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Unread 12-10-2003, 03:50 PM   #1
renegade92
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4.0 engine ticking noise

I will try to keep this as simple as possible so that there isn't any confusion about my engine problems.

Here is the run down: Stock 4.0L in-line six, 113,000 miles, stock intake, free-flow exhaust. Recent complete tune-up.

The problem: About a minute after a cold start, the engine develops this very pronounced ticking noise. It is loudest in the minute after initial start, when the engine is warming up, and starts to go away once the engine reaches the running temperature. However, even once the engine is warmed up the ticking noise comes and goes.

It seems to be rpm related because accelerating increases the frequency of the noise.

Theories I am working on: A mechanic told me it was worn out hydraulic lifters. I added a cleaning agent on the last oil change and it did nothing to free any possible sticky/dirty lifters.

I have heard of piston slap. That seems to fit the symptoms except my engine doesn't make noise initially. It takes a minute before it starts making the noise.

Other Jeepers have told me that the injectors can get loud. This noise is louder than minor so I have sort of looked in other directions than the injector noise theory.

Finally, possible header gasket blow-out or a crack in the exhaust header. If that were the case it would make the noise constantly and especially under acceleration. The noise does go away and is quiet on acceleration so I am not sold on the leaky exhaust theory.

I drove today with the heater off and the radio off so I could just listen to the engine. As I drive with the engine well warmed up and the noise gone, I notice that every now and then a slight ticking noise comes and goes.

I am absolutely baffled. I usually ignore these things, but this noise is not normal at all and is starting to drive me crazy. I am at the point where I might start to budget curing the problem. My engine is very healthy and uses no oil at all. If I chase the problem I am going to go after the head. I would replace the lifters and and the head gasket while I have the head off. At that same time I would upgrade my exhaust header and replace the gasket to rule that out since that is a mod I want to do anyway.

If anyone can relate to this ticking noise or point me in some good directions, I would greatly appreciate it.

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Unread 12-11-2003, 06:27 AM   #2
4wheeler4CJ
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Even tho you tried cleaning agents, etc, It sounds like a floating lifter. It's not always possible to free them.

Have you tried adding Rislone to your next oil change? If not, try it....you can get it at Walmart, Pep Boys, etc....yellow bottle....add one quart in place of oil and run it as long as you would run your oil. I have had great success with it.

My brother freed lifters in both his 350 in his Blazer and his 350 in his Boat, just this year! And hasn't had a problem since.

You can run it all the time, by the way, it is a 10W base, and it says you can run it al the time to keep everything clean. I used to run it all the time on an old dirty motor in my old van that had 200,000+ miles, and it kep running awesome!
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Unread 12-11-2003, 08:12 PM   #3
hunter44sw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renegade92
I will try to keep this as simple as possible so that there isn't any confusion about my engine problems.

Here is the run down: Stock 4.0L in-line six, 113,000 miles, stock intake, free-flow exhaust. Recent complete tune-up.

The problem: About a minute after a cold start, the engine develops this very pronounced ticking noise. It is loudest in the minute after initial start, when the engine is warming up, and starts to go away once the engine reaches the running temperature. However, even once the engine is warmed up the ticking noise comes and goes.

It seems to be rpm related because accelerating increases the frequency of the noise.

Theories I am working on: A mechanic told me it was worn out hydraulic lifters. I added a cleaning agent on the last oil change and it did nothing to free any possible sticky/dirty lifters.

I have heard of piston slap. That seems to fit the symptoms except my engine doesn't make noise initially. It takes a minute before it starts making the noise.

Other Jeepers have told me that the injectors can get loud. This noise is louder than minor so I have sort of looked in other directions than the injector noise theory.

Finally, possible header gasket blow-out or a crack in the exhaust header. If that were the case it would make the noise constantly and especially under acceleration. The noise does go away and is quiet on acceleration so I am not sold on the leaky exhaust theory.

I drove today with the heater off and the radio off so I could just listen to the engine. As I drive with the engine well warmed up and the noise gone, I notice that every now and then a slight ticking noise comes and goes.

I am absolutely baffled. I usually ignore these things, but this noise is not normal at all and is starting to drive me crazy. I am at the point where I might start to budget curing the problem. My engine is very healthy and uses no oil at all. If I chase the problem I am going to go after the head. I would replace the lifters and and the head gasket while I have the head off. At that same time I would upgrade my exhaust header and replace the gasket to rule that out since that is a mod I want to do anyway.

If anyone can relate to this ticking noise or point me in some good directions, I would greatly appreciate it.
It does sound like the lifters are making the noise but, without actually hearing it hard to exactly say. When you had the mechanic listen to did he check what oil pressure you have ? Does your jeep have gauge or just an oil light? If you have a loss of oil pressure in the system for some reason the lifters will start to make noise. A friend of mine has a early 90's Ranger that the lifters started making noise that would come and go. It got real bad to a point he couldn't stand it. The engine finally failed. The oil pan gasket deteriorated and the tiny pieces of gasket plugged every hole in the pickup screen for the oil pump. Is this your problem? Probably not but, don't ignore all possibilities.You could have a problem on either the suction or pressure side of the oil pump. Have the oil pressure checked before you just add a bunch of additives to your oil. If everything checks out OK with the oil pressure go ahead and add anything you want to the oil. The oil additives may free up stuck lifters but will not repair worn lifters which could be what is wrong with your engine.
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Unread 12-12-2003, 10:21 AM   #4
MSHarnett
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I'm gonna jump in here too. So what exactly do the lifters do. I never really studied the inside mechanics of an engine. So if I have a little tap I should add this Rislone stuff to my oil. Its nothing serious, but something that I may want to look into. Thanks.
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Unread 12-12-2003, 11:26 AM   #5
4wheeler4CJ
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Rislone won't help worn or damaged lifters.

What it WILL help is a stuck or sticking lifter. Usually when you have that problem you'll hear a flutter in your exhaust, like a sticky/worn valve would do, AND you would hear a pretty distinct tapping noise, like a collapsed lifter but maybe not quite as loud.

Anyway, I have run Rislone as a permanent replacement for 1 quart of oil in older engines, and it keeps them super clean inside with regular use.

It is also typical for the lifter noise to get worse for a short time after putting Rislone in. From past experience it has done this......then it disappears. I have attributed it to the stuff working, because after that I have never gotten noises back. My brother did it twice this year in his boat and truck for the same lifter problem and it cured both motors.
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Unread 12-12-2003, 11:46 PM   #6
1994Wrangler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4wheeler4CJ
Rislone won't help worn or damaged lifters.

What it WILL help is a stuck or sticking lifter. Usually when you have that problem you'll hear a flutter in your exhaust, like a sticky/worn valve would do, AND you would hear a pretty distinct tapping noise, like a collapsed lifter but maybe not quite as loud.

Anyway, I have run Rislone as a permanent replacement for 1 quart of oil in older engines, and it keeps them super clean inside with regular use.

It is also typical for the lifter noise to get worse for a short time after putting Rislone in. From past experience it has done this......then it disappears. I have attributed it to the stuff working, because after that I have never gotten noises back. My brother did it twice this year in his boat and truck for the same lifter problem and it cured both motors.

I get the same ticking noise just every now and then. BUT sometimes I will get the same noise but the ticking is substituted with a squeek?
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Unread 12-15-2003, 08:37 AM   #7
renegade92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1994Wrangler
I get the same ticking noise just every now and then. BUT sometimes I will get the same noise but the ticking is substituted with a squeek?

I I have tried Rislone not too long ago. Instead of the quart replacement, I used the smaller dose that you add to your oil change. I thought it worked for a bit but then the noise came back once I changed that treated oil about a month ago. From what I know and experience with this noise, I have targeted noisy/sticky/worn lifters. I talked to a mechanic and he said that replacing the lifters won't be too expensive or too complicated. So, once I can't bear the noise any more or the treatments fail, I will just spend a weekend tearing into the head and replacing the lifters. For an engine with 130,000 miles, it probably won't hurt it to refreshen the vavle train.

Hydraulic lifters are a new concept to me, but here is what I know. They are about the size of half a role of quarters. They have a spring system inside that is actuated by oil being forced into the lifter. The pressure causes the spring to move and this in turn allows the valves to open and close. If the oil passages on these lifters become clogged with engine varnishes or other grime, they start to fail and the ticking noise I assume is valves out of sinc, possibly even hitting the piston. I am not sure if the valves are able to hit the pistons on this particular engine, but even if they can't, there is power loss due to valves not being open or closed at the right time. These lifters are also acquated by the movement of the cam, which they come in contact with. Like I said, this concept is new to me and I might be wrong on some of this, but all I can tell is that this is not a problem that should be taken lightly as it can do some damage and at least causes premature wear. I like my engine and want it to last another 100,000 miles. Therfore, I am determined to solve this ticking noise.

Thanks for all your help. I am going to try that Rislone quart of oil replacement from now till I have the time and patience to remove the valve cover and go hunting for the lifters.
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Unread 12-15-2003, 11:15 AM   #8
1994Wrangler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renegade92
I I have tried Rislone not too long ago. Instead of the quart replacement, I used the smaller dose that you add to your oil change. I thought it worked for a bit but then the noise came back once I changed that treated oil about a month ago. From what I know and experience with this noise, I have targeted noisy/sticky/worn lifters. I talked to a mechanic and he said that replacing the lifters won't be too expensive or too complicated. So, once I can't bear the noise any more or the treatments fail, I will just spend a weekend tearing into the head and replacing the lifters. For an engine with 130,000 miles, it probably won't hurt it to refreshen the vavle train.

Hydraulic lifters are a new concept to me, but here is what I know. They are about the size of half a role of quarters. They have a spring system inside that is actuated by oil being forced into the lifter. The pressure causes the spring to move and this in turn allows the valves to open and close. If the oil passages on these lifters become clogged with engine varnishes or other grime, they start to fail and the ticking noise I assume is valves out of sinc, possibly even hitting the piston. I am not sure if the valves are able to hit the pistons on this particular engine, but even if they can't, there is power loss due to valves not being open or closed at the right time. These lifters are also acquated by the movement of the cam, which they come in contact with. Like I said, this concept is new to me and I might be wrong on some of this, but all I can tell is that this is not a problem that should be taken lightly as it can do some damage and at least causes premature wear. I like my engine and want it to last another 100,000 miles. Therfore, I am determined to solve this ticking noise.

Thanks for all your help. I am going to try that Rislone quart of oil replacement from now till I have the time and patience to remove the valve cover and go hunting for the lifters.

How Much(on an average) does a lifter/valve job cost?
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Unread 12-17-2003, 11:14 AM   #9
renegade92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1994Wrangler
How Much(on an average) does a lifter/valve job cost?
I haven't looked into the costs of replacing the lifters yet, but there are only two per cylinder for a total of 12 and the lifters aren't outrageously expensive. I got to think they can be replaced for under 200 dollars, but I might be way wrong on that.

At this point I am going to start looking into header replacement as the noise sounds somewhat like a gasket leak. If it still makes noise after that, then I will go ahead and try my luck with the lifters.
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Unread 12-18-2003, 11:08 AM   #10
89Laredo
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theres another post about valvetrain clatter in the YJ forums, and I just wanna say, It seems that the valvetrain on jeeps is kinda chattery as it is, my has always clattered, and I use and engine flush (5 min motorflush) at every oil change, I have had the valve cover off, and checked everything, and it all looks ok to me. I think its is just a problem that jeeps have, some are noisy, some arent. If anyone knows anything about DSM's (eclipse{pre 2000}, talon, and lazer) most of them have noisy valve trains, and chyrsler K car, and there are many other car (mostly GM) that have nasty valve tick.
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Unread 02-02-2004, 12:20 PM   #11
n1ywb
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I've been getting a pretty bad ticking noise from my engine. It seemed to start all of a sudden, right after I filled up with gas one day. I blamed it on bad gas, but even after several more fillups it didn't go away. So the lifters were high on my list of stuff to check. I read this thread and figured I'd give Rislone a try.

I looked in our local Walmart (Williston, VT) for Rislone, and I couldn't find it. But I DID find this stuff called "CD-2 Oil Detergent" that was also in a yellow bottle and claimed to free sticky lifters... Anyway I slightly hesitently poured it into my engine. Within ONE mile the ticking was GONE! Well actually if I turn off the radio and the blower I can still just ever so faintly here something, but it's barely audible. Before I could hear it over EVERYTHING. So it's gone as far as I care.

Another thing is that I've experienced a noticeable increase in power output at higher RPMs. Lets hear it for engine cleaners!
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Unread 02-02-2004, 03:46 PM   #12
JEEPINWI
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For all you guys with ticking that happens intermittently, it is definitely your lifters. Regardless of the temperature of the engine, or the engine rpm, the ticking will continue to happen intermittently. I went through this trouble about 3,000 miles ago at 116,000 miles. After replacing the injectors and the cracked exhaust manifold, I knew it was the lifters. I was lucky enough to find a complete 4.0L rebuild kit on eBay for $100 that had everything I needed to solve the problem. While I was at it, I replaced the timing cover gasket, timing gears and chain, camshaft, headgasket, valve cover gasket, and exhaust/intake manifold gasket, and water pump gasket.

As far as replacing the lifters, it can be done fairly cheap if done by yourself, or it can get costly if done properly. Every book I read and everybody I asked said the camshaft had to be replaced along with the new lifters. That will run close to $200 for the camshaft. When replacing the camshaft, the whole grill has to be removed in order for the camshaft to be slid out. If replacing only the lifters, the (HEAVY) head has to be removed to access the lifters. If replacing the camshaft also, the radiator, fan, distributor, timing cover, timing gears and chain, and the grill have to be removed. Removing all of these will add considerable time(labor $$$) to the job. I was able to do the whole job by myself in a long weekend and that included 3 attempts at getting the timing right!!

Any other questions will be gladly answered.
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Unread 02-05-2004, 01:57 PM   #13
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Sorry I have been gone for so long but my winter break from school is long and I don't have much access to the internet when I am not in school. Here is an update though. I have just been ignoring the problem and I try not to let it drive me crazy. Recently I added some seafoam with my oil change and the engine seems to be liking it. I also upgraded my spark plugs to Bosch plus 2's and finally replaced the rotor in the cap. I forgot to do that when I replaced the cap. So with a complete tune-up and some oil treatment, my Jeep is smoother than ever and running very efficient. I recently talked to a faithful YJ owner who asked if I had a ticking noise. I said yes and he told me his had it too and that it was the header crack problem. One of my co-workers who has a 93 YJ also has the same noise. So I have narrowed it down to a header crack and I will be upgrading the header as soon as it warms up in Minnesota. Though it still could be sticky lifters, I am confident that some new headers might be just what I need to get rid of the noise and get the higher low-end torque that I have been looking for. I will of course give updates on the mods but expect it to be a few months from now.
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Unread 02-18-2004, 06:54 AM   #14
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I too have this ticking/clacking sound coming from my '97 GC Laredo.

It would tick when the engine was cold and then would fade away as it warmed up. I recently had to get on the throttle hard in traffic and after that the ticking sound has been continuous and more pronounced. It is most noticable under 35mph and between 1500 and 2000 rpm. Mechanic told me that the noise could possibly be piston slap or a wrist pin, although he admitted that it was really difficult to say for certain. While the engine was running he pulled and replaced plug wires one by one and listened for differences in the sound. When the plug wire was off the #3 cylinder the noise seemed to quiet down quite a bit. The noise is certainly in the upper half of the engine though. I'll be cutting apart my oil filter this weekend to see if there are any metal particles in it and inspecting my used oil for the same.

- Brian
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Unread 02-18-2004, 08:18 AM   #15
RCHavok797
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I had a very bad ticking sound coming from my Jeep as well. Mine was due to a cracked exhaust manifold. If you suspect the it is the manifold try going underneath the Jeep and taking a look. If there are any cracks they should be very noticeable and a good place to look is around the collector, where all the pipes come together.
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