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TR2/3/3A Engine noise


Jedi Trainee
OK, I'm going to be one of those guys that ask you to diagnose an engine noise without hearing it. Actually, just maybe point me in a direction of what I might check. The noise is not present on start up and does not show up until the engine is warmed up after driving a while. It sounds like valve ticking, but since valves are adjusted cold, I would think that they would become tighter when hot... not looser. I've tried a stethoscope around the head, water pump, block, fuel pump etc and don't pick up any unusual sounds. It seems to be at idle and not when under load. It does increase speed with increased idle. The engine runs fine with good power. It's a '61 TR3 that had a '58 or so engine in it when I got it. I discovered a cracked block and it seemed the easiest fix was a good short block so it now has a late ('67 ) or so block but ALL the other parts came off the running '58 engine, essentially converting it to look exactly like the TR3 engine.( open breather road tube etc.) Everything was inspected at assembly and appeared good. It has been running with the current drivetrain for at least 3 years, and I think the noise has been around all if not most of that time.(probably less than 500 miles, I don't drive it often and mostly short distances.) Part of me says "It runs good, drive it" but the Henney Penny side says it's a ticking time bomb of some catastrophic failure about to happen. Any suggestions. Thanks, Joe

Geo Hahn

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Mine ticks. If the ticking were to lessen I would be checking the valve clearances.

What you describe may be normal - but impossible to say w/o hearing it.


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If it is a tick could be a lot of things. With these engines I am prone to valve noise coming from a worn out rocker shaft if you hear a tick. You could reset the valves a little tighter for a short time and see what that does. I had a rebuilt engine that ticked and I thought I went through everything and it turned out to be a lifter. I checked them by tightening them up one at a time. My hotrod buddy said tighten it to .006 and leave it-- I did, the noise went away and did not hurt anything. I usually only genuinely worry when the noise has a deep thud. The rest of the stuff, I let go of as normal, or find it after time or if it gets worse.

Geo Hahn

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...My hotrod buddy said tighten it to .006 and leave it-- I did, the noise went away and did not hurt anything...

I hope that works out for you. I set my exhaust valves to .012 (which may be why mine ticks) as I'd rather have a bit of noise than a greater risk of damage.


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Someone here said their noise was a bad spark plug wire arcing . After I saw that ,I went out & measured my wires(TR4 engine with a sometimes loud valve noise so I thought) . One Raja end was open ,probably arcing inside . Replaced it & now just have the usual valve noise (a loose valve is a happy valve ) .
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