2002 Mitsubishi Gallant Odd noises

Our Mitsubishi Gallant with 175K miles recently began making odd noises. When we checked the oil, it was down 2 qt or more. Replaced oil Clunking continued. Repair shop did not take it apart or run diagnostic. Said the engine had to be replaced.

Car had similar clunking noises a year ago. They just went away. We had the timing belt replaced Mar 12, and an “all points” inspection at another shop Mar 28. No major problems were found. Do I really need a new engine?

I forgot to say that the oil was changed on March 12 as well. During this period the oil light did not go on, there was no noticeable oil slick under the car and there was no smoke or oil smell from the engine or exhaust. The car runs. You can hear what sounds like a fan, then clunking noises. Since we cannot afford a rebuilt engine, the repairman said to drive it til it dies.

There are all sorts of different things that can clunk and all sorts of different kinds of clunks, so there isn’t really any way, based on the description, for anyone to answer for you. Someone would need to be able to look at and listen to the car in person. If you describe it a little better, maybe someone would be able to say more.

Maybe what you want is just a second opinion.

Of course, ending up down 2 quarts is just a bad sign for wondering about how well a car has been cared for. How well has it been cared for? And why was the oil down 2 qts? There is always a reason.

I agree with cigroller. So you lost 2 qt “or more” oil within a short period and unknown miles. Now the engine might be burning and leaking oil. I assume a little bit of both. Now driving with low oil could cause engine damage, but we are not sure what the noise is and where it is from. It could be a laundry list of things. I would get a second opinion. If you need a new engine make sure the transmission and all the other parts are going to hold up long enough for your investment to be worthwhile.

If the oil light you mention is the red low oil pressure light on the dashboard then odds are good the engine is about gone.
The oil capacity on these cars is only about 4 quarts and if you added 2 this means the engine only had 2 quarts remaining.

Since the majority of oil is “in suspension” (meaning that it’s filling oil galleys, pooling in various areas, and being sloshed around, etc.) this means the oil pump is sucking air for the most part and engine damage will happen quickly when this occurs.

Throw in high mileage and it just makes the problem even worse. A rod bearing knock does not require any testing or engine disassembly to determine. It can be determined by ear and based on what you’ve posted I agree you probably need an engine. Don’t take any long distance trips with it.

Thanks. I don’t drive the vehicle so I don’t know how well its been cared for. I know the owner has not been well for a while. So, its probably not good. The owner absolutely needs a vehicle to get around a rather rural area in CA. We are trying to find a place to finance repairs, and naturally looking for the lowest out of pocket cost. Our choices are: complete diagnostic $80 plus repairs about $3K+. Or a rebuilt engine about $4K. Any thoughts.

The first step should be performing an oil pressure test with an external gauge, which is simple to do.
However, even a half decent mechanic should be able to listen to this noise and determine if it is a bearing knock. If a bearing knock exists then an oil pressure test is actually a moot point, although it is helpful.

This could be followed up with a compression test (also easy to do) which will give you an indicator of what is wrong with the engine top end; if anything.

The car is 8 years old with well into the 6 figure mileage so I could not justify sinking 3-4 grand into an engine.
These engines are plentiful so if the car were mine I would find a good used engine and install that. A salvage yard or even finding one locally on eBay or Craigslist is an option. Hope that helps.

As I mentioned before, make sure the transmission has been well serviced during the life of the car with the Diamond SP3 ATF recommended by the manufacturer. I doubt this is the case, if the transmission is not serviced it will make the car prone to tranny failure soon and you might end up loosing all the repair money you put in for the engine. I think you should be able to find a 2002 with 100KM for around $3K or maybe less if you haggle.

Thanks. The prior owner took care of it very well. Current owner has had it for less than 2 yr. I’m banking on the tranny is OK. We’ll be shopping around.

I agree with OK4450 that if the sound is dammaged bearings due to oil starvation a tech should be able to tell you. But it sounds like you’ve already had it listened to and been told that.

The engine needs to be replaced only if you want the noises to go away. For getting around a rural area it could actually survive for quite a while AS LONG AS THE OIL LEVEL IS KEPT UP. Eventually the bearing will probably seize, and at that point you’ll be forced into a decision.

You may even extend the life by using a heavier base weight oil.

My suggestions will not fix the vehicle, only extend its life some. If you’re not predisposed to check the fluids a boneyard replacement motor will probably end up the same way anyway.