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Lifter Tick? Or Rod Knock? WHICH ONE??!!!

1300 Views 25 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  VBBlckBlt
Well, my bragging about NOT having lifter tick, I believe, has now come back to haunt me.

But I'm a bit scared that it could be rod knock (well, not scared, it's under warranty!).

So how can I tell?

What I have sounds like it's only happening on one or maybe 2 cylinders... not really fast.

It also seems to be coming from LOWER in the engine than what I would expect lifter tick to come from... more on the driver's side... and I can hear it when I'm driving. It seems to come from around the clutch pedal when listening from inside.

It's pretty loud, even my wife can hear it from the passenger side (she also says it sounds like it's coming from near my feet).

And what concerns me most is it is more prevalent when the engine is WARM, and when just "cruising".

I can make a very high quality recording of it if that would help... and put a HQ MP3 up so everyone can hear it... let me know if that would help.
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My lifter tick always sounds like the driver's side of the engine.

From what I've discovered (I could be proven wrong) rod knock usually doesn't last very long IE - you'll hear it and 5 minutes later your car won't move anymore.
Rod knock does NOT go away. It can get louder as you rev the engine and as the oil warms up. Rod knock sounds like a KNOCK. Lifter tick sounds like a TICK. I can't imagine getting the two sounds confused.
Jeff's Right!

As a veteran of not one, but two spun bearings resulting in rod knock (mind you, that's the same motor, spun once and rebuilt and spun again) you CAN'T get them confused.

It is a clear BANG BANG sound that gets louder as the RPM's get higher. I drove my first blown motor home from the track a full 30 miles keeping the RPMs at around 1800 the whole way where I couldn't hear the knock. Anything over that, and especially in the 3000-4000 range it was LOUD!!

So, unless you can develop a rod knock over time that gets louder and louder as it pounds your bearings like a penny on a railroad track then you will know the difference.

post the mp3 anyway...that way if it is knock, others who arent sure if theirs is ticking or knocking can judge by yours
Sorry, I can't really help but I am going to use your thred to ask a question. So lifter tick is a small tick tick noise that goes away once you start driving and only is audable every so often right? And it is nothing to worry about. I hope so I'm all poor and in college.
Don't forgot that the throw-out bearing noise from the manual tranny's (5 and 6 spd) is also great at making a scary rod-knock like noise. The noise is harmless however. Have someone push the clutch in all the way and hold it there. See if the noise still remains.

see why we need that mp3? ;)

stick your head close (but not too close hehheh) to the valve-cover area
if its bad tick, it'll sound like its gonna hit you in the head!
then put some Gunk Engine Flush in there, run 5 minutes, change oil & filter (Castrol GTX & Mitsubishi Filter)
and tick is gone! (i speak only from my recent experience here)

also doesnt tick go away after about 3k rpms?
Ok, I'll do the MP3 but just looked and I cant seem to find any DAT tapes... I have some on order that should get here later this week. When I record, I do it RIGHT... I'll be using a $600 microphone into a DAT recorder, then digitally into my editing system, encoding MP3 with a $100 Fraunhaufer encoder and posting it. :)

Thanks for the advice guys... man it's LOUD though... a lot louder than the other lifter ticks I've ever heard.

Maybe it IS the transmission, though, I did just have it replaced... I'll try the clutch thing.
Hey look what I found... a DAT!!

So the only problem I had was some electronic noise... man these cars are full of electronic fields!! I couldn't find a place that DIDN'T give me a "buzz" sound. oh well.

On top of that, the tick is MUCH QUIETER than what it has been. I even ran it hard for a while to see if I could get it to come back. No luck.


First file is just an example of my "world's loudest fuel injectors"... I"ve lived with these from the beginning and I'm about 90% sure it's the fuel rail.

I include this recording because you'll need to "filter" it out when you listen to the recording of my "lifter tick". The recording was done with the mic about 1/4" away from the fuel rail, I kind of moved it back and forth:

FUEL RAIL SOUNDS (approx 136kb)

The second recording was done by sticking the mic up under the car in FRONT of the driver's side tire.... it's about 6" towards the center of the car (from the inside edge of the tire) and about 3" back from the front edge of the tire.

Remember, it's not as loud as it was before, and you'll hear some "buzz" in this recording.

LIFTER TICK??? (approx 219kb)

Well, there you have it, I'm dissapointed with how the recordings came out but hopefully they will be good enough!
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Doesn't sound like rod knock to me. Try getting a recording next to the oil pan.
doesnt really sound like tick or knock to me...try the clutch.

mine was like "RAPPA TAP TAP TAPPA RAP TAP TAP TAP. Yes, who is it? Its me, engine-death!"

yours sounds like mainly fuel rail up top with maybe a *hint* of lifter noise.
down bottom really sounds like maybe the tranny problem
again, try the clutch, cuz mine makes some noise like that too until i press the clutch
Actually, it DID sound like the tick to me.....

How old is your oil?
What type is it?

I've been pushing this method lately. I have tried it twice, both times with very satifactory results (both on the 94 and the 95). I must give credit to "WICKEDDREW" for reminding me of this on the 95.


1 - quart engine flush ~$3.00.
1 - quart RISLONE OIL TREATMENT ~$3.00.
4 - quarts CONVENTIONAL 10W/30 or 10W40 (depending on climate) ~$8.00
1 - quality oil filter (OEM or equivalent)

optionally, but preferred:

1 - PCV valve ~$7.00
1 - additional oil fill gasket (only if current oil fill plug is leaking down valve cover).

Run engine to normal operating temps.
Stop. Put in Flush and run for prescribed time (usually 4 - 8 mins).
IMMEDIATELY drain oil/flush mix until ALL is out of the engine (be patient).
Remove old filter. Discard.

Pre-charge new filter with RISLONE (fill til almost full, take a dab, and run it around the rubber gasket). Put new filter on.
Pour remaining RISLONE into engine. Fill to FULL mark with the DINO oil.
Replace the PVC (and the oil fill gasket, if necessary).

Improvement will not be IMMEDIATE...give it a couple of days.

In the three cases I'm familiar with, the tick was GONE in 3 days.

For < $25, its worth a shot.

Please post results if tried.

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Im with him. Thats basically what I did - then I drove 300 miles. Its GONE!
I was on it hard this morning (some SUV cut me off and then harassed me), ie 100+mph in 3rd gear.
I got out, popped the hood, no tick at all!

i was in rightmost left-turn lane at an exit ramp.
he pulls up in leftmost lane.
we both turn left, but he turns faster and cut into my lane in front of me
i tail him ;)
i pass him doing about 80...then 100...then (hes trying to keep up gwaaahahahaha)
i stop at light in leftmost straight lane
he stops beside me in turn lane.
opposite light turns green (accross from us)
then, ours turns green - except not the turn lane. hahahahahhaha! he even lurched forward out of expectation - jerk

what was stupid is we were the only ones at the exit ramp. it wouldve been easier to get behind me instead of cut me off
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Again, thanks for all the help... I forgot to mention, I did try the clutch thing and it's still ticking.

again, remember it's not ticking even HALF as loud as it was a couple days ago. We're talking loud enough to hear INSIDE over the stereo at "normal" listening loudness.

Oil type is Mobil One 5-30. Oil is about 2000 miles, and about 4 months old. I have done the flush thing, 2 oil changes ago but that was before this tick started.

I also have a new PCV about 5k miles ago, and doubled-up on my gasket at that time as well.

I'm due for another oil change so I'll go ahead and do the flush again and use Risolone this time. I have used Lucas before (the oil change right before the flush). I'll also use 10-X (can't remember, 40 is for winter, right?)

I'm satisfied it's lifter tick but sort of disappointed... my warranty will replace the engine if it's Rod knock but I have to show a "visibily damaged" part to get anything else replaced... my understanding is the lifters don't really "look" bad so I doubt the warranty company will replace them. We'll see, though!

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Its injector noise, I believe.
I think 10W40 would be right for winter.
The thing with conventional oil is:
1) it has more detergents that synth. (cleans out adjustter holes).
2) its denser, and causes the seals to swell more. (hydraulic seals).

Just my .02 WAY am I ever using Mobil Synth's again!!!!!

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I have found that my lifter tick gets noticably louder just before time to change the oil. My next oil change is at 81750, I currently have about 81500 and the tick is becoming noticable. I would recommend changing the oil and it will likely quieten down to acceptable levels.

Also, I started a thread several months ago about the difference in tick and knock. A lot of people posted some very good ways to tell the difference and it became pretty good reference material. Look here:
JeremyG said:
yeah. Mine is HELLA loud when the hood is open.

sounds like someone threw two or three really small pebbles in a blender and turned it on a slow speed.

but it's NOT lifter tick. I know what that sounds like.

Part of me just wants to upgrade to 450's just to get quieter freakin' injectors. But that's money I can't afford just for 'noise reduction'

Those damn lifters!

From what I have been told at the dealership, the ticking that comes from the lifters is harmless; however, I found it to be as embarassing as all hell....I mean, who wants to drive around in a $45,000 + sports car that ticks like an old alarm clock?? This summer I had finally had enough, and bit the bullet (I had all 24 of the lifters swapped-out). This job cost me around $1000 to have done, but at least I don't have to listen to that damn ticking noise. By the way, does everyone realize that Mitsubishi is aware that these lifters were mis-engineered?? In fact, the lifters were re-engineered twice in the last four years that the car was in production!! The problem (from how it was explained to me) is that the oil galleys in the lifters are too small; therefore, Mitsubishi went back to the drawing board twice to make these galleys larger (and thus eliminate the ticking problem). I had the lifters from the '99 version installed and have heard no ticking since...
On a second note, is it just me or doesn't somebody else think that a recall should have been issued by the manufacturer? I realize that the ticking sound is not a safety problem, BUT why should we have to absorb all of the costs of replacing parts that were screwed-up from the beginning? This whole scenario has really TICKED me off!!
Just wondering what others have heard, and if anyone has ever had ANY money reimbursed as a result of replacing the lifters?? Thanks....
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Red....thats a good question...

...but my gut feeling is that Mits is going to want to absorb another issue the size of GETRAGS. I had two warranty replacements in the 94, and have found out that I am on the third in the 95 as well. The last one was around $4800 (I think) that Mits ate.

If you find out otherwise, Im sure we'll all be in line for warranty lifters (good thing mines "RESTING" for the winter with 59,2XX on it ;) )

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