Tough to diagnose ticking noise


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Ledfoot Lou

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I agree the tire/gearing explanation unlikely but it was worth mentioning for redundancies sake. And yeah we need more data, we need to find what we all have in common and what we don't have in common with Jeeps that don't make the sound. That should point us in the right direction.

Every time I drive it's all I can hear and it's driving me crazy.

What RPM's do you guys typically cruise around at? For me around town I'm usually around 2000, sometimes lower than that in residentials at 30mph I'll be in 3rd and the RPMs are at like 1200. Highway when I can even use 5th at 70mph is like 1600 RPMs, 4th at 70mph that usually sits at like 1900.

I know people are going to tell me that I need to drive at higher RPM's than that and I'm lugging the engine and I've been adjusting that, the only reason I've normally driven like that is because the engine is so damn loud at 2000+ I figured it was too high, I've done my research and have adjusted accordingly though. I wonder if all that time driving in low RPM's has something to do with it.
I too drive around 2000 rpm regularly and that's where it seems to make the noise the most. I also tried driving at higher rpm, but around 3k rpm the engine makes quite a bit of racket like you mentioned.
 

Mazepam

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OK so i've been experimenting with this. This is my first Jeep and its my first manual car. So up until about 3 or 4 days ago i was keeping it around 2500k all the time, i was getting like 10.5-11 mpg the first 5 times i filled up my tank.

Recently I've been lowering it substantially. I've been cursing around 1900-2200 im in 5th gear on the highway and it keeps me almost exactly at 2k rpm. I never go below 1500 though when crusing. And I've noticed this week I hardly hear the sound at all, i hear the sound when im at 2500 rpm in 2nd or 1st gear, but its most noticeable in 2nd gear.

See i thought "lugging" the engine is when you have it at full throttle and its not excelling at all. I'm never in that position even when I keep the rpms lower. IT actually feels better when i keep them in the 1800-2200 range rather than 2500-3000. But jeeps are loud.
 

Mazepam

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So if im going 60 mph in 5th gear I'm at like 2200 rpm and i don;t hear the noise at all. At 55 mph im at exactly 2000 rpm in 5th gear, im assuming all the road nosies cancel out the sound.

4th gear at 60 mpg puts me around 2800 rpm.
 
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Ledfoot Lou

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OK so i've been experimenting with this. This is my first Jeep and its my first manual car. So up until about 3 or 4 days ago i was keeping it around 2500k all the time, i was getting like 10.5-11 mpg the first 5 times i filled up my tank.

Recently I've been lowering it substantially. I've been cursing around 1900-2200 im in 5th gear on the highway and it keeps me almost exactly at 2k rpm. I never go below 1500 though when crusing. And I've noticed this week I hardly hear the sound at all, i hear the sound when im at 2500 rpm in 2nd or 1st gear, but its most noticeable in 2nd gear.

See i thought "lugging" the engine is when you have it at full throttle and its not excelling at all. I'm never in that position even when I keep the rpms lower. IT actually feels better when i keep them in the 1800-2200 range rather than 2500-3000. But jeeps are loud.
1800-2200 is where I do most of my driving anyway. And that's where I notice the most noise. When I rev higher the general groan of the engine seems to drown out some of the ticking noise. At higher rpm the ticks happen so fast they blur together and aren't as notice as repetitive ticks.

Which brings me to other thoughts I've had. That it probably isn't related to the lifters or valves as they only move once every 2 revolutions of the engine. This noise sounds faster than that. I was going to try and get a visual by recording a video of the ticking while my timing light fires it's strobe light, but since I have coil on plug packs I can't hook up my timing light.
 
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Forgot I took this a while back. Using the phone microphone to try and pinpoint where it's coming from. Any thoughts?
Dude your engine bay is beautiful lol, but judging from the video it seems to be loudest when you were next to the bell housing.

Also I can confirm that mine does it even when the engine is not on, I killed it in gear and the noise didn't change, other than slowing down along with everything else as expected.
Hey

LordReginaldCockswain could you post a video of the sound so we can compare it?

I'll have to do that tomorrow, I'm planning on doing the seafoam smoke test as well so I'll get a video of both.

Today was quite a bit colder than the rest of this week and it seemed to be louder than normal. Idk if this is because I've had seafoam in the crank case the last few days (have hardly driven it) or if it's really temperature related.

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I kinda went down the rabbit hole on engine oil today and some people say they have quieted up their engine noise with Rotella T5/6, it's a diesel engine oil but it has higher levels of ZDDP (Zinc) like the older motor oils had when the 4.0 was being made. Apparently it's really beneficial for the motor, lots of people swear by it. People mostly use it for lifter tick but I'm wondering if it would affect our "tick", wherever it is. I know you guys are due for an oil change soon but if you don't wanna risk it I'm gonna give it a shot and can report back here. Probably won't be for a few weeks though.

This guy explains it better than I can if you have the time to watch:
 
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Ledfoot Lou

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Zinc is bad for catalytic converters, that's why they stopped putting it in oils. Just keep that in mind if you put it in. I'd be curious to know how it works.
 

Modoc Guy

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I'm wondering if something thicker would help? My Jeep leaks oil like crazy, the whole time I've owned it I've run synthetic. I always have good oil levels according to the dipstick though. After reading about oils and stuff apparently the synthetic stuff finds its way out easier than conventional. I'm kinda fixated on the motor oil idea because that's the only variable that's really changed since this noise started and has been progressively getting worse. It is starting to get cold where I live now but it was still warm out when I first noticed this.

Just a quick question too, if the noise is still present with the engine off, that would totally rule out exhaust since there's no combustion right?
On your 4.0 leaking oil, I have a little experience with that. I put synthetic in mine when I first got it, it had 88K on it at the time. I thought putting synthetic in it would be a good thing, and at the time, it had no leaks.

Within days of the oil change, I had a rear main seal leak! I scoured the net for info on the RMS, and found a thread about 4.0's not liking synthetic and how they leak at the RMS when used.

Next oil change I had the shop put quality high mileage oil in it and viola! No more leak.

I did more research and discovered synthetic is "thin" in comparison to conventional oil. You might try what I did and see what happens.
 
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On your 4.0 leaking oil, I have a little experience with that. I put synthetic in mine when I first got it, it had 88K on it at the time. I thought putting synthetic in it would be a good thing, and at the time, it had no leaks.

Within days of the oil change, I had a rear main seal leak! I scoured the net for info on the RMS, and found a thread about 4.0's not liking synthetic and how they leak at the RMS when used.

Next oil change I had the shop put quality high mileage oil in it and viola! No more leak.

I did more research and discovered synthetic is "thin" in comparison to conventional oil. You might try what I did and see what happens.
Perfect! Exactly same leak on mine, RMS. It never occured to me that the synthetic was to blame. I'm interested to see how big of a difference it can make.
 
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Ledfoot Lou

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I just found this!! If you look at the last post he mentions it was a failed spring that kept the starter from returning from the flywheel after starting. The noise was that the starter was spinning the entire time the engine was running. I'm going to check mine out today. That would also explain why it sounds like its coming from the bellhousing, and why it happens with the clutch pushed in or released.

 
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I just found this!! If you look at the last post he mentions it was a failed spring that kept the starter from returning from the flywheel after starting. The noise was that the starter was spinning the entire time the engine was running. I'm going to check mine out today. That would also explain why it sounds like its coming from the bellhousing, and why it happens with the clutch pushed in or released.

That... Makes a lot of sense. I really hope it's just that. Let me know what you find. Are these starters serviceable in the event this is the problem? Never been in that area before.
 

Mazepam

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When im sitting in the drivers seat the noise sounds like its coming from the lower passengers side but in the middle... seems like its exactly the right location. Im curious about this now, maybe this is more common then we think. My car is 15 years old.
 
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Ledfoot Lou

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When im sitting in the drivers seat the noise sounds like its coming from the lower passengers side but in the middle... seems like its exactly the right location. Im curious about this now, maybe this is more common then we think. My car is 15 years old.
I just pulled my starter but left the electrical connections hooked up. I cycled the key to start a few times and went to check the gear. Unfortunately mine seemed to be retracting just fine. I don't think this is the issue, but I'd be curious to see if you all have the same results.
 

Sancho

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Here is a video of it from my point of view, i feel like mine is more subtle then yours but still present.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="
" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

I have that sound.

Always thought it was the sparks firing or the fan cutting the air.

Basically thought it was just a noisy 4.0.

05 tj 6spd.
 
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I just pulled my starter but left the electrical connections hooked up. I cycled the key to start a few times and went to check the gear. Unfortunately mine seemed to be retracting just fine. I don't think this is the issue, but I'd be curious to see if you all have the same results.
Maybe it's retracting easier because it's free of contact from anything? I don't own a stethoscope but if I did that would be a good place to check while it's making the noise. Itll be a while before I can have the time to check mine. I just saw a video of a guy servicing his and that smaller cylindrical area just has that big spring, wouldn't hurt to check in there and give it a drop of oil if things look crusty.
 
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Ledfoot Lou

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I have that sound.

Always thought it was the sparks firing or the fan cutting the air.

05 tj 6spd.
It is neither. You can remove the belt which runs the fan and still get the noise. You can also turn the key off while coasting in gear, which removes spark from the plugs, and still get the noise. Although if you'll verify this with your jeep it will help add to our data. Welcome to the party.
 
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Ledfoot Lou

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Maybe it's retracting easier because it's free of contact from anything? I don't own a stethoscope but if I did that would be a good place to check while it's making the noise. Itll be a while before I can have the time to check mine. I just saw a video of a guy servicing his and that smaller cylindrical area just has that big spring, wouldn't hurt to check in there and give it a drop of oil if things look crusty.
I did think of that, however I'm gonna have to wait till my girlfriend is awake to have her rev the engine while I probe the starter. She works night shift and sleeps during the day, but hopefully I can test that out tonight.