Ford 4.6 3v tick…

For those of you that have been reading my previous posts you already know my 2005 mustang GT with the 4.6 3v engine had a ticking sound which turned out to be a stuck roller lifter on the passenger side. I replaced it and the tick went away and all was well…for a while.

Now no more than 3 weeks later I can hear another distinct ticking noise similar to the one I was first hearing when the stuck lifter was the culprit. However this tick is noticeably quieter than the last one with only someone with a trained ear could probably discern compared to the last one which the average person would have noticed. This noise I hear now is the same ticking sound but definitely quieter. Honestly I’m not sure if the noise just started or if it’s been here since I replaced the bad roller lifter and I just didn’t notice it until now since it is pretty quiet.

In addition to being quieter, the noise i’m hearing now is only occurring at idle. If I give it even the tiniest bit of gas it goes away. This is making me question if it’s the same problem since even though the noise is the same, the stuck roller lifter got louder and faster as RPM’s increased. With this noise it goes away completely with any increase in RPM large or small.

What would you all recommend I do? I had the passenger side valve cover off 2-3 weeks ago and only 1 of the 12 roller lifters was bad. Other 11 spun freely and looked completely fine so I highly doubt another one on the passenger side when bad in this amount of time since I last checked them. I have used a long screwdriver to listen but both sides of the valve covers seem equally noisy.

If the noise got louder/faster with RPM I would be able to conclude another roller lifter must be stuck but since the noise goes away under load, it makes me believe it could be a different issue. Thoughts?

I’ve read on multiple ford forums that some valve train noise is normal but then again that’s what several mechanics told me with the last noise (that it’s nothing to worry about and to just keep driving it) but clearly it was because it scratched one of the cam lobes pretty bad. But again it could definitely be a different issue

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I would not worry about it.
tsb05_15_08ticking.pdf (

That’s what I thought with the previous noise but when I had that mentality and delayed getting the issue worked on it resulted in cam lobe damage.

In this instance are you saying not to worry about it since the noise goes away with rpms?

yes, but keep an eye on it to see if it stays the same or gets worse. just my thoughts but others here may have better info.

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I think you’re right though. I’m just paranoid about this car!! Didn’t want to tear into the valve covers in this weather with no garage if i don’t have to haha

The new noise is probably still there, but other engine noise and road noise drowns it out. That doesn’t mean you should worry about it, just an explanation for why you only hear it at idle.

The ticking is more noticeable with the hood open but barely from inside the car with the hood closed.

So I’ve tried opening the hood with car in park and revving the engine a bit while someone stood outside and listened and the noise stopped when giving it gas

Could it be the fuel injectors ticking that you are hearing?

You could pull the serpentine belt and start the engine and let it idle. Just to make sure the noise isn’t coming from the belt or something on it.

If the noise winds up being in the engine, may be that the oil pressure is just low enough at idle to cause one of the rollers to stick just a little, or something like that. Could even be that the scarred cam lobe makes a little noise against that new roller at idle. I don’t think I’d worry too much unless it got a little worse.

It’s definitely not the fuel injectors or the belt, the injectors make a very fast almost seamless ticking noise. I do hear the injectors with the hood open but this another different sound that’s a very faint click that’s much slower.

I think it could possibly be the new roller making some noise or the oil pressure being lower at idle like you said. Although my oil pressure light has never come on once throughout this whole ordeal. I know the light itself works because it illuminates when the key is on

On another note when the engines cold there’s no tick at all, idle or driving. It only starts ticking when the engine warms up and only at idle. Which makes me believe the link that weekend-warrior posted is probably correct because it mentions how ford engines make noises when warmed up and it’s considered normal.

On the flip side i’ve read that could also be cam phasers going bad

Oil pressure will be lowest at hot idle than at any other time, for what it’s worth. By “lowest”, I don’t necessarily mean “too low”, like the low oil pressure light would come on. Just low enough that maybe something in the top end of the engine isn’t getting lubed enough not to make racket. Just a theory.

And yes, pretty normal for 3 valve per cylinder Ford’s to make some clicking / ticking noises, even the newer 5.0’s.

That theory seems correct to me.

The link does say “ If the noise intensity is more than a lightly audible knock at hot idle under 1200 RPM at engine operating temperature, replace the cam phaser”

so the fact it says “more than a light audible knock” means that a light clicking or ticking under 1200 rpms (or idle) is indeed considered normal at least by Ford’s standards.

But really…anytime there’s a ticking like you said it means something isn’t getting properly lubricated. Even if it only happens under specific conditions it’s obviously not ideal for the long term wear of the engine. Which yet Ford still calls “normal.” Makes you wonder if there’s a fundamental design flaw with some of these engines