Locating The Source Of That Noise.


The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
Grumpy, my engine is less than 1 week old, but its starting too TICK, sounds like a loose rocker, any ideas?

Id start with this...damn good advice learned the hard way
step one, never assume anything, verify and test everything.
think logically and don,t panic,
damn near everything can be repaired,
yeah it can get expensive and it can take time.
but theres no reason to make things worse,
stop and find the source of the problem,
before things get more expensive too repair.
you might be dealing with something cheap and easily repaired,
like an exhaust leak or bad rocker arm, or a loose flexplate bolt.
yes it could be a worn cam lobe,
defective lifter's or bad bearings, worn throwout bearings,
worn clutches,etc.
you won,t know for sure without testing,
and if you continue to run the engine things can,
get far more expensive too repair

when in ANY DOUBT, pull the valve covers and start checking,
youll want to properly adjust the valves, of course,
and check for a loose or burn header gaskets.
you'll want to isolate the source, one-way thats commonly used, is too, locate a defective cylinder...
put the transmission in and out of gear with the car/truck up on jack stands so the tires can easily rotate without the car/truck moving,
the noise may be drive train related not engine related, you might want too temporarily remove,
the fan belt, and start the engine for 30-60 seconds too see if thats going to affect the noise.
pull each spark plug wire in order off the distributor cap if the noise changes when one cylinder ignition wire is pulled it may lead you to the affected cylinder.
youll want to, do a compression check, your generally going to find the problem resulting from, a valve train clearance, or component failure,
or cam lobe, loose or improperly installed, timing chain, fuel pump,
or rocker arm, or lifter wear or broken valve train, component issue, but bearings,
clutch,flex-plates flywheels, torque converter, u-joints, engine accessories could be at fault,
its your job to isolate and test until you find the source of the problem

check your oil pressure at idle

and get out your dial indicator and accurately measure the valve lift,a worn cam lobe or a worn rocker or valve spring might be at fault.







if the source of the noise is not obvious, don,t run the engine..
you could very easily cause further damage,

take the time and effort to, locate the source of the noise,
you can,t fix anything untill you verify the problem.

STOP and disassemble the engine,
the problem and the eventual cost to correct, the problem,
will only get worse as the engines run in its current condition.

with practice a total engine removal and disassembly and inspection,
should only require at most a single long weekend, re-assembly should not take more than a week,

yeah, it may look like a huge potential P.I.T.A. and a wasted weekend,
but its almost certain to cost you less cash and wasted time,
if the problems identified early vs later.

related links with a great deal more useful info









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