2003 mustang v6 tick on start ups.

HomemadeLemonade

New Member
Jul 13, 2020
2
0
1
29
New York
I recently got a 2003 mustang v6 convertible. I noticed that when I started her up the next morning, a tick sound would appear and it would dissipate after 15-20 seconds. If i leave the car off for an hour, then start it up, the same thing happens. Tick for 20 seconds, then goes away. Ive looked at countless forums and my best bet is that its a lifter. Any thoughts?
 
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08GT500

Active Member
Jul 12, 2018
858
133
53
49
Massachusetts
Hi,
Congrats on the new Pony! A lifter sounds like a reasonable guess. Was it was an exhaust leak it’d likely occur much longer or full time, an arcing wire would do the same.A bearing noise would tend to be a deep “knock” versus a “tick”. Where does the factory oil pressure gauge read, does it swing right up into the mid-range when started?
The Car runs and drives well, no hesitation, idle, or other issues?
How many miles on the Car (Motor)?
Did this occur when you started it up & test drove it/were considering purchasing the Car? Unfortunately, the V-6’s are the Cars that people just drive, many don’t change the oil at 3-4K intervals.That Crud inside gets into lifters and affect them first, causing them to stick slightly as the the smallest orfices exist inside them. 3.8’s are resilient motors, so..
For the short length of time the noise occurs, I’d suggest the low tech approach and change the oil with a good full Synthetic oil and a Motorcraft Filter, stock Viscosity.
Drive it a bit, if the noise persists, although I don’t subscribe much to additives, due to its Detergents, adding a can of Liquimoly 20004 cleans any deposits, does work quite well.
—>If the oil has recently been changed, correct viscosity & is running a good Filter, adding a can (don’t overfill the Crankcase) will save you a few bucks and tell how sticky the lifter really is.
Look carefully at the oil you remove for particles, cutting the filter open will give you clues as to what the inside of your motor looks like.
Plenty of further directions to go to cleanse out the motor with a high detergent oil, all the way through replacing liters, if required. will help you help yourself as long as it takes to clear it up. Generally they respond very well to TLC.
Best!
-John
 

HomemadeLemonade

New Member
Jul 13, 2020
2
0
1
29
New York
Hi,
Congrats on the new Pony! A lifter sounds like a reasonable guess. Was it was an exhaust leak it’d likely occur much longer or full time, an arcing wire would do the same.A bearing noise would tend to be a deep “knock” versus a “tick”. Where does the factory oil pressure gauge read, does it swing right up into the mid-range when started?
The Car runs and drives well, no hesitation, idle, or other issues?
How many miles on the Car (Motor)?
Did this occur when you started it up & test drove it/were considering purchasing the Car? Unfortunately, the V-6’s are the Cars that people just drive, many don’t change the oil at 3-4K intervals.That Crud inside gets into lifters and affect them first, causing them to stick slightly as the the smallest orfices exist inside them. 3.8’s are resilient motors, so..
For the short length of time the noise occurs, I’d suggest the low tech approach and change the oil with a good full Synthetic oil and a Motorcraft Filter, stock Viscosity.
Drive it a bit, if the noise persists, although I don’t subscribe much to additives, due to its Detergents, adding a can of Liquimoly 20004 cleans any deposits, does work quite well.
—>If the oil has recently been changed, correct viscosity & is running a good Filter, adding a can (don’t overfill the Crankcase) will save you a few bucks and tell how sticky the lifter really is.
Look carefully at the oil you remove for particles, cutting the filter open will give you clues as to what the inside of your motor looks like.
Plenty of further directions to go to cleanse out the motor with a high detergent oil, all the way through replacing liters, if required. will help you help yourself as long as it takes to clear it up. Generally they respond very well to TLC.
Best!
-John
Thanks John!

The car runs and drives perfectly after the 20 seconds. The tick never appears again when im driving it around. The engine has 97k miles on it, and its definitely a tick not a knocking sound. The idle is perfect no problems at all. I just got concerned and I dont really know where it came from exactly. I will try replacing the oil and see if that fixes the problem. Thank you :)
 

74stang2togo

I need something stupid to play with
Mod Dude
Mar 7, 2002
7,941
3,782
224
Check the exhaust manifolds, exhaust manifold gaskets, and exhaust flange gaskets for leaks. When an exhaust manifold cracks, or one of the gaskets first starts to leak, a "ticking" noise that goes away as the engine warms up is usually the first symptom.
 

OldSchoolNoe

Member
Nov 13, 2019
8
2
13
32
California
2002 V6 have a cracked exhaust manifold. It shows all symptoms that HomemadeLemonade described (ticks for a few seconds on startup). Will replace with BBK shorty headers in the future. In theory, I believe I can still get 30,000 + miles out of that exhaust manifold (current miles = 128k). I see no way it can catastrophically fail so it is a low priority. I live in California so rust is not an issue, I rarely run the AC and heat.
 

ShagsSN95

New Member
Jul 22, 2020
10
0
1
48
California
Hi,
Congrats on the new Pony! A lifter sounds like a reasonable guess. Was it was an exhaust leak it’d likely occur much longer or full time, an arcing wire would do the same.A bearing noise would tend to be a deep “knock” versus a “tick”. Where does the factory oil pressure gauge read, does it swing right up into the mid-range when started?
The Car runs and drives well, no hesitation, idle, or other issues?
How many miles on the Car (Motor)?
Did this occur when you started it up & test drove it/were considering purchasing the Car? Unfortunately, the V-6’s are the Cars that people just drive, many don’t change the oil at 3-4K intervals.That Crud inside gets into lifters and affect them first, causing them to stick slightly as the the smallest orfices exist inside them. 3.8’s are resilient motors, so..
For the short length of time the noise occurs, I’d suggest the low tech approach and change the oil with a good full Synthetic oil and a Motorcraft Filter, stock Viscosity.
Drive it a bit, if the noise persists, although I don’t subscribe much to additives, due to its Detergents, adding a can of Liquimoly 20004 cleans any deposits, does work quite well.
—>If the oil has recently been changed, correct viscosity & is running a good Filter, adding a can (don’t overfill the Crankcase) will save you a few bucks and tell how sticky the lifter really is.
Look carefully at the oil you remove for particles, cutting the filter open will give you clues as to what the inside of your motor looks like.
Plenty of further directions to go to cleanse out the motor with a high detergent oil, all the way through replacing liters, if required. will help you help yourself as long as it takes to clear it up. Generally they respond very well to TLC.
Best!
-John
One of the first, easiest, and best for engine longevity Upgrades you can do is change your Roller Rockers to 1.8:1 As part of the swap you can check and replace any bent lifters and really smooth out your engine sound as well as increase response time through the rev range. Its relatively inexpensive comes in right about $200. Check videos on YouTube, its not a difficult swap.
 
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