Chevy Silverado Engine Ticking Noise

I’ve heard many complaints from customers, in person and online, about a ticking-type noise coming from the engine on their Chevrolet Silverado. Usually at start-up it is loudest, and this may even cause a misfire condition on a particular cylinder. The noise seems to be rotational, usually about half the speed of the crankshaft. Lately, I’ve seen a few of these in the shop, and it almost always comes down to a bad lifter, or a bad cam lobe.

You can usually remove the valve covers, and reinstall the coil packs to be able to run the engine with the valve covers removed. The noise is very much more discernible now, and moving from cylinder to cylinder with a screwdriver or other listening tool, you can locate which cylinder has the noise. Now, sometimes you may find a broken valve spring, but this is very rare on the 5.3 and 6.0 engines.

How To Repair

Once the noisy cylinders have been located, the head will have to come off next. This involves removing the intake, exhaust manifolds, rockers and stands, sensors and wiring, accessories, etc. Actually it isn’t that bad of a job to take one of these engines apart, and I always do this with the engine still in the truck. With either cylinder head removed, you can access the lifters. There is a plastic retainer, or ‘guide’, that is bolted over the lifters and lifter bores. Once removed, pull out the lifters one by one. If you have a truck that has the Active Fuel Management system, you will notice that the lifters for cylinders #1, #7, #4, and #6 are different that the rest. These are the special lifters that can cancel out cylinders. These are NOT interchangeable with other cylinders, so make sure everything goes back in it’s correct spot.

Visually inspect the lifters, and especially the rollers for deterioration. This will look like small metal chunks missing from the roller. This is most times the problem causing the noise and the misfires. Easily remedied by a set of new lifters. You should always replace all sixteen lifters when you do a job like this, even if only one is bad. You can probably get away with only doing one bank, either right or left, if you have noise only from one side of the engine, but you’ll always be better off doing them all.

Now, it is very important to check the camshaft lobes on the affected cylinders with bad lifters. If enough time passes with the chipped up lifter roller continuing to run on the cam lobe, it will chew up the camshaft as well, and it will need to be replaced. This is a MUCH more involved job if you have to replace the camshaft. You’re almost better off removing the engine to do this, but it can be done in the truck. I’ve done this job in the vehicle before, but just about everything needs to come out. The front cover has to come off, the oil pan has to come off, the oil pump needs to be removed, etc. On 4 wheel drive trucks, that means the front differential has to come out if you’re doing it in the truck. Like I said, LOTS of work!!

Luckily, most times you can catch this problem before the camshaft gets ruined, which is a good thing! If you’re pretty handy and have the tools, this is very much a job a moderately experienced person can probably do. It does get quite expensive to have this type of repair done at the dealership. One word to the wise though…..always use GM parts!!

Chevy Silverado

Radio Problem

My radio is out on my 2004 Chevy Silverado. Cannot tell from fuse diagram which is the one that controls it.

Does the radio light up at all?

No neither does the clock. It is an XM with 6 CD changer

Give me a moment and I will locate which fuse you need to check… you need to check the underhood fuse box, there is fuse labeled ‘RADIO’ and is a blue 15 amp fuse. Should be an easy check!

Thanks, I did not check the underhood box. The owners manual did not list a radio fuse on either box.

It is in there.

Engine Oil Capacity

The dealer recently replaced the oil pan gasket on my 08 Silverado 4.8L because of a leak. I just changed the oil and filter and it only took 5 1/2 qts. instead of the normal 6 to bring it to the full mark. Anyone know what would cause this? Thank you.

If does not sound like you actually have any sort of problem. Maybe you just did not wait for the oil to fully drain back to the crank case before you checked it. Maybe the filter is not the correct size, so it does not hold the same capacity as it was with the filter that has been put on the truck in the past.

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6 comments to Chevy Silverado Engine Ticking Noise

  • Jim

    How to replace exhaust check valve on the right side firewall! Don,t see much room to get back to pipe nuts. Thanks Jim.

    • ProTech

      You could try using a crows foot wrench, that’s usually the best way. By the way, next time please include what kind of vehicle you are talking about. I have no idea if you’re changing the valve on a Ford Mustang, or a Cadillac Escalade! The more info, the better. Thanks and good luck!

  • David

    Where the oil level sensor located on a 2007 Checy Silverado and how do you replace it?

    ProTech: The oil level sensor is located in the oil pan, right underneath the vehicle. It is easily removed and replaced.

  • Roger

    I have a 2000 Silverado four wheel drive. I took it to the repair facility to have the starter changed. When I picked it up they said it had a loud noise in the engine. Indeed it did. A rhythmic clacking. I have heard loose rods before, this sounds different. I drove it home and it held 40 psi oil pressure and normal engine heat. Any ideas what this sudden event could be caused by?

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