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300TDI engine noise - help please

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Hi Chaps,

I have a 300TDI in my auto 90 however it has recently developed a tapping noise, the noise appears to come from the rearish of the engine as it seems louder when standing beside the wing but almost disapears when standing in front and seems to be 3 ticks.

I have removed the aux belt and the nose is still there so it is not an ancillary, I have adjusted the tapets and checked all around the engine with a stethoscope and cannot locate the noise.

The ticking gets faster as the RPM rise but do not get louder, I have had a look at the flexplate throught the inspection hole and cannot see any evidence of cracking.

There seems to be no loss of performace- ha.! nor any other issue such as vibration I can feel.

I have added an audio file of the noise if someone has an idea please throw it out as this is driving me quietly mad.


300TDI Engine tap.m4a



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Hi thanks for the reply,

I've checked the shaft & arms when i adjusted the tappets the caps are free and move easily and none are cracked.!

when i checked with the sethoscope there was no trace of the ticking noise.

again thanks for the help.👍

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Or head gasket blowing at the back from No.4 cylinder. If it's that you can probably feel it by sticking a finger near the head gasket joint at the back of the engine - there's a bit of a ledge where the head is a wee bit shorter than the block. It sounds like a badly adjusted tappet. You'd feel it as puffs of gas. If it is that, don't delay fixing it as it can damage surfaces.

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unlikely you would feel an exhaust blow from manifold joint unless it's conveniently in the one or two places you can get at . Get a new gasket and pull the manifolds off - you could remove the inlet manifold to allow a much clearer view first ? 

If it's not that then I would agree about the HG being the next most likely cause . 

I know you've already checked the tappet clearance but a second look to confirm before you pull the head ? 


Steve b

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If the noise sounds like someone flicking a taught sheet of paper, then the head gasket is the likely cause, probably between the fourth bore and the back face of the engine, which is a common failure point on Tdis and especially the 300.

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I would get a replacement head gasket (Elring) and renew it as it is easy enough to do. If you don't want to do that then I think it is worth buying a new exhaust gasket and replacing it ensuring the manifold is torqued up correctly just to rule it out.  

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Thanks again for the replies,

Tonight I pulled the Vacum pump and stripped off the air cleaner and pipework so I could see the rear of the head.

With the engine running the tick is still there 😥 though only as it starts to warm up .? after dousing the back of the head with brake cleaner there is no blowing from the rear of the head as i'd have seen the liquid blow off.

So tomorrow I'll refit the vac pump and strip off the manifolds...



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  • 1 month later...

Just an update for anyone with a similar noise in the future..

As sugested I pulled the exhaust manifold and found it was blowing on #4 cylinder that was replaced, but the noise was unchanged.

I bought a replacement flexplate, pulled the transmission and found the flexplate was good and slightly thicker than the replacement I had bought from Ashcroft.

The engine was run up without the autobox and no noise..!

Looks like the sound is coming from the autobox, there is no change in performance, I replaced the oil & filter which came out clean there were no leaks around the TQ so I'll run it until it goes clang and give me a chance to save up for a new box.

Thanks for the replies👍


Edited by Gren_T
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