Diagnose Noises with a timing light?
Valve train noises occur at half of crankshaft speed so even if your ear can't tell whether the noise is happening at 700 rpm (raps per minute) or only 350 rpm, your eyes can. Hook the timing light to any one cylinder and watch the flash illuminate the timing mark. Stare at it for a while and see if the flash jives with the knock. If it does, then it is more likely to be rocker arms, pushrods, lifters, camshaft, cam bearings, timing chain and gears. If the noise seems twice as fast it is probably in the crank, mains, rods, rod bearings, wristpins and pistons.
Rod knocks are loudest at higher speeds (over 2500 RPM) Feathering the gas pedal may result in a distinctive back rattle between 2500 and 3500 RPMs.
Bad rod knocks may double knock if enough rod bearing material has been worn away allowing the piston to whack the cylinder head in addition to the big end of the connecting rod banging on the crankshaft rod journal. It will sound like a hard metallic knock (rod) with an alternating and somewhat muffled aluminum (piston) klock sound.
Wrist pin knock in modern engines is very rare today but is a favorite for the misdiagnosticians.
Determining which cylinder contains the noisy parts may be aided by shorting out the plug wires one by one with a common low voltage test light.
Now you won't get the bulb to light up but it is a convenient way to short the cylinders without getting zapped or damaging the ignition coil.
Attach the alligator clip to a convenient ground, away from fuel system components, and pierce the wire boots at the coilpack or distributor end of the wire.
Some guys will use straight pins stuck in the ankle of the wire boots in the distributor. You know. The guys with tattoos and key rings stuck in their eyebrows. Then they touch a grounded jumper wire to each one. If the noise is changed when the plug wire is shorted to ground, you can figure that the problem is in the reciprocating bottom end parts. (piston, wrist pin, connecting rod or connecting rod bearing) The reason the sound changes is that when you short the cylinder plug wire you are stopping the combustion chamber explosions that are slamming the piston downward making the inside of the big end of the connecting rod bang against it's connecting rod journal. Or in the case of piston slap, no explosion changes how the piston is shoved hard sideways against the cylinder wall.
Valve train noises generally are loudest up to 1500 rpms.