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Help identify engine rattle - sounds like a pebble is bouncing around in the engine

Please help me identify what the rattle noise could mean. Ita. 2002 Nissan Xterra with 113k miles. Video here:

I’ve heard bad water pump bearings make a sound like that.

I can’t specifically identify it on the video, but I suggest you start with an overall evaluation of the engine’s condition, as well as trying to locate its origin with a mechanic’s stethoscope. An engine condition evaluation will include a compression test and an evaluation of the condition of the spark plugs.

My wild guess, and it is no more than that, is that IF your engine has a timing chain… look there. It sounds exactly like my ol’ '89 pickup did when it needed a new timing chain kit at 200,000 miles.

My second wild guess would be that there’s something tired or worn out in the valvetrain. That can be evaluated by a competent shop by doing things like valvelash measurement and testing the springs.

Yup, it needs a hands-on look-see by a competent diagnostician. Let us know what he finds. We do care.