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tappit noise after washing - help please

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I washed my 1999 996 at the weekend, which is unusual.

This involved starting it for a few seconds to move it out of the garage.

After washing I thought I'd check the oil level - which was fine. I also took the opportunity to remove the emulsion

from inside the filler tube.

The car was wet when I opened the enging compartment and I noticed that some water dripped into the air inlet - just a few drops.

I then reversed it back into the garage - there was a slight squeal from a belt - I think I may have dropped a tiny bit little emulsion onto a pulley.

The next morning it didn't start first time as usual.

With a bit of throttle it did start but there was a loud ?tappet? noise which didn't go away.

Oil pressure looked OK I think.

Any ideas please.


Edited by DannyLee
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I would be surprised a simple wash would create any new noises, unless a significant amount of stuff got into the intake.

I am assuming you washed the engine?

Is there a CEL on the dashboard?

Sometimes a spirited drive can work these things out, unless there is a real problem in which case driving it is bad.

Helps if you can post a video of the noise.

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Thanks logray.

I didn't wash the engine. I just opened the engine compartment as the car was dripping dry.

No CEL either.

What I don't understand is how the difficulty in starting and the tappet noise can be related.

I'll record the noise tonight and upload it tomorrow.

This morning I felt it was too loud a noise to dare take it for a spin around the block in case I damaged something.


I would be surprised a simple wash would create any new noises, unless a significant amount of stuff got into the intake.

I am assuming you washed the engine?

Is there a CEL on the dashboard?

Sometimes a spirited drive can work these things out, unless there is a real problem in which case driving it is bad.

Helps if you can post a video of the noise.

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My guess is the car wash was unrelated, unless enough stuff got into the intake somehow which is pretty implausible... if you have the stock air box, a little water in the bottom of the box shouldn't hurt anything, it's going to just sit in the bottom of the box or be "absorbed" by the air filter, or even evaporate or dry up before it makes it's way into the throttle body.

Perhaps you have some frayed/corroded/damaged wires somewhere that became water logged, the oxygen sensor wires, MAF wire, etc.

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I agree, I think the wash was a red herring.

Actually once or twice before, when I have stopped the engine very soon after starting from cold it is more reluctant to start again but I'm surprised that effect lasted overnight.

This morning the car started first time as usual – there was some tappet noise but much reduced – and after a short run it went away.

I have to admit that previously there has been a tiny tappet noise for a few seconds after starting, as if the oil takes time to get up there.

Is it a possibility that there is a blockage in an oil way, can this be flushed out somehow?


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For what it's worth my 1999 996 w/72k miles car makes a little bit more mechanical sounding noises for a few seconds on cold startup after not being driven often enough. If I start and drive up to normal op temp a few times a day the noises lessen or even go away. The noises you hear could be normal as oil makes its way into all of the passages, through the lifters, and fills up the tensioners. If your 1999 car has a lot of miles it could also be lifters that are shot. I'm planning to remove my engine and replace the variocam mechanisms, chains, ramps, tensioners, and lifters soon to try and eliminate some of these noises and preemptive preventative catastrophic failure maintenance directives. The new tensioner design is supposed to eliminate some of the startup noises by pretensioning the chains until they fill up with oil, however with our 5 chain cars it may or may not be an applicable part depending on your engines serial number (there is a TSB here to read if you are a contributor). There are several threads here about these "normal" noises. IIRC, the early M96 motor is also known to score one of the cylinders (#6) chronically due to a couple design flaws with cooling passages - which could account for additional noises. As far as a flush for lifters or oil passageways , my school of thought is to not put in any mystery substances into the motor as they may only temporarily fix the situation but could also cause more damage. When the right thing to do in the first place is just R&R the parts that are worn.

Then again, since I can't hear the noises coming your car, it could be something else.

If it's "more reluctant" to start again after it's been running, your car might have an issue with the battery, starter motor, or a corroded wire. The latter being a more and more common problem on older cars. The large lead coming off the starter can corrode and will cause the car to not want to start.

How all of this came out in a car washing thread, it's kinda funny.

Edited by logray
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Sometimes it takes the tappets a bit to pump up. Don't overreact by putting any"flush" agent in the oil. It might "flush" junk into places where you do not want that junk. Like the tappets which are a dead end, like the Roach Motel, "Roaches check in but don't check out!" if "Junk checks in it may never check out" Just use one ofthe Porsche recommended oils and change it often. Many do 5k changes or if you have a garage queen once a year.

Hard starting after a wash might be due to some cracked coils shorting from getting wet.

Porsche Approved Oils 2008.pdf

Edited by fpb111
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This happened to me too. If the car/engine was cold disregard the following. After bringing mine out for hoon I brought her back to wash. I heard a tappity like noise coming from the engine. When I looked under the car I could see excess water dripping from the top onto the very hot exhaust/muffler manifold hence causing the 'tappity' noise much to my relief. Just my dimes worth.


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