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2001 Toyota Celica GT 5 Speed Abnormal Engine Noise

I have a 2001 Toyota Celica GT 5 Speed:

Within the last few months, I have noticed an abnormal noise start to get worse and worse while driving. It is coming from the front, can only be heard in 3rd, 4th, and 5th (noticeably), and sounds like it is amplifying my engine revving.

The only way I can describe it as is sounding like an empty metal can attached to my engine that makes the engine sound louder when I accelerate. If I let off of the gas, the noise goes away until I hit the pedal again.

My dad listened and suggested it was the clutch, but why am I not hearing it in 1st, 2nd, and barely in 3rd? His theory is that there is no material left on the clutch and the sound I am hearing is metal on metal.

Countershaft bearings in the transaxle are going bad. If it is the clutch, it will be out anyway so…

Is there any reason that you believe it is the countershaft bearings?

Yes, because of exactly what you describe. Only noise in 3,4 and 5. The trans needs to come out regardless if it is a clutch or countershaft bearing. If the clutch looks OK then the transmission case needs to come apart. I might break it apart anyway but I’ve rebuilt manual transmissions.

If you want some more evidence, drain the gearbox and sweep the oil with a magnet if the drainplug doesn’t have one. Bearings are steel and the wear particles magnetic.

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Not disagreeing w/MM above, but a couple other possibilities if that doesn’t pan out:

  • engine pinging. Does it get worse in the higher gears when there’s no other change than going up a steep hill? If that’s the problem you need to get it addressed asap b/c severe pinging like that will damage internal engine parts.

  • exhaust leak. a shop will put in on the lift and check from the underside. the incentives to get that repaired w/due speed are that the leaks are toxic to breath, and can affect the air/fuel mixture enough to damage the cat.

How long of a job would you predict that this would take if it was done by an experienced mechanic such as yourself?

I can’t say how much time and cost. I am not a pro and no access to the standard hours to remove the transmission let alone break in down to check the bearings. Sorry

I’d first check for an exhaust leak near the manifold, possibly a cracked manifold. An exhaust shop could diagnose this fairly quickly. Good luck and please keep us informed.

I’m seeing about 6.5 hours labor to remove & replace the transmission. Double that w/a complete rebuild of just the transmission. Another 1.5 hours to also rebuild the differential.

That is about the same time it took me to r and r the transmission in my Saturn. Hmm go figure! Good to know.