1997 2.4 Chevy Malibu has a loud ticking sound when at idle or high rpm cold or hot. Replaced the head gasket and it started making the noise. i also replaced the water pump. Car starts and dies if i keep my foot on the gas then it stay running does idle rough but with a lot of power. If you disable ignition and crank the car you do not hear any ticking and car cranks great.
Sounds like you are a tech. How long did the engine make the tick noise before you shut it of and decided there was something not right? What was the reason for the chain being replaced? I will try to be of help.
Keep Foot On Gas To Stay Running
i bought the car with a blown head gasket and a cracked head which i did replace. drove the car for about 2 weeks. when i was on the freeway doing about 65 or 70mph the cars rpm dropped to about 700 and i could not accelerate and the speed started to drop. drove off freeway and the car never died out but did start to overheat. drove car home and it blew out all the water threw the reservoir. again i replaced the head gasket started the car and it started to make a lifter type noise and a whining sound like drive belts. drained oil and put 10w40 and the whining went away but the ticking remains. checked compression on all 4 cylinders: cylinder #1-120psi, #2-120psi, #3&4-140psi. removed each cable at a time and started the car to see if the ticking would go away and it never did. i also replaced 3 falty lifters.also if you give the car a quick snap to the throttle it does seem to have power. As for your question as to how long did i run the car i just ran it today has a hard time starting and wont stay running but as long as i keep my foot on the gas i kept it running for about 20-25mins. also when you do run it it does run rough. and it does not matter whether its hot or cold or in park or drive. i have not replaced the timing chain. When i did the first head gasket the car did run great for two weeks.
It really sounds like one or both cams is out of time. Either the chain is stretched and jumped time, or the tensioner is collapsed or broken, which would give the running problem and the ticking if the chain is slapping against the housing. With all of the overheating that this engine has gone through, sounds like you could also have more lifters gone bad, or damage to one of the cams. Try to pinpoint where the noise is coming from - cam area or front cover area. The ticking and the way it runs may be 2 separate problems. Not staying running unless keep foot on gas sounds like running on two cylinders (coil,coil cover) or out of time. Think you are going to need to take this thing apart and look for something damaged after checking the basics of the ignition and fuel system. A miss on #1 will also take out #4, just as 2 and 3 work together, whether it be ignition or fuel injector.