Ticking noise when coasting/accelerating

Tiny
FAB908
  • MEMBER
  • 2008 MITSUBISHI LANCER
  • 2.0L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 176,000 MILES
When I am coasting on the highway usually around 3,500 rpm's on light load my car has a ticking noise like crazy. Also when I’m accelerating between 3,000 to 4,000 rpm's it ticks. Could this possibly be bad spark plugs? It only happens when I’m moving never when I’m in idle revving my engine to try to get it to make the noise.
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Saturday, May 11th, 2019 AT 8:44 AM

13 Replies

Tiny
KASEKENNY
  • EXPERT
Hi FAB908,

This sounds like detonation or spark knock. This is unburned fuel that ignites at the wrong time. It is either in the cylinder or in the exhaust when this ignites.

Here is a video of what this sounds like. You need to listen close but you can hear the rattling/clicking noise. If this is what yours sounds like then we need to address the causes of this. I attached a document that addresses the main causes of spark knock.

Also, if you want to confirm this is what it is, you can get a can of octane booster and put about 5 gallons of 92+ octane in your tank then drive the vehicle. If after about 35 miles it is gone, then spark knock is most likely your issue. Keep in mind that if it sounds like this but is not gone after doing this, it still could be spark knock. Basically, that means that you have a more severe case.

https://youtu.be/JA0cH_vRABg
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Saturday, May 11th, 2019 AT 4:06 PM
Tiny
FAB908
  • MEMBER
Kasekenny1, how would I resolve this? Would getting new spark plugs eliminate the problem or is it more complex than that?
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Sunday, May 12th, 2019 AT 11:42 AM
Tiny
KASEKENNY
  • EXPERT
Take a look at the attachment. These are the most common causes and I highlighted the corrections. However, some of these are for carbs and do not apply to your vehicle but they still give you a good idea as to what to look for. Just changing the plugs will most likely not work.

The most common cause are deposits or carbon in the combustion chamber caused by low grade fuel, so using combustion chamber cleaner may help. If not, more aggressive tactics will need to be used and they are outlined in this attachment.
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Sunday, May 12th, 2019 AT 12:42 PM
Tiny
FAB908
  • MEMBER
Thank you you so much for your help. I m going to try red line, but for future reference would using I higher grade fuel do anything to my engine? Just because I m using what the manufacturer suggests but I won t mind going a grade higher to prevent any problems.
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Monday, May 13th, 2019 AT 4:17 AM
Tiny
KASEKENNY
  • EXPERT
You will not do damage because the manufacturer suggestion is a minimum suggestion. Which means you shouldn t use a peer grade then that. Plus this not permanent. I just want you to put this in to test it. Once we know it is spark knock you can move forward with trying to correct it.
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Monday, May 13th, 2019 AT 5:02 AM
Tiny
FAB908
  • MEMBER
Okay, would I put five gallons of 92+ when my tank is almost empty or does it matter if it mixes? I m at about 1/4 tank right now.
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Monday, May 13th, 2019 AT 9:10 AM
Tiny
KASEKENNY
  • EXPERT
If you have a quarter now just fill up with 92 now and add that octane booster to a full tank and let s see what happens. It s okay if it mixes. We just want a higher quality fuel in there to see if this goes away.
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Monday, May 13th, 2019 AT 9:42 AM
Tiny
FAB908
  • MEMBER
So I got the higher quality fuel in there(I only have 91 available in my location), and I put the octane booster. U said to drive it 35 miles so I will update you if the noise is gone once I do so
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Monday, May 13th, 2019 AT 3:38 PM
Tiny
KASEKENNY
  • EXPERT
Yes. It will take a little bit of time and we will see if it s gone.
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Monday, May 13th, 2019 AT 4:16 PM
Tiny
FAB908
  • MEMBER
I ve been driving quite a bit, I ve gone through 1/4 tank and the noise hasn t gone away at all. I would have expected it to at least be a little more quiet by now but it sounds the exact same.
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Wednesday, May 15th, 2019 AT 7:36 PM
Tiny
KASEKENNY
  • EXPERT
Okay. I agree. If this were spark knock more than likely it would have changed. In my opinion, that leaves one thing based on what you are describing and that is a valve train issue related to oil pressure like a lash adjuster or lifter. Basically, at higher RPM the lifter just doesn't stay pumped up and it starts clicking. Then when the RPM comes down it is able to pump back up and the noise goes away.

Unfortunately, there is no way to test them in vehicle. Basically, if they are noisy they need to be removed and cleaned or replaced.

Last thing I can suggest is if the noise is loud enough to get on a video, take a recording and post it to the site and I can help identify if this is a lifter/lash adjuster noise.
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Thursday, May 16th, 2019 AT 11:51 AM
Tiny
FAB908
  • MEMBER
If I remove them, would I need to replace the gasket?
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Thursday, May 16th, 2019 AT 4:33 PM
Tiny
KASEKENNY
  • EXPERT
Here is a video that shows basically how to do it on a similar engine.

As for the gasket, if it is original then yes you want to replace it. It should be a hard rubberized gasket which are reusable but when in doubt I always replace it because they are pretty cheap and not worth risking it.

https://youtu.be/SUo50VKmutc
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Thursday, May 16th, 2019 AT 4:54 PM

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