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Discussion Starter #1
I have now resolved my idle issue from my last thread. After replacing the IAC and getting the EGR system deactivated I no longer have a problem with a stumbling and rough idle. I do; however, still have the ticking problem that was also described in my previous thread. I had suspected a defective IAC or malfunctioning EGR system to be the culprit, but with both of those eliminated I am at a loss as to what the cause is.

Yesterday I took my car for a spin and pulled over on the side of a backroad. I opened the hood and decided to have a closer look at it. As you can see in the video below the engine idles just fine as I open the hood, but after giving it a few small revs the ticking starts. The ticking then disappears after another rev. I try recreating the tick a couple more times afterwards, but was unable to. The tick occurs randomly, there is no specific trigger for it. The A/C does not affect it, nor does the engine temperature, although I can only recall noticing it once while the engine is cold.

Please have a look at the video and let me know what you think. This has been going on for over a year (about 4000 miles) and it drives me crazy. The engine pulls fine, performance is in no way affected.

2003 Mustang GT - Mystery tick - YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt4EfrVyh1Y
 

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Discussion Starter #2
In the middle of the clip you will see I remove the vacuum line connected to the EGR valve. Either the DPFE (Delta Pressure Feedback) Sensor or the EGR Vacuum Regulator is malfunctioning and causing a pulsating vacuum at the EGR valve, even with the EGR system disabled in the tune. I have confirmed that this does not affect the ticking problem in any way. I have checked multiple times for vacuum leaks, I have no vacuum leaks.
 

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Wow, it really sounds like crap when it starts doing that. Kind of a pulsating vacuum sound, if I'm hearing it correctly?

Only thing I can think of to do, is get an automotive stethescope and start probing around while it's making that noise. Only thing I can think of - and I'm not sure if it's even an actual possibility or not, is maybe it's a weak diaphragm in the egr valve that is fluttering due to intake vacuum. If you can get your hands on a small scrap of sheetmetal and a pair of snips, you could make a little block off plate for the egr, should that be the source of the noise.

Just to be sure, pcv system appears to be operating correctly and the soft sections of lines aren't collapsed, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Wow, it really sounds like crap when it starts doing that. Kind of a pulsating vacuum sound, if I'm hearing it correctly?

Only thing I can think of to do, is get an automotive stethescope and start probing around while it's making that noise. Only thing I can think of - and I'm not sure if it's even an actual possibility or not, is maybe it's a weak diaphragm in the egr valve that is fluttering due to intake vacuum. If you can get your hands on a small scrap of sheetmetal and a pair of snips, you could make a little block off plate for the egr, should that be the source of the noise.

Just to be sure, pcv system appears to be operating correctly and the soft sections of lines aren't collapsed, right?
I was about to order an EGR block-off plate from UPR, but said heck naw when I saw they wanted to charge me $14 to ship a $10 item. I am leaning towards a bad EGR valve, but I have no way of testing it, and I do not want to spend $300 replacing the EGRVR, EGR valve, and DPFE sensor now. The EGR Vacuum Regulator does send a pulsating vacuum at idle, which it should not, but the ticking noise occurs even without the vacuum line connected to the EGR valve some times. I plan on blocking off the EGR completely, but not removing it.

When I first noticed the symptoms the PCV vacuum hose running from the passenger side PCV valve to the plenum had collapsed in the elbow by the plenum. I ordered a replacement from LateModel Restoration, which did not fix the problem. I have also replaced the PCV valve with a non-heated one (03-04 GT's came stock with a heated PCV valve, for some reason).
 

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Wow, didn't know the 03+ GT's had the heated pcv. Knew about that on the Bullitts (but for some reason I think it was only some of them, depending on their DSO destination or something like that); now that you have my curiousity piqued I'll have to pop the hood on my bro in law's '03 next time he's over.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow, didn't know the 03+ GT's had the heated pcv. Knew about that on the Bullitts (but for some reason I think it was only some of them, depending on their DSO destination or something like that); now that you have my curiousity piqued I'll have to pop the hood on my bro in law's '03 next time he's over.
I didn't know either. I knew the Bullitts, Mach 1, and Terminators had heated PCV's, and apparently I do too. That explains why I could not find a regular PCV valve anywhere for my '03, so I just ordered one for the '02. Why pay $50 for it when I have no need for the heating, and can get a regular one for $15? I just covered the cable/plug with some electrical tape and secured it to the harness.

I don't understand how the DSO destination affects it. Mine was ordered by an elderly couple in southern Kentucky late 2002, but it was shipped directly to their vacation home here in Florida and has never left the state.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I got a hold of a very thin aluminum plate (approximately 25 gauge, or 0.5mm) at Lowe's. I went to the garage (a storage locker my family is renting about 30mins from my apartment) to make a block off plate for the EGR. After a few attempts of measuring and drilling the bolt holes I finally got it right and installed. I could not find my roll of gasket material, so I figured since aluminum is "soft" I would just tighten the bolts pretty snug to seal off agains the plenum, for now. I left the original EGR gasket stay on the EGR valve side to properly seal the exhaust. So far I have no vacuum leaks or exhaust leaks, but I will have to wait a couple weeks before I can conclude if this solved my problem or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update:

While I was in the drive thru at Taco Bell tonight (I'm a student, don't judge! confused13.gif ) the tick happened again.. In the back of my head I have suspected the PCV valve, but I recently replaced it, and it seems like the noise comes from the upper intake. The EGR valve is now physically blocked off from the plenum.

Summary of what has been done so far:
  • Replaced PCV Valve
  • Replaced PCV Valve-to-Upper Intake Hose
  • Replaced IAC Valve
  • Deactivated EGR System
  • Physically blocked EGR Valve
  • Confirmed TPS is working
  • No vacuum leaks
The tick ONLY happens at idle, at random times.
 

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You should pm wmburns about this if he doesn't show up in here first.

Taco Bell is the McDonald's of Mexican food, maybe even worse, but damn if Chalupas aren't one of the tastiest things known to mankind.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You should pm wmburns about this if he doesn't show up in here first.

Taco Bell is the McDonald's of Mexican food, maybe even worse, but damn if Chalupas aren't one of the tastiest things known to mankind.
Yup, feels like I'm running out of things to do here.. I'll shoot him a pm later today if he doesn't drop by this thread.

Yup, that's why I both love and hate having a Taco Bell right down the road! Gotta love the beefy 5-layer burrito and their fiesta potatoes though. poop.gif
 

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I was stranded, sort of, in San Diego one time about 10 years ago. Went down there with some friends to do a little partying, but how we got "stranded" and the other adventures that ensued is a whole other story. Anyway, the closest thing in walking distance from our motel was a Taco Bell. Ate that crap 3 meals a day for a couple days. My digestive system has never done such nasty heinous things as it did when I was on the Taco Bell diet..... I'll leave it at that.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I asked an old colleague about the problem, showing him the video above. He worked for almost 20 years as a car mechanic, and works as a mechanic for the scandinavian Forumla 7 champion on the side now. He thought it may be a loose rocker arm. I looked in my Haines manual, and from what I can tell it must be a bad lash adjuster or something.. It is just so weird that it only happens sometimes at idle, but the engine is healthy and pulls strong otherwise.
 

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I did some more research, and apparently there is an issue on Romeo engines built before September 17th 2003. From the information I have gathered thus far I can tell that all 2V and 4V 4.6L engines use the same lash adjusters and rocker arms, and that several have had problems with either spongy or seized lash adjusters, while some had problems where the roller bearing on the rocker arm would wear out. Either problems will cause the valve to not lift properly, which could explain the ticking I have at idle. I am leaning towards a bad lash adjuster because the problem occurs randomly, I would imagine it being constant, and throughout the rev range if it was a bad rocker arm. I really do not want to put out the money for this now, but I want to get it fixed before it all goes to hell. It seems pretty straight forward replacing them all, I found a method to replace the rocker arms without compressing the valve springs. So far MMR has the cheapest replacement parts, I can get a set of 16 OEM Ford rocker arms for $150 and a set of 16 OEM Ford lash adjusters for $140. I would like to get the FRPP rocker arms, but they are almost twice the price. Any further input will be greatly appreciated. I will hold off on ordering the parts until I get some feedback on this.

Here are two of my sources:

http://www.justanswer.com/ford/1ki0a-01-mustang-gt-engine-developed-valve-lash-adjuster.html

Rocker arms sitting loose in head! - FFCars.com : Factory Five Racing Discussion Forum
 

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Get a stethescope - they're like 6$ at HF, and keep it around for the next time the noise starts so you can confirm that it's coming from beneath the cam covers.

Your diagnosis sounds pretty solid, but it it would suck to spend $300 and do all that work just to have the ticking reappear an hour after you got it all back together. IMO, worth the $6 investment just to be sure before you tear into it.

What's the deal with the FRPP rockers? Not familiar with those. If there's a clear cut advantage to 'em, might consider saving up the extra dough since the general attitude is "when something breaks, upgrade."
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Get a stethescope - they're like 6$ at HF, and keep it around for the next time the noise starts so you can confirm that it's coming from beneath the cam covers.

Your diagnosis sounds pretty solid, but it it would suck to spend $300 and do all that work just to have the ticking reappear an hour after you got it all back together. IMO, worth the $6 investment just to be sure before you tear into it.

What's the deal with the FRPP rockers? Not familiar with those. If there's a clear cut advantage to 'em, might consider saving up the extra dough since the general attitude is "when something breaks, upgrade."
I will go get one some day this week. If my diagnosis is correct, I should be fine for at least a few thousand miles more, but I choose to live by the saying "better safe than sorry".

The FRPP rockers are 4 grams lighter each, and are supposedly made out of a stronger metal as well. They would come in handy if I build the engine to rev higher than 6000rpms and will reduce the drivetrain loss, but I believe the gains are minimal for my application. I am not yet sure if I will go the supercharger route or keep it N/A in the long run. That decision is still a few years down the road, but the fact that they are made by FRPP and are stronger is what appeals to me. I prefer to upgrade when something breaks, but I have already spent almost $2000 on my Mustang since July..
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I bought a mechanics stethoscope today for $3 at HF, works surprisingly well!

So I got good news, and bad news...

Good news:
The ticking sound is not coming from either heads or the block.

Bad news:
I still cannot locate the ticking noise. The intake area is where the noise is most predominant, and it's at the IAC I can hear it loudest. It is a brand new Motorcraft IAC, but the noise is too faint in the stethoscope at the IAC for it to be the problem.

Currently the idle speed is set to 820 in Neutral, and the ticking noise now appears maybe 1 out of 10 times at idle (roughly). As soon as the radiator fan turns on, or the AC kicks in, the noise disappears. Increased engine load and rpms make the ticking go away, and after I adjusted the idle speed up about 100rpms from stock the tick is not as loud, and does not happen as often any more. It is really getting on my nerves, especially since I cannot figure out what the heck the problem is...

Using the stethoscope around the engine I was able to check for noises at each cylinder both on the intake side, exhaust side, and on the block it self. The engine sounds perfectly smooth, and no unusual noise what so ever in the heads, block, or lower intake. The sound seems to be coming from the upper intake, but I am thinking it could just be resonating in the engine bay, and that it is actually not from the upper intake the ticking comes? I am literally out of ideas now.
 

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That is good news. Are you able to hear the ticking inside your car with the windows up? Just trying to guage how loud it actually is. If you can hear it in the car than yeah it's probably a something to look into (which you are, obviously).

If it's around the IAC, did you install a new gasket with the MC unit? If not, was the old one in good shape? Why not go buy a new gasket if you did use the old one?

My opinion, and it's just that...an opinion...is that these engines are "ticky" in nature. You have the cams right there on top of the engine, the injectors (which are noisy) all ticking and tacking away at a very high speed (even at idle), and the timing chains all at outer extremeties of the motor. You are going to hear ticking and tacking due to the nature of the engine design. If this was my car (and I am just as paranoid and worrisome as the next guy) I would not worry about it anymore. The car drives flawlessly, idles fine, I assume gas mileage is normal. I respect your resilience in finding the solution, but, by this time, I would cut my losses be ok with it...especially if there are no adverse affects going on....
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That is good news. Are you able to hear the ticking inside your car with the windows up? Just trying to guage how loud it actually is. If you can hear it in the car than yeah it's probably a something to look into (which you are, obviously).

If it's around the IAC, did you install a new gasket with the MC unit? If not, was the old one in good shape? Why not go buy a new gasket if you did use the old one?

My opinion, and it's just that...an opinion...is that these engines are "ticky" in nature. You have the cams right there on top of the engine, the injectors (which are noisy) all ticking and tacking away at a very high speed (even at idle), and the timing chains all at outer extremeties of the motor. You are going to hear ticking and tacking due to the nature of the engine design. If this was my car (and I am just as paranoid and worrisome as the next guy) I would not worry about it anymore. The car drives flawlessly, idles fine, I assume gas mileage is normal. I respect your resilience in finding the solution, but, by this time, I would cut my losses be ok with it...especially if there are no adverse affects going on....
Yes, I can hear the ticking noise inside the car with the windows up. It's because it is as loud as it is that I am looking so frantically for the cause. The IAC gasket was replaced a while back, so I did not install a new one with the new IAC. I have taken off the IAC to double check the gasket, and tested for vacuum leaks several times. No problems there.

I know, these engines are "loud" in nature, but this ticking is not normal. I can hear the valve train ticking, I can hear the injectors ticking, I can hear the air being sucked into the engine, but this ticking problem I am having I just cannot locate. It is not the timing chains either, I was able to differentiate between the bad ticking and "normal" ticking sounds when I was using the stethoscope yesterday. I went over everything I could think of three times. I even checked the fan, fan shroud, radiator, A/C system, water pump, timing chain cover, idler pully, and alternator.

I am at the point where I kind of want to give up, but at the same time I hate giving up. It is embarrassing when the tick starts at a red light, I have gotten some weird looks from a few people. Even worse when a chevy guy pulls up next to me! asshat.gif

I do notice that the engine "shakes" some while this happens, and you can quite clearly hear it miss some too back at the exhaust, but the miss is inconsistent with the ticking sound.
 

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Are your spark plugs all tight? Is this early signs of spark plug blow out?...just throwing some more ideas out there...why not right :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Are your spark plugs all tight? Is this early signs of spark plug blow out?...just throwing some more ideas out there...why not right :)
I'll double check and make sure they are tight, although I could tell the sound did not come from the spark plugs when I checked with the stethoscope. :)
 
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