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Old 06-24-2010, 07:11 PM   #1
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Ticking Sound - 4.0L

I'm trying to self diagnose a slight ticking sound I recently noticed on my 03 X.

From reading other posts on similar issues, I've come to the conculsion it could be any of the following.

1. Need to change oil, might have a stuck lifter (although I'm only 1500 into the current oil change)
2. Spark Plugs / Spark Plug Rail

3. Lifter needs physical adjustment if above has no effect

4. The fan (however checked mine , noise doesn't come from it, and its sturdy as a rock)



I plan on changing the oil and spark plugs in the next week or so.

However when I get close to the engine and listen (some have suggested using a hose to listen like a stethoscope, I didn't have a hose, but used a cut out 2 liter bottle) and found what appeared to be the source of the sound. From what I can guess its the temp sending unit for the coolant, but I wanted to throw it out there to be sure if
A. "that is what indeed it is" (temp sending unit)
or B. "The temp sending unit couldn't make any clicking noises, so its obviously not that"


thanks for any suggestions....
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:28 PM   #2
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The exhaust manifolds on 4.0 Wranglers are notorious for cracking. When it cracks it will make a ticking sound.

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Old 06-24-2010, 07:30 PM   #3
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Sorry to butt in, but how would I determine if mine is cracked??? Mine has ticked for as long as I've owned it, and I just figured that was normal..
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:42 PM   #4
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I believe the exhaust manifold is on the drivers side of the motor.

The sound is not as loud on the drivers side as on the passenger side (picture above is from the passenger side)

Also, I've read other people refer to the sound as similar to a stun gun snapping on a off. It sounds electrical.

Side Question: Can the injectors make a similar noise?

It does tend to go away at higher RPM's (or either I just can't hear it anymore)
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:07 PM   #5
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Thats not the temp sending unit, it is the camshaft position sensor... basically its the distributor for the distributor-less ignitions
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:28 PM   #6
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if its a cracked exhaust manifold it will sound like this:
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:51 PM   #7
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FguyTJ, thanks
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:56 PM   #8
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and RhcSavage21, good video

(i love this site)
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:02 AM   #9
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I'm 90% sure it's your manifold. I have the exact same noise and a two mechanics have told me it's because of a cracked manifold.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:03 AM   #10
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If it's the same ticking I hear...it's not a cracked manifold sound...quiet on the driver's side while driving, loud on the passenger side, and with head underneath hood and engine running, can't hear it clearly from either side.

I haven't traced mine either...there's a post in regards to it being caused by the camshaft position sensor with a solution on how to fix it.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:08 AM   #11
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Meh. If it ain't broke, I'm not fixing it!
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:15 PM   #12
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Update:

I'm pretty sure its the camshaft sync making the noise.

Cost: Autozone = 46.00
Online = 42.00 (around a-bouts)

Repair shop I called earlier (which I used to , take my honda to) = 80.00 + 75 for the sensor + 90 labor= 245

Not gonna pay that, not even close....

I plan on ordering the part this week and installing it soon.The idea I have is everything needs to be lined up just like it was before I took it out.

I think the ticking sound is coming from a worn bearing in the sync shaft, if I run into any metal shavings should there be concern? (I know that's generally a dumb question) but I'm speaking of the top where the sensor attaches. I hope there are none.

If the sensor doesn't look damaged, should it be replaced as well? I don't want to....



Anyway, any general advice on installing would be great...


(by the way, while I'm typing this, the history channel is talking about the history of the jeep)
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:36 PM   #13
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Ok, so if my manifold is cracked, is it really hurting anything?
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:49 PM   #14
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Take this with a grain of salt IG, I have 76 SS Chevy Nova with a 355 in it and I was told at one point by a mechanic that if I ran that too long with a cracked header it could cause damage to the valves. No idea how much truth is in that but I am sitting at work bored and felt like saying something
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:54 PM   #15
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LOL! Thanks Wildkarde! Come over to the "last person to post... thread" it's where all the night owls hang out!
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Old 07-09-2010, 11:19 AM   #16
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My 97 4.0 has the same ticking sound, but, I was hoping it wasn't the exhaust manifold. The previous owner replaced the original with a new one with flex expansion joints, so, I was hoping it wasn't the exhaust manifold. Is a newer style exhuast manifold just as prone to cracking as the original is?
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Old 07-09-2010, 12:21 PM   #17
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My 02 sport has always had the famous tick, plus, I believe I have a cracked manifold. The sound I get with the cracked manifold is random though. Some mornings, it really makes noise, sometimes not. But once the motor gets up to normal temp, it expands and goes away.
I questioned the ticking noise on here over a year ago, and I'm under the impression that its........JUST A JEEP THING!!
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:14 PM   #18
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Ticking Sound - 4.0L hey CSWUSC_03X I had the same issue. That gray thingy is the culprit, ilde speed motor. Just found out today. My '02 TJ was making the same sound. Traced it to the gray thing. When the engine is on and the sound is clicking away, reach down and put your finger on it. You will feel the clicking thru the top. From what I can find out this is the Idle Speed Control motor.

Hope this helps. FYI, I just did oil change and new plugs, did not stop the noise. I was about to write it off as lifters etc due to high mileage. My mechanic keep listening and looking.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:28 PM   #19
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If you take a long screwdriver or socket extension and place it on top of the part in question while the engine is running then put your ear to the handle or end of the extension it should amplify and isolate the noise. That way you can check different parts/areas and pinpoint the noise.
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Old 07-15-2010, 10:27 AM   #20
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OK I have a possible solution. I had the same noise from the same unknown gray topped thing. Turns out the cam sensor/oil pump drive shaft (should be right name) is to blame. Easy fix, a little pricey. The shaft was worn out and wobbling in the main sleeve. the teeth on the drive itself were fine.

I replaced the entire assembly, cost from dealer was $270.00 Tried to go cheaper but the part was made in china and did not fit correctly.

No more noise and I don't have to worry about oil pump failure (knock on wood).

HOpe this helps
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Old 07-15-2010, 05:31 PM   #21
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Was it the dorman brand that didn't fit?

I'm not sure how anyone can get away with selling parts that don't fit. (I'm looking at YOU china)


That's just nonsense.
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Old 07-15-2010, 07:55 PM   #22
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ok thought i should share this...i had ticking coming from my engine...i decided to take the valve cover off and crank it up while using a mechanics stethascope on and around the rocker arms. I found the last two rocker arms were making the tick. I decided to change the lifters out....be warned this isnt an easy or cheap thing to do. Since I decided to switch out the lifters...i decided to put a new camshaft in as well...seeing how i was going to crack the timing cover to get to the camshaft...i decided to switch out the timing chain too. My best friend and I done all this in exactly 2 days...sun up to sun down. All but the last two lifter (the ones where the ticking noise was coming from) came out fine. The last two had to be pulled out in pieces. The push rod was the ONLY thing holding them together. The metal clippings on to of the lifters were bent out and the push rod was hitting them. I know this because the of the indentions in the center of the lifter itself. Had to use a magnet to pull the pieces out.

so all in all...here is the breakdown
removed valve cover
removed raditator fan and cover
removed raditator
removed drive belt and all comps (water pump, aternator, etc)
removed cylinder head
removed harmonic balancer
removed timing case and chain
unbolted aftermarket bumper with winch (PAIN IN THE A$$)
unbolted grill
removed camshaft

after cleaning the block, cylinder head, and manifolds from old gaskets, we started the rebuild process which went faster than the tear down. had to test the push rods to make sure they werent bent..i did this by rolling them on a flat surface
in all i spent about 580 bucks

160 for the upper gasket kit
60 for 12 lifters
180 camshaft
30 timing chain
20 timing gasket
10 assembly lube
50 bud lite and 5 pizza pies


all in all it was worth it...the ticking is gone and now i dont have to change out the timing chain in 30k miles :P
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Old 07-15-2010, 08:01 PM   #23
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I totally forgot the most pain in the ass step...i guess i blocked this from my mind. The manifold un-bolting and re-bolting to the cylinder head was by far the worst thing ive ever done. I would have rather dropped the transmission and replaced a rear main seal on a ford explorer....

here is a tip if you decide to do this...remove the front driver side wheel....makes the bolts on the manifold a LITTLE easier to get to.

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