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Engine knock perhaps - 2.3L ?

Lil Red Broncette

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Good news I have two Broncos, both with 2.3L, bad news is there is a noticeable difference in the engine when cold.

On one the engine sounds different when cold. I would not call it pinging as there isn't a metal sound involved but more of a popping or bubbling type sound from the engine when I give it gas. It seems to go away as the engine warms.

The other does not exhibit this.

I've heard this sound with other vehicles, usually during some unusual condition.

The one doing this is a Black Diamond/Squach/Manual.

The one that doesn't exhibit this is a Base/Automatic

Both cases I am running regular 87 Octane. The vehicles are in different states so I can't attest to being exactly the same fuel. The Black Diamond is in TX while the Base is in NJ. It is warmer in TX, but have experienced it on cold mornings there. In NJ it was plenty hot in the summer even if cool now.

Any thoughts? I do plan to put some premium fuel next fill of the Black Diamond and see if it goes away. I feel like if I bring to dealer's attention, even if it clearly goes away with higher octane fuel the dealer won't consider it an issue or just say use the higher octane fuel. I am only on my second tank (about 300 miles) on the Black Diamond. The base has been thru four tanks ans is at 1300 miles.
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This is one of those things you have to actually hear to fully diagnose it.

BUT, just for fun. Does it make this "bubbling" noise once you let off of the gas after revving it? Or is it more of a continuous clicking/bubbling noise until the engine warms up?
 
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BUT, just for fun. Does it make this "bubbling" noise once you let off of the gas after revving it? Or is it more of a continuous clicking/bubbling noise until the engine warms up?
No, it doesn't occur coming down from revving it.

It doesn't occur when simply idling.

It only occurs under some amount of load, like when accelerating, but even then it will do it under fairly lite acceleration. Lite enough that I don't trigger boost from the turbo. Example starting from a dead stop in first gear and accelerating to 25 mph never hitting the gas hard enough to bring in the turbo. It will do it all the way, but if I let off the gas to just hold speed it will stop making the sound and ignition will sound normal. Will also happen after second gear as I continue acceleration to higher speeds.

I don't recall hearing it when the turbo kicks in and at higher RPM I am not sure I will notice with the firing rate higher. It is definitely linked to engine RPM and coincides (to my ear) as close as one can tell to the compression/firing cycle of each cylinder as it is a change in tonal quality, not just an extra sound on top of engine noise.

I do consider that perhaps my driving of the manual trans could be causing this, but except for a few years 20 years ago I've always had a manual since I started driving back in 81 so I should know if it is me. I "feel" it is happening in cases here I clearly shouldn't be lugging the engine like between 2K and 3K RPM in low gear.

That said, this is the first time I have had such a small engine in a vehicle this heavy. I know quite well the kind of sound and vibration one gets by lugging a vehicle at too low an RPM and drive to stay well away from that, but maybe with the small displacement engine and heavy vehicle it can't vibrate the same way. So just don't recognize I may be lugging it. Hard to believe that and it should stop "lugging" as the RPMs come up and engine is putting out more power even without the turbo kicking in.
 

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If I could hear what your saying I could confirm my 2.3 has done this since weather has turned colder here and stops after warmed up. Im 95% sure we are talking about the same noise. During those few minutes when its cold I dont notice any other symptoms except that noise if the radio is off and its very subtle.
 

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Good news I have two Broncos, both with 2.3L, bad news is there is a noticeable difference in the engine when cold.

On one the engine sounds different when cold. I would not call it pinging as there isn't a metal sound involved but more of a popping or bubbling type sound from the engine when I give it gas. It seems to go away as the engine warms.

The other does not exhibit this.

I've heard this sound with other vehicles, usually during some unusual condition.

The one doing this is a Black Diamond/Squach/Manual.

The one that doesn't exhibit this is a Base/Automatic

Both cases I am running regular 87 Octane. The vehicles are in different states so I can't attest to being exactly the same fuel. The Black Diamond is in TX while the Base is in NJ. It is warmer in TX, but have experienced it on cold mornings there. In NJ it was plenty hot in the summer even if cool now.

Any thoughts? I do plan to put some premium fuel next fill of the Black Diamond and see if it goes away. I feel like if I bring to dealer's attention, even if it clearly goes away with higher octane fuel the dealer won't consider it an issue or just say use the higher octane fuel. I am only on my second tank (about 300 miles) on the Black Diamond. The base has been thru four tanks ans is at 1300 miles.
Hi there, I'd be happy to look into your Bronco concerns on my end. Will you send us a message with your VIN and dealership info? I can look into things on my end.
 

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If I could hear what your saying I could confirm my 2.3 has done this since weather has turned colder here and stops after warmed up. Im 95% sure we are talking about the same noise. During those few minutes when its cold I dont notice any other symptoms except that noise if the radio is off and its very subtle.
No, it doesn't occur coming down from revving it.

It doesn't occur when simply idling.

It only occurs under some amount of load, like when accelerating, but even then it will do it under fairly lite acceleration. Lite enough that I don't trigger boost from the turbo. Example starting from a dead stop in first gear and accelerating to 25 mph never hitting the gas hard enough to bring in the turbo. It will do it all the way, but if I let off the gas to just hold speed it will stop making the sound and ignition will sound normal. Will also happen after second gear as I continue acceleration to higher speeds.

I don't recall hearing it when the turbo kicks in and at higher RPM I am not sure I will notice with the firing rate higher. It is definitely linked to engine RPM and coincides (to my ear) as close as one can tell to the compression/firing cycle of each cylinder as it is a change in tonal quality, not just an extra sound on top of engine noise.

I do consider that perhaps my driving of the manual trans could be causing this, but except for a few years 20 years ago I've always had a manual since I started driving back in 81 so I should know if it is me. I "feel" it is happening in cases here I clearly shouldn't be lugging the engine like between 2K and 3K RPM in low gear.

That said, this is the first time I have had such a small engine in a vehicle this heavy. I know quite well the kind of sound and vibration one gets by lugging a vehicle at too low an RPM and drive to stay well away from that, but maybe with the small displacement engine and heavy vehicle it can't vibrate the same way. So just don't recognize I may be lugging it. Hard to believe that and it should stop "lugging" as the RPMs come up and engine is putting out more power even without the turbo kicking in.
Did you ever figure this out?

Exactly the same conditions but mine sounds like valve rattle.
 

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Did you ever figure this out?

Exactly the same conditions but mine sounds like valve rattle.
No, this past week was first opportunity to fill up with premium (93 octane) and that made little difference.

It occurred to me that the one doing this only has 400 miles and my bronco that doesn't has close to 3,000 miles. I seem to recall some comment about the engines run different for the first 1K miles, so maybe that?
 

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Good news I have two Broncos, both with 2.3L, bad news is there is a noticeable difference in the engine when cold.

On one the engine sounds different when cold. I would not call it pinging as there isn't a metal sound involved but more of a popping or bubbling type sound from the engine when I give it gas. It seems to go away as the engine warms.

The other does not exhibit this.

I've heard this sound with other vehicles, usually during some unusual condition.

The one doing this is a Black Diamond/Squach/Manual.

The one that doesn't exhibit this is a Base/Automatic

Both cases I am running regular 87 Octane. The vehicles are in different states so I can't attest to being exactly the same fuel. The Black Diamond is in TX while the Base is in NJ. It is warmer in TX, but have experienced it on cold mornings there. In NJ it was plenty hot in the summer even if cool now.

Any thoughts? I do plan to put some premium fuel next fill of the Black Diamond and see if it goes away. I feel like if I bring to dealer's attention, even if it clearly goes away with higher octane fuel the dealer won't consider it an issue or just say use the higher octane fuel. I am only on my second tank (about 300 miles) on the Black Diamond. The base has been thru four tanks ans is at 1300 miles.
Sounds like this thread maybe 2.3 Manual engine/trans noise
 

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Mine was pretty bad, did it more when cold. I also had transmission problems, it was falling out of gear. Not sure if related, but when Ford reprogrammed mine, the noise was hardly noticeable after that. My 2.3 Explorer doesn’t do it from what I can hear.
 

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No, this past week was first opportunity to fill up with premium (93 octane) and that made little difference.

It occurred to me that the one doing this only has 400 miles and my bronco that doesn't has close to 3,000 miles. I seem to recall some comment about the engines run different for the first 1K miles, so maybe that?
I have 9,000 miles so I don’t think that’s it. Higher octane made no difference for me. See if I can get it in this week. Will post what they find.
 
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Lil Red Broncette

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I have 9,000 miles so I don’t think that’s it. Higher octane made no difference for me. See if I can get it in this week. Will post what they find.
You get any info? I made an appointment, got the service manager to ride with me so I could demonstrate. At first he said he didn't hear and then claimed he heard it but that it was "normal". Not really happy with that, but no point leaving it with them if they think it is "normal". I spoke with the service writer and said it been looked at and declared normal so I wouldn't be leaving it. I get an email from ford claiming I "missed my appointment" which they will probably hold over my head at some later date.


My experience is to never let a shop work on a problem involving a "noise" where I can't get them to hear exactly what I am hearing and when. Without that they tend to fix something so radically unrelated they conclude I muse be talking about and the "fix" is something that isn't broken. Like explicitly saying "only happens at first start of the day" and they go looking for something after vehicle is totally warmed up...?!?

Anyway, at this point I figure I need to investigate it myself. Pretty much it has to be timing being too far advanced or knock sensor not doing what it should.
 

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You get any info? I made an appointment, got the service manager to ride with me so I could demonstrate. At first he said he didn't hear and then claimed he heard it but that it was "normal". Not really happy with that, but no point leaving it with them if they think it is "normal". I spoke with the service writer and said it been looked at and declared normal so I wouldn't be leaving it. I get an email from ford claiming I "missed my appointment" which they will probably hold over my head at some later date.


My experience is to never let a shop work on a problem involving a "noise" where I can't get them to hear exactly what I am hearing and when. Without that they tend to fix something so radically unrelated they conclude I muse be talking about and the "fix" is something that isn't broken. Like explicitly saying "only happens at first start of the day" and they go looking for something after vehicle is totally warmed up...?!?

Anyway, at this point I figure I need to investigate it myself. Pretty much it has to be timing being too far advanced or knock sensor not doing what it should.
Take and share a video.

I’m in opinion its the trans/synchro noise category
 
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Lil Red Broncette

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Take and share a video.

I’m in opinion its the trans/synchro noise category
The problem is capturing the sound in a way where it can be heard as there are louder sounds that always seem to mask it in the recording.

The sound is most definitely not trans/synchro in my case. As I said in the OP I've heard this before. Never had anyone tell me it was engine knock or pre-ignition with certainty, but I knew what fixed it back then which was retard the ignition a bit. That experience was back in simple vacuum advance/rotate the distributer to adjust timing days.
 

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The problem is capturing the sound in a way where it can be heard as there are louder sounds that always seem to mask it in the recording.

The sound is most definitely not trans/synchro in my case. As I said in the OP I've heard this before. Never had anyone tell me it was engine knock or pre-ignition with certainty, but I knew what fixed it back then which was retard the ignition a bit. That experience was back in simple vacuum advance/rotate the distributer to adjust timing days.
How cold are we talking for your morning starts? I’ve had two 2.3L builds also, one I ran OEM oil, the current is Pennz. The Pennz is much quieter on those -30° days

What oil are you currently running? OEM is a semi-syn IIRC. Perhaps the turbo is getting inadequate lubrication? I believe it’s both water and oil cooled, double check your coolant levels.

LSPI shouldn’t, but could hypothetically be playing a roll in a “knock like sound”. Again, changing out the oil to a Full SD1G2 would help.

Ive swapped the axle back on my rig and it certainly is more “talkative” when it’s cold; As if it’s got a burble to it.

If we are spitballin, a bad knock sensor is always a possibility… maybe the TOB is warming up?

Food for thought!
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