View Full Version : What does an exhaust leak sound like?

07-03-2007, 04:03 PM
I have an engine noise that I can't pinpoint (even with a stethoscope). It appears to me that it is in the lower engine :( but it doesn't really show up on any one cylinder.

Any chance I have an exhaust leak? If so, would it definitely emit steam or water?

I've read a few posts where people hear ticking with an exhaust leak. I am hearing more of a faint deep sound (kinda like rapping knuckles on a desk).

Thanks for any info or thoughts.

07-03-2007, 04:23 PM
Rapping nuckles on a desk does not sound like an exhaust leak. Sounds more like either the oil level's too high and is getting overly sloshed around in the crankcase or something loose to me.

07-03-2007, 05:51 PM
Well, rapping knuckles at a very fast speed. The reason I thought exhaust is that it also sounds somewhat like a motorcycle, though very faint. Or a car with glasspacks.

This sound is faint - definitely can't be heard with engine cover down, and doesn't sound like grinding. There is a chance that I am being paranoid.

07-03-2007, 09:28 PM
Exhaust leaks make a tapping or ticking sound. Could be confused for a bad lifter. You should not see any steam or fluid leaking if it is leaking at the exhaust ports on the head which would be the most likely place of the leak. Hope this helps.

07-06-2007, 10:41 AM
Thanks Buzz - I'm going to have a cousin of mine listen to it this weekend. He's been a gearhead and MC owner as long as I can remember. He's an original owner on a 76 S&S.

07-09-2007, 07:30 AM
Let us know what you find out.


07-09-2007, 09:35 AM
Mine did sound like a lifter AND I could tell where it was coming from...in my case port side forward...replaced the exhaust manifold gasket and voila! Use a liberal amount of PB Blaster BEFORE trying to loosen bolts...

07-10-2007, 11:42 AM
Well my gearhead cousin listen long and hard and then made a speedy determination - the sound I am hearing is the ENGINE! I am apparently either fabricating a sound in my head or I am mistaking normal engine noise as problematic. We put 12 hours on the engine at Lake Brownwood this weekend and never had any issues. :smile:

I think it's like the phantom crying I hear from our baby daughter even when she is sleeping quietly!