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Old 11-03-2010, 01:09 AM   #1
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4.0 I6 Sneaky Engine Tick (80,000 Miles)

Video Of Ticking (Engine was already warm when this was shot - sound is basically the same when things are cold, there's just more ambient noise)




So I've spent the past couple of months trying to diagnose an engine tick, and I've come to the end of my diagnosing ability. It started out about 3500 miles ago, and was only noticeable when the engine was cold. After it warmed up, it wasn't noticable. I changed the oil, tried seafoam in the case, the intake, and gas tank - with no noticeable differences. I've tried heavier and lightweight Dino & synthetic oils with no change. The tick has simply gotten louder, and it now stays while the engine is warm.

Shown it to two different mechanics, and the dealership. All were stumped, though the dealership wanted me to spend obscene amounts of money for them to check/replace the flex plate (noise seems loudest under the jeep near the bell housing - but is present all throughout the engine with a stethoscope)

So here's a quick list of the things I've tried to check to figure out what's going on.

* Torque Converter Bolts - All nice and tight - nothing hitting in the bell housing or cover.

* Crankshaft Position Sensor - All good, and not hitting the teeth on the flex plate.

* Evap Purge Solenoid - Not the problem, and I checked all the other vaccum lines as well. Also, tick speed increases with higher RPMs.

* Camshaft Position Sensor - Pulled this as it seems to be a common 4.0 ticking problem. The teeth on the gear looks fine, and so does the cam. There is wear, but it's not deep or wide like the damaged ones I've seen. Pretty much cosmetic.



* Exhaust - Checked all the bolts on the manifold, searched all over for leaks. Did the WD-40 down the throat in the dark with a pencil light and not a thing.

* Flex Plate - Pulled the transmission all the way out and unbolted the flex plate. It was pristine, cleaned it all up searching for cracks and nada. Even took a super strong magnet and attached it to one side, and sprinkled iron shavings on it to see if I could find any invisible cracks. Nothing. I even ran the engine without the torque convertor (so the transmission was completely isolated and there was no change in the noise)

No Check Engine light or codes of any kind - So I am completely lost. I would really like to figure this out, as my engine exploding would be kinda inconvenient. Anyone have any ideas on what else I should check? Any questions for me, or clarifications needed?

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Old 11-03-2010, 01:16 AM   #2
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piston slap? sounds like coming from the bottom of the engine.

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Old 11-03-2010, 01:18 AM   #3
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piston slap?
Heard that term a few times, but have never heard a good explanation on what it is and what causes it.
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:22 AM   #4
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Heard that term a few times, but have never heard a good explanation on what it is and what causes it.
well what it is is when the gap between the piston and the cylinder wall is excessive, the piston starts to move from side to side making this noise.
usually louder when engine is cold cuz the gap is bigger.
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:25 AM   #5
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Mabe a lifter ? Did u pull the valve cover and see if any of the lifters, springs,or pushrods felt loose or look out of place? Just another thought.
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:29 AM   #6
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Mabe a lifter ? Did u pull the valve cover and see if any of the lifters, springs,or pushrods felt loose or look out of place? Just another thought.
Might do that next - I havn't removed the valve cover yet, I didn't know you could see the lifters that way (not really an engine guy). The mechanics didn't think it was a lifter, but I might as well give it a shot.
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:39 AM   #7
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Yea its hard to tell the source of a tick period let alone from a video. But thats an easy place to start. And also the piston slap could be the cause but i hope not. It would be way more difficult to check and more expensive to fix.
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:40 AM   #8
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Yea its hard to tell the source of a tick period let alone from a video. But thats an easy place to start. And also the piston slap could be the cause but i hope not. It would be way more difficult to check and more expensive to fix.
Did a bit of googling on the term and it seems to me that piston slap would cause you to burn oil - am I right? My engine has no leaks, and doesn't burn any oil - but I dunno.
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:53 AM   #9
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It definatley could cause excessive oil consumption but with 80,000 miles its hard to believe u would have piston ring wear let alone enough wear to start a slap. But to be honest my knowlege is limited in this catagory. Im only guessing. The symtoms do fit to an extent.

You said the sound keeps up with the rpm. Does it get deeper in sound? Mabe a rod knock? Where the bottom of the rod would hit the crankshaft as it turns?
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:59 AM   #10
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It definatley could cause excessive oil consumption but with 80,000 miles its hard to believe u would have piston ring wear let alone enough wear to start a slap. But to be honest my knowlege is limited in this catagory. Im only guessing. The symtoms do fit to an extent.

You said the sound keeps up with the rpm. Does it get deeper in sound? Mabe a rod knock? Where the bottom of the rod would hit the crankshaft as it turns?
It's hard to tell, as you crank up the engine the noise gets harder to hear, you can hear it up to about 1200 RPM's and then it gets drowned out. I never hear it while driving, just at idle.
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Old 11-03-2010, 02:15 AM   #11
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Well i would pull the valve cover to start, see if parts look worn or loose and I would tighten the lifters to I believe somewhere around 24 ft. Lbs. But not positive if thats to spec.

Then if everything looks ok i would put it back together and get a buddy to start the jeep for you , while its running pull one plug wire at a time. This should help narrow the source of the noise.

If the noise never changes in anyway. That should lean towards the source being in the bottom end of the engine. If the noise gets lower or less loud that should tell you what cylinder the the problem is in. Now if theres no change rod knock or piston slap is a different ball game.

Hope this helps! Feel free to report back im sure someone more wise will chime in.
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:20 AM   #12
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Keep us updated on what's going on with your engine, I have a friend whose jeep sounds the same way, he is also reluctant to tear down the motor to find the problem.
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:49 AM   #13
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Coil ?
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:08 AM   #14
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Crack in the manifold? Mine ticks, but not that drastically, until it warms up. I was told it would get worse than it is now...
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:20 AM   #15
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For what it is worth. - A retired mechanic (my father) listened to your video noise and said it is the same as mine ('04 sport I6)-kinda. He explained the difference in sound based on which cylinder. I have had good luck with mine "going away" by using full synthetic oil and lucas oil treatment. He says lifter. My GF has same noise in her '02 Cherokee and the same thing works for it. And it lasts about 2k-2.5k miles.
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Coil ?
Any way for me to rule this one out? I was led to believe that coil/plugs/wires would be throwing codes but maybe not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VVCG33
Crack in the manifold? Mine ticks, but not that drastically, until it warms up. I was told it would get worse than it is now...
I can't detect any leaks, maybe some more seafoam would be a good idea. That stuff smokes like crazy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jp2611
For what it is worth. - A retired mechanic (my father) listened to your video noise and said it is the same as mine ('04 sport I6)-kinda. He explained the difference in sound based on which cylinder. I have had good luck with mine "going away" by using full synthetic oil and lucas oil treatment. He says lifter. My GF has same noise in her '02 Cherokee and the same thing works for it. And it lasts about 2k-2.5k miles.
Tried full synthetic, but no stableizer. Gonna try and get a valve cover gasket from the dealer today and I might give that a shot if I don't see anything obvious inside the cover.
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:52 AM   #17
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Did you discover or determine the cause of that noise? Mine is making the exact same kind of noise except it is about 1/2 as loud, it also tends to disappear or at least become very intermittent after significant warm up, but even then it will come and go at stop lights on occasion. I suspect a tiny leak in the exaust manifold gasket or exhaust header, but have not investigated thoroughly enough yet.
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:58 AM   #18
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My jeep makes that same noise. We took it to the mechanic one morning when it got really bad and he said that the engine was going to need to be rebuilt or replaced eventually he said there was no way of determining when it would die. But it's made it about another 7,000 miles or so and still has that annoying tick in it. I'll have to try the synthetic oil change too. My plan right now is drive it till it dies then replace it. I also have coolant in my oil!
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:52 PM   #19
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Wouldn't it be a good idea to go ahead and replace the head gasket on yours....it may live for a long time yet if you do that.
It is my understanding that coolant in the oil will tear up the engine relatively quickly...usually.
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Old 12-17-2010, 04:08 PM   #20
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Did you discover or determine the cause of that noise? Mine is making the exact same kind of noise except it is about 1/2 as loud, it also tends to disappear or at least become very intermittent after significant warm up, but even then it will come and go at stop lights on occasion. I suspect a tiny leak in the exaust manifold gasket or exhaust header, but have not investigated thoroughly enough yet.
Still don't have any verification for what's causing it. I've had quite a few people listen to it, and common consensus seems to be that it's piston slap. It's been recommended that I just keep driving it, and I probably won't have any problems. I've checked out everything that I can, there's really not anything else to be done.
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Old 12-17-2010, 04:23 PM   #21
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I have a 04 sport I6 and I also have a faint tick. How many miles on your 04?
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Old 12-17-2010, 04:40 PM   #22
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I could be wrong, but it seems to me most Jeeps I`ve heard have a similer sound ,mine included, not as load as the video but enough to notice. Almost like the distinct sound of a VW motor
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Old 12-18-2010, 01:25 PM   #23
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I also get somewhat of a tick in my Tj and i've noticed it only in the cold and only really when the jeep is in idle. It is pretty faint
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:36 PM   #24
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Piston slap is usually described as more of a light "Thunk" rather than a tick.
Try changing the oil to a lighter weight, run it for a 100 miles or so getting it fully warmed up, then change back to your normal weight. What causes it is carbon or dirt gets the wrist pin to stick a little, causing the piston skirt to slap the wall.

I don't know if it's still made, but Rislone made a great product that worked great for sticky wrist pins.

A rod knock is definately more of a "Thunk" - usually at it's loudest when accelerating. The more force the piston pushes down from being under load the harder it hits, thus the more noise.

Pull off plug wires one at a time, disabling that cylinder - snap the accelerator each time - if you find one that when the plug wire is off the noise stops - you found the culprit.
On the newer rail type ignitions, you can disable the cylinder by disconnecting the injector harness at the injector, then snap it.
Temperature seldom has any effect on rod knock.

You may find you set codes doing that, simply clear them.

Pull off the valve cover, use a hunk of heater hose like a stethoscope - one end to your ear, point the other end right at the rockers one by one listening for the tick. Try it when it's cold. If one is making the noise - be careful - push down on the rocker at the center above the pivot with your fingers - it may have just come loose - the noise will change. Be careful, always reach in from above, not the side, watch your sleeves too. The drive train can eat your fingers in no time without even skipping a beat!

And try pushing down on the end the pushrod is pushing on - if it's a slow lifter the noise will change. In that case try dribbling some kerosene or WD-40 (same thing) down the pushrod - lots of it. It may dissolve the carbon that's making it sticky.

Also check to make sure it's getting as much oil as the rest while it's running. The rocker gets oiled up through the pushrod, sometimes the pushrod get a chunk of something that blocks that oil flow.

A tick tick tick being the loudest when cold, then reducing when warm still sounds to me like an exhaust leak, even if you didn't find one.
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Old 01-04-2011, 04:52 AM   #25
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If one is making the noise - be careful - push down on the rocker at the center above the pivot with your fingers - it may have just come loose - the noise will change. Be careful, always reach in from above, not the side, watch your sleeves too. The drive train can eat your fingers in no time without even skipping a beat!
how's about using the handle of a ratchet or similar? Beats losing a fingertip.

I've had 3 jeep 4.0s now, and all of them ticked once they got over 70k. However, while very similar, your "ticking" sounds worse than any one I've had. Mine were always lifter-related. Maybe you got a really loose one. Good luck, bro.
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:10 AM   #26
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i've only ever heard one jeep over 100000 miles without a tick,but the 4.0 is a very strong motor. As long as you keep your oil changed and fluids seperated it should lastlonger than the tub on that tj

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