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My Stepson returns from his fathers house with a loud ticking noise at the left rear (driver's side) of his 1999 3.8L. The best way to describe it is; a rhythmic ticking that increases in volume as engine RPM increases. It sounds like blasts of air from a compressor (not deep and throaty like an exhaust leak). The noise is loud enough to be heard as the car drives away (as much as 30 yards or so).
I immediately suspected a bad valve, lifter or pushrod and don't laugh but I used the old wooden handle trick to substitute for a stethoscope and listened for valve noise. I couldn't detect any tapping or change from the back of the valve cover to the front. We pulled the header and checked it for cracks (none), reinstalled it with a new gasket and tightened all exhaust components, all to no avail.
The engine runs fine, has no coolant or oil loss and no smoke or steam in exhaust. Could the head gasket have blown at the rear of the head near the firewall WITHOUT leaking coolant? Is there some type of emission fitting on that side of the engine that I can't see? Any input would be appreciated...
 

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check the plug wires, if one came loose it could be arcing and making a ticking noise. If they are all fine, take off the valve covers and check the roller rockers and see if one is loose. Im sure there are some other people that may know more then I do.
 

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mrski said:
My Stepson returns from his fathers house with a loud ticking noise at the left rear (driver's side) of his 1999 3.8L. The best way to describe it is; a rhythmic ticking that increases in volume as engine RPM increases. It sounds like blasts of air from a compressor (not deep and throaty like an exhaust leak). The noise is loud enough to be heard as the car drives away (as much as 30 yards or so).
I immediately suspected a bad valve, lifter or pushrod and don't laugh but I used the old wooden handle trick to substitute for a stethoscope and listened for valve noise. I couldn't detect any tapping or change from the back of the valve cover to the front. We pulled the header and checked it for cracks (none), reinstalled it with a new gasket and tightened all exhaust components, all to no avail.
The engine runs fine, has no coolant or oil loss and no smoke or steam in exhaust. Could the head gasket have blown at the rear of the head near the firewall WITHOUT leaking coolant? Is there some type of emission fitting on that side of the engine that I can't see? Any input would be appreciated...
How many miles? could be the EGR . . .
 

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About 83,000 (Flordia car, no winters). I thought about that as well but I don't see any EGR plumbing on the drivers side. Have I missed it?
 

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There should be a pump sitting right infront of you when you pop the hood dead center of the car. There is a line running from the passenger exhaust manifold to the EGR Pump, then there should be a line running from that to the upper intake. Infact check out www.svr-racing.com/egrd.doc I took pictures for our EGR delete.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks again Lcurle,

I've checked the plug wires and there is no arching there. It is definately not a valve or lifter (borrowed an electronic stethoscope). I'll follow the EGR plumbing up from the pax header and see what I find. I initially didn't see any plumbing that runs around to the back of the engine near the area in question. Thanks for the link to the pictures!
I'm be ginnig to wonder if I might have a bad seal on the lower intake manifold? I'm going to pull plugs to check for evidence of a bad head gasket (oil is clean).
 

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Oil may look clean, but there is a sweet smell to it, kind of a eye opening sweet smell, then it would be the head gasket. Im wondering if it might be something in the pulley system.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I can't smell any glycol in the exhaust (although there seems to be more water vapor than normal) or in the oil. Pulleys are well lubricated. The sound is definately coming from the back of the engine on the drivers side near the fuel injection rail or below.
 

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Ya got me man I wonder if mustangtk would know or have an idea.
 

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mrski said:
I'm sratchin' my head on this one too. :shrug Thanks for all of the input none-the-less.
Now that I think about it, and I just listened last night to see if it was still there, mine has always ticked when cold. It just hasn't been cold for a while . . .
 
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