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Hi! I have a 2002 Honda Civic LX with over 70,000 miles on it. This fall, the motor started making a tapping noise during the first two minutes of running, then the tapping noise goes away. I had Honda look at it. They said it's either piston slap or it needs a valve adjustment. I had them adjust the valves, but the sound is still there. So it's piston slap. Grr.

Car runs fine, but this really bugs me. What is the best course of action to take?

Can I buy a new engine? Are new engines even available?

Should I replace it with the same engine, or is there a better engine? Other than the piston slap, I'm happy with my current motor.

If I were to, say, get the 2002 HX-model vtech engine instead of the regular non-vtech (what I have), is the HX vtech engine more reliable than the standard non-vtech? Would using an engine other than the same type I have installed now cause problems or require modifications to the car? (different mounts, new computer, have to significantly change hose type, etc?)

Is buying a rebuilt engine ok? Do rebuilt engines use Honda parts, or some cheapo parts?

How much can I expect to pay for this?

Also, what can I do to prevent this from happening again? I've never redlined the engine. (had it since new), but I have revved it up to a bit over 5,000 rpm on many occasions, often flooring it and really kinda of flogging the engine, rapid gear shifting, etc. Have I pushed the car too hard? I thought Civic engines were built to take this sort of occasional "punishment"?

I change the oil every 5,000 miles. Is it better to do 3,000 instead?

thanks in advance for any elite infoz!

ct
 

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How loud is this tapping? Cause my 02 D17 has very noisy little valves tappin' away from the day i bought it brand new.
 

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As with every mechanical object, lemons happen. Looks like you found one.

As a rule, yes, Civic engines are pretty hardy. They're built to withstand idiots.

In regards to fixing your problem, though, you have a few options. The easiest and cheapest is going to be to replace the engine with a new(er) one exactly like it, a D17A1. No gains or anything, but it's just taking stuff off and putting stuff back on. Next would be exchanging the motor for a D17A2 with VTEC. Same as before, only now you'll have to exchange the ECU and the engine's wiring harness. At the extreme end of the spectrum is the K-series of engines, found in RSXs, Civic Si's (hatchback), TSX, CRV, etc. It's a fairly common swap into a 7thgen Civic, but it's expensive to have done, as it's a complete replacement of pretty much everything in the engine bay. But it's fast. Very fast.

Only you know what your needs are and what will make you happy. Search around and learn as much as you can, and then make an informed decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
how loud is the tapping

The tapping is one of the louder noises coming from the engine. I'd say it taps about 10 times per second or so. When I start the engine when it's cold, there's no tapping. But once I start moving slowly -- 2 to 15 mph in first and second gear -- the tapping noise is audible. It sounds rather like a diesel. I'm confident the noise is from the motor, not the wheels or transmission, btw. I can reproduce the sound while parked if I engage the parking brake, put the car in first gear, then apply a bit of gas so that the engine has a load on it, but the car does not move.

Once the engine is warmed up after two minutes or so, the tapping goes away, and it stays away for the rest of the day, even if I let the motor stay off for five hours or so.

But when I leave the motor off over night in these cold winter months, and then start it up again in the morning, the tapping is back.

The mechanic at the Honda dealership said he's seen engines like this go another 130,000 miles. Still, it is annoying.

It's definitely a new sound. I'm familiar with the sounds my engine makes, and it's not a normal noise.

I'm otherwise happy with the motor, so if I replace it, I'll just get an identical engine. I'm not a total performance freak :)

Are there new D17s available for purchase, even? I found a link on car-part.com and they had a D17 with 10,000 miles on it for $700 or so, which seems completely reasonable.

But new? Remanufactured? What about these JDM engines I've read about? Are they and option? Thanks for all the replies, btw!
 

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Those 'jdm' engines are mostly bogus. The only exception is the k20a out the honda integra type r, but that goes back to a lot of parts change over for the swap. Other than that engine, USDM engines are identical. Personally I would find a decent mileage d17a1 or d17a2 and be done with it. If you aren't looking for performance at all, just stick with stock. Don't really worry about remanufactured or whatever. Just find one that got rearended or whatever and call it a day.

On a different note, I you absolutely certain its coming from the engine? Maybe the alternator, ac compressor, ps pump, water pump, oil pump? Any host of things. If it quits with heat, it leads me to believe it might be something other than the engine itself.
 

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gee man by the last post almost sounds like rod knock. could be piston slap , if it was rod knock it would most likely have progressed already to a blown engine. id say its either piston slap or wrist pin noise as well. youl never know unless its taken apart.
 
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