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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2011 2.4L GLS, so non-turbo. 134k miles, no replacement.

I only discovered in the last few months that engine pinging is a bad thing, which sucks since every single car I've ever owned has had, from what I can tell, what people call "pinging." Problem is, I can't find a single good video that demonstrates the sound, so I don't know if what I'm hearing is pre-detonation or what.

In any case, I'm hearing a knocking sound coming from the engine when putting it under load. So for example, it happens when giving it as much throttle as possible on a hill without necessitating a downshift, or giving it full-throttle / near full-throttle. The sound is not rhythmic or consistent, it's randomized and loud.

Does this sound like engine ping? It certainly doesn't sound like the same knock when the connecting rod fails, at least from what I've gathered from videos. That always seems to be rhythmic and consistent, not to mention there's usually a loss of power, which I don't have. I can probably catch the sound with my dash cam out on the road if needed and link to a video if needed, but hoping others have already dealt with this issue. Either way, I'm new to the concept of engine ping in general, so any input would be appreciated.
 

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Is your oil level full?

If the noise goes away with premium 92-93 octane(USA) fuel, then its pinging or detonation. Its an easy test. Run it empty with whatever gas that you are using and fill up with premium super unleaded top tier fuel.
https://toptiergas.com/licensedbrands/

One you verify oil level, and splurge on a tank of quality fuel, post the outcome for further troubleshooting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Is your oil level full?

If the noise goes away with premium 92-93 octane(USA) fuel, then its pinging or detonation. Its an easy test. Run it empty with whatever gas that you are using and fill up with premium super unleaded top tier fuel.
https://toptiergas.com/licensedbrands/

One you verify oil level, and splurge on a tank of quality fuel, post the outcome for further troubleshooting.
Ah, we meet again. Yep, I'm the loser who checks the oil before starting the engine every time. So yes, it's full. :p

I was always taught to strictly adhere to whatever octane rating is specified for the car, but I don't see anything from an online search to suggest damage could be done using a bit of higher octane fuel. I've currently got a full tank, so it's going to be a long while before I can try this. But I can give it a shot if no other suggestions come around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
ping: like rattling pebbles in a can when you accelerate

knock: more of a cluck cluck cluck
Definitely a ping then if that's typically the case, it sounds exactly like that.
 

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I second the premium fuel as a test, but I would believe the knock sensor would pull timing to eliminate any detonation.
100F+ temps in southern border climates, a tank of 87, 5 people in vehicle, trunk full of luggage,.... 900 mile trip, and not a bit of pinging out of my 2.4GDI. I will say that power felt castrated, very noticeable when pulling away from redlights/stopsigns... and not sure why several members here have pinging issues. I stick with premium because I prefer full passing power always, which is just enough with the 2.4GDI when in a good state of tune. During the 2 cold months of the year, I save about $3 a week for the tanks of 87. Midgrade for a couple months, and then premium for all weather above 80F. Not a budget breaker with the 2.4GDI MPG and premium should be considered mandatory for any turbo'd vehicle.

Even if I thought I could here a brief ping, it would stop instantly. So, why do members here, with the 2.4, have all these pinging problems? Even a member in chilly Canada claims that his engine is pinging. Defective knock sensors, excessive carbon buildup, or trolls?


I was always taught to strictly adhere to whatever octane rating is specified for the car, but I don't see anything from an online search to suggest damage could be done using a bit of higher octane fuel. I've currently got a full tank, so it's going to be a long while before I can try this. But I can give it a shot if no other suggestions come around.
Don't be strictly foolish. If you read your owners manual, you'd understand that it is a MINIMUM requirement... 87 or HIGHER. There is no maximum octane limitation.
The only damage I've ever seen is when the octane is too low.... example is damage caused by 'pinging'.

If the pinging goes away with octane, then stick with it. If not, read this and ignore the naysayers:
https://www.hyundai-forums.com/yf-2011-sonata-i45/557001-2-4gdi-crc-ivd-intake-valve-cleaning.html
 

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Premium when not needed a waste of money with no performance/mileage increase.
Our '11 2.0T Optima runs without any problems on regular and why would one run a higher grade when not needed? Even out Acura TL, premium required, with the 11:1 CR was tested on regular and throughout the performance tests, never pulled timing on regular.
Now our modified RX7 Turbo couldn't run on regular, so 93 used exclusively.


Hey, if you feel the extra cost of premium is worth the cost, that's your prerogative, but a waste of money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
*slaps forehead* This community seems to be hit-or-miss in the friendly department, but at least it's helpful. Oh well...

Don't be strictly foolish. If you read your owners manual, you'd understand that it is a MINIMUM requirement... 87 or HIGHER. There is no maximum octane limitation.
The only damage I've ever seen is when the octane is too low.... example is damage caused by 'pinging'.
Yep, just learned about this here.

If the pinging goes away with octane, then stick with it. If not, read this and ignore the naysayers:
https://www.hyundai-forums.com/yf-2011-sonata-i45/557001-2-4gdi-crc-ivd-intake-valve-cleaning.html
Intake valves were already cleaned last month (directly, not passively), so this can be ruled out. Higher octane would be treating the symptom, not the cause anyway. No need for me to waste my money long-term when I could just spend it short-term on whatever will actually help, if anything specific.

Premium when not needed a waste of money with no performance/mileage increase.
Our '11 2.0T Optima runs without any problems on regular and why would one run a higher grade when not needed? Even out Acura TL, premium required, with the 11:1 CR was tested on regular and throughout the performance tests, never pulled timing on regular.
Now our modified RX7 Turbo couldn't run on regular, so 93 used exclusively.


Hey, if you feel the extra cost of premium is worth the cost, that's your prerogative, but a waste of money.
And I don't, I agree. There is no need for the car to run on anything higher than 87 octane. I'm here to actually fix whatever may be causing the issue, not to blanket over it. But the pinging is bad right now, so it's an issue I don't want to leave alone.
 

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Ambient temperature makes a big difference in tendency of spark knock.
One of the reasons for turbo intercoolers.

Back in the '70s you'd hear lots of cars pinging like crazy in the summer; rarely in the winter.
My last car (2006 Matrix) would get noticeably sluggish when the ambient rose over 90F.
When I knew a heat wave was coming I'd put some premium in there if going on the highway.
Didn't affect MPGs though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ambient temperature makes a big difference in tendency of spark knock.
One of the reasons for turbo intercoolers.

Back in the '70s you'd hear lots of cars pinging like crazy in the summer; rarely in the winter.
My last car (2006 Matrix) would get noticeably sluggish when the ambient rose over 90F.
When I knew a heat wave was coming I'd put some premium in there if going on the highway.
Didn't affect MPGs though.
Now that you mention it, I don't remember my Sonata pinging during the winter. We typically don't have cold winters here in south Alabama, but we had a mighty cold one this last time. In any case, I'm down for giving the higher octane fuel a shot when the tank is empty, I'm just hoping perhaps there's something(s) specific that can be dealt with to prevent this with lower octane.
 

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My car only gives a single tick occasionally on high load upshifts. I have the 6 speed manual. It always goes away on the next tank of gas, so I wonder about the quality control of the supposedly top-tier gas that I always buy.
 

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How does one define premium "not needed"? Lets see... its pinging.... then its needed. Loss of power when hot out... then its needed. Loaded, like towing.... then its needed. Sorry, but I disagree with the cheap "its not needed" mentality when variables, like the OP, already exists. Knock sensors are a bandaid for aggressive compression ratios, tunes, turbos.... that are being pushed to the limit. Once limit is exceeded, octane is your best friend if all else is normal.

Some consumers want to be cheap, then cry when they have a problem. Look at all the sludge engines at EVERY make/model dealership out there? Check oil level... never. Top off oil .... never. Change oil... maximum interval or never... This is no different than using the cheapest fuel, cheapest parts, least maintenance.... bad tire... its the brand and not that it has never had a rotation, alignment or PSI check...ever.

Cleaning intake valves doesn't clean pistons or combustion chambers... this can only be cleaned out with steam(water injection), or the chemicals mentioned that are added to fuel, and usually not enough at consumer fuel prices. Toptier came about because of the low standards that EPA set for fuel, and since multiple automakers have had problems with low detergent fuel. TT is PM and not a solution. Even with toptier, the carbon buildup is there... just takes a helluva lot longer to soot up and needing the concentrated tank added cleaners.

Knock sensor communicates the issues to the ECU, which can pull timing, add fuel, adjust VVT for less power, whatever method the automaker chooses. Problem is, and only for a few, its just not enough. After my 1st IVD cleaning, and during the 1st post cleaning test drive, I will say that the ECU was pretty lame as it took a little go-pedal to get uncontrolled pinging/detonation from the engine with all that high-btu <50 octane solvent chemical in the manifold/engine. The ECU castrated power but was beyond its limit allowing excessive rattling. So, if my engine only does it when I dump IVD cleaners into it, one must wonder why a few members here can do it on 87..... which should not exceed the limitations of the ECU, unless there is something wrong. Bad fuel, oxidized fuel, carbon buildup, or other issues are not make believe? Post a youtube video of your rattling. If it can be heard, it can be recorded with a mic.

Easiest test is MORE OCTANE.
Easiset tuneup... is some fuel cleaners to clean out the crud buildup on the pistons, bottom of valves, and combustion chambers..... that artificially increase compression ratio by reducing CC's. So, add the Techron concentrate, OneAndDone Regane, or 5-in-1 NOW to your fuel. At least it'll start some cleaning while you're waiting for empty and a good TT premium fuel fill up.

I am also not sure what a "long while is". A tank of gas lasts me a week, and the wife maybe 2-weeks. If your fuel is more than a few weeks old, it will lose octane as it rots in your gas tank. Better refined higher octane fuel take more time to rot in the tank. So, if your running a month or 2 on fuel, then fuel age is critically and itself a reason to use premium fuel, along with a religious use of a fuel stabilizer. Oxidation/evaporation of fuel is bad but worse with cheap fuel. Octane is lost with time. 89 or 93 gives you more time than 87 before it drop too low for the ECU to compensate for. This is why many recommend filling at the "busy gas station". Bad old fuel could be <85 octane after a few weeks in your tank. Gee, premium sounds better already.

Beside fuel/carbon related pinging....here are some solutions that I've come across on various vehicles over the years:
Bad spark plugs.... gap/age.
Clogged air filter. Change if not recent.
Dirty injectors(common on gdi)... bad fuel spray pattern. Repeat the bottle of FI cleaners a couple times.
Defective thermostat, radiator cap, or incorrect coolant ratio... easy enough to replace all after 100k miles as normal time/mileage PM.
Clogged PCV valve. Cheap enough to replace and verify unclogged hose/valvecover.
Deaf knock sensor. Usually the last part to replace if no error codes. 1st to go if there is anything shown.
Various CES or CEL errors that no one wants to fix. Scan and fix all and investigate pending.... lazy o2, MAP, temp sensors...
Vacuum leaks(usually solved with gasket replacement/sealing or hose/clamp related(trim/tighten as needed)). Break out the soapy water, and use your eyesight.

Do what you want. My engines don't knock on 87 and are down right peppier all summer on premium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I get this feeling you like to complain about people who mistreat their vehicles. In any case, I am not among them, as I've already made clear here and in other threads. No CEL / warning lights, tune-up was done in September, and fuel lasts me about two weeks, so that's what I meant by a long while.

I'm checking to see if there is an actual problem that is causing the pinging, or if indeed all I need is higher octane fuel for the long-haul, or perhaps even just the summer. There is no universal consensus on the matter elsewhere online; it's all subjective, with a dash of objectivity here and there -- such as the discussion here. But I'm grateful for the input, and will be checking in to these things. I'll also see if I can grab a clip of the sound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Most of the pings were muffled because of interior noise, so I tried rolling down the windows a bit to pick it up, and managed to get just a smidge of the sound on recording. Listen right around the upshift at the seven second mark: https://youtu.be/uU5qNXMAhYw
 

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How can there be a universal consensus when we aren't driving the car and quite honestly, heard nothing in the 10 sec video.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
How can there be a universal consensus when we aren't driving the car and quite honestly, heard nothing in the 10 sec video.
Universal consensus about pinging in general. :blink: And yes, it is hard to hear, but not impossible. It's there.
 

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I listened to the clip. I did not hear spark knock.
What I think I did hear is a little noise from the exhaust manifold.
A little explanation:
When the exhaust valves first open up cylinder pressure is still pretty high, especially under heavy load/throttle.
The exhaust gases start coming out abruptly and fast. Some call this the "blow down" portion of the exhaust cycle.
When there's a leaky gasket between the head and exhaust manifold you'll get a distinct "tick tick" sound due to the sharp bursts of pressure.
Back in the day cast iron manifolds were thick heavy boat anchors that did a great job of absorbing the sounds of the violence going on inside.
Modern cars have cast manifolds that are better shaped but lighter and more of that sound gets through.
Thin tube exhaust headers really let it come out, but typically the sound from the tailpipe of a free flow exhaust drowns it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I listened to the clip. I did not hear spark knock.
What I think I did hear is a little noise from the exhaust manifold.
A little explanation:
When the exhaust valves first open up cylinder pressure is still pretty high, especially under heavy load/throttle.
The exhaust gases start coming out abruptly and fast. Some call this the "blow down" portion of the exhaust cycle.
When there's a leaky gasket between the head and exhaust manifold you'll get a distinct "tick tick" sound due to the sharp bursts of pressure.
Back in the day cast iron manifolds were thick heavy boat anchors that did a great job of absorbing the sounds of the violence going on inside.
Modern cars have cast manifolds that are better shaped but lighter and more of that sound gets through.
Thin tube exhaust headers really let it come out, but typically the sound from the tailpipe of a free flow exhaust drowns it out.
Gotcha. I suppose then the question is can I determine if it's that or spark knock? As I understand so far, one way to test if it's the latter is by using premium fuel for a spell, then see if I can continue to replicate the issue. If I can't, I assume it's spark knock, but if I can, then I suppose it could still be either.
 
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