msinfo, thanks for the kind words. Hopefully the repair remains one long term.
Just to clarify for everyone. My dealership at first tried to tell me that the ticking I was describing was normal (the cars do have a slight
tick during normal idle), and after a couple of days at the shop and not having heard the noise I was talking about, they were all ready to send me on my merry way. Yes, it was rather frustrating. All I could do was ask them to keep trying (turn the car on first thing in the morning, etc). In my case I did get lucky in that they did finally hear it during that first service visit. Once they heard it, they were all over trying to isolate and resolve the problem. Therein lies my point. Once they themselves actually saw/heard the issue, they went right ahead and took the necessary steps to fix it. But, if the dealership can't replicate the problem, you'd have to agree that it's a bit retarded for them to just randomly start pulling the car's engines apart on the basis of the customer saying that they heard something. Remember that many car owners don't know the first thing about how their cars work. Not saying this is the case with anyone here (I don't know any of you), but I'm just saying it to try to understand the service dept's point of view. Remember that the cars are under warranty, so the dealership is going to get paid for whatever they need to replace. However, I don't think they get reimbursed if they open up the car only to find that nothing's wrong with it. Hence why they're reticent to open up the engine just because 'you said so'.
Hence, the best advice is just stuff everyone's been saying:
1. If you hear the noise (see the MP3 or the videos in this thread), do not wait to have the car taken in. This will reduce the risk of more extensive damage to the engine.
2. If possible, make a recording of the sound, or better yet a video like klinkerklu did
3. Bring the camera/video recorder with you to the dealership, and perhaps a couple of print-outs of some of the work orders that others have posted in this thread.
That way you should be able to show the service dept that the noise you're describing isn't the normal tick, but an abnormal one. They'll be able to "see and hear" the noise, even if your car isn't actively ticking when you bring it in.
... BTW, I agree with msinfo that the methods he described for avoiding the tick seem to work. However, I don't know if doing those things in moderation are all that bad for the engine. Let the engine warm up before you drive hard (I personally don't move the car out of park until the choke turns off), but occasionally it's good to 'stretch her legs' a bit. Maybe not between every single stoplight, but occasionally. Spirited driving need not necessarily mean redlining the engine constantly. Again, to each their own on how they want to drive the cars they've paid for, but for me, the last time I heard the tick I got a little upset upon hearing it. As such, after the engine warmed up, I gave her the boot a few times during the commute to work. Not reckless, but spirited. When I got to work (which is 11mi from my house), I noticed the tick was gone. Was it the best for the engine, I dunno. Do I think in my opinion that I harmed the engine? Nope. Did the tick go away? Yes. Would that method work again next time? I don't know. Would I try it again? Yep. Did I feel
better afterwards? Absolutely