Engine tick(not exhaust leak)


Active Member
Jul 5, 2003
Im getting a tick from the driver side of the motor which sounds to be coming from just under the valve cover. The only thing i have done to look into it is the old long screwdriver test on the VC, which revelaed no noise at all, actually sounded very smooth. Now when doing that on the injectors, i definately feel the tick very loudly. I knw the injectors in these cars are known to tick more than others, but could they cause a tick i can hear while driving? btw, i beleive the injectors are stock with 165k on them, do they tick more when they get tired?
My car was making a ticking noise for about a month(kind of loud when I started it)I thought it was my stock inj.I had the screwdriver out also, listing to the inj. when my timing chain broke:eek: I heard a noise in the inj,it must of been the chain hitting something,just a thought good luck!
Could it be a broken heat shield on the drivers side header that's rattling giving you the ticking sound?
Ya sure it's not the infamous driver's side header crack? Mine sounded like a sewing machine going down the road. Kinda hard to see sometimes.
I have the same tick and it's driving me crazy. My engine has 15,000 miles after rebuild, new exhaust manifolds, new cam sensor with drive, I have checked the torque convertor bolts and fly wheel for cracks.

Oil pressure is good. I can't duplicate the noise in park or foot braking. But, when in gear and under load the noise seems to go with the rpm.

Any ideas?
Its not the headers as i jsut had them welded last week, i guess thats why i can hear this noise now. if it is the cam sensor, does that means its going bad, or its just making noise? how can i tell for sure if its the timing chain?????
I've got the same ticking noise! It's not the timing chain in mine (just replaced it) not the driver's header (just welded it) and I checked the cam sensor when I was doing the timing chain. There was not signs of wear. I can't seem to track down the tick. It seems to be occuring under power and keeps up with the RPMs. But once at cruise speed goes away. Really strange. Maybe a bad spark plug wire. I have new ones on and this started about the time I switched then out. Need to test more.
I also have a ticking sound but it is coming from the passengers side in the front of the engine.Im not sure what it is yet.I know at Idle you can really hear it but as the car warms up the noise becomes much quieter. but still ticking.I don't know if this is an exhaust leak but since I used a crappy Copper gasket for the turbo to header it may be at least part of my problem.Maybe the valves in the cold weather? Does anyone have any idea what else it could be:confused:
Same ticking, can't be headers as I have postons. Sounds like something in the valvetrain. Is it possible that it could do with lifters/ pushrods/ rockers. All those are stock including valve covers but I have ported irons.

I hate to throw this out but it could be a flat cam. Keep in mind the #3 exhaust lobe is the most cam related failure. I've seen plenty of them over the years on stock cams and lots of aftermarket cams too.

Pull off the valvecover and check for movement of the #3 exhaust rocker arm. A more conclusive check that will catch a cam just begining to go flat is to pull the intake and inspect the lifter faces.

If it's already ticking it should be obvious however you check. BTW, on high mileage turbo cars we never install valve springs/timing chain without inspecting the cam first.

Good Luck
Well after a cold winter and waiting to finally start my Buick after i had thought that the ticking noise was from the turbo to manifold using a crappy copper gasket.I just used Ultra Copper on it this time and thought all my worries would be gone.I have checked the header for cracks before reinstalling it.When i started it I could still hear the ticking sound,not as bad but also it was 50 degrees and warmer today.I have to say by getting as close to it as i can with my ear .It seems like its coming from the valves or the injectors.The injectors are about 6 years old and have about 6,000 miles on them.As for the heads they were replaced with new ESP racing cylinder heads about 7 years ago.I know when i give it throttle the noise does not get worse.Actually I can't hear any ticking at all.I was thinking maybe a cam sensor could be the problem.I have yet to take the car out on the street and get on it but before i took the turbo off it sputtered around 50mph and 17lbs boost and then my heater core went.I just hope my head gasket is intact because that is a big headache.I guess i have to just hunt down the problem.It couldn't be the timing chain because it goes away when i start driving it.Maybe the cam sensor??Anyway hopefully someone hear has a similar problem that they corrected that could help me out. :confused:
Could it be a noisey lifter? I have a tick as well and thats what I chalked mine up to, but I have the comp lifters.
It could be just a noisy lifter i guess.Although I have only 7,000 miles on my fully done race heads i hope thats all it is.All i know is that when the car gets warm and warmer the ticking gets alot quieter.I thought it was an exhaust leak but i got real close to the passengers side head with the car running and it definately sounds like its coming from the valvetrain.
I think my ticking is the Cam Sensor. I replaced my belt and when I started the car to check the belt I heard the ticking. I used the screw driver trick to listen and heard the sound at the cam sensor cover. Does this mean my can sensor in going out?
Realspool...I have the same noise as you do coming from the passenger side of the motor. When I first start it I do not hear it..but as it idles down it becomes noticible. It goes away when it gets warm. I had polymounts put on the car this year so I am sure that makes the noise worst. I bought a stethiscope to do a bit of listening. I am hoping that it may be an exhaust leak coming from the turbo or something simple like that. I get no detonation or any performance issues of any type. Let me know what you find.

Well i actually thought mine was an exhaust leak but I want to really take the car out and drive it because the last time i took it out the heater core blew 4 months ago.Since then i have heard the ticking sound and i took off the turbo and reinstalled it, but its still ticking.I want to listen more closely to it tommorow.I want to see if i can get a Stethascope.It sounds like a lifter but a cam sensor is sometimes the problem.The one difference is that when i start my car up I hear it immediately and as it gets warmer the sound gets very much quieter.I am not even sure where the cam sensor exactly is so i will have to see where it is.I will see by latest Wednesday because i think i have a stethascope somewhere.I would not take off your turbo until you check for lifter or cam sensor noise though.I did all that work in the brutal winter for nothing.
Take a long screwdriver and put it right on top of the cam sensor and listen it will be obvious if it is the cam sensor. You could walk around my motor with a stethascope and hear nothing but smooth running, put the stethascope on that cam sensor and it sounds like a dang machine gun. No mistake where it is coming from if it is the cam sensor.
I just don't see why a new cam sensor would be any quieter. Has anyone actually put a new one in and it was quiet?
I have actually got rubber and nylon shims in mine right now and it has really got it quieted down for now.
The cam sensor has a type of felt packing around the top bushing of the sensor, does anyone know what it does? Is it for oil wicking or sound dampening or what is it?

Yeah i got to use the srewdriver test on the Cam sensor.Im trying to learn more things on these cars as they get older.Im not sure where the cam sensor is though.Can anyone get me in the right area of where it is?Thanks