View Full Version : Tick at idle?

12-31-2010, 11:25 AM
I bought a 2006 HHR with 44,000 miles on it a couple weeks ago as a Christmas present to myself, GM Certified used, and have since put 1,200 miles on it. I noticed the other day that on occasion at idle I can hear a tick in the enigne. I do plan on getting it in to have it looked at by the dealer under warranty, but I wanted to know, is this common at all? If you've experienced it what was it?

12-31-2010, 11:33 AM
Depends on how loud the "tick" is. It could be lifters but, if it is just a low and slight ticking noise, it's probably the fuel injectors.....which is normal.

12-31-2010, 11:37 AM
Well the first thought is you might be hearing a hydraulic lash adjuster in the valve train ticking away because of slightly excessive clearance. Does the tick diminish after the engine warms up, or does it remain when you've reached operating temperature? Lash adjusters can tick when the engine is cold and the oil is thick, but they usually quiet down as things warm up. Another thing you might be hearing is a noisy injector, they can tick when they cycle. It should be fairly easy for a tech to isolate when they have the engine running. I wouldn't panic or lose sleep unless the noise suddenly worsens or the MIL comes on.

12-31-2010, 11:52 AM
It comes and goes while idling and the engine is warm. It does sound alot like a lifter tick, but I would have thought that would go away when warm. Also, I have noticed there is a bit of vibration in the engine when idling and in park with the hood up. My old car sat there smoothly, but this one shakes a little, though you can not feel it through the drivetrain.

12-31-2010, 12:10 PM
Might be an injector going south slowly giving you just a bit of a misfire at idle. I guess it depends on what your last vehicle was, if you've just moved into a four from a six, you'd notice a tiny bit of vibration. The HHR's have balance shafted engines to smooth them out, you can still feel just a wee bit of four cylinder shake but not much. All fours will shake at idle due to the 2nd order harmonics imposed by the inline design and firing order.

12-31-2010, 12:13 PM
Actually my last 2 were a 1993 Plymouth Laser and a 1990 Sunbird Convertible with the 2.0 turbo engine. Both of them seemed to have an engine that looked like it was running smoother at idle. If it is some type of an issue I guess that's what warranty is for! I hope they give me a loaner car. I also have the clunk when going over bumps that seems to be common from what I am reading here. I'll have it in for them to look at on Monday.

12-31-2010, 12:22 PM
Well since you had a Turbo Bird you owned the ancestor to the engine in your HHR. The LT3 turbo in the Sunbird was a variation of the 20NE engine which was designed in the early 70's...and has since evolved into the 2.2L and 2.4L used in the HHR's. Just some useless trivia to bore somebody with when talking cars.

12-31-2010, 12:30 PM
I used to LOVE that car until it was stolen. I stuck a bigger turbo and an aftermarket exhaust and boost control on it. I normally ran with 13.5 psi on a Garrett t28 turbo, though I did have it at 18 psi (and replaced the head gasket and head not too much later) for a while. I loved seeing the look on someone's face when they got beat by a Sunbird.

I plan on putting a couple hundred thousand miles on the HHR, so I don't think I'll do anything like that to it, but after my warranty is up I wonder what I can do for more power....

12-31-2010, 12:33 PM
I don't think it would be a bad injector. As temperamental as these engines are, if it was, you'd probably have a code on the DIC.

The "rough' idle is interesting though. These engines are relatively smooth when looking with the hood up. Wonder if you have a grounding ignition wire? You could try looking at it idling at night....but you would need to remove the air cleaner. Sparking would be present.

12-31-2010, 12:39 PM
No codes are present on it, and the engine does not feel rough, which is why I was surprised to find it having a shake at idle like that.

12-31-2010, 01:19 PM
I would guess lash adjuster but with out hearing it determining it would be difficult.

I have heard belts that tick like a lifter too and prove to be just a glazed pulley.

12-31-2010, 01:27 PM
I believe someone who has the Service Manual for these engines indicated there is no way to adjust the valves/lifters. But he, and correspondingly I, could be wrong. So, if the noise is coming from the lifter, it (or the associated "train") would need to be replaced....if warranted.

12-31-2010, 03:37 PM
The lash adjusters are hydraulic and self adjusting, but they can go bad and collapse. So you're correct Snoopy, a bad lash adjuster is just replaced, not a huge job.

01-04-2011, 06:43 AM
I was wondering ... could it be a spark plug at the end of it's life? Yes, 44k is not a lot of miles for spark plugs, I know, but still, if it had a problem before you bought it, and ran rich for a while, that could foul the plugs up real quick.

I still also go with the valve lash adjusters or lifter/rocker noise, having the same problem with my Firehawk (although much more pronounced) but it can't hurt to try changing spark plugs/wires if you haven't yet, as that's a rather cheap and easy job to do.

01-05-2011, 06:03 PM
I took it to the dealer where I bought it and the tech who did a ride along with me said "all of these engines make that noise, it's normal" so I guess I will find a different dealer to look at it.

01-05-2011, 06:07 PM
My '06 does this after it has been sitting for a while. Not sure if it's a lifter or injector or what, but it will usually go away after driving a bit (warming up).

01-05-2011, 06:25 PM
This was with it warm, and not only is it at idle but at low speeds when you're going through a parking lot.

01-05-2011, 06:43 PM
Has the car sat for a while without running before it did it? Mine does it after being stored for the winter.

01-05-2011, 09:42 PM
I have a ticking sound that I can hear at low speeds and it's the injectors and is normal..... It's a higher pitch sound than lifters would be and very faint but it's there.

Try a different dealer, but it could be that tech is right.

01-06-2011, 01:20 AM
Our DOHC motors do not have conventional type 'lifters'...
they do have hydraulic roller fingers, not adjustable.