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The point of this post is to catalog an issue I diagnosed and repaired with my 2005 Ford Focus ZX4 with the 2.0L Duratec. It is meant to help anyone who searches for such an issue on this forum or via Google.

Over the past month, I have noticed a ticking noise coming from the engine bay. The noise was tied to engine RPM, and it only occurred under load/acceleration. Revving the engine with no load did not produce the noise.

I suspected an exhaust leak, so I duct-taped the end of my shopvac to the tailpipe, put it in 'blow' mode, and turned it on to pressurize the exhaust system. I ran my hands along all parts of the exhaust and found air blowing out of a crack in the exhaust manifold:



The picture above shows a crack where the exhaust tubes meet the manifold flange. This crack is on the underside of the manifold. It took about 1.5 hours to remove the exhaust manifold from the car, and once I got it out, I found two more cracks in the same spot on two of the other tubes.

I had someone weld a bead along the underside of each tube to fill in the cracks and prevent more. I no longer hear any ticking noise.
 

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Vince your Moderator
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So problem solved correct?
 
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