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Mike S.
Mike S., Mechanic
Category: Car
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Experience:  25+ years experience as an auto mechanic.
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I hear what I think is a rocker tick ONLY under load or say

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I hear what I think is a rocker tick ONLY under load or say acceleration, get up to speed goes away also does not do it a idle. Oh yeah it is only one set on the driver side mileage is 235000. Other than that not another single issue. Did replace the dash back in 2008 for $125.00. Thanks....

Well, I see at least one choice you have. Since it's probably a lazy lifter or collapsed lifter, you should narrow it down to which cylinder it is and then just replace both intake and exhaust lifters cause it would be difficult from there to determine which it is.

There probably only cost like $4 each.

Now, to narrow it down, perform a cylinder balance test to determine after killing each cylinder makes the noise change in pitch or get lessor or even go away.

Now depending on what year,make,model and engine this is there are 3 ways I know of to perform this balance test. One is with a scan tool that has this function. The second is disconnecting each fuel injector electrical plug and the other is pulling off each spark plug wire. Depending on which, I will let you know how. Now I need to know the year,make,model and engine.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

97 Dodge Ram 1500 4X4 318/5.2L

1997 Dodge RAM 1500 1/2 ton 4WD 8 Cylinders vin Y 5.2L MFI.

I assume this isn't the vin T 5.2L, natural gas.

Ok, this is a MFI, so unless you can easily get to the fuel injector wires or have scan tool with that function, the best bet is the spark plug wire method. Instead of trying to unplug the spark plug wires themselves and possibly getting shocked I might recommend this method, since it does have a distributor.

First of all you will need a 12-volt test light and about 8-12 inches of neoprene vacuum hose. The vacuum hose will conduct electricity cause it is carbon based, use an ohmmeter if you are not sure and see if the vacuum hose you have will conduct.
Now, cut off the same # XXXXX cylinders you have in small equal lengths of the vacuum hose. 2-3 inches will do fine. The small diameter kind like to carburetors, etc will work as long as they fit over the distributor cap tower connection.
Now, mark all your spark plug wires at the cap or coil pack and remove them all. Put those short pieces of vacuum hose on the distributor cap or coil pack connections and shove the other end of the vacuum hose into the spark plug wire boot until it makes a good connection.
Now connect your 12-volt test ground clip to a ground and start the vehicle. With the engine running touch the 12-volt test light to each of the vacuum hose 1 at a time and listen for the cylinder to short out and die and drop in r.p.m. and the ticking noise to quiet or change in pitch.


These are hydraulic lifters, so they are a bit more expensive than the flat tappet ones.

Autozone has them for $10.99 each.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Good answer but two things, I can't hear at idle nor could the guy that did my last State Inspection even after he revved it up in Park and Neutral , would it be more audible with the valve cover off, and also if I'm stopped for a minute or so for the light to change and start off it doesn't do it. This is why I also believe that it's a lifter leaking down. Just trying to come up with the best way to figure out which one. Thanks...Don

You could remove the valve cover. Are you positive which bank it is? Perhaps purchasing an inexpensive mechanics stethoscope or holding a long screwdriver in your fist and up to your ear while holding the metal end on the valve cover might help. If you chose to remove the valve cover, i would buy some splash clips, so motor oil doesn't splash all over the place.

Here is an example of the rocker arm splash clips. They fit over the rocker arm covering the oil hole in the pushrod,

Here is a stethoscope at Harbor Freight for $3.99,

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Oh one more thing Mike, with the windows up and the A/C on, you can't hear it. I was talking to a Tech one day about this , it's been on going for about a year and a half and he say's to me after describing all of this to him , You're a Pilot aren't you and I was busted... Yea I'm always listening for things, I don't like funny motor noises at 8000 ft. or 2 ft....Don

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It is on the driver side only, I'm I right to assume that it is pumping up at the light and then leaking down under load, that's why I don't hear it at idle.

Perhaps. If you can at least hear it while under the hood, while listening with either the stethoscope and whatever, you could bend up a piece of paper or match-pack and place it under the throttle stop to keep the engine running at a constant rpm or just have someone in the vehicle doing it or place a stick on the gas pedal and place the other end on the seat and use the seat adjuster to keep the rpm constant.

I know something else to try to determine if it is a lifter at all. Try a pint of STP or straight 50 weight oil in the engine. STP and 50 weight oil is some thick stuff and it quiets down the noise at all, rest assured it is most likely a lifter.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Roger that, thanks Mike you are the first to recommend a few to try, good stuff. Again Thanks...Don

You are welcome and thank you!

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