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Engine ticking

This is a discussion on Engine ticking within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; I know this is a very common question, but I've been listening to it for about 4 years now. I ...

  1. #1
    Member Rob00Taws6's Avatar
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    2000 pontiac trans am

    Engine ticking

    I know this is a very common question, but I've been listening to it for about 4 years now. I have a 2000 trans am, it has dynatech long tube headers, high flow cats y pipe, into a corsa cat back, the car also has a ls6 intake, and clutch, as well as a granatelli maf. I have used amsoil 5w30, but i switched to pennzoil ultra, might be just me It seams the ticking is not as apparent with the pennzoil and in my opinion the car seams to run better. So I've seen and watched a lot of ls1 with different types of ticking issues, I've ruled out piston slap, my 2002 5.3L truck has piston slap and it goes away quickly. My car, the sound never goes away. As far as a bearing I really don't feel its a bearing, its been there for 4 years now, driving the car from Connecticut to myrtle, Connecticut to Virginia multiple time, occasionally i drive the car a little spiritedly, and the sound hasn't gotten any worse, hasn't changed at all. oil pressure is good no problems there its always been above 40 at an idle even after a long run. i changed the oil sending unit after i changed the intake manifold, no changes in oil pressure. i recently did an overnight soak of GM's top engine cleaner thinking it could have been carbon knock, no changes there. I'm starting to lean more toward the direction of an oil pump O-ring? maybe its lifter related. also thinking of pulling the push-rods out, but if I'm going to go that far into the engine I want to change the camshaft, been putting it off for some time, every time I get some money something comes up. but i just need to know the bottom end is healthy before I put cam in the car. Oh i did notice this, i put the car away for the winter time, start it up every now and then, the clicking is not as bad when the weather is cold, so I'm really leaning toward an oil pump O-ring. any input would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    Have you pulled the valve covers and checked the valve lash? Have you checked your exhaust system for leaks?

  3. #3
    Member Rob00Taws6's Avatar
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    I haven't checked the valve lash, didn't think it was adjustable on a stock LS1 valve train, Ive entertained the idea of putting a set of adjustable rocker arms on the car, but i think it be better to change the lifters in that case. as far as the exhaust, I've checked it, and Id have to say its good. do have headers so it wouldn't surprise me, though its been that way for 4 years now, think i might see some carbon build up around the flange, I just changed my plugs and plug wires, didn't see nothing.
    Last edited by Rob00Taws6; 06-05-2011 at 07:31 PM.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    Could be a stuck lifter or a bent pushrod. That's the only other "ticking" noise I know of other than exhaust leak sometimes sounding like that.

    No check engine light I assume?

  5. #5
    Member Rob00Taws6's Avatar
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    nope no check engine light. I've always assumed that it was just piston slap, i bought a truck and i know that has piston slap, and in the truck it goes away. thinking about it, last summer i had moved to Maryland and was using the car as a daily driver, we had some scorching hot days, the ticking was louder on those days, and this winter when i started it up it was a lot softer. correct me if I'm heading in the wrong direction, but I'm seriously thinking oil. If that is the case, if that O ring is the culprit, i might change the pump out to a melling pump anyway. i was going to change it with a cam swap anyway.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    Well, it sounds like it could be certainly. Oil viscosity changes with temperature. The colder the oil, the lower the viscosity.

    Once the engine warms up, the oil would thin out some and make it easier to flow.

    I am not really familiar with the o-ring on the pump though. I'll have to read up on that and see if I can't find some further information for you.

  7. #7
    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    Here is what I found on another site...

    Another problem I read is that lifters will be noisy after driving the car, and the most probable culprit is the O Ring on the oil pump, letting air into the oil and keeping cylinder 7 lifters from staying properly pumped.

  8. #8
    Member Rob00Taws6's Avatar
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    thanks, I've come across some old post that mentioned it, and it kind of got me thinking about it again, ya mean the car runs strong, and i know ls1 typically make some noises, noise just aggravates the hell out of me. only does it at an idle to.

  9. #9
    Member Rob00Taws6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35th-ANV-SS View Post
    Here is what I found on another site...

    Another problem I read is that lifters will be noisy after driving the car, and the most probable culprit is the O Ring on the oil pump, letting air into the oil and keeping cylinder 7 lifters from staying properly pumped.
    interesting, only after driving the car though, mine is mostly all of the time, just at an idle. I'll start the car, and there will be no clicking for about 30 seconds, then it will click, I'll usually let it warm up seeing how i thought it was piston slap, once the car gets close to 210 degrees the click will be a little softer but still there. I wont hear it driving the car, and then when i get home i have to get out and open my garage door and the clicking will be there at an idle.

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    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    If you see carbon around the exhaust joints, then you have a leak. Tighten or replace the exhaust clamps/bolts and see if the noise is still there.

  11. #11
    Member Rob00Taws6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cammed goat View Post
    If you see carbon around the exhaust joints, then you have a leak. Tighten or replace the exhaust clamps/bolts and see if the noise is still there.
    its clean around the joints and flange.

  12. #12
    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    Then check the oil pump O-ring to verify that is the cause for the ticking. Have you checked around the engine compartment while the engine is running to confirm the noise is from the front, top or bottom of the engine?

    Also, I didn't see any mention of the LSx "sewing machine" tick. This could probably be it.

  13. #13
    Member Rob00Taws6's Avatar
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    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnFlmEUBK8g[/ame]

    I looked online a bit, this IS NOT my car, but if you listen to the noise mine sounds very similar I'm going to go start it up and have a listen.

  14. #14
    Member Rob00Taws6's Avatar
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    Ok, went out started the car and the sound and the frequency is exactly the same. Sound appears to be louder under the car, so I'm thinking bottom end... started it up engine was quit for the first 30 seconds, then started ticking. ya mean I'm puzzled if its a rod bearing, I've heard a ton of them before, even the faint ones clack like a "son of a bitch" when the engine de-throttles" and they usually deteriorate quickly. this has stayed the same for 4 years. Car runs strong to i just drove it three hours to Virginia three hours back, passed this old man doing 20 miles an hours under the speed limit. popped it down to second pulled it right to redline, with my head pinned to the headrest? no change... ya mean if its the bottom end, I'm not going to go putting a cam in it. I'm not a great mechanic, but I think i hold my own relatively well, and i can put my fingers on this one

    I run 93 no exceptions, i think sever detonation would have destroyed a bearing at this point? here is a thought??? how about a high volume oil pump with an increase in pressure???
    Last edited by Rob00Taws6; 06-07-2011 at 04:16 PM.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    I would find it hard to believe you have a spun bearing and it has not gotten worse over a 4 yr period. I've seen some weird shit though

  16. #16
    Member Rob00Taws6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35th-ANV-SS View Post
    I would find it hard to believe you have a spun bearing and it has not gotten worse over a 4 yr period. I've seen some weird shit though
    ya, I don't work on engines every day, but I've seen some weird shit myself, I'll be honest I haven't messed with any bottom ends in an engine that has to work, i would if i had the right place and the right tools. The top end I'll dive into, no problem. It's funny cause there were id say 4 fairly recent occasions where i heard a engine knock from a bearing and they were very faint, and the owner of the car said that i was flat out crazy nuts, 3 months latter there engine was dead. there was one occasion i called out a mechanic on my own car, 91 4.0l jeep said i spun a bearing. I told him he was nuts, oil pressures good and its made that sound for 6 months, i got to looking around and the torque converter bolts had completely loosened up. same car i saw a 1/4" hole wore into the lifter, i still have the lifter, and it surprises the older mechanics. This one has me scratching my head...

    theoretically... would a really bad case of piston slap present a knock that never goes away? the only problem with that, i would expect cold weather to make the issue worse, like in my truck.
    Last edited by Rob00Taws6; 06-07-2011 at 06:57 PM.

  17. #17
    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    I'd have to agree that piston slap would probably get better as the engine warmed up and would be worse while cold.

    Same with a stuck lifter.

    I really wish someone else would chime in here. Doesn't seem like much attention is being given to this thread. Let me help you out with that by linking it to the other Tech Team members here to see what they have to say

  18. #18
    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Have you check around the manifold or headers for an exhaust leak? I had issues with a similar noise and it was a bad gasket in the AIR pipes going to the manifolds. If you can get a piece of hose put one end close to your ear and move the hose around the engine and see if you can pin point it better.

    I'm not experienced with the internals of the engine(not yet) but I had that issues with the exhaust gaskets.

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    Interesting. Before you go ripping into things, I think you need to better verify the general area the noise is coming from. I understand that is sounds louder underneath the car, but noises can due weird things and be difficult to pinpoint.

    Find a good clean piece of wood -- something like a 2" x 2" that is 2-3' long. Do this very carefully! With the engine running press the end of the wood against a rocker cover and place your ear against the other end. This will amplify the sound and transmit it to your ear. It will also block out other engine bay sounds to a degree. As best you can, change positions on the rocker cover and listen again. Then move to the other side and try the same thing, and then finally go under the car and place it against your oil pan and move it around. Find where the sound is the loudest and clearest and that is the area that is generating the noise. Just be damn careful not to get yourself tangled up in the belt doing this.

    I agree with everything that has been suggested -- an exhaust leak, a bent push rod, a collapsed lifter, rod knock... it could be any of these.

  20. #20
    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    Sounds like the typical sewing machine LS1 noise to me.

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