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Valve noise...how loud is too LOUD?


Legendary Member
17 April 2000
Northern VA
Today, I was driving the car to the dealer and noticed there's good amount of valve/tick noise coming from the engine compartment. It doesn't seem all THAT loud once the car warms up but still, it's annoying. Do you hear this even in very healthy engine or do I need the valves adjusted? My 45000 service is coming up soon so I was going to get everything done then anyway, but I wanted to know how loud is indication of something wrong...? From what I read in the past posts, valve adjustment won't help all that much though?
I think all earlier models end up having alot of valve clatter. Mine still has alot of clatter even after the valve adjustment. Morgan at Acura of Portland said that the Acura Techline said that it is normal. The only way to get rid of it is to replace the entire valvetrain. Not a very reasonable or necessary fix, considering that the NSX engine's have been know to go 100K+ miles without any problems.
My valves were quite noisy for some time after having them adjusted, noisier than before having it done. Now, a month or two later the car runs very quiet. More quiet than before I took it in.
It just took a good lashing through a canyon or two.
I'll get it adjusted in a while when I take it in for Timing Belt/Water pump + everything else. If that doesn't fix it then I guess it'll be time for Comptech IEM. hehehe...in 10 years or so.
IMO, waiting for your next service is the best idea. It'll either get solved then or it'll stay. But an unscheduled stop to find that it can't be fixed would be a drag.
I have had some experience with valve noise in my '91 and the valve adjustment did little or nothing to fix the problem. Now it comes and goes. It may just be one of those things you'll have to live with.