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Jubsz 01-01-2020 06:34 PM

3.4L Ticking/tapping Noise
My 00 Limited has recently started ticking/tapping a bit. I've searched around quite a bit and haven't seemed to find anything that strikes me as my issue. I'm mechanically inclined but I do live in a condo and don't really have a place to work on the truck. It is also my daily driver.

The truck has 225k on the clock. I've owned it for 4 years and about 40k miles. About 18 months ago, it did have the Catalytic converter replaced with an aftermarket unit. It has been maintained well overall but does need a few things currently. I am overdue on timing belt/water pump/valve adjustment and it has a leaking valve cover. It should probably also get spark plugs/tune-up. The plug wires are red so I am assuming non-OEM. I recently added about a quart of oil to it after 4k of driving since changed. It was still on the dipstick but a little bit below the minimum line. I do not think that is low enough for concern of rod knock/damage but figured I'd throw it in there just in case. I've used OEM filters and Mobil 1, as did the previous owner. I am hoping to move to a house with a garage this summer so I've been waiting until I can do it all myself. I do have another vehicle I can drive if need be but it is currently put away for winter and I'd rather keep it that way.

The ticking is not noticeable while driving but is very prominent at lower speeds, especially in parking lots/garages. It is barely noticeable when engine is cold but very noticeable when the engine is warm. It is 100% rpm dependent and seems to be coming from the passenger side cylinder bank but is hard to tell. I know these engines tick a bit so I'm hoping that maybe someone recognizes it immediately.


brillo_76 01-01-2020 07:08 PM

Almost sounds like a knock too. Could be valves need shims and injectors.

Keep an eye on your oil.

This to check :

1] PVC valve.

2] vacuum lines

3] compression check all 6 cylinders.

See if you can pinpoint the exact location of the tick.

Injectors are known to be noisy too but that sounds me more like a valve ticking.

If all that checks out good.

Try locus or some other name brand injector cleaner. [ doubt it's an injector]

You can also jump a oil grade to like 10w 30 or remove a quart and add locus heavy duty oil stabilizer.

If you add locus and it quiets down some you definitely have some engine wear.

Just a few thoughts. :)

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spartacus 01-01-2020 08:59 PM

Get under the truck and see if the noise is the flex plate. open the inspection cover and check for hair line cracks.

Jubsz 01-01-2020 10:04 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm wondering if I should sideline it until I get this figured out. I do have AAA and a good mechanic I could take it to but he usually takes a while to turn things around. My other car is an S2000 and is away for the winter about an hour away. I'd really rather not pull it out in the winter but I may need to at this rate.

Does this sound like rod knock or something else? I'm getting a little nervous that it may be.

brillo_76 01-01-2020 10:09 PM

Its really hard to say exactly what it is. I listened to it twice. I can here that tick your talking about. Mostly rods knock is a different sound. Mostly deeper sounding.

You can get a mechanic stethoscope or use a rubber house to your ear and should at least be able to pinpoint the location of that tick. When you have a location narrowed down. It will help you and your mechanic find out the cause.

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brillo_76 01-01-2020 10:15 PM

Here is what a flexplate failing sounds like. Definitely worth having it checked via the inspection cover. It seems to be a higher pitched tick though


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pluton 01-01-2020 10:50 PM

The noise on the video is not rod knock. Valve noise is "tick tick tick' but rod noise is 'tock tock tock'.
It is, however, louder than the normal "background" ticking sound that my engine (approx. 175K miles) makes when it's completely warmed up.
Mine's manual trans so I don't know about flex plates.
Definitely investigate it yourself or have it investigated.

Jubsz 01-01-2020 10:57 PM

Yea, it started probably about 2 weeks ago. I'd bet I put over 700 miles since it started but I do think it's gotten louder. At first, I wasn't that concerned and I didn't think it sounded like rod knock. I've gotten more anxiety about it as time has gone one. I don't have much experience listening to valve/injector noise but it just seems to be getting louder. I was hoping that I'd make it to the point that I have a garage and in the summer/fall daily my s2000 while tackling all the 4Runner stuff. I might have to bite the bullet and have a mechanic look at it and probably do the deferred maintenance stuff while I'm at it.

T4R2014 01-02-2020 12:11 AM

Make sure your spark plugs are tight.

jgue467 01-02-2020 10:47 AM

Can you hear it from inside cabin? Check out idle to 1200 rpm change for below if you can hear from cabin.

What would you say is the frequency of oscillation?

In line with RPMS but is it 'fast' like the firing of all cylinders or somewhat slower like one cyclinder or one rotation of belts or a finger tap type speed?

: ^ )))

Riceye 01-02-2020 11:09 AM


Originally Posted by T4R2014 (Post 3417402)
Make sure your spark plugs are tight.


VernySanders 01-02-2020 01:39 PM

Personally I have the same noise I think without hearing this in person and it's part of your evap system. Theres a little ticking noise on one of the evap system components and you can feel it pulse in the small vacuum lines there. It's completely normal. It fluctuates with rpm and is really only audible in park or up to 10mph. Sometimes you can hear it on surface streets. But feel those vacuum lines and I'm willing to bet that it's normal.

VernySanders 01-02-2020 01:41 PM

It's a little louder than I was anticipating I didnt notice at first you provided a video. Could this even be a cracked manifold? Sounds like all the crappy fords and chevys that drive by with shotty manifolds

jeredcollins 01-02-2020 01:46 PM

I have a little bit of a ticking noise as well. Isn't there some people that mention the master cylinder is often the culprit behind this noise?? Hopefully someone else can chime in.

gamefreakgc 01-02-2020 05:08 PM


Originally Posted by Jubsz (Post 3417345)
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm wondering if I should sideline it until I get this figured out. I do have AAA and a good mechanic I could take it to but he usually takes a while to turn things around. My other car is an S2000 and is away for the winter about an hour away. I'd really rather not pull it out in the winter but I may need to at this rate.

Does this sound like rod knock or something else? I'm getting a little nervous that it may be.

Hopefully I can point you in the right direction and ease your concerns.

1. It is NOT rod knock. Rod knock as brillo pointed out is a much deeper and louder noise. The sound is centered in the block and sounds like two large stones pounding together. Not like yours at all.

2. It sounds like to me it's an injector or Fuel Pressure Regulator that is ticking. Toyotas of old are known to have a very loud injector tick you can hear from the engine bay (my 91 was one of them) and is completely harmless if this is the issue. The FPR is located on the fuel rail on the backside of the engine, looks like a circular object with a vacuum hose coming out about 2 inches in diameter. Get yourself a length of vacuum hose about 3 feet long and put one end where you suspect the noise is and the other up to your ear. Poor man's stethoscope (these are also cheap on Amazon if you want to get one) and helps you hammer down the location of the noise. The injectors can be seen under the upper intake manifold.

3. If the sound is coming more from the spark plug area or on the opposite side of the injectors, so near the valve covers, it's possible it's a valve tick. This can be fixed with a valve adjustment but it's a very involved job that takes a lot of patience. Not expensive but you'll have your engine down for 1-3 days depending if you need valve shims special ordered from Toyota. This is not a "must fix" item though, you can switch to a high quality synthetic and it would most likely go away for the short term. Eventually though you'll start to feel your idle grow rough over time. Once again, not a must fix but more of an annoyance.

Hope this helps ya.

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