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I just got a 97 Ram Van with 127K miles with a 3.9 v6. It runs great except after about 5 minutes of running, it starts to make a noise that sounds exactly like the old Dodge's would make when the exhaust flapper in the manifold would break. I have looked and listened all over the engine even with one of those stethiscopes with the stick on the end and still can't pinpoint it. The noise is consistant but random. So it's not pistons, rod knock or valves or lifters. I changed the water pump and belt. I thought it might have been end play in one of the pulleys but they are all tight. The fan blades are tight as well.
Someone told me there was some canister or flapper valve in the intake tract on the smaller v6's in the cars that is thermostatically controlled that is probably doing it but I have no idea what to look for on the van.
I have checked out every site I can find and I'm hoping you guys can give me a clue.
THANKS
 

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How's the oil level, I have seen an intermittently clacking valve due to low oil. But the noise was noticeably from the front of the valve cover.
Good Luck
Tim
 
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