I've got a 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier vin F with the L61 I believe.
I got it a couple months ago and it drove fine, except when you start it up cold it makes a loud ticking type noise metal on metal, not a knock though. The noise seemed to pick up with the rpm's but I wasn't sure, it also vibrated rhythmically and hard until completely warm while idling and while driving at ~ 2k rpm.
I changed all the ignition and opened up the cam cover and it seemed like there was minor slack in the timing chain so I changed out the timing chain tensioner. No change.
So I'd just warm it up before revving it because the noise and vibration would subside once warm. Now I only drive 2.5 miles to work and let it run for 5-10 mins before so I'm not sure if its getting to full temperature and burning off any condensation in the engine but I do take the long way home sometimes to try and get it through a full cycle.
Anyways I went to check the oil the other day and I don't have pictures of the oil cap but I pulled the cam cover off and it looked like this:
That screams head gasket at me, but upon removal of the air resonator on top of the throttle body, the pcv connection to the air resonator is epoxy'd in for some reason and not sealing properly. So do you think this could be because the pcv is not venting properly and I don't get up to temperature often enough, or is this definitely a head gasket?
Also relating to the ticking, I just found out the other day that the upper timing chain guide between the cam sprockets is broken at the bend where it covers the top chain from slapping up against the top of the cam cover, so I assume thats what the chain noise was.
I'm just looking for a confirmation I guess, it's too late to not pull the head because its already unbolted I've just got to pull the timing chain off and then the head is coming off, replacing head gasket set, water pump, and both timing sets.