Thanks for the advice, but my problem isn't related to the exhaust. I paid to have it inspected once, and then when I had it smogged 3-4 months ago, it passed with flying colors. (That is, I'm assuming that even with a ticking noise, a vehicle can still pass smog). Starting to wish it was a problem with the exhaust tho!
Hi Lisa... Currently I'm going through the same problem. I suspect I have a leak on my exhaust manifold. I understand you did all that testing... so I'm not gonna insist, I'm not sure it's my problem either. But seems like FORD goofed a liiiiiiittle bit with the welds on the 232 engine stock headers. I'm not looking at replacing anything at this point because I too am in a big college debt and have bills to pay. So, SPIRIT (my little V6 pony) has to bear with me a little longer.
I've used LUCAS, I have used SEAFOAM. The Lucas makes it a little better but then I hear valve clapping. CLEARLY! I know valve clapping... trust me. So, that X's out my leak. BUT! When I accelerate, I hear a hissing noise that seems to go faster at higher RPMs. Something like a sh-sh-sh, but only noticeable to the fine ear. I don't know much about cars, but my transmission is having problems and my engine is doing that. I thought about tackling it down myself, but don't have another ride... and I need SPIRIT to get to and from work. It's a daily driver. Update us where you are so far with the diagnostics, and I will definitely keep in touch and let you know what I've done.
Best of luck!
"Sometimes the true power of a machine is not measured in horsepower"
~MUSTANG POV '10 Unleash Program