For those of you that heard my engine ticking away rather loudly on startup at Castle Combe on Saturday, I thought I'd tell you what I've discovered today.
First off, my engine has been ticking on startup since August when I bought the car. I just put it down to noisy lifters with my (very) limited mechanical knowledge.
After letting a few people listen to it on Saturday, Tom Williams said "That's definately not tappets". He advised me to look in the direction of the cambelt and tensioner, rollers etc.
I then said that the belt was changed 30k ago, to which Phil (AstraSport) told me all about his breaking at 20k!
Soooooo, to cut a not that long story short, I've had the belt, rollers and tensioner changed today by my friendly Ford garage (I know, but Gerry, the manager is probably the best mechanic I've ever dealt with) at a cost of £160 (using GM Parts). I've been paranoid about the belt breaking since Saturday, so I had to get it done.
Anyway, I asked Gerry to check out the ticking too. It's still there after belt change.
Result of inspection is he's pretty sure that the exhaust manifold gasket is knackered (best case) or the manifold is cracked (worst case).
it's booked in for next Wednesday to have it sorted anyway*, so after then my car will be nice and quiet!!
*It will be sorted if it's only the gasket, if the manifold is cracked beyond repair I think I'll wait until I can afford to replace it with a performance one.