4.9 ticking when cold
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HT4100 4.1, 4.5, 4.9 Discussion, 4.9 ticking when cold in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; 1991 DeVille, 4.9, 117,000 miles. Runs great. BUT, when the engine is cold it ticks. Not a ping, but the ...
  1. #1
    designengineer is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    4.9 ticking when cold

    1991 DeVille, 4.9, 117,000 miles. Runs great. BUT, when the engine is cold it ticks. Not a ping, but the same noise as when a car is low on oil. I have tried different viscosities (10w-30, 5w-30, 20w-30) different oil additives, different filter brands, to no avail. I know when it gets summer, the ticking will stay away until fall, but it continues to bother me. It ticks for about 3-5 minutes after the first start of the day, and depending on how cold it is outside, it can be very loud.

    5 quarts and the dip stick says full. It does not burn oil at all, and I change oil every 3,000 miles. I have owned this car for a year, and it has done it from day one when the weather is cold.

    Any thoughts?

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  3. #2
    illumina's Avatar
    illumina is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 4.9 ticking when cold

    You may have the 117.xxx mile tick coming from the roller lifters. You should be fine if that is the case...

    My 4.9 did that too.

  4. #3
    CadiJeff's Avatar
    CadiJeff is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 4.9 ticking when cold

    All of my 4.x engines have ticked. are you sure it is coming from the engine and not the accessories? the ac compressor clutch when disenguaged might make a sound similar to what you described. still it dosn't sound like something to wory about.

  5. #4
    designengineer is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 4.9 ticking when cold

    I guess then that this is common in this engine? I have never owned a car that did it before, no matter how many miles were on it.

  6. #5
    Edahall's Avatar
    Edahall is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: 4.9 ticking when cold

    Sounds like a stuck lifter.

    Next time you're about ready to change the oil. Add a quart of transmission oil to the crankcase and drive it like you stole it. ATF oil is high on detergent and can clean the varnish out of the lifters.

  7. #6
    designengineer is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 4.9 ticking when cold

    I tried using Marvel Mystery oil (1 qt) a few months ago, which is also a high detergent oil (I think), but there was no change. ATF will not hurt it?

  8. #7
    Edahall's Avatar
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    Re: 4.9 ticking when cold

    Did you get the engine up to max rpm's with the MMO?

    ATF should not hurt the engine if you just run it for a short time before changing out the oil. It is thinner viscosity so you probably would not want to run it for extended periods of time.

  9. #8
    designengineer is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 4.9 ticking when cold

    Every time I tried to get high RPMs, I would get a check engine light. Any help would be appreciated. I found a post on this site that said to drive in a lower gear with high RPMs for a while with MMO, but that gave me a check engine light or maybe a transmission warning light, I don't remember for sure.

  10. #9
    Edahall's Avatar
    Edahall is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: 4.9 ticking when cold

    Have you checked for codes? At the top of the 4.X forums is a sticky that explains how to access the codes and how to decipher them.

  11. #10
    awadecki is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: 4.9 ticking when cold

    Hang on, this "tick" might actually be the No. 1 main bearing when you first start it--in other words, don't worry about it. I've had 2 4.9s and they both made a slight noise when cold. If the noise is more like a knock than a tick, this is probably your issue.

  12. #11
    designengineer is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 4.9 ticking when cold

    I am also plagued with the infamous 4.9 knock which is clearly evident at low speeds under a load (going up my driveway for example). This is completely different. This is a distinct ticking noise that happens when it is colder than 50 degrees, and goes away when the engine warms up. If the engine is warm, it does not do it at all. Luckily, when it is warm is when the main bearing starts knocking, so I don't have to worry whether the engine is running or not. I just turn down the radio and listen to the ever present knock.

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