Ford Ranger Humming Noise during Acceleration (Ticking, Knocking, Rattling)

There is nothing more frustrating and annoying than your vehicle emitting strange noises, and you just can’t find the source or self-diagnose the problem. Many Ford Rangers have complained about weird noises and vibrations coming from the engine, especially when accelerating. So what could the cause be of these strange sounds?

If you experiencing a loud humming noise sound coming from the engine bay of your 2012+ T6 3.2L Ford Ranger, it could be any of the following:

  • Oil pump
  • Oil Pump inlet tube
  • Oil Pan/Sump

Most owners who reported this phenomenon are still on very low mileage. This issue usually occurs before the first service, however, it has been reported on slightly higher mileage T6 Rangers too. The good news is, it’s not a serious problem and nothing to really freak out about. In most cases, these issues were detected early in the vehicle’s life, and the dodgy components were replaced under warranty.

Ford Ranger Humming/Whining Noise When Accelerating

So the humming/vibrating noise that you are hearing is caused by pulsations being transmitted from the oil pump through the oil pick-up tube and onto the oil pan.

If still under warranty, the dealership should replace both the oil pan/sump as well as the oil pump pickup. The new oil pan/sump design has a different stiffness/rigidity and the oil pump pick-up tube has been revised to prevent vibrations from radiating the noise.

The service procedure addresses the problem when the engine is in a hot idle condition as well as cold starting, to recreate the noise. Some owners mentioned the problem is usually noticeable after starting but disappears after driving for a few minutes. Others say it becomes more noticeable when the engine is at full operating temperature and it becomes louder if you allow the warm engine to idle a little while.

There was a service Bulletin released by Ford which you can read here: T6 Hot Idle Moan

Ok, what if your Ranger is giving a weird ticking noise? Let’s see what the possible culprits can be then.

Ford Ranger Ticking Noise during Acceleration

These weird noises can be so irritating and almost impossible to trace on your own. Sometimes it’s good to mount a GoPro, or any other action camera, near where you suspect the noise is coming from to narrow it down a bit or even identify what the source of the noise is.

It also helps to drive close to a wall with your windows down to allow the sound to resonate a bit, giving you a better idea of which part or side of the engine the sound is coming from.

If you are experiencing a ticking sound from the engine bay, it could be something serious though.  Many times the dealerships themselves can’t even diagnose the problem properly and will recommend changing components randomly if covered under warranty. Especially if it’s an intermittent problem and hard to recreate.

Strange noises can be a sign of a component, about to fail on you and can make you really paranoid.

Below are a few possible causes of a ticking sound on your T6 Ranger under acceleration.

Possible culprits

  • Exhaust Manifold Gasket
  • Piston Slap
  • Worn Pulley

Exhaust Manifold Gasket

A leak in the exhaust manifold gasket can result in a ticking noise similar to a musician’s metronome. This ticking noise is very obvious when the engine is cold. When one or more bolts around the manifold are broken, it creates a gap that allows the exhaust gasses to seep out around there. This causes a ticking sound, and possibly what you are hearing.

Piston Slap

Piston slap occurs when there is excessive sideways movement inside the cylinder. This happens when there is too much room for piston movement, creating a ticking sound.

Excessive clearance on one piston in its cylinder creates a rattling and ticking sound when the skirt of the piston hits the cylinder wall.

Worn Pulley

If you have a worn-out idler pulley, the belt isn’t secured/holding properly, resulting in a squealing noise coming from the engine. If the pulley bearings are worn out, it makes a rough, dry rattling sound.

A worn idler tension pulley can also cause a clicking/ticking sound as the belt spins. The sound is usually in sync with the engine RPM. If the sound increases as the vehicle RPM’s increase, then it’s likely with the belt or pulley itself.

What can be the cause of rattling noises coming from the engine under load/acceleration? Let’s see.

Ford Ranger Rattling Noise during Acceleration

If you hear a metal rattling noise coming from the engine, either from cold or when driving under operational temperature, then this section is for you.

The noise is reported by owners to be present under most driving conditions which include, idling, under acceleration, and when coasting with the foot off the accelerator pedal.

When you have this phenomenon when the rattling happens under all driving conditions and even idle, you can narrow it down to a component that is always functioning/rotating/moving from the moment the engine is switched on.

Those would include all rotational and breathing components like:

  • Exhaust mufflers
  • Pulleys
  • Timing Chain (older 4.0 SOHC V6)
  • Engine internals/Bearings
  • Belts
  • Heat shields
  • Nut/Bolt

A good practice is to grab a rubber mallet and while the engine is running, give the exhaust mufflers and cat a few light taps. Lay under the vehicle while on and get an assistant to shake the exhaust from the rear. This will isolate the sound to the exhaust boxes and the catalytic convertor.

The Catalytic Converter is a dense cylindrical-shaped component that is located after the downpipe towards the front of the vehicle. It consists of a hard honeycomb-like mesh that is tightly packed. If the CAT is a few years old it could break apart causing a few pieces to be lying around inside the CAT. When the vehicle is on, it could vibrate and rattle, driving you crazy. You might need a replacement.

Also, while you are down there, grab and feel the exhaust heat shield and the transmission heat shield. These a very thin, tinfoil-like flexible plates designed to deflect the heat away from the body. They can easily be bent and will resonate or vibrate and rattle at a certain RPM.

The worst-case scenario is possibly a bad bearing. One way to check/estimate the condition of your internal bearings is when you do an oil change and the oil feels rough and almost course like there’s a granule in the oil. Also, sporadic drops in oil pressure are warning signs of a low-end knock, which requires a bottom-end replacement. If the crank bearing is sprung, you’re unfortunately in for a big repair bill.

The 4.0 V6 engines were quite renowned for timing chain ticks and rattles. They were designed with chain tensioners called cassettes. When the polymer material wears off, the chains get loose and began to rattle.

Rattling Noise under Acceleration

If you drive a T6 Ford Ranger 3.2 with the Automatic transmission and are experiencing a weird rattling and vibration under acceleration and deceleration, then this section will interest you.

T6 3.2 Auto owners have reported the problem to be very prominent while driving with the cruise control on. The symptoms are also audible with the cruise control off. Speeds between 100-120km/h are when the symptoms are most noticeable, especially when there is a change in load on the engine. Reports of a very noticeable droning noise and vibration or slight shudder are felt as the engine accelerates above 2000-3000 rpm.

Another description of the sound/sensation is a more metallic droning. Like a metal-on-metal sound similar to a diff whine or a worn bearing. The only difference with this scenario is the diff will emit that sound only under acceleration and not usually when free-wheeling, in the case of a manual. If you are 100% certain it’s not the diff then your next possible culprit could be the half shafts.

A bent or broken half-shaft could also cause a wobble and vibration through the drivetrain. If you’ve bent or broken an axle shaft, one of the easiest ways you’ll notice is how at lower speeds and when braking the vehicle might seem to wobble and vibrate.


T6 Service Bulletin Hot Idle Moan

4.0 V6 Timing Chain Kit

4.0 V6 Complete Timing Chain Kit + Water Pump

08-12 T6 Heavy-Duty Drive belt

12-14 T6 Air & Oil Filter Kit

Complete Ranger Service Kit


Whining, knocking, vibrating, and rattling noises can be so annoying and very hard to diagnose. At the end of the day, these are simply guidelines on what the problem COULD potentially be. Unfortunately, the dealerships aren’t always very helpful or willing to diagnose a rattle and many simply fob it off to be the norm or an engine characteristic you will just have to live with.

Truth is, no rattle or weird noises should be ignored since it could turn out to be something very serious and lead to catastrophic damage later on. Grab a mate and get him/her to assist you while you try and diagnose where the noise is coming from.

Jade C.

4-Wheel drives and off-road driving techniques has been my passion for over 20 years. Here we strive to provide the most accurate, up-to-date, information about the functionality, common faults and latest technology built into most 4 Wheel Drives.

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