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Tick tick

My 1989 Eagle Talon sounds as if theres a ticking bomb under the hood.It’s so loud, people can hear me from two blocks away.

Also, I have to drive with the windows down so as not to be overcome by a “gassy” smell.The tile pipe constantly blows foul smelling smoke.This same foul odor blows through the air vents if I turn the air or heat on.

I was going to get rid of the car until one day at the tire repair shop, a guy offered me $1000 for it.

The car runs like a dream otherwise.


“The car runs like a dream otherwise”

Hmmm…This is sort of reminiscent of the old joke, “Well, aside from that incident, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”

The first place to start resolving this problem is with basic maintenance. I suspect that this car has not been maintained quite as well as it should be. Start by replacing any filters and changing any fluids that have not been changed according to the mfgr’s maintenance schedule, along with the spark plugs.

After everything has been brought up date, then you will be better able to assess the problems. The ticking is likely to be a stuck valve lifter or two, and this is the result of infrequent oil changes. The gassy smell could simply be the result of poor combustion from old spark plugs, or it could be something more complex, including bad seals.

From your post, I can’t tell whether you meant “gassy” in the sense that it smells like gasoline, or if you are telling us that you smell some kind of actual gas, such as would be emitted by the car’s exhaust. So, it is difficult to say whether the “gassy odor” is the result of the “constant foul-smelling smoke” from the tail pipe, or if you have a leak in a fuel line, but that smoke could simply be the result of bad maintenance, or it could be the result of a badly worn engine.

You did not mention whether the Check Engine Light is illuminated, and you also did not tell us how many miles are on the car’s odometer. If the CEL is not illuminated, I would suggest that you check to see if that light comes on momentarily when you turn the ignition switch to the “on” position (not the start position). If the CEL is not illuminated, it is possible that it has burned out or that a previous owner removed the bulb to conceal problems from a buyer. (Yes, unscrupulous people do that type of thing.)

Incidentally, I hope that you are not using that tire shop or a quick lube place for maintenance. Go to an actual mechanic for the maintenance that I have recommended, and then if the symptoms remain, ask him to diagnose the problem(s).

If someone offered me $1,000 for an '89 Talon, especially one blowing foul smelling smoke, I’d take it.

Mrs. Lincoln…hahaha!
I did switch the ignition to the on position and the entire dash illuminated. I.e. the brake, seat belt, oil, battery and check engine lights.However the check engine light was the only one to disappear after a few seconds.
The gassy smell is a putrid exhaust smell and the car has 153k miles.
What sayest thou?

I sayest exactly what mcparadise said.

The first place to start resolving this problem is with basic maintenance.

  • as put by VDC. What sayest thou about that? Have you even checked the oil?

It sounds to me like you have multiple problems with this engine including fuel leaks, valve issues (or worse) and perhaps excessive oil consumption. By the time you fix all of its issues you may as well have bought a new Tesla.

Sure this is an 89 model car? I thought the first year of the Talon was 1990.

As to the ticking, maybe you have a failed valve lash adjuster. This is pretty common on Mitsubishi engined cars. This is what they look like.

The big end of the adjuster will disentegrate with age and lack of regular enough oil changes.

As to the smell, maybe this is an excessively rich running problem which could be caused by any one of a number of things. The first things I would check would be for a leaking fuel pressure regulator and the valve adjusters; the latter of which could cause a performance problem leading to rich running.

Other than that, there’s not enough info known about the car to get real specific.

I say–again–begin with basic maintenance. To attempt to “cherry-pick” a solution to these problems without first bringing the car up to date with maintenance will be more difficult and more costly in the long run, as you will be “throwing parts” at the car, at random.

Overall, I think that you have a car that has been badly maintained and that this lack of maintenance–coupled with over 150k on the odometer–has led to excessive wear of the engine. If basic maintenance doesn’t make a drastic improvement in the noises and the odor, it is probably time for a new car. Other solutions would not be cost-effective on a 20 year old car that has little actual value.

Is this an engine that has 2 spark plugs per cylinder? You may have a bad wire or the boot fell of the spark plug and the spark is jumping to the engine block or some other metal under the hood. The car would run just fine as there is still a plug firing on that cylinder.

My guess on your problem is a bad exhaust manifold gasket. The sound of the exhaust escaping often makes a ticking sound. This would explain why you get a “gassy” smell from the air vents. I remember when I was growing up that we had a similar noise in a 1949 Dodge and later in a 1952 Dodge. The problem was the exhaust manifold gasket.

I would check the exhaust system first. Well, actually I would grab the $1000 first.

Early models of these cars had a bad hydraulic lifter design. The hole at the top of the lifter was too small. Mitsu later corrected this by changing the lifter design with a larger hole on top. I too had a 91 Talon Tsi that had this ticking problem. I solved it by replacing all 16 of the lifters. The lifters alone will cost $200.

If your car is a turbo model I would check to see if your turbo is in working condition. Sometimes, when it fails, oil will get dumped into the intake. Although a better guess would be the rings are failing. Try a compression or leak-down test.