Engine Problems Explained: Hemi Tick

Over the years, the notorious Hemi tick has become the focus of many forums and armchair mechanics. While it is important to be aware of it, it’s also important to be well informed before making any conclusions.

We have found that many issues with Hemi engines can cause a ticking sound. Some are simple to fix while others can cause serious damage if ignored for too long.

Potential Causes Of Hemi Engine Ticking

  • Exhaust Manifold Bolts – These can break over time as Hemi engines tend to run hot. Sometimes they fail well before 80,000 miles and one symptom is a ticking noise. It is easy to diagnose and not very expensive to fix.
  • Faulty Lifters Or Seized Lifter Rollers – Issues with oil lubrication can damage lifters. If the lifters continue ticking after the warmup period, they may be damaged. Ignore this for too long, and the lifter rollers will seize, which will also damage the cam. This is an expensive repair.
  • MDS – This is the Multi Displacement System that was introduced in 2009. There is no solid proof that the MDS system causes lifter issues. However, the cooling and heating of the deactivated cylinders have the potential to cause lubrication problems.

What Kind Of Damage Can This Cause?

Watch our video below covering the ticking issues of a 5.7-liter V8 Hemi motor as used in the 2010-2012 Dodge Ram 1500. This motor had damage to the cam and lifter on cylinder four, which is one of the cylinders that shuts off during MDS activation.



What Can Be Done To Resolve The Hemi Tick?

  • Change oil regularly
  • Use an oil with a high enough viscosity
  • Have your engine checked if you hear a ticking noise

Preventative maintenance, using the correct oil, and a sympathetic driving style can all help extend the life of your engine. However, as our next video shows, this 5.7-liter Hemi motor was well cared for and suffered serious lifter failure and cam damage at just 80,000 miles. The lesson here is that if you hear a persistent ticking from under the hood, then get it checked before it’s too late:



Our third video is, you guessed it, another example of a Hemi engine failure. The ticking in this engine was also caused by lifter failure. These were hydraulic lifters which have a known issue with the needle bearings seizing. Once this happens, they start to wear down the cam requiring an engine rebuild.

The warning signs are once again a ticking noise that will keep getting worse the longer you ignore it. Eventually, the valves won’t be able to open properly, leading to increased fuel consumption, engine stalls, and general poor running:



At the 1:09 point, we compare a standard Chevy 350 motor to a newer Hemi block. The 350 motor is designed so that oil moving past the lifters will make its way to the cam. Resulting in efficient lubrication.

When looking at the Hemi block, the angle between the lifters and the cam does not allow for the same level of lubrication. While this may not be the main cause of the Hemi tick, it is something to be aware of.

Choose Powertrain Products For Quality Remanufactured Engines

Whether you need a remanufactured Hemi or another engine, Powertrain Products has a replacement motor for your vehicle. We stock a huge range of over 3000 rebuilt and used engines.

All our remanufactured engines are fully assembled and updated to correct any factory faults. We offer a 3-year standard warranty on all of our engines. That standard warranty can be upgraded to 5 or 7 years or 1 million miles, whichever comes first. For the ultimate protection – purchase our no-fault Pure Care™ Warranty. Need a few more parts for your vehicle? We’re also the nation’s leading supplier of differentials, transmissions and transfer cases.

Call us at 888-842-0023 or contact us online. Our friendly staff will help you find the perfect replacement part in no time.

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