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Hello...Need some advice before pulling the engine and removing the back cover. The other day, without any previous noise, my ES450 made a loud grinding noise while starting. Wasn't sure what was wrong so I got off the starter button so I could investigate. I pulled the motor over slowly by hand with only the normal compression resistance. I tried the starter again and heard the grinding. I then pull started the engine and it ran fine with no issues. I figured I had a starter issue, which wasn't surprising considering it was original at 22 years old, just weird that it didn't give some type of warning. I went to remove the starter and it was stuck in the housing. I sprayed penetrating lube, I wiggled and pried but it wouldn't come out. Finally, after doing things that I thought would break the rear engine housing that it mounts to, it came out. Ended up having a starter shaft support bearing failure which is in the rear housing. Made peace with the fact that I was pulling the engine, need to look at the starter idler gear system (since I was prying so hard to get the bearing sleeve unstuck from the starter shaft) and overall inspection. Here's the curveball, I needed to use it one last time before taking it out of service. I pull started it and while it was running I had what appeared to be exhaust gas/pressure coming out of the open starter mounting hole in the rear housing. We're talking like pushing my hand away pressure. What are the possible explanations for this and what should I be looking for? Head gasket? Thanks in advance for your help...FYI, only 2500 Miles
 
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