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Old 12-26-2008, 12:15   #1 (permalink)
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Question 2001 Zetec slight ticking noise ???

Hi, Have a 2001 Focus with Zetec, I beleive it is DOHC. It recently developed a ticking noise that seems to be coming from under the valve cover. Does anyone have any idea what this may be and what needs to be done to fix it?
Thanks for any infor you may have. Mark in CT
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Old 12-27-2008, 19:46   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 2001 Zetec slight ticking noise ???

If your fluid levels are holding steady and you're not consuming any oil between oil changes (half a quart or less is fine every 3K). Does the ticking noise appear only at idle, or under load (ie. highway driving)? Also, How many miles are on the vehicle? When was the last tune up performed?

I'd keep things simple first and try running a higher octane. If you run regular (87 octane) try a tank of 89, or even a few gallons of 91 and see if the noise goes away.

Upping the octane won't necessarily solve the problem, it'll just prolong it from damaging the engine/valves. I'd run some good fuel injector cleaner over the next couple months, rotating a bottle with every second full tank of fuel. Worst case scenario would be having to get a valve job done due to wear & tear. Once you've answered my questions above, I'm sure myself or others on this site will be better able to understand your problem a bit more and at a minimum, guide you in the proper direction.
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:28   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 2001 Zetec slight ticking noise ???

Hi and thanks for your input. Car has about 88k, last tune up regarding spark plugs and stuff was about 40k ago or so. It does hold all fluids as far as I know. It really doesn't tick at idle and or it is not loud enough to hear it at idle. It ticks usually just when I am about to shift into the next higher gears. I was under the hood and and with my hand I gave it some throttle and for being right over the engine I can hear the ticking that sounds like it is coming from under the valve cover. I will use the injector cleaner and the higher octaine. Would it help if I used some sort of Lucas oil or some other heavier oil product? Not to fix it but to help keep it from falling apart on me before I can get it repaired and or do the repair myself.The valve cover could use to be replaced as it is leaking slightly and the throttle cable goes over the valve cover and from vibrations it is wearing into the valve cover. If it is something loose in the valve area is it possible to replace just the one that is making the noise or do they all have to be replaced? Again thanks you for any help and information. Mark in CT
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:34   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 2001 Zetec slight ticking noise ???

Also I forgot that I posted another post on this problem in onother area on this board but I did explain more in that post saying that I got a bit stuck in snow and from working it forward and backwards and rocking the car with the clutch and engine I got it free and drove home (about 4 miles) as soon as I got to the top of my driveway the oil light came on on the dash. I turned off the engine and let it cool and checked the oil level. I was low so I added oil and started the car and the light went out on the dash. It was after this that I started to notice the ticking. So I am pretty sure I may have damaged something with the lower level of oil and the rpms while getting unstuck. The rpms were no where near that high though just alot of it in a short period of time. The oil light never came on until I got to the tp of my driveway at home though so I did not drive it with the oil light on at all. Hope this helps with the diagnostic part of it. thank you, Mark in CT
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:25   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 2001 Zetec slight ticking noise ???

Your lucky. Generally when the oil light comes on, the engine is toast. You may have overheated the valves (or head) and caused them to warp, even if ever so slightly. It may be of a benefit to change to synthetic oil. A friend who owns a '00 2.0L sedan found that the engine ran a lot smoother running synthetic oil, especially in cooler weather. To know for sure that the vales are the problem, you'd have to tear the head off which isn't fun by any means (unless your a hard core DIY auto junkie!). Check with local salvage yards first before purchasing from the dealer. You can generally find good deals on nearly any engine part, and if you luck out they'll have low miles (from auto collision etc.). Be sure to change out that thermostat as well. I recommend a fail-safe unit, so it won't fail and block coolant flow from the engine, which can further damage engine components.
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Old 01-05-2009, 13:44   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 2001 Zetec slight ticking noise ???

Are you saying that I should buy a preloaded head and replace the head? If I pay attention to the cam position before removing it and place the new head with the cams in that same position it should work ok I think. I am pretty good with mechanics but doing the valve job is a bit over my head. If the new heads come with the cams and valves all set up I could possibly change that with no problem. I also am checking on a price for a long block in case I have damaged the main bearing or something in the bottom end. The ticking is slight and it seems to go away and come back. I have changed the oil and filter and will do that a few more times to help clean it all out. Hopefully if it cleans up the inside it may go away that would be my best senerio. Again thank you for any imput you may have. Mark in CT
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Old 01-10-2009, 06:28   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 2001 Zetec slight ticking noise ???

It's up to you to decide which direction you want to go. I don't want to steer you into something that might cost more (time & money). If it was me, I'd check local salvage yards and see what they have. If you can find one that's loaded and ready to go, you can't go wrong. Most yards also give their parts a short warranty (generally 30-90 days).

You don't necessarily have to do the install. If you take the vehicle to a shop, they can look around for appropriate parts online. Most good shops will have an extensive list of salvage yard parts. I think it'd be a better way over ordering new, but at least with new parts you'll have better piece of mind knowing that there are no defects out of the box.

I know I wouldn't do a valve job myself as I don't have the proper tools. If I had the tools and the books to follow the torque specs and such, I'd have no problem doing the work even if it takes me a while.
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'00 Durango R/T 360ci 290hp (modded); 138,500m
'06 Pontiac G6 GT 3.5L 220hp; 44,000m
'12 Chrysler 200 Limited 3.6L 283hp; 13,000m
'99 Taurus 3.0L 2V Vulcan 145hp; 154,300m - Traded
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