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Ticking Noise from my golf 3

Hi Guys,

I have a 1.8i golf 3.

I am Getting the ticking noise from the engine/head, not really sure what it is.

i went to one mechanic who said it was the hydraulic lifters which i did change but no difference.

the noise gets louder when i accelerate even when parked, what i have noticed is when i accelerate when driving the noise gets louder and when i put my clutch in to change a gear the noise starts to drop but makes some kind of a winding noise.

please help.

Thanks in advance guys.

"I have a 1.8i golf 3."


Odometer mileage?
Frequency of oil changes?

I didn’t realize Golf’s have hydraulic lifters, interesting. The kind of sound you are describing does seem like a slightly loose valve noise. When you push your clutch in to change gears the rpm and engine load drops so it would make sense the sound would get less then. That’s all consistent. But the lifter adjustment did no good?

hmmm … well, here’s some ideas anyway where else to look

  • make sure the shop reads out all the current and pending diagnostic codes from the engine computer memory, something there might provide a clue

  • be sure you are using oil of the exact oil specification VW recommends. With newer cars, even slight differences from the correct oil spec can cause problems like this, esp in cars with variable valve timing.

  • likewise, make sure the oil level is ok on the dipstick and the oil changes are done on VW’s recommended schedule

  • maybe it is coming from some accessory, like the alternator or water pump. my Corolla’s alternator makes a bit of a clicking noise, has been doing this for 10 years or more. I just ignore it.

  • or a worn accessory belt or worn timing belt or timing chain

  • “ticking” is a term often used to describe small exhaust leaks. that will also vary w/rpm, similar to valve noises. ask your mechanic to use a stethoscope to try to narrow down just where the noise is occurring in the engine compartment. check especially in the exhaust manifold area.

  • and ask a VW dealership if there are any customer interest or tsb’s covering this problem

its a 1997 model and 150000km on the clock.

when i changed the lifters i also did complete service with oil change and agent oil filter.

the noise is quite loud and it seems to be coming from under the tappit cover, could a engine knock give a ticking noise? but it only gets louder with accacceleration…

some thing that i noticed today when i decided to take it for a drive was that when i when up a hill the noise some how disappeared at some point

Engine knocks (like from the crankshaft or piston rods) are usually described as knocks, raps, bangs, bams, something like that. But a small knock I guess might sound like a tick.

Where are you located? I don’t see a 1.8 L gasoline engine available in the USA for Golfs of that year, except in Canada possibly.

If the noise is indeed coming from the camshaft area and it isn’t the lifters … hmmm …well it could be a broken valve spring I guess. Worn valve guides or valve stem seals maybe. What’s your oil consumption? How much oil does this engine use in 1000 miles?

i only change oil when i do a service oil levels are always right…im from south africa

i think its something to do with the valves by looking at some YouTube videos my car sounds same as . loose valve

It’s good to hear that you aren’t using much oil. That means whatever this problem is, it probably isn’t an engine tosser. The hosts of the radio program that hosts this web site Car Talk sometimes refer to themselves as “Click and Clack” b/c that’s the noise the valve system makes. So I think you are on the right track there focussing on the valve system as the source of the noise. Worse case you’ll have to have a shop remove the head for visual inspection.

HI George,

I noticed something strange , i recently changed oil about 2 weeks ago, the is very weak/thin

i used the 20w40 oil.

its abit like water.

could it be the oil pump? could the oil pump cause the noise and cause the car to have a ticking noise from lifters

The oil pump won’t make the oil thinner.

Perhaps you used the wrong oil?

Hi Bill

the guys at the spares shop said its the right oil, its suppose to be a thick type of oil

is 20w40 oil the oil specified by VW for your engine? Check the owners manual. Never go by what the shop tells you. Check the manual.

As far as I can tell, you should be using 5W-30.

i recently changed oil about 2 weeks ago, the is very weak/thin

One idea, sometimes an automatic transmission cooler line will spring a leak inside the radiator and contaminate the oil with automatic transmission fluid. And coolant can get into the oil if there’s a compromised head gasket. Put some of the used oil in a glass jar and see if it separates into layers, that might provide a clue.

Ticking from the top of the engine can come from a number of different sources.

When you changed the lifters, are you certain you adjusted them properly? Hydraulic lifters have to be adjusted such that without oil pressure they’re within the operating range of the lifter, such that when the oil is pumped in it becomes the matter on which the lifter operates. Failure to do so results in the lifter either being unable to “stretch its legs” to allow the contained oil to do its job in filling the space between the lifter and the valve stem (or camshaft lobe, depending on the engine design), or cause them to bottom out, eliminating the oil as a “cushion” during operation. Either can do major damage to the camshaft and its components.

Ticking can also come from worn or damaged cam lobes. Long term operation with misadjusted lifters can be a cause of this. Some engines require periodic readjustment of the lifters, although I’ve never heard of this on an engine with hydraulic lifters. But it is something to check out.

Ticking can also come from a leaky gasket. Do you have any other symptoms, such as overheating or exhaust smells in the cabin?

George’s suggestion is also a good one to check on. Mixing of the fluids can do major damage to not only the engine but also the trans.