ticking noise

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 standstill.
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.
Anybody?
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Andrew Vevers wrote:

Likely normal fuel injector noise.
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">

it, and I'm concerned whether it's about to let me down. I want to get rid of this car soon and not spend much. Is it an easy fix, if that's what it is?
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Andrew Vevers wrote:

It is possible to have excess valve noise if there is a sticky or bad hydraulic lifter. Have an experienced mechanic give it a listen and see what they think.
-Fred W
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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.
Floyd
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Dear Andrew,
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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