1997 Toyota 4Runner Engine Ticking/Tapping Noise

Tiny
BPCUSICK
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 TOYOTA 4RUNNER
  • 3.4L
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • MANUAL
  • 174,000 MILES
I recently purchased a 1997 Toyota 4Runner with just under 174,000 miles, 3.4L V6, and 5-speed manual transmission.

When the engine is warmed-up AND at idle/foot off accelerator and low RPM, there is a moderately loud ticking/tapping noise from the engine compartment (drivers side?). If engine is cold and at idle, no noise. When the engine is warm and I am cruising/pressing the accelerator, no noise. The noise quickly goes away when the accelerator is pressed and does not seem to increase in frequency with an increase to RPM. I recently had it inspected with some work done including the addition of Rislone and the noise is still present.

Any idea what this noise may be? I've searched a lot of forums and couldn't get a satisfactory answer based on these exact symptoms.
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Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 AT 8:17 AM

8 Replies

Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
This could be a couple of things, first spray water on your belt and if noise goes away replace the belt and tensioner. It could also be a timing belt or a lifter making the noise so it's best to have a pro look at it see if he can determine anything. Belts and tensioners should be replaced every 60k unless in California then 100k
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Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 AT 9:42 AM
Tiny
BPCUSICK
  • MEMBER
I believe my serpentine belt was checked during the recent inspection but the spray bottle sounds like any easy way to check. As for the timing belt, I can look into that. I know it was changed around 88,000 miles.

If it helps the noise may better be described as a sewing machine.
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Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 AT 11:34 AM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Even with your descriptionit is very hard for us to determine noises as we can't hear them even when they usea video it isn't correct. Also have the timing belt checked as recommended replacement for those is 60k or 100 k if in California. For those you get akit and it replaces pulleys belt everything that it hooks up to as a preventative measure.
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Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 AT 12:00 PM
Tiny
BPCUSICK
  • MEMBER
I did the water on serpentine belt trick, nothing. I purchased a Mechanics Stethoscope at Harbor Freight for $2.99. The noise made after the car has warmed up and at idle (tapping ticking) is clearly resonated by the fuel injectors, at least the 4 I was able to easily access. Other parts of the engine like the front (timing belt?), Sides (valves?), Top (intake manifold) did not make any noise similar to what I hear.

Assuming it is the injectors and I realize I may be going out on a limb here, what causes noisy injectors? Fixes? Concerns?
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Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 AT 11:22 AM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
The noise is the way they operate and other than replacing them not much can be done. But you should really make sure that is the noise prior to deciding to do that as they could still be noisy after replacement or it's something else I n the engine like a cam follower or shim adjustment.
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Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 AT 12:00 PM
Tiny
BPCUSICK
  • MEMBER
Thanks for answering all my questions. Great advice.
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Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 AT 12:06 PM
Tiny
MISSESESS
  • MEMBER
Did you ever sort out the "sewing machine" noise problem?
I have the same noise and I'm currently attempting diagnosis.
Like you, the noise is only when hot and the sound is as you describe (good description incidentally!) And comes from top of the motor, drivers side.
I bought this at 140,000. It already had the cam belt, idlers, W-pump, seals all done @ 95,000 miles by the previous owners garage.
I also got the (Dr.) Harbor Freight - stethoscope and got to work listening.
After removing the cam belt top plastic cover, the noisiest place was the top idler bearing - replaced it - no apparent change.
Took off all the ancillary parts - AC compressor, P-Steering pump, alternator and fan and bracket. W-pump is quiet (Aisin brand) but bottom tensioner pulley was noisy - replaced it - no apparent change.
Took off both valve covers and checked shim/camshaft clearances - 1 x exhaust @ 15mil and 2 x 14.5mil otherwise all others in spec.
Scissor gear(s) tension appears good and same as passenger side gears.
Looked down intake ports and could see intake valves and cylinder honing lines when valves open. All looks good and no foreign objects (like a bolt etc.) Rattling around on top of the valve faces.
Am now going to remove camshafts from the drivers side, attempt to lift out 'buckets' and inspect valve springs etc.
A thing I noticed is how clean the drivers side valve-train is compared to the passenger side. A lot more carbon there, maybe 'cos PCV valve 'suck' side?
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Monday, November 24th, 2014 AT 1:26 PM
Tiny
BPCUSICK
  • MEMBER
I'm 98% sure my issue is noisy fuel injectors. It's loudest when the engine is warm and the fuel is cold. These injector have run millions, if not billions of cycles and must be worn to some degree. I think the whole injector is just a little bit loose, especially when the cold fuel keeps the injector internals cooler (cold metals shrink) and the engine keeps the injector external warm/hot (hot metals expand). Nothing wrong with it, just a little bit of play in the injector. I don't have any hard evidence to prove this, but this is the only explanation that makes sense to me.
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Monday, November 24th, 2014 AT 1:47 PM

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