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Discussion Starter #1
Awkward clicking sound?

Hey all,

I've got a '97 T-Bird with the stock 4.6 engine in it (just turned over 106,000 miles), and it seems to run just fine with one exception.

When I have more than ~35-40% throttle applied as I'm accelerating (and another case which I'll go into shortly) from a stop, there's this annoying clicking or knocking sound that seems to be coming from the engine when the transmission shifts into (and all through) third gear. It seems to stop when the transmission shifts into fourth gear (although I can't recall if it ever happened in fourth on the freeway - I almost want to say that it does happen but I can't be sure at the moment).

It also comes back if I accelerate sharply as to cause the transmission to downshift into 3rd gear. The noise also increases in frequency as the engine RPM increases (it seems like there's roughly one click per engine revolution, but I haven't taken measurements so I can't be sure), which is downright scary to hear. So much so that I neglect pushing the engine too hard.

I might be able to get an audio recording of the sound if any of you need to hear it. It vaguely reminds me of the sound a grandfather clock makes as it ticks away, although it's much more... metallic.

What might this be? Should I be worried?
 

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WOT Junkie and avid corn burner
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Do you use regular (87) gas? Try using mid grade (89) and see what it does. My '96 does something similar. If I run it on 87, it makes a slight ticking noise like that under about 60-100% throttle. Best thing to do If this happens is to immediately let off the gas until it stops.
 

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Mine has an injector click at idle because the gas in the car is 6 months old. Run some seafoam through it with 93 octane gas and see what that does.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I did try running 93 two summers ago, and for the most part the noise seemed to go away in casual driving. I can't seem to recall what happened with more aggressive driving. Is there any particular reason it might only be occurring only in third (possibly fourth as well) gear(s)?
 

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Yeah, theres nothing like crop dusting the neighborhood.


I think it has to deal with the load on the engine, not positive though. Your cats could be going out too, I remember mine made a clicking sound under load when my cats were going. Do you have any check engine lights or anything?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So it's most likely something with the engine then? I was worried that it might be something with the transmission.

As a matter of fact, I'm gonna take the bird out right now to warm up the transmission to see where the fluid level is. Speaking of which, what happens to a transmission that is either over- or underfilled?

I will give the Sea Foam + 93 octane a try, but it'll be a couple weeks before I can empty my recently filled tank of 87.
 

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Voice/Data Guru
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yep done my jag back in the summer put it in the plenum let it set for about 45 mins got back in fired her up NOTHING tached it up to about 3k and still nothing thought Well this is going to be like other storys when peps put it in and nothing happens . I then took it down the street and when it hit 4k you would have thought the bottem had hit the road !!! :) God smoke everywere LOL
 

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smoothed and filled red pearl 94
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an underfilled trans will not engage a gear from a stop without heavy throttle, then it snaps in and takes off. not sure about overfilled.

-John
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just checked - it happens in 4th gear too. Not 1st or 2nd though.
 

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WOT Junkie and avid corn burner
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Engine loading is higher in these gears at 60% to WOT.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's not so much a rattling as it is a repetitive click. It's a unique sound that I find difficult to find an accurate analogy for, but the closest I can come is to the sound a grandfather clock makes as it ticks away.

The MAF sensor was replaced on the car about a year ago, should I still examine and attempt to clean it?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It must definitely be related to engine loading. I just seafoamed the car at 4500-5000 RPM and the engine sounded completely normal. I have yet to seafoam the fuel system but that's coming in less than a week (after I empty my tank).
 

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you dont have to empty your tank to seafoam it.....so long as you are about 3/4 full it will be fine after you fill it up....remember that you have a return style fuel system....the fuel pump is always pulling fuel from the tank and whatever is not used by the engine is being sent back, so it will still mix well as your driving, or even just idling
 

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Discussion Starter #17
It might be a tad early to say, but after replacing the spark plugs and seafoaming the engine, the clicking seems to have gone away. My 'test' was only a light one, but I didn't hear anything awkward when I was sure I would have before.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just came in from replacing the plugs on my bird. Strange as it may seem, each and every one of the plugs that was pulled had at least a .076 inch gap - a whole 50% more than the spec on the emissions sticker (.052-.056)!

I'm surprised it wasn't misfiring. Any ideas on why they might have been installed like that?
 

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Surprisingly enough, a lot of people don't even gap the plugs when replacing them. They'll put them in right outta the box, then wonder why certain problems come up. While the car might run with the gaps that far over spec, I think it would put a pretty big strain on the coils and shorten their normal lifespan considerably.
 
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