General My panda growls!

Currently reading:
General My panda growls!

Feb 19, 2004
Having changed the head gasket on saturday after a short motorway journey on sunday my panda started to growl! o_O

Its a rough growling sound but I can't pinpoint where from. Running at idle the engine sounds fine but rev it and the growl/grinding becomes very obvious.

DRIVING: The growl is loudest when I press the accelerator half way. If I floor it or take my foot off it will go.


Timing belt tension
Tension wheel bearings checked
Engine generally checked for loose items that might vibrate
Manifold gaskets (its not a blowing sound anyway)
Engine timing (bang on)
Cams (difficult to check while engine it running but seem okay)

4X4 FIRE 1988

Apart from the noise.. the car drives/starts/runs perfectly. This noise is driving me nuts and it gets very loud at high revs.

Pleeeeease help if you can!
Alan.D said:
Have you got an air filter on the carb?

Could also be running with too much air or fuel a CO check should show, or after a few miles remove a spark plug & see if it's black round the electrode showing signs of a rich engine.

Lol yea I fitted the air filter ;) I know the mixture is a little out as it has a flat spot. I didn't know it might cause that so I'll try tuning it thanks. I'll let you know how I get on
Steve said:
It sounds like an induction noise. Did you put it all back together correctly?

Probably not lol. The engines sweet.. runs better than ever (although the temperature is suspiciously low) Induction noise? Is there any way to check this or should i just taker the head off again? Can you reuse the same head gasket or do I have to buy another new one?
Sorry for all the questions lol
Just had a thought you say the timing is bang on (not trying to tell you to suck eggs) but did you check it with the vacum on or off as it could be 10 degrees out if it's one side of the TDC it would pink but on the other side it would cause the induction noise but you would notice by very poor fuel consumption.
The advance vacum? I'll try it with the pipe disconnected right?.. I did adjust the timing belt a tooth in both directions but it knocked the timing well out and the noise was still there :( so I'm sure thats set right. I'll try fiddling with the vacume advance when I get home though
Thanks for all your help!
How did you set the Timing. Static on the timing marks or on the strobe with the engine running? If you set it with the timing marks and didn't do a running check the distributor could be well out.

BTW what engine and year is it, and I will check whether vacum should be on or off and what BTDC timing should be.
Last edited:
Initially my friend set it with a timing gun and he said it was spot on, maybe it wasn't... The engines a 1988 fire 999 if you need more info let me know. By vacum I thought you were referring to the advance, I now see maybe not?
Tonights report..

I loosened the bolts on the advance and moved it a fair way. It made the noise grow much less (although still there) I also found that i can move the timing belt up to 3 teeth and the engine still runs okay which is a bit odd... Makes lining it up very difficult. However nomatter what configuration of timing belt or advance setting i use the noise is still there.

Is there anything else that effects timing assides the timing belt alignment and advance adjustment?

Is it possible that I had the timing incorrect when i put the engine back together and its damaged the engine? I hope not but it might explain why it didn;t make a noise to begin with but after several miles..
As they changed in 1988 It's either 1988-1992 BTDC 15 deg +/- 1 @ 750-800 rpm with vacuum pipe on or 1986-1988 BTDC 2 deg with No vacuum @ 850+/- 50 rpm.

You wont have done any damage as they are non-interferance engines But would align the timing marks dead on then use the strobe again. The Vacuum pipe is attached to the little bellows on the side of the distributor.

What I do when changing the belt is align the timing marks put on the belt turn the crankshaft slightly back n forward whilst tightening the tensioner to take out the excessive slack in both sides, check the timing marks again so they are still spot on, turn the engine at least twice and re-check the timing marks then check with the strobe.

F**K me I just had a thought the camshaft could be 180 deg out as it turns once to two turns of the crankshaft (I'll bet £5.00 it's that)

**You need to check the timing marks with the position of the rotor arm is it pointing to No1 or No3 plug lead on the distributor cap**
I don't know if this is allowed to be posted here or not **Admin please remove if you don't want it on**

I have this technical info for all Fiat models from 1988-1997 if you require more.


  • FIF462B.PDF
    41.1 KB · Views: 47
  • FIF4629.PDF
    39.1 KB · Views: 40
Last edited:
Hi, im one of the friends who was there when we originally did the head gasket.

I doesnt seem that it could be 180 degrees out, I know you get 2 turns of the crank for 1 of the cam but thats 360 degrees on the cam we checked.

The job was done by my friends whos a professional mechanic (ok ok enginer) so i dont think its going to make such a mistake as that and i remember we were out first time and the carb was blowing so that indicated it was wrong .. erm doesnt it?

Timing was bob on originally. We used the autodata big book of engine information for setting the timing so we are sure it was set and checked right..

Its all a bit of a mystery..
These Cars are not complicated especially the year were on about. If it's an induction noise it's either the air, fuel or timing. I would still check that when all timing marks line up the rotor arm is pointing to No3 instead of No1.
Ok, that will be checked in the next exciting edition of EXTREAM PANDA REPAIR

Doubt it can be the air, but fuel possibly i know Jaff tweeked the mix the other week.
Gently turn in the mixutre screw *becarefull* if you go too tight you will ruin it till the engine is about to cut out wind back till it runs sweet and it should be there abouts but CO check will make sure it's running at it's best.
Thank you for all your help everyone.. I've had another nigh under the bonnet and now I am 95% sure I have got the timing perfect. Alas the growling noise is still there. I've tried all that has been suggested. My conclusion is that something’s broke.. be it crank or cam bearings or something worse.. yes the fire is a 'safe' engine but safe from me? maybe not..
If I have any luck I'll post here.. I just hope it can be looked at this weekend.
Last edited: