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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. I would love to get some advice from the forum before I start spending money on random fixes. My wrangler is a 2003 4.0 with a manual trans. About six months ago I started to here a ticking when I started the car in the winter. I figured it was an exhaust manifold leak that quickly went away when the engine warmed in a few seconds. Now think the ticking is something else. A mechanic friend of mine thinks it could be something with a plug or the coilpack. The strange thing is that the ticking comes and goes and also occurs when the car has been running at operating temp. At a closer inspection I noticed that the tick slowly get louder and last a few seconds and then it stops (it does not fade out). So it fades in but not out. I have searched this forum but I only came up with that it could be plugs, coil pack, cam sensor gear, or lifters. Any suggestions on where to start would be greatly appreciated. I will attempt to get a YouTube video up so you can hear it.

Thank you for taking the time to help out a fellow jeeper,
Chris
 

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I would check for vacuum leaks.

However, your situation sounds eerily similar to what went on with my Firebird. It wound up needing lifters unfortunately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick reply. Lifters are what in afraid of. I'll get the video up soon so you guys can hear it
 

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Thanks for the quick reply. Lifters are what in afraid of. I'll get the video up soon so you guys can hear it
What's wrong with lifters? Expensive? PITA? I have a ticking in my 99 SE 2.5L it's in the top end of the motor. I already replaced timing gear, so next would be lifters, right?
 

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Had same thing going on with my 4.0. Ticking would come and go. I changed spark plugs and ticking went away. Jeep has 90,000 miles on it I suspect they were the stock plugs. Gap is suppose to be .035 the gap on old plugs was .075. I don't know how it was still running god bless computer control systems.
 

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Changed my oil in my Ford 5.4 and used a after market filter. It had a similar tick for the first 30 to 45 seconds and would stop. I went back to the Motorcraft filter and problem solved. I read there is some type of "check valve" in higher quality oil filters. Could that be your problem??
 

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I had the same thing. Just put thicker oil in it and it will take the lifter noise right out. Sounds like they are not getting the lube they deserve. Hence why some people end up replacing. I have heard this from every jeep site and personal experience. Not 100% that's what you have but for the price of a quart of oil to see if it goes away won't break the bank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have always used 10w30 mobile 1 synthetic and change it every 5k miles. I don't beat on my jeep. Yes the tick speeds up if you rev the engine. I have tried marvel mystery oil but it did nothing. I will do new plugs today and change the oil as well. Any recommendation on oil brand and weight and filter brand?

Thanks
 

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Lucas makes a good additive, it is a whole qt though so you have to use it at oil change.
 

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Mine ticked right after I changed plugs. The problem evidently was I missed getting one of the newly installed plugs properly inside the rubber holder and it was arcing. The check engine light came on. I had to take off the plug/coil rail again and got it right the second time. The standard factory plugs had 46000 miles on them and had worn a wide gap, but it was still running well.
 

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I have always used 10w30 mobile 1 synthetic and change it every 5k miles. I don't beat on my jeep. Yes the tick speeds up if you rev the engine. I have tried marvel mystery oil but it did nothing. I will do new plugs today and change the oil as well. Any recommendation on oil brand and weight and filter brand?

Thanks
I hope it's the plugs but I don't think it would be. I ran synthetic oil in my Firebird and it didn't help the ticking, nor did any oil additives. Just make sure you do not deviate from the oil weight the manufacturer recommends because it can ruin your engine and you'll be wishing it was still only ticking lol. Regardless of what others are about to recommend I'm telling you I wouldn't go with a different weight oil. My vote is still lifters, I would try to isolate the sound using a screw driver-to-ear method and go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Much thanks for all the advise. I will post what does and doesn't work. Hopefully it will help the next guy.
 

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That's a lifter/rocker tap; not too uncommon for the 4.0 I6. The tolerances in these engines are closer to agricultural spec than automotive spec...

An arcing coil pack or plug insulator is a much sharper "snap" noise.
 

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mine has that same tick from time to time and it seemed that it was more centered around the throttle body area, but I only really tried to pin point it one time. it goes away once I start driving and doesn't come back again. Only really happens in the cold when I start it as you stated. It doesn't happen all the time, either.
 

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I have always used 10w30 mobile 1 synthetic and change it every 5k miles. I don't beat on my jeep. Yes the tick speeds up if you rev the engine. I have tried marvel mystery oil but it did nothing. I will do new plugs today and change the oil as well. Any recommendation on oil brand and weight and filter brand?

Thanks
My $0.02, I think using synthetic oil or any oil additives is a waste of money on our Jeep motors that was not originally design for it. As long as you change the oil regularly(approx every 3K), I would swap to coventional 10w30 such as valvaline or pennzoil and see if it calms the ticks. Also do a visual inspection on the exhaust system for leaks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Update. Changed plugs but it did nothing to stop the tick. I put seafoam in oil and it seemed quiet the tick slightly but did not stop it. The tick still comes and goes as the car idles or is driven. Some have said it's the lifters not getting oil pumped to them. The strange thing is it does not tick when the jeep is first started. I would think this would be the worst time since oil shoul drain to the pan. Any other thoughts? Thank you
 
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