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Discussion Starter #1
My 98 Cobra seems to have a tick on what I think is coming from the passenger side of the car. It isn't terrible. But if it could be addressed under warranty I would want to get it done. It was built in mid 98. The car is BONE stock and has never been modified. Has 17k on it, but the warranty runs out in less than a month. I talked this over with a Ford dealership Serv Manger the last time I brought it in and he said the lifters are non adjustable on the DOHC (assuming it really some type of cam noise and not an exhaust leak).

Anyone else run into this on a DOHC? If so, what did Ford do. Does it represent any kind of serious problem or could the car run to 100K with average abuse.

Thanks much.
 

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Sometimes it's not the lifters... but the injectors. And it's normal.

I can hear my injectors at idle, with the hood up, leaning near the motor. It's a defined 'clicking'.

Maybe yours is the same?
 

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I also think you're hearing the injectors. However, give us more info. Can you hear it from inside the car or do you have to put the hood up and stand near the engine to hear it. Valve train problems can usually be heard with the hood down and often while inside the car.

Injector clicks are normal and the engine will last a long time with "reasonable" abuse and good maintenance habits.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sure, here are some more details. I originally heard it from inside the car when pulling into the garage (you get all that sound bouncing around). I can hear it standing outside by the front passenger side tire with the hood closed (sound bouncing down to the ground and up at me). It is a clear tick. The Serv Manager heard it with me. When I am in the car and up against a wall like at a drivethru it is more clear inside the car as well. And it seems like only one thing ticking over and over, not like a series of injectors, but almost like a single lifter or header port making the tick as it fires. Hope that helps. Again I do not know if there is any adjustment to the valve train (if that is what this is) or if it could be exhauast (but it has never been modified) or even it it is a light piston know (but I doubt it). Just looking for info when I take it to Ford before warrenty goes.

Thanks.
 

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It does sound like something other than injectors could be going on. It's good that your service manager also heard it. They can't do the "can't reproduce customer concern"routine now. I would definately have it checked while still under warranty. Even if they give it back and say nothing's wrong, you'll have a strong case for warranty extension if something related goes wrong later. Have to be reasonable though, I wouldn't expect it three or four years later. However, if they find nothing wrong and a passenger side lifter collapses within a year or less, I'd expect Ford to cover or at least help cover the repair.

BTW, since you can hear it inside the car, does the frequency increase with RPMs? If not, it is definately NOT in the valve train. If yes, it could be anything that rotates, including but not necessarily valve train. Could also be a loose pulley, damaged A/C compressor, Air Pump, etc. Even the belt tensioner can squeek/tick/squeel. Since the tensioner is more towards the passenger side, might want to look there. There's a TSB on it but you can check it yourself quickly. Just open the hood with the engine running and spray a little WD-40 where the tensioner pulleys mount to the block. If that's your noise, it should dissappear immediately (only to return in a few days unfortunately). Mine has done this when cold for three years now (even after the TSB). Goes away after 5 or 6 miles of driving though.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think it does speed up with the engine as I recall (I will check tonight). I do know with cars it is sooooo hard to determine things just by a noise. Just wanted to check to see if there was some type of known problem that others have run into here.

By the way, and not to get too far off this subject, but related to what you brought up, my 98 4.0 SOHC Explorer's pulley tensioner on the surpetine belt bounces around (doesn't stay still) when running. On my 92 5.0 that stays perfectly still. Is it supposed to do that? Doesn't seem too normal (should stay still I think). I was going to see if there was a TSB on that pulley for this truck. Ford has had mega problems with the tensioner for the timing belt on this truck.
 

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I believe it's normal for the tensioner to move around, but it should only be a little. The movements are in relation to load changes (A/C cycling, computer idle speed adjustments in response to engine load, etc.). The tensioner's job is to keep fairly constant belt tension over these varying loads, therefore, it needs to move a little. However, the movement should be up and down, not in and out and shouldn't be excessive.

Also off subject, but we have very similar tastes in cars. I have a '97 Cobra and my wife drives a '00 Explorer (also 4.0 SOHC) - the tensioner is very still. I also owned a mildly modded (13.7 1/4) '89 5.0 GT until 1997. That was one hell of a car. In 160,000 daily driver and weekend warrior miles it cost me only two alternators, one fuel pump, one clutch, and two rear axles. And that was with full (8-10 events) autocross seasons, two or three drag test and tunes per year, and two road course rentals (Putnam Park in Indiana). Hope the '97 is as good (so far it is :D).

Any way, good luck with your diagnosis!
 
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