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Need Help - engine ticking sound

This is a discussion on Need Help - engine ticking sound within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; I know its very difficult to diagnose problems over the internet but I was hoping to get some thoughts on ...

  1. #1
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    Need Help - engine ticking sound

    I know its very difficult to diagnose problems over the internet but I was hoping to get some thoughts on an engine issue that is just starting. About a week ago, I noticed a faint ticking sound coming from the engine. This past Saturday while out and about it got very, very loud. Now its not quite as loud, but still definitely noticeable. There are no warning lights on and the oil pressure gauge reads normal. Power wise the engine is fine, there is no hesitation or missing or loss of power of any kind. It drives normal just like it always has. I had a mechanic look at it today and he said he has no idea what it is. He doesn't believe it to be a lifter. He said it has a definite metallic sound and it sounds like its coming from the center of the engine approximately under the intake manifold. The engine is high mileage (210,000 miles) and most of the key parts like injectors and water and oil pump are factory original. He said without starting to disassemble the motor, its impossible to tell what it might be. He said he would just keep driving it and see if it gets any worse. I don't want to spend a fortune getting this worked on if I don't have to because the engine has so many miles on it already. This leads to another question, if I had to put another motor in it, is this crate LS6 a complete drop in: http://store.chevroletperformance.co...-17801268--%3E My car is a 2000 Trans Am with auto trans. Would I need to get a new wiring harness and ECU? Would there be any other specific parts I would need to get? Thanks for any advice and help!

  2. #2
    Waiting on the Tree transamtom's Avatar
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    Listen to the valve covers with a piece of heater hose to see if its a rocker or lifter.

    Is the noise constant or only when the engines cold?

    That engine will be a direct replacement,you will need to re use your oil pan and exhaust manifolds plus your flexplate if your an A4.

    Your stock wiring harness will hook right up,you should get a retune to get the maximum performance out of that fantastic engine.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Plus use your cable throttle body.

  3. #3
    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    I know I had to diagnose a knocking sound on a Silverado 3500 with an 8.1 Vortec. Turned out to be an exhaust manifold leak. One of the manifold bolts broke off inside the head and was allowing exhaust gas pass between the manifold and head. Just throwing this out there just in case.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    $6600 for a crate LS6


    For that much I can get a forged 408 and be well on my way to a Procharger for what they are asking. Please tell me you're not considering spending that much on a LS6? Don't get me wrong, great motors but besides having a set of 243 heads, different cam and LS6 intake the rest is the same as a LS1.

    One more thing to add....GM quit making LS6's a couple of yrs ago, those that have them are asking for a pretty penny like the link you posted.
    Last edited by SMWS6TA; 08-08-2013 at 08:08 PM.

  5. #5
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    LS6 crates are still being made, there is just a slow down in progress. From what I'm told the GM supplier for the harmonic balancer went out of business and it's slowed production, but they have no plans in the future to stop making the engine.

    The best route to take is to skip the fully dressed version for $5k+ and buy the long block version. They can still be found in the $3500 range if you search around. Scoggin/Dickey still carries them but they aren't listed on their site, you have to call. I went through MTI just a few months ago and they even spec'd a custom ground camshaft for it. They aren't listed on their site either, you have to call.

    That's about the cheapest route to go if you want a fresh engine. Next best bet is a cast iron LQ built by any number of LS suppliers. Texas Speed had the best deals last time I checked. 408 forged stroker short blocks in the $3500 range, but by the time you do the rest of it you're over the $5k mark easily.

    Cheapest route is a large chain supplier like LKQ and pick up a relatively low mile LQ4 and drop it in.

    Just depends on what you want.

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    Well, I just talked to the dealer and they have found the problem. The exhaust lifter for the #4 cylinder is coming apart. They said they would have to pull the heads off to fix it and I would have so much invested in that it wouldn't be worth it for a motor with over 200,000 miles on it. I think probably the easiest way to go about it is to just drop in a crate motor. That was my goal eventually anyway, I just didn't want it unexpectedly thrust upon me like this. How bad would it be to swap in an LS3. Spoke with a shop and they said I could get an LS3 crate for about $6300 and all I would need to install it would be an adapter harness for something, can't remember exactly what they said, that would cost about $300. Then I could reuse my oil pan and exhaust manifolds off my existing LS1, plus a computer tune. All this would put me at about $8500. Is it really this simple? I'm not sure where to get an LS3 crate motor for that price? The car is a daily driver so I'm not looking for some monster horsepower beast, just a nice driveable motor with a little more punch than the factory LS1. Any advice as to what my best route would be or the best and most inexpensive place to buy the parts. Thanks in advance!

  7. #7
    Waiting on the Tree transamtom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flash00TA View Post
    Well, I just talked to the dealer and they have found the problem. The exhaust lifter for the #4 cylinder is coming apart. They said they would have to pull the heads off to fix it and I would have so much invested in that it wouldn't be worth it for a motor with over 200,000 miles on it. I think probably the easiest way to go about it is to just drop in a crate motor. That was my goal eventually anyway, I just didn't want it unexpectedly thrust upon me like this. How bad would it be to swap in an LS3. Spoke with a shop and they said I could get an LS3 crate for about $6300 and all I would need to install it would be an adapter harness for something, can't remember exactly what they said, that would cost about $300. Then I could reuse my oil pan and exhaust manifolds off my existing LS1, plus a computer tune. All this would put me at about $8500. Is it really this simple? I'm not sure where to get an LS3 crate motor for that price? The car is a daily driver so I'm not looking for some monster horsepower beast, just a nice driveable motor with a little more punch than the factory LS1. Any advice as to what my best route would be or the best and most inexpensive place to buy the parts. Thanks in advance!
    426 HP would be sweet in a 4th gen for a DD.

    Your LS1 crank is a 24x signal,the LS3 is a 58x signal.

    Lingenfelter has an adapter harness and box to run the 58x with a 24x computer.

  8. #8
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Umm...the compcams trunnion upgrade for lifters is $125. A valve job for the heads is about another $100 If you need new stock valves add another $100. OEM to some aftermarket valve springs go for $150 to $250, add in new gaskets and head bolts and your still under $700 in parts. Even with shop labor costs how does that compete with the cost of any new crate motor?


    These blocks are pretty tough, unless I'm missing something else this is a straight forward repair.

    An engine swap is a task to do in these cars. It's not for a beginner IMHO (I'm in the process of building & swapping in a 6liter) Lots of small details to keep track of. Doing a short block LS3 you are correct in that you can reuse a lot of your LS1 stuff.

    With the LS3 having a 58x reluctor wheel you have 3 choices:

    a) use a convertor kit
    b) break down the bottom end to get the crank out and install a 24x reluctor wheel. That is the best choice, the kit adds one more factor for failure IMHO.
    c) get a PCM for the LS3 - this adds more issues in that you'll need a wire harness and have to figure out how to use with your gauges (IMHO the most expensive route)

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    Your probably right SWMS6TA, the more I thought about it last night, that might be the most economical route to go. My big fear is that I drop two grand into this motor with over 200,000 miles on it and then a few months later something else goes and before you know it, you have almost as much invested in it as if you just got a new motor to begin with. My dad suggested that I have the timing chain replaced as well since it has all those miles on it. Probably not a bad idea. They said depending on how the lifter is failing, it could possibly have damaged a lobe on the cam and that they wouldn't know until they pulled the heads. The car has a ZO6 cam and valvesprings installed. I do have a few question on parts. Jegs has a gasket and head bolt kit but they say its for a 2001-2002 LS1/LS6 six and mine is a 2000, will the gaskets still work? If not, what is different? Here is the link: Chevrolet Performance 12499217 Chevrolet Performance Head Gaskets Also, do you think this would be a good timing chain to install: JEGS Performance Products 20400 JEGS 9-Keyway Double-Roller Billet Timing Chain Sets Remember, at this point, I'm going for reliable daily driver and am not worried at all about increasing the performance. Thanks again for the help!

  10. #10
    Visualize°Design°Create SSwt00SS's Avatar
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    If I were you, I'd fix it. removing, the intake and heads to swap out to new lifters isn't hard. Just takes time. It can be done with the engine in the car. Just gets a little tricky getting the back head bolts. No way dropping $6k for fixing it versus the work involved in dropping in an entirely new motor. Just my opinion though.

    Also, I've never heard of lifters 'falling apart'. I'm not saying that it isn't possible, but most lifters fail internally, lack of lubrication, internal spring collapses (at least that's been my experience). You would want to check the roller to make sure there isn't any unusual wear pattern on it, etc.
    Last edited by SSwt00SS; 08-22-2013 at 06:01 AM.

  11. #11
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    here is my Engine build costs. Yours will be much lower because (1) I'm adding stronger/better then stock parts like ARP bolts/studs, (2) I had to replace my block, cracked my LS1 and (3) I also had to get a set of 243 heads since I still had my 98 stock heads. That alone is about $700 difference.



    Notes: *- Optional **- average price for Cams

    LQ4 short block $300 I had to replace my block
    243 Cylinder Heads (complete) $400 If you already have ignore
    Comp Cams Trunion Upgrade $125 *
    ARP Hex Head Bolts $114 *
    BTR .660” Valve Springs $219 *
    Comp Cams CM Push Rods $120
    Polluter Stage 3 Cam $379 **
    BTR Lifters $199 * - LS7 is a good budget lifter is $$ is tight
    ARP Main Stud Kit $210 *
    ARP Connection Rod Bolts $120 *
    LS2 Pistons & connection rods $100 used, bought to up my compression
    LS2 Lifter trays (set of 4) $43
    LS2 Timing Chain $43
    Melling Oil Pump (10296) $130 Melling 10295 is better than the LS6 pump but doesn’t move as much volume as the 10296. For mild cam builds use 10295
    Gaskets (all) $203
    Main & Cam Bearings $200
    New set of Rings $150
    Shop costs $500 This is to balance my crank and pistons, check block out, machine connection rods for ARP bolts, hot tank block and install new
    Cam bearings




    Parts reuse from my LS1:
    LS6 intake
    Pacesetter Headers
    LS6 Valley Cover Tray $56 This is a mod to get rid of the POS PCV system on the LS1’s
    Oil Pan
    Throttle Body
    Engine mounts I’ve installed Poly mounts, old ones were worn out
    All Sensors

  12. #12
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    to answer your question about the LS6 gaskets - yes they will work

    Unless you're going with force induction and/or big cam double roller is over kill. LS2 is a good timing chain to upgrade to and will handle up to around low 500 HP.


    I would get the cam checked out just in case the lobe was damage.
    Last edited by SMWS6TA; 08-22-2013 at 08:53 AM.

  13. #13
    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    As long as the cylinder bores aren't scored and the rings are okay, you should be good for swapping heads. But that's my opinion.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Hmmm.... more ticking noises.... seems like our engines are reaching the end of their life expectancy... which opens up the door for "surgical augmentation."

  15. #15
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    Hmmm.... more ticking noises.... seems like our engines are reaching the end of their life expectancy... which opens up the door for "surgical augmentation."
    Yep, when an engine reaches 100,000 my ears get more sensitive. But 200,000 miles? It's overhaul time.

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