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Drivetrain ticking

3471 Views 27 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Stranger
Ok so I searched around on the site and I don't see any threads on the same problem.

When I'm going slow, below about 12 MPH (20 Km/hr), there is a very loud ticking noise that occurs about every second or so. It only happens when I'm moving and it does not always happen. It's been like this for about a year now and the garage has looked a number of times and can't find anything wrong.

The truck is a 2004 LE 4x4.

Any suggestions? Diff, tires, something inside the tire, brakes, universal joints? I'm stumped.

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Does the frequency of the tick change if you go faster or slower? My first guess would be the brake pads moving around, which is normal. I'd suggest putting your foot lightly on the brakes and see if the noise goes away. If it does then there's not really anything to worry about, if it's annoying then you can put some brake quiet on the pad backing to try and hold the pads in place better.

If the noise is still there even with pressure on the brakes then I'm not sure what else it could be, one of those things that's hard to diagnose without being there or being able to hear the noise itself.
It still happens with the brakes are on and the front rotors and pads are only two weeks old now. What I am trying to figure out though was whether it happend when I had the factory rims and winter tires on. I really don't remember it then but then again I didn't have the window open a lot in the winter either. If it didn't happen then, however, it may be pointing more to an issue with the big tires or rims.

It's louder than what I would think the brakes moving around would be. It's like a playing card stuck in a bicycle spoke but it only happens about once on every rotation of the tire or so. It's a distinct and fairly loud "TICK".

I realize it's hard to diagnose without being there but I thought maybe there would automatically be 10 people that said "oh I had that problem and it's . . . ."

If no one else has had it, perhaps that's a start anyway. At least I'll know that it's likely something to do with my specific set up. Could be the crappy '04 front diff, or something to do with the levelling kit or I'm thinking more and more the 20's and Terra Grapplers maybe.
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Oh and yes, I think the frequency does change with speed change but as soon as I get to 20 km/hr it goes away.
My first thought is inspect all the tries and look for a screw or something stuck in the tread.
Interesting that you mention that it may have started with the tire/wheel change. Do the wheels have a center cap that snaps on? I've seen a lot of vehicles have loose center caps that make a ticking noise, though they also make a bit of a rattle at lower speeds when going over bumps or bumpy roads. Maybe try tapping the center caps and see if any of them aren't stuck in/on completely snug and rattle a little. If so, you should be able to pop it off and either adjust the snap ring (spread it out so it's a little larger and is more snug) or adjust the clips if they're metal.
No nails in treads as it also happens on gravel or sand or snow (although I did just plug a nail hole yesterday in one of the tires).

There are centre caps that bolt on with one bolt (American Racing Prism rims that Docopharm used to own)and they are never fully tight but they are snug on there. I may try to take them all off though just for kicks and see if there's any chance that's it.

Any more ideas are welcome. The shop thought it was something to do with the rear brake guards once and they took some pieces off but that wasn't it either.
Well wasn't really a tick, but worth a shot- as you said you replaced the pads not to long ago correct? Did you grease all your slide points... I replaced my rears and the clips that go into the piston were moving around spread them out just a bit and put some brake lube on them as well as the slide points and noise was cured... but as mentioned not really a "tick" but worth a shot if your bored some sunday afternoon! Good luck =)
I have the same problem. My problem started few months ago. The ticking occurs only when the truck is cold or been parked for few hours. It disappears when the truck is warm. I've been scratching my head trying to figure out what's causing the problem. This is driving me crazy.
did someone put a zip tie on your driveshaft?
I think it happens cold or hot for me. I'm very suprised that no one else has had the same problem though. Usually every little thing I am trying to figure out has been discussed indepthly on here. It makes me think more and more that it's a unique problem with my wheel and tire combo.
if you notice it most when your truck is cold, and the sound gets quieter when your truck starts to warm up it is most likely that you have a cracked exhaust manifold. They are covered for 8years/80,000miles.
I think for my ticking, it doesn't matter whether it's cold or hot, just as long as I'm under 12 MPH, it happens.
Mike (iceman-tx) had a ticking comming from his truck...and he narrowed it down to the rear end. He crawled under it to take a look and his passenger side axle seal was I had 2 seals (one on each side) go out before they replaced my 04 rearend with an 08, and I never heard any ticking.

Also this is the amazing part. His 04 has 110,000 miles on it and this is the 1st seal leak, he also has not had any brake judder...until now. I think the fellas that built his T had OCD or

So check your rearend for any leaks.
If someone else figures this out let me know. I have the same problem and can not find the cause.
Just started getting the tick tick tick from the front wheel area. Nothing is visible. I thouight is was the brake pads so I changed them. They were due at 36000 miles. That wasn't it. Its pretty loud. Seems like every rotation of the wheel. Did anyone ever figure out what it was ?
Also it happens no matter how fast I'm going but you hear it more at lower speeds. It definatly is comming from the front so I don't think its the rear going bad. The frequency increases as the speed builds.
I took all the hub caps off my AM Prism wheels and the ticking still happened . . . back to the drawing board.
I found out what was making the sound on my truck. On the inside of the brake rotor there is a thin piece of sheet metal. I noticed that it was very close to the rotor so I pried it away a little with a screw driver. Took the truck out and the sound was totally gone. The inside area of the rotor, where the brake pads don't touch, was rusted and some flaked off on one end. Somehow the sheet metal piece got bent in toward the rotor and with each rotation would scrape the high spot.
I have the same thing going on.... right leak of the rear axle....will check for sheet metal.
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