Engine Tick


Asked by Mar 01, 2009 at 11:12 AM about the 2004 Ford Mustang

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Recently, within the last month, i have noticed a constant tick-tick-tick coming from the engine bay.  I already replaced the spark plugs, so it is not those.  It sounds like a valve is ticking from where i can locate it at.  Any ideas?  It is a 2004 3.8L manual.

24 Answers


lifters could be clicking if the vehicle is low on oil. if thats not the problem you could have an exhaust manifold leak.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

the oil is good and was recently changed...how can i tell if its a manifold leak?

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

does it sound just like a "tick" or more like a bit of "whisper"? if its a really light kind of whisper sounding noise its an exhaust manifold leak. i dont really know how to test for it but i know what it sounds like

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

it is definitely a tick...no ifs and or buts about it.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

i dont know what to tell you then man. im not a big ford guy so i dont want to give wrong information to you. just remember though thats shop usually quote for free so you could always take it in and jsut have them lsiten and see what they think about it


thanks man ill check it out


hey its probabally your lifters... there are ways to test it and to delay the inevitable... eventually your gonna have to have the top end taken apart and have it repaired but in the meantime some people say that adding some power steering fluid to your oil (will 'thicken' it and coat them better) this however is not a practice that ive officially used but i know it has corrected the ticking noise... but its only a temporary fix right... id just get it fixed...

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Yeah like everyone else said, it sounds like your lifters are ticking from lack of oil. Check the oil level again. I had this same problem on my 1991 LX.


kk will do. i have to get under the hood anyway. theres something wrong with transmission now. never fails right lol.


change the valve maybe...


thats vague... and im sure if hees gonna do the work to get to the point where he can replace the lifters heed do the valves and possibly have a look at the complete valvetrain while hees at it...


Hey man. I had the same problem with my 02 3.8. What i did was added a quart of auto trans fluid ran for a little while and changed the oil afterwards. Havnt had a problem since. I got that from my shop foreman that did that to his blazer.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

change oil might help...what's your car's mileage anyway?


hey, it's most likely a sticky lifter, try adding some stp oil additive, or try a different viscocity oil (I went from 10W30 to 5W30), or you can replace the lifters and cam.


It could be your timing chain. Does the Ticks get faster when you rev higher? If so its the timing chain and if you dont fix it soon it will break and go threw your lifters and maybe even crack your head. I have a 2007 Mustang 4.0L and that happened and I had the dealership put in a new engine. So just go get that checked out. Good Luck.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

lifter noise increases with with engine rpm as well...

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

More then likely a exhaust leak. I know certain model years of the V6 have a issue with the AC drain leaking directly onto the header flange, which over time can cause a leak/crack due to cold liquid hitting the hot exhaust. Could also be a issue with the lifters but if the correct oil level is maintained and your mileage is fairly low they shouldn't be a issue.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

i have a 2000 v6 mustang and its very common for the exhaust manifolds to not only leak but to crack. For me i found out that the flange connecting the cylinder closest to the driver seat on the driver side of the motor actually was fully cracked away from the manifold piping. I saw the full extent of the cracking when i went to replace it with some bbk headers. i hear water drips on the passenger side one from the a/c unit and i dont know why mine went on the driverside. But if it is decently loud that would be my guess. I am noticing more and more on ford motors that the manifolds seem to go bad decently quick.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Sounds like a rod... Junk it.. Mine went tick tick tick and it got louder with engine Rpms going up tol


I hit about a foot or 3 quarter of a foot of flood water mines doing the same thing it runs smoothly idles smooth even shifts smooth but it just ticks like tic tic tic while at idle and if your Rev it up the faster it tics it stalled out in the water and we pushed it out it started right back up but is ticking now any suggestions on what the issue is

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I hit about a foot or 3 quarter of a foot of flood water mines doing the same thing it runs smoothly idles smooth even shifts smooth but it just ticks like tic tic tic while at idle and if your Rev it up the faster it tics it stalled out in the water and we pushed it out it started right back up but is ticking now any suggestions on what the issue is

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

my buddy has a mustang throttle problem its an 2004 mustang 3.9 l v6... the problem is he losing speed but not to sure if its the throttle or the sensor

It's either your valve train timing components cracked crankshaft push rods or if your oil pump is not pumping the right amount of pressure out its starving for oil if it's getting hot and you've made sure that the heater core heater core lines water pump and thermostat are working properly and flowing you could have a clogged head gasket and the oil is getting to hot I have a sn95 mustang with a 3.8

I have the same 2004 3.8l and have noticed a tick at idle. If I rev the engine a bit, the tick goes away temporarily but returns when the engine returns to idle. I added 6 oz of seafoam to the crankcase a few days ago. It's a little premature to tell and could be wishful thinking, but it sounds like the tick is starting to subside. It seems like the tick drops off earlier when I start to rev the engine and it seems to return a second or two later then it did before when returning to idle. The car is driven only 6 to 10 miles a day but I plan to keep the oil/seafoam mix is there for at least 100 miles, then change the oil and filter. My understanding with the type of lifters in this engine, which I believe are the hydraulic roller type, they can get gummed up and not lift like they should. This would explain why I'm not hearing the tick when revving the engine, since oil pressure is built up and pushing enough oil the restricted passage to do its job of lift. When back at idle, lower pressure and no or not enough lift. Anyhow, I'll try to update to share the results over time.

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