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There have been issues with the waterpump driven camshafts causing a ticking and the valve cover needs to be removed and the camshaft caps need to be retorqued.
 

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A very warm welcome to you.
It would be very helpful if the Escape model was known along with its year and mileage.
True there was a TSB for the old V6 Escapes with ticking valve sound.Ticking is an abrapt dry and precise sound while exhaust leak is softer.
Ticking sound may also come from the belt tensioner in some cases and it sounds very much like valves ticking.
 
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