Connecting rod

Was driving 97 honda Accord 4 cylinder today when it made a loud rattling noise, took it in to advanced auto parts to see if they could give me a hint to what was wrong, as I was showing the employee the noise got progressively worse and he told me the connecting rod was loose and I could make it home if I went under 35 he mentioned something about tightening two bolts but having to drop the oil pan to get to it, as I was driving home the noise eventually turned into a clunk and the car died, when I try to start it up you can hear the engine turn but there is nothing after that, don’t know much about cars but would be really grateful is someone could tell me the process I need to go through to replace this connecting rod myself and how to get the car to start again. Any advice or tips would be much appreciated

Sorry; you’re going to need major engine work or an engine replacement. Tightening a couple of rod cap bolts is not going to fix anything.

The problem is not that the rod cap bolts are loose and can be further tightened. It’s that the bearing shells are worn out and the clunk could be either a rod coming loose from the crank journal or one of the bearing shells on a particular rod changed sides with both shells now on the same side of the journal.
The journal is likely wiped out anyway so a new rod and bearings will fix nothing except maybe for a few minutes.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it’s the sad reality.

To fix a bad connecting rod, you replace the engine with a used one for a 97 Accord.


I hate to have to agree with those giving you the bad news, but depending on the condition of the rest of the vehicle it’s time to go looking for either a replacement motor or a replacement vehicle.

My guess is a spun bearing (OK4450’s second guess), but either way the work needed is serious and expensive. The parts that are damaged are as critical to your engine as your heart valves are to your heart.

It’s impossible to tell anything over the web, and no offense to the staff at the auto parts store but those people often don’t know the difference between a connecting rod and a hot rock.

If in fact the problem is a failed rod bearing and it’s been driven enough to make the engine not start, that engine is now scrap and a replacement would be in order.

That tightening the rod cap bolts is very bad advice that just won’t work. I guess the heart was in the right place and the intent was good though.

For all we know the rattling noise was the common problem of the distributor bearings disintegrating, to the point that now the pickup coil has burned up and the car won’t start because of no spark. Maybe a $200 distributor will fix it.

Over the web, who knows?

Before condemning the engine (though it does sound like it’s toast), I’d have it checked out. Unless the car was low on oil or over revved, connecting rod bearing problems don’t usually just materialize out of thin air like that. Generally you notice a tapping, which gets louder and louder over time, but this process doesn’t usually take minutes, more like days. However, as ok said, you may have spun a bearing.

When you try to start the engine, does it crank like it normally does, or does it kind of “lope” where there is kind of a gap where it speeds up, then resumes? Does it try to fire at all and just not quite start, or is just spinning?

Get a second opinion from a real independent mechanic. “Tighten the two connecting rod bolts”…really?

I hate to ask the obvious, but have you opened the hood and checked the oil and coolant levels?

Ed B.

LOL…Yes you just witnessed engine “Death” Basically. When you were in the lot at the Auto Store…tightening the con Rod Bolts would NOT Have done anything. You would more than likely have found those bolts plenty tight. What occurs is that the plain bearing that is inside the big end of the rods basically gets “Spun” or wears out and disintegrates and thus makes clearances too large…then the rod end bangs on the crankshaft until total failure.

This kind of failure IS NOT Common on that engine. It only happens when Oil Changes have been severely neglected or completely ignored. Same goes for motor oil leaks…

The engine was finished when you were getting the advice to tighten the two bolts like the idiot told you to do. Driving further just completed the circle.

Time to rebuild the engine completely…or drop in a new F22 Honda engine…or if you want to have some real fun. Drop in the H22 from the 94’ Prelude like I did… It only adds another 100Hp so…its kinda noticeable.


Did someone mention my name here?

If that parts counterman was correct the engine is now toast. And in defense of good countermen, they don’t need to be mechanics. They need to know parts and avoid looking foolish by giving advice on things they are not familiar with.

I don’t think rebuilding an engine on an 18 year old car is economically feasible. In the old days, the oil pan could be dropped with the engine in place. There were machine shops that would send a,man to the site with a,machine that would turn the crankshaft journal so that an undersized bearing could be fitted. I saw this done on a 1949_Chrysler that had spun a connecting rod bearing, I don’t think this is done anymore.

Even if someone was a mobile machine shop and was able to go to the vehicle to perform the work needed on this engine… I would be afraid or hesitant to do that on several levels. Honda’s usually do not fail in this manner Unless they were abused in the Oil change or oil level department. If this was abused in this manner which is almost a certainty…the other engine internals are also in a state of being about to fail due to tolerances and oil starvation damage. Its time to either swap out the engine for a known good and running engine.

The F22 in this Accord is basically a dime a dozen, very common and a very reliable engine when simple routine maintenance is performed. The imported engines from Japan that are avail on ebay via JDM importers.are almost always in great working and running condition…and usually run about 350-500 bucks for the F22.

Time to evaluate the state of affairs with this vehicle, your financials and what you would like to do. There are a few options open to you.


The car is 18 years old. I don’t know how many miles the car has traveled, but at even 12000 miles a year, the car has traveled over 200,000 miles. I would think that if this was a maintenance related failure, it would have occured earlier. Even with the best maintenance and a good engine, sometimes things just happen. If the car isn’t rusted and a good used engine at a reasonable price can be located, the car might give a few more years of service. Otherwise, the car needs to go to the recycler.

I’d like to meet this counterman with the X-Ray vision.

You don’t need x-ray vision to recognize a rod knock. But the follow up advise was definitely BOOOOOGUS!

The OP never said rod knock or knock of any kind, he said rattling. I had a timing gear work loose once and it sounded exactly like rod knock as well, so not everything that knocks is a rod.

But, you gotta agree this engine is toast as best described by the OP, no x-ray required.

I would suggest checking the oil first.

Next taking it to a mechanic and get a real assessment. A parts counter guy is just guessing and it could be something actually loose on your motor making the noise not the internals of the motor.

These guys on the board presume the parts guy is correct.