Valve Clearence, ticking sound - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2008, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Valve Clearence, ticking sound

As the owner of my third subaru with an NA 2.5x 07, I know that the boxer engine has a unique sound and inherintly has a loud valve ticking noise. I know on my honda you can adjust the valve clearence if the get noisy.

I notice that at idle to about 1500 rpm from inside the car, I am starting to hear a louder than normal ticking/pinging noise. It does not sound like anything loose in the exhaust but rather like the valves are getting loud.

Can you adjust the vavle clearence on the 2.5? What else could be making this noise if not? I have 16,000 miles.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2008, 08:50 PM
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Valve lash is adjustable. The subaru service manual says .20mm intake and .25mm exhaust (cold). There is a 10mm lock nut over an adjustable stud that contacts the stem of the valve. You have to remove the valve covers to do so. Also, remove the section of timing cover on the driver side to show an arrow on the driver side cam gear. Pointing the arrow by rotating the engine will allow you to adjust a certain cylinder at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock position. I forgot the order but I think it's 1, 4, 3, 2...you might want to confirm that. It's a tight fit, jacking the engine up and removing the battery, washer bottle, and intake box helps. There's a spec on the underhood decal for the valve clearance, but it's a little looser and causes more valve noise I've noticed. The other thing I've noticed (especially at that low of a mileage) is the injectors can make a similar type sound. They're not bad, just a little noisy. Hope this helps.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-29-2008, 06:23 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the info. I would love to tear into this myself, but because it is still under warranty, I will have to let subaru do this one.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-29-2008, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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You mentioned about the injectors....were you implying that there could be something wrong with them that they would be noisy, or where you implying that they usually make noise, and maybe that is what i am hearing?
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-29-2008, 11:12 AM
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I've heard a few that were just noisier than most. They still function fine, just tick a little louder. It's kind of hard to get them replaced for noise.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-29-2008, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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the noise i am hearing is a metalic pinging that is coming from between the alt / power steering pump and top of the intake manifold. I hear it intermittent at idle up to 1,500 rpm. Injectors?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-30-2008, 04:20 PM
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No, the noise you're describing doesn't sound like injectors. If you're taking it in for warranty, mention the noise and see what the dealer tells you.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-30-2008, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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I have already had it in for several "other" noises already. (rattles, heat shield, brake shift solenoid popping (4 times)). I have been in so many times they all know me by my first name. I can just seem them rolling their eyes when I come in 4 weeks later complaining of another "noise".
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 06:56 PM
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i seem to have te same rpm range tick/light knock and from around the same area, seems its a western NY problem. Whats the update on this?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-16-2008, 05:54 PM
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cold weather + tick = normal

People have had their theories, but no one has actually narrowed it down to an exact cause. Some mention injectors. Some mention valve clearance. Some mention piston slap. Take your pick. As far as most folks are concerned, they're all right.

Basically it's normal. It starts to become noticeable when the temps start to drop. Then a bunch of new Subaru owners start complaining. All most people suggest is to drive the car lightly until temps get up to normal. Nothing specific wears out from this tick. Nothing breaks. There is no long term issue really associated with it. You have engines that have 200k to 300k miles that had the tick from day one.

A couple small notes. The tick is proportional to the temp, colder = louder. Upon very cold temps, it's possible to run the car where the tick never completely goes away. I've found oils seem to help the issue some. I have switched to 0 weight synthetic oils, and the tick is less during cold times. I can't say why specifically.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-01-2010, 11:51 AM
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backroad runner has the meat of it. both noises can occur within the normal range. if valve clearance is correct and mechanicals good, then any valve noise is normal valve noise. sometimes i've found that the two sounds occur under somewhat different condition, at least in the other types of engines I have more experience with.

and piston slap is mainly a matter of piston-to-cylinder clearance, which is only adjustable by changing pistons, an expensive operation. some piston clearance is necessary for the operation of the engine, so some piston slap can occur in normal operation.

valve tick would be more consistent within engine conditions- temperature, rpm, etc., and is kind of like an old-fashioned typewriter in character. piston slap would would come and go more with enginer load conditions--when running along at a constant moderate rpm, and varying the throttle from off to on-load or on-load to off throttle, the piston slap would vary distinctively, coming and going with the load conditions, while at the constant rpm the valve noise would remain about the same as valve clearance [and noise] is not influenced by engine load at a constant rpm. piston slap often has a little different sound as well, not the typewriter tickey noise, but more like a china cup in a tin can sound.

valve clearance is more a matter of temperature (valve clearance) and how hard (fast) the cam lobes are hitting the valve or rocker arm (rpm dependent), not load dependent. that's my experience anyway, even though I'm new to Subarus. hope this not TMI!
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 09:37 PM
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My 2000 Forester used to make this same ticking noise but only in winter when it was cold, and only on a cold start. After a few miles the noise would stop when the engine was warmed up. I just recently upgraded to a 2006 forester and it ran very smoothly and quietly until a few days ago after I added oil to after noticing it was very low. Now the engine is making that same ticking noise as with my 2000 forester but in the middle of July which I've never experienced. It's loud enough that I can hear it at 70 mph with music on and the vents on full. Any ideas?
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 10:33 PM
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Mine does it maybe early in the morning or in very cold weather, but otherwise my car is very quiet. So quiet, in fact, I can hear the PCV valve but not much else. This is a good running Foz with 97k miles. Oil quality makes a difference. I am using Mobil 1 EP 5W30 full synthetic. I can imagine the Sub making a lot of noise on rot gut dino oil.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 02:59 AM
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A 5 year old car with 16k miles...the worst thing for a car is to sit unused they were not made for that. You are probably seeing a lot of issues stemming from that.

On another note mine ticks though its not as noticeable when it warms up, and nearly nonexistant when hot. The valve tappets aren't known for being quiet but they are reliable.
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