

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My car is making a loud rattle sound when idling and in neutral
ANSWER : There are several causes for the engine to rattle while idling. With your car, the heat shield or an under engine shield is most likely. The other causes are the AC compressor clutch, idler pulley, or belt tensioner. The heat shields are used between the exhaust and the underside of the vehicle to keep the vehicle cool and the heat from the exhaust directed out of the tailpipe. When the heat shields become loose, they can make a flapping noise when the vehicle is moving. To verify this, a qualified technician, like one from YourMechanic, will be able to diagnose the rattle and replace your heat shield if necessary.

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High idling, jumping while idling, idle air control valve code
ANSWER : Hi there. This can be caused by the issues that you mentioned or a number of other things. You need to make sure all of the connectors are making good contact. I would then need to know what codes are in the computer to know if this is a circuit issue or not. Most of the time, it is not the circuit but instead a vacuum leak.

If there is a vacuum leak, then the vehicle will act like this and the computer cannot control the idle. Most of the time it is a bad hose or an EGR valve that is stuck open. That is the most common cause for this. I typically remove the EGR to check it to feel the diaphragm on the bottom of it to see if it is moving correctly. If you need to have this repaired, consider YourMechanic, as a certified mechanic can come to your home or office to diagnose and repair your car’s idling issue.

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A tin metal like rattling sound when I accelerate from a low speed.
ANSWER : Hello. My first inclination would be to say, "torque converter". That is easy to rule in or out as you might be able to get a "free" diagnosis from a transmission shop. I’m not recommending you repair it there but it is not unreasonable to seek advice. The reason for my first inclination is you mention a degradation in acceleration. If the torque converter has an internal fault you could experience poor acceleration along with noise. To rule out obvious simple causes, check the fluid level in the transmission per the instructions in the owner’s manual (follow carefully; otherwise reading will be meaningless). Whether it is the torque converter or another cause (front wheel drive, or engine related for instance), YourMechanic could give you a definitive diagnosis of the rattling sound, after an inspection, and indicate your repair options. Good luck with this.

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I hear a rattling noise when my truck is parked. But when I drive it the noise stops. It sounds like a metal ball is rattling around.
ANSWER : Often, some exhaust components like heat shields or hangers may rust or become loose and rattle over time and is pretty common for the type of sound you’re describing. If you are not experiencing any drivability concerns, the rattle may be from something small. The best thing to do would be to have an experienced technician like one from YourMechanic take a close look around the vehicle under the conditions that makes the noise the most prominent so the technician may offer a more personal diagnosis.

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Rattling sound coming from the front tires
ANSWER : Hi there:

Usually a small rattle while driving slow is caused by a loose component such as strut dust boots and foam insulator, wheel center caps, plastic inner fenders and splash guards that have come loose. In many cases it can also be caused by wheel bearings that are worn, brake pads that are sticking to the rotor or even debris inside a tire. The best way to determine precisely what’s causing this noise is to have a mobile mechanic, like one from YourMechanic, complete a rattling noise inspection at your own location.

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Car sounds like golf cart when revving and braking; also leaking fluid; sound fades as car warms up
ANSWER : Hello,
There are a number of things that could make an engine noisy when starting up. Depending on the specific type of sound you are referring to, this will determine how to properly diagnose. If there is a bit of a hissing sound, this may be a sign of a vacuum leak. If this is more of a shrieking sound, this may be a sign of a worn out or out of adjustment serpentine belt. If there is a bit of a howling or growling sound, this may be a sign of a worn out or low on fluid power steering pump. A rattling or pinging sound may be caused by an ignition problem. An engine can ping (or knock) due to an improper combustion process. A "spark knock" is the result of combustion occurring too early. Early combustion can occur from carbon buildup inside the combustion chamber, a lean air/fuel mixture, and advanced ignition timing (spark plug firing too soon). A clattering type sound may be a result of improper lubrication in the valve train which could be a more serious problem and should be addressed as soon as possible. I would suggest having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle to ensure everything is in proper working order.

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BMW 330d Rattling-Hissing Sound from exhaust side
ANSWER : Hey there. Thanks for writing in today about the rattling / hissing sound coming from your 2004 BMW. I experienced a similar issue and it was in fact a vacuum leak. However, there are several other symptoms of a vacuum leak that you should consider before diving in and buying replacement parts.

Typically, the hissing sound will be accompanied by a lack of power on acceleration, loss of fuel economy and in some cases, an engine misfire. If your car is experiencing any of the following, then I’d say the issue is definitely vacuum-related.

A worn out clutch will also produce several driving / performance loss issues, as well as commonly produce a rotten egg smell. If you need additional help looking at the problem, contact one of our local ASE certified mechanics, to pinpoint the cause of the hissing noise and make the appropriate repair.

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