Clock problems: Since the loss of TVGoS many Pal users have experienced a clock that gains 8 sec/day. We've discovered that doing two consecutive reboots will force the Pal's clock to lock onto the PSIP average, stopping this annoying drift.
To reboot the Pal, hold the power button (on either the Pal itself or the remote) until both the red and green LEDs turn on. The Pal will then boot. Let the boot complete (your Pal will turn on normally after booting), then do it once more. On the second reboot, you should see the correct time, and it should stay correct thereafter.
Strange noises and needing to cold-start: uh-oh! This could be a failing hard disk drive, or a failing fan causing the Pal to overheat. Time to take the Pal apart (no easy task, unfortunately), clean it out, listen for the failing component, and replace it. (Note: the fan doesn't run continuously. There's a temperature sensor that turns it on when needed. So if it's not running don't panic.)
If it's the HDD, unfortunately you'll lose your recordings. But at least you'll have the chance to upgrade to a larger drive. The Pal will support up to 1 TB; larger drives won't work. Try to get a 5400 RPM drive; 7200 RPM is OK but produces more heat. Jumper the drive to SATA II if it's a SATA III drive.
Even if the Pal fails completely, you can salvage the HDD for use in another device, such as a PC. Unfortunately no software is available to read the recorded data; you'll just have to reformat and start from scratch.
Tuner sensitivity: this could also be from overheating, but check other TVs, set-top boxes, etc. in your home. Reason is, this is also the time of year when many folks start losing signal strength throughout their homes. You may find the problem isn't the Pal, but instead the growth of tree leaves is starting to cut off your TV signals.