that is one HELL of a racket. I don't want to say VANOS, because I think if it were that bad it would cause some sort of hindrance to the cams. Now if thats something to do with the starter I don't see how the dang thing still even works. I had a catastrophic starter failure a couple of months ago and the starter just kept spinning until the pieces inside grenaded and it never turned again. The engine appears to rev smoothly? So I wouldn't be quick to say that its a rod knock, or some such failure, but i've heard that noise on other cars and it was no bueno.
For you I'd say try to see if you can get access to the inspection cover on the bellhousing of the transmission and see if something is being flung around in there.Then if that checks out I suppose then you could start looking into VANOS problems, though I doubt it's the vanos.
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Last edited by Kdoherty; 07-02-2012 at 09:33 AM.