My '96 model 318i automatic has developed a ticking noise which seems to be
from the engine. It's not obvious at cruising speed, but appears when
starting off and accelerating. Oddly though the frequency hardly seems to
change whichever gear it's in. It also does it when revved in neutral at a
It's not the exhaust blowing. On an older car it would sound like valve
clearance (tappet) rattle, but this has hydraulics and I'd expect the
frequency to change more obviously.
A FI or valve tick would change depending upon engine revs, which
Andrew claims is not the case (note comments about frequency/gear).
I'd put my money on something like the (almost) constant-speed cooling
fan (fan clutch), or perhaps a bad engine mount that is allowing the engine
to contact something in the engine compartment while under heavy load.
From that you've described, it sounds like a worn cam shaft
I had a 316 a while ago that had exactly the same problem. This is a
common problem on 4 cylinder engines (316 and 318).
I had the cam shaft replaced and everything was 100% again.
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