My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

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that_slow83
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My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

Post #1 by that_slow83 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:07 pm

Hey guys,
I daily drive a 1983 Ford F-150, 300 inline six, np435, 4wd w/ NP208 tcase.

The problem:
Ever since I fixed my exhaust (January 2018), making the engine as quiet it should be, I have been hearing a consistent tick when I put the engine under load.
It gets louder and sharper when I give it more gas, although it seems to get overpowered by the normal sound of the engine if I give it 1/2 or more throttle.
It happens a lot when the engine is cold or hasn't been driven for very long, and it usually sticks around, but isn't as loud, after the engine is warmed up and has been running for a while.

Background information:
I am running conventional 10w30 oil with a bottle of STP ZDDP additive mixed in. Four days ago, I put in a liter of Rislone oil additive but haven't seen much difference yet.
My oil pressure stays at 50 psi on cold starts and stays there until the engine is completely warm. Then it goes between 25 and 40 psi.
My engine temp is standard; always sits at 190.
I have repaired and replaced many parts on the truck, but I haven't been inside the engine yet. My best guess is something valvetrain related.

Hear it for yourself:
Here is a short video, showing the sound of the engine after a morning cold start. The ominous tapping starts to pick up around 26 seconds, after I shift into third gear...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd6_zCLD0KA

Thank you for your time. I hope we can solve this problem together and maybe this thread will help someone in the future!

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Re: My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

Post #2 by Harte3 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:50 pm

Check the exhaust manifold for cracks and the 'donut' gasket where the manifold hooks to the exhaust pipe. These things can cause a 'ticking' noise. Might check down stream in the exhaust system for a blockage while you are at it. If the Cat has not been changed it is probably well overdue.
'83 F150 300, 0.030 over, Offy DP, Holley 4160/1848-1 465 cfm, Comp Cam 260H. P/P head, EFI exhaust manifolds, Walker Y Pipe, Super Cat, Turbo muffler, Recurved DSII, Mallory HyFire 6a, ACCEL Super Stock Coil, Taylor 8mm Wires, EFI plugs.

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that_slow83
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Re: My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

Post #3 by that_slow83 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:52 pm

Harte3 wrote:Check the exhaust manifold for cracks and the 'donut' gasket where the manifold hooks to the exhaust pipe. These things can cause a 'ticking' noise. Might check down stream in the exhaust system for a blockage while you are at it. If the Cat has not been changed it is probably well overdue.


Thanks,
I have already changed the donut gasket, and when I had the exhaust done they tossed the cat and replaced it with a straight section of pipe.
The noise started right after I had the exhaust, from the downpipe back, changed. Before that, I had a rusted out cat and a rusted out muffler so the engine was loud enough I couldn't really hear anything anyways.

The manifold is the part I haven't gotten a positive confirmation on yet. I haven't seen any problems but I haven't been able to inspect it much due to other parts being in the way. I would not be surprised to find a crack in the one-piece, cast iron manifold.

If this noise is coming from a mere exhaust leak, that would be good news.

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Re: My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

Post #4 by BigBlue94 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:50 am

Sounds like a very loose rocker arm or a connecting rod starting to go.

That ain't no exhaust leak, and I wouldn't call it a tick, more of a clack. Id pull the valve cover and take a gander
1985 Bronco. 300-6, NP435, 4.56 gears, Detroit locker and tru-trac, 4" lift, and 37" swamper tires. 300 has a 4bbl and headers.

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Re: My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

Post #5 by jason832 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:42 pm

Its hard to hear on my phone speaker but maybe you didn't install the manifold to head gasket very well.

Did you scrape and clean the two surfaces super clean before installation? If any material or carbon is left over the gasket won't seal properly.

Maybe you goofed the gasket or if its the two piece Mr.gasket one half is overlapping?

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Re: My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

Post #6 by that_slow83 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:43 pm

If it was a connecting rod, would that be impacting compression? I'm going to do a compression test this weekend, also probably will take off the valve cover and have a look.

I didn't do the exhaust manifold gasket. I have done the valve cover gasket, pushrod cover gasket, EGR gasket, and donut gasket.

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Re: My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

Post #7 by BigBlue94 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:12 pm

Yes a loose connecting rod will have a very erratic compression reading.

My guess is a loose or very dry rocker arm. Have you checked the oil?
1985 Bronco. 300-6, NP435, 4.56 gears, Detroit locker and tru-trac, 4" lift, and 37" swamper tires. 300 has a 4bbl and headers.

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Re: My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

Post #8 by that_slow83 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:21 pm

BigBlue94 wrote:Yes a loose connecting rod will have a very erratic compression reading.

My guess is a loose or very dry rocker arm. Have you checked the oil?


Okay, thank you! I will post my compression results when I get time to check that. I'm planning to take a month-long road trip in a week and a half, so I hope the tick is easily remedied or superficial.

As for the rocker arm:
I have checked the oil and it looks golden brown and is at the proper level. I am running 10w30 dino oil with a zinc additive and some engine treatment mixed in. Oil pressure is usually close to 50 psi, sometimes around 30 on idle.
I haven't looked at the rockers since I did the valve cover gasket last september. What should I look for if I pull the valve cover, and also how would I check tightness on these non-adjustable hydraulic lifters?

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Re: My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

Post #9 by BigBlue94 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:37 am

You should be able to turn the pushrods, but they will have resistance. I've never messed with a non-pedastal mount rocker on these. I did have one fail on a chev 350 at 120mph. Pushrod was bent and the rocker was sitting sideways.
1985 Bronco. 300-6, NP435, 4.56 gears, Detroit locker and tru-trac, 4" lift, and 37" swamper tires. 300 has a 4bbl and headers.

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Re: My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

Post #10 by that_slow83 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:30 pm

Alrighty. Today I did a compression test and got pretty steady readings of 185-190 for every cylinder except #4, which only had 160.
I put some oil in the cylinder and tried it again, and got around 177 out of #4. I think the piston rings must be worn on that one.

Then I pulled the valve cover. I ensured all the rocker bolts were at least 20 ft lb, and that all pushrods spun free. The only things I noticed out of the ordinary was that the exhaust rocker on #5 wasn't oiled very well, and there was light smoke coming out of the pushrod holes (blow-by?)

Everything seems to be in reasonably good condition for now. I think at this point my noise is probably caused by a clogged up lifter on the #5 cylinder. I'll run some more oil treatment and see if it frees up.

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Re: My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

Post #11 by jason832 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:42 am

Compression is probably fine 160+ is pretty good. With a lot of milage the lifters might start to tick. I had a high milage 300 that ticked, put a set of summit brand lifters and all was well. If you plan on putting a ton more milage on it I'd consider new lifters.

Pull the rockers, pushrods, distributor, side cover, take a flathead screwdriver and grab the lifter in the lip and ram it up and down until it works its way out. After soaking the new ones in oil drop them in and reassemble everything (I keep the rockers and pushrods in order 1-12). Tighten the rockers down for each cylinder as that cylinder is at tdc. Use some break in oil and run it varying between 2-2.5k rpm for 20 min. Check rockers and make sure pushrods spin. Oil change and its good to go.

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Re: My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

Post #12 by that_slow83 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:32 am

jason832 wrote:Compression is probably fine 160+ is pretty good. With a lot of milage the lifters might start to tick. I had a high milage 300 that ticked, put a set of summit brand lifters and all was well. If you plan on putting a ton more milage on it I'd consider new lifters.

Pull the rockers, pushrods, distributor, side cover, take a flathead screwdriver and grab the lifter in the lip and ram it up and down until it works its way out. After soaking the new ones in oil drop them in and reassemble everything (I keep the rockers and pushrods in order 1-12). Tighten the rockers down for each cylinder as that cylinder is at tdc. Use some break in oil and run it varying between 2-2.5k rpm for 20 min. Check rockers and make sure pushrods spin. Oil change and its good to go.


I sure would like to get rid of the tick. I like the smooth noise that most 300's make.
I'm not super experienced working with valvetrain...
I've heard you need a new cam if you get new lifters, is that true for these engines?
And I tightened my rockers yesterday without turning the engine at all. Do you need to put each cylinder to TDC only when you're putting new lifters in?

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Re: My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

Post #13 by jason832 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 1:50 pm

A new cam requires new lifters, new lifters can be used on an old cam. Also if you remove old ones and they are to be reinstalled, they must go back to the same hole.

You can pull all the old lifters and install new ones in one go. I just wouldn't remove or tighten the rocker arms unless the cylinder is at TDC because you want no load on the rockers.

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Re: My 1983 300 has a mysterious tick!

Post #14 by that_slow83 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:51 pm

Turns out I didn't install the valve cover gasket quite right, it started leaking as soon as it warmed up. I have to take a decent length road trip in about a week so I think I'll put the lifter replacement project on hold for a while. I might run some more detergents to try and free up my bad lifter, but in the meantime I can rest easy knowing it's not internal damage making the noise.

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