Pinging, pinking, knocking...?

Hi, my 1.6L 4-cylinder Civic often makes a "clicking" noise, especially when under load in too high a gear. Sometimes even at the "correct"
gear, when accelerating.
Is this pinging, pinking, tappet noise, detonation, spark knock, etc? I've searched the posts, but I'm now more confused. Some people say "pinging" is the same as tappet noise, which is harmless, while some say pinging = detonation, which is bad.
So which is it, really, and what could be causing it on my engine?
Thanks!
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"Pinging" is different from tappet noise. "Pinking" is the British variant. Detonation is potentially bad. I have seen it break connecting rods. Spark knock is another name for it. Which model year is your Civic?
Potential causes are maladjusted ignition timing, too low octane fuel, and carbon deposits in the combustion chambers.
Earle

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It's a 1995 model. I check/adjust the timing every week or so, no problems there. Have noticed the 'pinging' even with premium fuel.
Given that it's noisiest when under load and the gear is too high, is it more likely to be tappet noise, pinging or knock? How can I tell?
Earle Horton wrote:

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One hears tappet noise at idle. This is most likely pinging. Why would you check/adjust the timing every week? Are you sure that you are doing it properly? If you retard the timing a few degrees, then take it for a test drive, and the noise is gone, then you would be pretty sure that it is pinging.
Earle

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I have been living with this intermittant clicking in my 91 Civic now for almost 3-4 years. In my case, it is not the lifters (tappets), or engine knock/pinging. My engine timing is fine too. (I assume your remark about adjusting timing every week is a typo?). The clicking comes from either some solenoid attached to the firewall (a part of the device tray?), or maybe the injector solenoids. I just do not know......... One has to have really sharp hearing (most of my passengers cannnot hear the clicking) to hear this annoying click. In my case too, it comes on occasionally, even when I am cruising at highway speeds. Grade of gas does not matter as you say. The car drives fine, and does 39-41 mpg on highway. (I have been to the dealership once, just to get this sound diagnosed.........unfortunately none of the mechanics could hear it). My low-tech (self-defeating?) solution.......just lower the driver side window a crack whenever the clicking appears.......then you cannot hear it anymore....... If you find the culprit please post......in the past, there have been posts by others in this newsgroup on this mystery clicking as well.......but no one is any-the-wiser.....
sharx333 wrote:

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ah1244: Yes, most passengers don't hear it at all. But in my case, it's the opposite of yours: I can hear it only when the windows are *open*. Does this rule out knocking or detonation?
I adjusted the timing only once, after the distributor rotor was replaced, and checked timing every chance I get, because I also thought the noise could be related to timing. Actually I replaced the rotor for precisely this reason also. But still no luck.
Thanks for the tip, Earl and Kevin. I'll try retarding the timing a little now.. Will post back about results.
snipped-for-privacy@wayne.edu wrote:

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Are you sure that sound is coming from in front of you?
I had a mystery sound like yours that turned out to be the two latches on the rear seat back that you release to lay it flat.
The slight movement of the seat while traveling down the road was causing the latch to slide sideways and as it did a bit of sticktion made a little click as it let go. A smear of grease on the parts concerned instantly fixed it! (Note to self - it needs doing again now two years later!).
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Yes, it definitely comes from the front. Now that Sharx333 has solved his problem by tweaking his timing, I am definitely going to have a second look at my own timing......my "clicking" comes on occasionally when cruising at 65-70 mph. None at lower speeds.
Graham W wrote:

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