Noisy 289 V-8 in '68 Mustang


Old 06-02-11, 11:18 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 8
Noisy 289 V-8 in '68 Mustang


I recently aquired a '68 Ford Mustang with a 289 V-8. The engine is rather noisy clicking/clacking type noise eminating from the area of the right cylinder bank. My guess is a bad lifter but I wanted to check in to see if there is a way to diagnose this without ripping the engibe apart first?

I poured some STP in there and it quieted it down a little but I was looking for something a little more scientific so I can order parts ahead of time and minimize down time.

Any suggestions?

Would a vacuum guage help with diagnosis?

The car has about 95,000 miles on it, doesn't seem to be burning any oil and runs pretty strong despite the racket.

Thanks for your help!

Sponsored Links
Old 06-02-11, 02:24 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,301
run a can of Seafoam through crankcase for about 500 miles, then replace oil with flush. i use cheapest oil i can find around, in the right weight, for flushes. see what happens. Seafoam should loosen sticky lifters. if that's the case.
mechanics stethoscopes are cheap to buy and help a lot pinpointing a noise source.
Old 06-02-11, 03:25 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 21,019
It's a 45 y/o car....has the engine ever been rebuilt? If not...sounds like things are just worn out. The STP indicates to me that clearances are out of spec...
Old 06-02-11, 04:13 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 44,020
.... and it's not that big of a deal to pull a valve cover and check the rocker arms for play.
Old 06-03-11, 08:37 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Location: usa
Posts: 2
i have an 89 mustang that is really loud too, for all of the right reasons. does this noise happen at idle? does it go away when you increase the rpm's a little? plenty of good clean oil? check color on all spark plugs for even burning in each cylnder. compresion/leakdown test each cylnder. check timing. check for exhaust leaks, they can sound like valves or lifters too. STP will only mask your problem. you can also make the noise go away by turning up the volume on the radio. i would choose the radio option before dumping a bunch of expensive band-aids in my motor.
Old 06-03-11, 09:20 AM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,301
Seafoam is ten bucks and is a KNOWN well working additive for this situation. btw, if it does not help, you will need to take a good look at your camshaft/rocker lobes in that area. unless it's a pushrod engine, and pushrod or 2 are bent. i had 84 Buick with a ticking noise that no one could have figured why it was doing it. drove fine, after i tossed few hundred bucks at it in rods and lifters, i just let it run that way. guy who bought it had 2 hearing aids, he could not tell.
Old 06-03-11, 01:20 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 8
I will try seafoam first and see what happens. It is an old school push rod motor so there are a few things it could be as has been mentioned here. I would prefer not to have the noise so I will see what I can do about eliminating some of the other items mentioned.

The noise gets louder as the engine speed increases.

I knew STP was a band aid, just wanted to see if it made any difference to try and seperate the noice from an exhaust leak, etc.

The radio option is certainly an inexpensive "fix" but I would like to make the problem all better.

Will keep you all posted on progress.

Old 06-03-11, 05:02 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,354
The 289 and the 302 (basically the same engine) were notorious for wrist pin noise, but that wasn't a ticking sound. At idle they actually sound a bit like a diesel. What I would do is not overlook the obvious, you could have a cracked exhaust manifold on the right side. I had one like that years ago, but mine would quiet down as the engine warmed up, the crack was closing as the manifold expanded. Replacing the manifold took about 2 hours, but those early Mustangs didn't have the garbage on them like cars today. By the way, the 289s don't have a gasket between the head and exhaust manifold.
Old 06-03-11, 09:18 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Jersey
Posts: 526
I have a '67 289 V8 with 175,000 miles and as far as I know it's all original.
I have some racket when it first starts up but after it warms up it sounds pretty healthy for a 44 year old motor (and doesn't blow any smoke).

I would do 1 of 2 things......... 1). just leave it alone or 2). pull the motor and rebuild it. If you need the car for everyday you may be able to find a cheap 302 and put that in while you rebuild the 289.

Whats bad about replacing the lifters and push rods on an old motor is you may blow out the bottom end with the tighter valve train now on top of a motor that was built in the late '60's.

We didn't have the technology and the lubricants back then that we have today.
Today motors spin much less due to overdrive transmissions and electronically controlled fuel and ignition systems, oh.......and back then we put lead in the gasoline which helped lube the valve train and combustion chambers.

Actually I would leave it alone and just drive it and enjoy it!
Old 06-05-11, 07:53 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 487
Just to toss this into the mix, the 289 was available in a solid lifter version and might need adjusting.

Be nice if you have it, should be letter code K in the VIN if it's original.

You should have a 4 barrel as well.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes