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Head/Valves (Engine?) Ticking at high RPM/speed

Discussion in 'Chevy Silverado Forum (GMC Sierra)' started by Bowtied, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. Bowtied

    Bowtied Member

    Hey guys, I have come to the board under concern for my truck and this weird noise it makes (or has been making) when it goes into a high RPM/speed situation, such as when overtaking on the highway or when merging into the highway at moderate to high RPM's.

    The head (valves? engine?) would make a ticking sound that i found horribly concerning, almost as if i increased the rpms any higher the engine would simply throw a rod or spin a bearing. But i wasnt really at redline or even pushing the engine that hard, In my opinion. 3500-4500 RPM.

    This had been the norm, and so i rarely put the engine to its limits so i wouldnt have to hear that noise, it was audible from inside the cab, without the radio on and was 100% RPM related. As it would never happen when the engine was at a lower RPM only whenever I pushed the Automatic transmission to downshift and cause it to roar to life, then the ticks would appear.

    Fast forward to this november and I noticed that under intense, very intense RPM's nearing redline 5,000 RPM or so, the engine is no longer making this noise, and Im not sure if its a change in oil brand, I recently switched from Pennzoil to valvoline and I commonly use whatever is on special so many different types of non-synthetic oil have been in my truck. (i may start sticking with one brand to try and eliminate factors here) also, I had a water pump issue which has been resolved, and the radiator fluid has been flushed and changed so with that and the cold-ish weather (here in Houston, TX) the truck has really been top notch lately, and the absence of the noise had me concerned about what might've been going on in the past.

    Could it have been a temperature issue? oil issue? combination of both? The engine is running super strong, just @ 125,000mi I really wish I knew whether i had the canadian CASATECH heads so I could know whether I've got a serious problem headed my way, or whether Im safe for the time being.

    Just sorta thinking out loud here about a problem that has since stopped but still very curious why it started to begin with, i know engines tend to be noisey at times, especially in instances where its the dead heat of summer under heavy load and that the same engine load during a moderately cool night may have different results regarding a suspicious noise...
  2. Guardrail

    Guardrail New Member

    It could very well have been the water pump. The higher the RPM, the faster the water pump spins. ( or any accessory, for that matter) if the noise went away, I wouldn't be too concerned. It's hard to diagnose something that is not there.
  3. RayVoy

    RayVoy Active Member 1000 Posts

    A ticking sound that changes as rpm changes could be a lifter. Our value lifters (hydraulic) use oil to keep them inflated. As a lifter wears, the oil leaks out causing the lifter to collapse before the valve is fully opened. Sometimes the leak is caused by wear, sometimes the leak is caused by a piece of dirt trapped inside the valve. If yours have stopped "ticking", the different oil could be providing a better seal, or, the new oil may have moved the piece of dirt. Either way, the lifter is working.
  4. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

  5. j cat

    j cat Active Member 1000 Posts

    your ticking under high load is most times pinging . with the coolant system/water pump replaced and with no coolant leaks the coolant should properly cool the system .. with higher than the proper temp of the engine then you will get this pinging. also the KS will throw back timing so that you loose a lot of MPG.

    with no coolant pressure the coolant will boil ...then the temp surges upward.

    if your lifters where bad/not working correctly this ticking would be at the low rpm / idle ..
  6. Bowtied

    Bowtied Member

    temps heated back up in houston today into the low 80's it seems that anything over 70 degrees causes this ping or tick at high speed RPM to return.

    i might add that my CEL is on currently for a knock sensor issue (water in the intake) but this problem has been happening years before the CEL came on.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013
  7. j cat

    j cat Active Member 1000 Posts


    THE KNOCK SENSOR CONTROLS THE TIMING WITH ENGINE KNOCK. this may be why you get this..until you fix it I would use higher octane fuel.
  8. Bowtied

    Bowtied Member

    Hi guys i just wanted to report back about my issue, under heavy load prior to the CEL light incident which was just out of coincedence was for the knock sensor, the engine is in fact ping'ing alot, i have done much more investigation and resaerch into this since creating this thread and can verify 100% that it is in fact an engine ping when the rpm's are say high, 3500+ rpm, under heavy accel,

    In my investigation i found that they suggest that this may be due to a carbon build up in the combustion chamber, so bad, that it's effectively changing the compression ratio of the engine, they suggested a now discontinued like a "GM combustion chamber cleaner" (intake? cant really remember), the only thing i could find similar was this AC Delco product:

    http://www.amazon.com/Genuine-88861803-Engine-Injector-Cleaner/dp/B00BK7LR36

    Alternatively they said Seafoam would work.

    Have any of you guys had enough of an engine ping under heavy accel and/or high engine load that caused you to concern there was a high build up of carbon in the chamber warranting a need to clean it? The truck is just turning 10, at a 2004 model with 135,000 miles.
  9. RayVoy

    RayVoy Active Member 1000 Posts

    Carbon build-up was a problem years ago when cars did a lot a short, around town trips. The engines wouldn't get up to "normal" operating temps and the carbon would form.

    The cure was to take the vehicle on the highway and drive it at, or slightly above, the highway speed limit for awhile, the high temps would burn out the carbon.
  10. j cat

    j cat Active Member 1000 Posts



    techron has an injector/combustion chamber cleaner to add to the fuel. I believe its techron plus.. the plus is the combustion cleaner. cheap gas from no name gas suppliers can create these issues.

    I use MMO with the fuel. this cleans the fuel system and removes the carbon deposits.I also use techron every 3-5kmiles. the carbon reduces the size of the combustion chamber this then requires the use of higher octane.

    I never used seafoam . my 2000 5.3L 150,000 plus no carbon issues run 87 octane [shell/mobil fuel]..

    with the use of non synthetic oils this will cause more of these carbon issues. the oil boils off at a lower temp you get more blow by gases running back into the intake to be burned up. since My engine uses about 1/2 qt at the 8,000mile change interval this may be why the carbon issue is not with my engine. 5-30wt mobil 1..

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