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      02-21-2006, 02:56 AM   #1
ages944
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Metallic Ticking noise coming from engine?

Hi all,

Last week I noticed that my car's engine started to emit a metallic ticking noise while it was running. The noise seemed tied to the engine RPM, in that it would get faster / slower depending on the engine's speed. The noise is intermittent, and I haven't heard it in a couple of days. Has anyone else heard anything at all similar to this in their cars? Does anyone have an opinion to what it might be? I'm taking the car into the dealership on Thursday, but I'd like to have some idea of what might be going on first.

Thanks in Advance!


********
Update: 6/30/2007

I was perusing the net a couple of days ago and came across some great images of the N52 engine. Here are a couple that I downloaded that show the parts that cause the tick. I modified the first picture to clearly show the valve lifters.


1. Diagram showing the valve lifters
Name:  ValveLifter_Diagram.jpg
Views: 172449
Size:  68.3 KB

2. Engine cutaway view showing valve lifter position
Name:  014.jpg
Views: 155419
Size:  81.5 KB

3. Engine cutaway view showing valve lifter position
Name:  015.jpg
Views: 152305
Size:  86.7 KB

Last edited by ages944; 06-30-2007 at 12:20 PM. Reason: Updated - 6/30/2007
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      02-21-2006, 06:17 AM   #2
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I had the same ticking noise in my engine just before I reached my break-in. Some days it is there and sometimes it's not. It goes away after driving a couple of miles or when the engine is warm. Found out the oil level was low ( check you manual). I filled it to the max level and the noise never came back. If it persists then check with your dealer.
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      02-22-2006, 01:22 AM   #3
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Well, that would be a relief! I'll check the oil level tomorrow. I think I'll still take it into the dealer on Thursday though. If nothing else, I can use the appt to get my s/w upgraded.
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      02-22-2006, 01:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ages944
Well, that would be a relief! I'll check the oil level tomorrow. I think I'll still take it into the dealer on Thursday though. If nothing else, I can use the appt to get my s/w upgraded.
Man, I'd be worried if my engine were "ticking" because of low oil. That would imply that something wasn't getting lubricated.
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      02-22-2006, 03:23 PM   #5
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I checked with my dealer on this one and assured me that it is nothing serious. Some threads here or in bimmerfest suggest it could be the MAF sensor or something "hydraulic". In any case pls.do share your findings.
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      02-22-2006, 10:29 PM   #6
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Well, I checked my oil through the computer today after work. The computer calculated for a minute, then spit back that the oil is 'max'. Don't know if this means oil life is still at 'max' (oil change set for 13k mi), or if the level is at max. Kinda confusing. I'll ask the service dept tomorrow... Again, what was so terrible about a dipstick that they had to remove it?

ksfrogman, lemme rephrase. I am concerned about it, but not freaking out, only because it is intermittent, and there's no loss of driveability. If it was happening everyday, then believe me, the car would be on the first flatbed to the dealership.

I'll post more when I know more.
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      02-23-2006, 07:57 PM   #7
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One more day. Dealership didn't have time to get to mine today. Hopefully I'll get it back or have an answer this weekend. On the bright side, I get to drive a sweet E46 330xi as a loaner
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      03-01-2006, 08:43 PM   #8
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OK, so here's an update.

So, the dealership did a software update and was all ready to give the car back to me (they said the ticking was the injectors). Then they finally heard the noise I was talking about (to my relief). They spent today diagnosing it (in contact with BMW from what I'm told), and said that the valve lifters are out of spec.

They've got new parts on order but it'll be into next week before they're done reparing and Q/C'ing it again.

Is this something that anyone has ever heard of happening before? Do we have any professional mechanics on this board by chance? I'm wondering at this point what possible long-term implications there might be. Any advice would be a huge help!

Also, Tykes22 mentioned a similar noise resulting from a low oil level. Could this be a factor in causing the noise in my case as well? Should I ask the dealer to drain the oil and measure how much is in there (The theory for that being that the oil sensor is faulty). I've got about 6100mi on my car.

Again, any advice you all could give would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
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      03-02-2006, 08:51 AM   #9
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Thanks for your update ages944,

What do they mean "valve lifters are out of spec?" and which parts are they replacing?

After adding 1 liter of oil a week and a half ago the ticking sound went away and this morning it's back. I think this car needs a serious garage check-up next week. In the meantime hope those who have had this experience would share their advice. Thanks in advance.
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      03-02-2006, 12:43 PM   #10
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I had ticking too, in fact I started a thread a while back.

It's pretty much stopped I've got almost 2K miles, I tried different gasolines and am sticking with the gas I'm using now, never took it to the dealer, hopefully it was just an octane or break in issue.

It started at around 1200 miles.
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      03-02-2006, 03:08 PM   #11
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Thanks jflecha,

Quote:
hopefully it was just an octane or break in issue
Hmmm..., interestingly, I filled my tank with Shell V Power 100 (100 octane) fuel last weekend to compare with the 98 RON that I nornmally use. Next thing I plan is to use 95 RON and see if the noise will go away. I went to my dealer and they told me they cannot book me until after two weeks :mad: I'll try the other dealers.
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      03-02-2006, 09:54 PM   #12
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Just a quick update.

I asked the dealer to be a little more specific as to what parts they were going to replace on the car. My SA told me that the faulty part was the hydraulic valve lifter inside the cylinder head. I did a check at Real OEM and found the following part (it's the only hydraulic part in the drawing, so I am assuming that this must be what they're talking about).

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...47&hg=11&fg=25
(See part # 7 in the list)

After talking with the service advisor more, I no longer think that oil level has anything at all to do with it.

Tykes22 and jflecha, I would listen carefully to the sounds that are coming out of your engines before I wrote it off to low octane gas. The sound I heard was a) quite noticeable, and b) definitely metallic, though the sound had no resonant component to it (that is it didn't sound like a ping). Just sounded like two hard pieces of metal hitting one another. If the noises sound like this at all, then I would just take the car in. If it is serious, then better to catch it early.

Hope this helps
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      03-03-2006, 04:53 AM   #13
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Much thanks ages944

This is a very substantial post. I've read other related threads in this forum but were not conclusive. I hope you've identified the culprit. I printed out the link (per 330i model) and cant wait to show this at the dealer. The first time I took it to the dealer he just added a pint of oil and told me to drive the car hard and the noise will go away... which did when the car engine warmed up.

Yeah the sound I hear is exactly the same as you describe. Nothing wrong with the car handling but its so annoying to listen and think that a car so new would make such noise. Maybe this is why people turn their heads at traffic lights .

cheers
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      03-03-2006, 11:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ages944

Tykes22 and jflecha, I would listen carefully to the sounds that are coming out of your engines before I wrote it off to low octane gas. The sound I heard was a) quite noticeable, and b) definitely metallic, though the sound had no resonant component to it (that is it didn't sound like a ping). Just sounded like two hard pieces of metal hitting one another. If the noises sound like this at all, then I would just take the car in. If it is serious, then better to catch it early.

Hope this helps
Thank You!!!
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      03-04-2006, 02:31 PM   #15
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No problemo guys. If you all have the same issue, then hopefully it all gets fixed. I do have one bit of advice though. It took my dealership 6hrs of diagnostic to isolate the problem, and they only did that after they heard the noise. Given that the diagnostic takes a while, you want to be sure that they hear the noise in question, and not just hope that they hear it during the time they have it.

It might be best to take the car to the dealership the next time you hear the noise, and not wait for the appointment. I would just take it there and leave it running at the dealership until a tech comes out to hear it. That way there would be no confusion. Don't know how feasible that is for you guys, but thought I would throw it out there.

Cheers
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      03-08-2006, 11:22 PM   #16
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OK, last update.

I got the car back yesterday. Have to say that as nice as the 330xi was, I was still very happy to get back into my E90.

Anyway, though it's still too early to be sure, I am happy that I haven't heard the ticking since I got the car back. Here's the full rundown on what the dealer found on my car.

- Both hydraulic lifters on the exhaust side of cylinder #1 were out of spec. As such, they replaced all 24 hydralulic lifters in the engine. Following are the part #'s for the parts replaced. You can find all of the parts on RealOEM. That will give a very good mental picture of the work done.

(24x) Hydraulic Valve Lifters (push-rods): 11-33-7-548-690
(1x) Set of Aluminium Screws: 11-12-0-392-548
(15x) Torx Bolt: 11-12-7-535-024
(1x) Valve Cover Gasket: 11-12-7-536-785


Bear in mind that this was the work done per the diagnosis for my particular situation, and that it may not apply to everyone with a ticking noise.

In either case, the dealership (Bill Jacobs - Naperville) was great to deal with through the whole process. They took all the appropriate steps to identify the problem (once they actually heard the noise that is), called me every night to give me updates, answered all my questions thoroughly, and kept the entire experience devoid of BS.
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      03-10-2006, 05:13 AM   #17
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Thanks again for the last update. Glad to hear you're reunited with your E90.
My car engine's been quiet since the last time I scolded and threatened to send her to the dealer :-). Hope all is well for now.
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      03-10-2006, 09:58 AM   #18
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My 330xi also has this engine ticking noise. It was intermittent at first but is pretty regular now. Only 2,200 miles. I dropped it off at the dealers yesterday with a copy of this thread and of course when I got there it stopped ticking. Waiting to hear from them today. Hopefully it will do it for them when they start it this morning. They did give me a new 525xi (56 miles) as a loaner which is nice.
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      06-05-2006, 10:18 PM   #19
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I just picked up my car three days ago. It had only 1 mile on it. When I was checking the car I've noticed a tickling noise exactly as described here. Called the dealer. He drove a car to service and came back one minute later -- no noise. When I asked what was it? he said because the car had only 1 mile it had to run for a minute and the noise went away by itself. According to him he did not do anything. Now 285 miles and three days later the noise is back. I did not try to see if it will go away when warmed up or under load. I was just moving my car from driveway to garage. The oil level is max. Can I continue driving the car, wait and see if noise goes away or tow it to dealer. I really appreciate your advice.
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      06-05-2006, 10:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msinfo_us
I just picked up my car three days ago. It had only 1 mile on it. When I was checking the car I've noticed a tickling noise exactly as described here. Called the dealer. He drove a car to service and came back one minute later -- no noise. When I asked what was it? he said because the car had only 1 mile it had to run for a minute and the noise went away by itself. According to him he did not do anything. Now 285 miles and three days later the noise is back. I did not try to see if it will go away when warmed up or under load. I was just moving my car from driveway to garage. The oil level is max. Can I continue driving the car, wait and see if noise goes away or tow it to dealer. I really appreciate your advice.
I still get the ticking once in a while but its so infrequent that I've learned to ignore it already, it seems that some dealers are telling people its normal.

If its not constant I would'nt lose any sleep over it. Of course its totaly up to you if you want to pursue it with your dealer.
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      06-05-2006, 10:48 PM   #21
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Thanks. I probably try to drive it for a while than and see if it goes away.
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      06-05-2006, 11:01 PM   #22
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I never did find out if the bad lifters could actually have any detrimental effect on the life of the engine. BMW just said to replace all 24 lifters and that's what they did.

It's been a few thousand miles, and I haven't heard a peep (tick) out of the engine since. (knock wood). IMO, it was worth the hassle of taking it to the dealership though. Just the thought of having bad parts in the engine was irritating to me.

my $0.02
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