Engine tick on startup

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227
Car is question is a 1984 Supra with a 5MGE inline 6 engine, no mods whatsoever. My car developed a startup ticking noise about 3 years ago. I run my car only once every weekend for a long drive. At startup, there will be a tick tick tick noise (don't know how do describe it better, but it's definitely mechanical and coming from the engine) for about 4 to 5 seconds then goes away. Starting the car while warm doesn't do this, and it also doesn't happen if I start the car the next day. No noise either on idle. It seems to take a couple of days off to do this noise on startup. This leads me to think it might be due to the oil draining down. When it began doing this, I was running a genuine Toyota oil filter, the next year I switched to a Wix and it still does that noise. I don't think I could have got 3 faulty anti-drainback valve filters in a row over 2 brands. I've had the car for 9 years now, always ran the same oil type, Castrol GTX High Mileage 10W30. I change the oil every year, so it's about a 3000 KMs (1800 miles) interval. Engine is currently at 174000 KMs (108K miles). No noticeable smoke. The problem didn't get any worse since it began 3 years ago. What might cause this and will that damage the engine over time ?
 
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1,015
It sounds like a hydraulic lifter is bleeding own over time and takes a bit of time to pump back up upon startup.
 
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15,089
Likely HLA pumping up. Also Sometimes V belts and idlers make a racket as they loose their wrap memory. Just know that most all engines make racket whilst warming up. Only excessive and long lasting racket could be a concern. I don't recall if this is a dry timing engine. Has the cam Timing system been refurbished since you have owned the car? Also you don't have to change the oil every year - it doesn't help and may hurt.
 

Astro14

Staff member
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11,064
Hydraulic lifter has lost its pump. Or, exhaust manifold leak. Exact same symptoms. Given the car's age, could be either. A stethoscope would be a great investment.
 
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Originally Posted by Lapham3
It sounds like a hydraulic lifter is bleeding own over time and takes a bit of time to pump back up upon startup.
+1 That is with 99% certainty what it is on this engine. OP This causes no damage long or short term, on some engines its totally normal, probably just a little varnish in them. You could try running a 16oz bottle of Rislone high mileage the next oil change for a full OCI, if it makes it better fine if not forget it. With an engine this age I would be a little cautious with strong solvent type additives, the Rislone HM seems to do a pretty decent job for a few bucks from Walmart. I have some seals of different type materials including some old school neoprene ones sitting in it for the last 3 months with nothing to report, no change in size or suppleness.
 
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