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Hey all, I have a problem with my car. It's a 1997 Buick Lesabre with a n/a series 2. It has just under 120k miles on it, so not very many for it's age.

It starts up a bit rough, but that's no biggie. I'm not too worried about that.

The problem is whenever I get on the gas (more than 1/3 pedal) it makes a ticking noise. The noise increases and gets louder the higher the RPM, and does not go away under WOT. This leads me to believe I need a lifter replaced. After getting home and popping the hood, I used a long screwdriver to listen to parts of the engine. I can hear a kind of grinding over one of the cylinders, on the valve cover.

But here's where things get weird. From a cold start, I can mash the gas all I want, and there's no ticking noise. I also listened to the same spot while the engine is cold, and there are no abnormal sounds.

If it was something in the valvetrain, wouldn't the ticking happen hot or cold, and at any RPM/engine load? If it matters, I used 10w-30, and have tried 5w-30 and still got the noise. I've tried using regular and premium gas, no difference. I have also run seafoam through the vacuum hose and oil, but no luck. At startup, oil pressure is about 50 psi, and just under 40 when idling warm, if it matters. The car still has plenty of power; passing and highway merging is no issue, even though the engine ticks like crazy.

I brought it to my mechanic (family friend) and he said he couldn't hear anything. He said the car could continue to make this noise for the rest of it's life without any issue. This was about 6 months ago, when the ticking was fairly quiet. It's gotten louder now.

I've heard about an exhaust manifold leak that would only make noise when warm, but I didn't notice any air escaping. This wouldn't explain the grinding noise that I'm hearing from the engine, either.

I have read a lot about this engine, so I know a pretty good amount, but I have no experience or tools. I'd be willing to learn how to fix it, but I need to figure out what's wrong first.

Help is appreciated, if there's any more info you need just ask. I'm gonna post this on a few more forums, this one seems pretty dead.
 

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I'm having the exact same problem...97 Bonneville

Timely thread. I'm having the exact same problem on a 97 Bonneville. I've seafoamed via pvc vacuum line, and added marvin's mystery oil to oil. Same deal as what you are having, when cold it's fine (no ticking), but once warmed up it starts ticking and gets progressively worse. I'm predicting it's exhaust related...cracked exhaust manifold or somewhere. When the car idles I can smell exhaust fumes just a bit. Still digging...
 

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you may have a cracked manifold, a leaking exhaust manifold gasket, or a leaking flex joint, they all make a ticking noise under load
 
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