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Tick, tick, tick… Is that an all-too-common sound you hear whenever you drive your Nissan 350Z? Do you turn up the volume of your radio in order to mask the noise? The sound can be both annoying and worrisome.
Well, the Nissan 350Z ticking noise can be an indication of quite a few problems, most of which point towards a problem with the engine. Some ticking noises may not be severe, but if the sound is loud and continuous, we suggest you get to the core of the problem immediately.
But until you can find a good mechanic for work, let us discuss what the ticking noise sounds like, what can be the potential problems leading to it and how to deal with them.
What Is A Ticking Noise?
Have you ever heard a wall clock ticking when there is silence all around? The Nissan 350Z ticking noise pretty much resembles that!
When you switch on your engine, it does accelerate with some sound, but when should you be worried? If the clapping/ticking/tapping/knocking sounds become louder when the car is idle or when you are driving, understand there is an underlying problem that needs to be inspected.
Although most of the time, the ticking sounds shouldn’t be much of a problem or not dangerous, as we say, it is always better to get it checked before it becomes unsolvable.
6 Reasons Why Your Nissan 350Z Produces Ticking Noise
Okay, so you couldn’t find a mechanic as yet? No problem! Rather than stressing over the annoying ticking noise, pull yourself together and read on to understand the major causes that may be contributing to the sound.
And with every problem comes a solution which we have discussed below:
1. Low Engine Oil Pressure
Problem: Did you forget to check the engine oil levels before starting your journey? One of the major reasons for ticking noises is low engine oil pressure.
When the oil levels in the engine drop below the average, it fails to lubricate the throttle and pistons; hence, the increase in friction leads to ticking noises.
Solution: If the Nissan 350Z ticking noise is being caused by low engine oil pressure, make sure you check the oil levels and fill up the oil pan to improve the lubrication of the pistons and the throttle.
2. Faulty Camshaft Lobe Or Lifter Tick
Problem: A faulty camshaft is another issue that may contribute to the ticking noises in your Nissan 350Z. But why does it happen?
When one of the lifters of the camshaft lobe slips out of position, it strikes the lobe hard and hence, blocks the flow of air and fuel flow in the combustion chamber that keeps the engine going.
A bad lifter can also cause ticking noise (commonly known as a lifter tick). The reason might be dirty oil deposits or a bent push rod.
Defective hydraulic lash adjusters can also cause lifter tick. People just drive with this noise, but it can lead to more serious issues down the line.
Hence, when the engine cannot complete its combustion cycle normally, you experience a tapping noise from the car. But the good news is, it can be easily identified and treated!
Solution: Take your Nissan 350Z to a highly experienced and professional mechanic to get a closer look at the camshaft. You can either get it repaired or replaced, depending on the amount of damage that has been caused to the camshaft lobe.
In case of a faulty lifter, it has to be pulled out and rebored.
3. Defective Fuel Injectors/Regulator/Damper
Problem: Fuel injectors are attached at the end of your car’s fuel system and are responsible for atomizing the fuel in the chambers for a smoother flow. But what happens if the fuel injectors become faulty?
When the fuel injectors wear over time, it hinders the process and may affect the engine’s health. Hence, one of the biggest indicators of worn-out fuel injectors is the tapping noise you are now experiencing with your Nissan 350Z.
Fuel regulators also cause ticking noise, especially when the car is in an idle state, say at a traffic light.
Ticking noise from the engine area might also be caused due to a fuel damper.
Solution: Visit the nearest car expert to get the fuel injectors checked and replaced if needed. In other cases, repairing these can also help you get rid of the tapping noise.
You can check the fuel regulator yourself by putting your hand on the fuel pipe next to the fuel regulator valve. See if the pulsing is in rhythm with the ticking noise.
The same process can be used to diagnose the fuel damper. To deal with the issue at hand, you’ll need to replace the fuel damper and the attached hose on that cylinder bank.
4. Exhaust Manifold Leak
Problem: The exhaust manifold design varies from car to car while it serves the same purpose of transferring gasses from the engine to the exhaust, so these are vented out of the car.
When the exhaust manifold develops a leak, the process is compromised, and you hear the tapping noise from the car. But once your engine is all heated up, the ticking sound may vanish.
Solution: If the noises lead to an exhaust manifold leakage, you need to get it replaced ASAP because the fume produced in the engine is super toxic and can be harmful to your health if inhaled for long.
5. Damaged Spark Plugs
Problem: When you own a high mileage car like the Nissan 350Z and hear a ticking noise from it, the first thing you should check is the spark plugs. On average, the spark plugs need to be changed after you’ve run the car for a good 100,000 miles to avoid problems later.
But if you haven’t, the spark plugs may damage over time and cause the car to make a weird tapping sound. Although damaged spark plugs aren’t a serious problem, it is better to deal with them sooner to eliminate the noise. Worn-out spark plugs will prevent your car from even starting in the first place.
Solution: When your Nissan 350Z ticking noise leads to damaged spark plugs in the car, simply get these replaced by an expert.
6. Decaying Pulleys or Splitting Timing Chains
Problem: Okay, so if none of the above factors contributed to the ticking noise, where else do you need to look then? We’d suggest taking a close look at the idler tension pulley.
When the pulleys wear out over time, the tension between them increases, and hence when you accelerate the car, it creates a weird ticking noise. But of course, small problems like these can easily be dealt with.
Some users have also reported that the ticking noise was caused due to splitting timing chains. You’ll have to replace the timing chains, the tensioner, and the water pump to get rid of this issue.
Solution: If your expert mechanic points out the worn-out pullies to be a source of the noise, get them replaced right away.
Are Some Nissan 350Z Ticking Noises Normal?
It is okay to become uneasy and stressed out at ticking noises from your car, especially when you’ve started to experience it out of the blue. But, you need to understand that unless the ticking noises are super loud, these might not indicate a potential problem.
Yes, you read it right! Some ticking noises, to your disbelief, are pretty normal and may indicate a healthy engine or car all in all. What are we talking about? Well, here are some tapping/ticking/clicking noises that are very normal when you are driving high mileage and a sporty car like Nissan 350Z:
- Fuel Injectors: Little do car enthusiasts know that if you listen to the fuel injectors closely while the engine is on, they make a ticking noise but not a loud one. Thus, if the sound amps up over time, then you might need to get it checked by a professional.
- Purge Valve: When the engine burns oils and produces gasses, the purge valve installed there is responsible for releasing them. Hence during the process, you may experience a soft ticking noise which is absolutely normal.
- PCV Valve: The Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve is attached to the bottom of the car engine and produces gases when the engine burns fuel for running. Thus, it may produce some soft tapping noise during the process, which shouldn’t be a problem unless it becomes louder over time.
- The car is just cold: The Nissan 350z ticking noise can also occur momentarily when the car is cold. It will go away once it warms up.
Should you drive the Nissan 350Z with the ticking noise?
If you have been experiencing the tapping/clicking/ticking noise for quite some time now, it is always advisable to get it checked by a professional to rule out any serious problems.
But unless the ticking noise is hindering the car’s functioning, driving with it can be safe. Most of the time, it’s just the cam hitting the spring buckets. The ticking sound is normal for all solid valve trains with manual lash engines.
Can you get rid of the ticking, clicking, thumping, or knocking noise?
Yes, you can only if you visit a professional and have him look at it. The noise can be an indication of multiple underlying problems; thus, rather than wasting time on finding the cause on your own, it is better to seek expert help.
Why does the Nissan 350Z ticking noise starts?
Some people started experiencing it at just 22,000 miles and for some, it didn’t occur until the 60,000 mark. It depends on well you take care of your vehicle.
Can the clicking noise occur somewhere other than the engine?
Clicking noise from the rear axle is a very common issue among all 350z owners. The axle nut comes loose due to vibrations and starts making a clicking sound if left untreated.
Ticking noises are tricky. If you hop into an online forum or Youtube, there will be many 350Z owners complaining about this issue. Surprisingly, the causes are entirely different. For some, it is the lifter tick, while for others the fuel injectors/regulator/damper is acting funny. Nonetheless, clicking sounds are cries for help and might indicate a serious underlying issue.
If the ticking noise is getting louder by the day, do not ignore it and visit a certified dealer for help. It is always advisable to get it checked before it develops into more serious issues.