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Hello,
yesterday I did a much needed service. I changed the oil from 5w30 to Mobile 1 5w40, oil filter, cabin air filter, spark plugs and air filter. After the change a strange ticking noise started coming from the engine. I think it is coming from lifters but I am not sure. Also my old spark plugs were covered in oil and I think its cylinder head cover gasket (again not sure). The car is E46 328ci 1999.
Thank you in advance.
 

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Valve cover gaskets do fail, so that's a possibility. If you have to replace your lifters, you have a whole lot of work ahead of you :)
 

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Hello,
yesterday I did a much needed service. I changed the oil from 5w30 to Mobile 1 5w40, oil filter, cabin air filter, spark plugs and air filter. After the change a strange ticking noise started coming from the engine. I think it is coming from lifters but I am not sure. Also my old spark plugs were covered in oil and I think its cylinder head cover gasket (again not sure). The car is E46 328ci 1999.
Thank you in advance.
When you say the plugs were covered with oil do you mean inside the cylinders or outside in the plug pots? If it's in the plug pots then it is definitely the VCG. There is a BMW recommended procedure for bleeding the lifters but it does require that they are not gummed up with hardened oil deposits. So an application of some kind of cleaning additive like SeaFoam is a good idea to remove the deposits before bleeding the lifters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwTfFesA-yo
 

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HVA (hydraulic lifter) tapping does occur for many reasons. Mostly due to age. The dealers solution is to remove all and replace with new. An answer, albeit impractical.

Most top tier oils are largely the same, that is to say using premium stocks and/or synthetic PAO base. By far the largest differences between the best oils/brands is the additive package.

The the makeup of what's in brand X VS: brand Y additive package that can cause a older lifter to tap, or conversely become quiet. By far the easiest thing to do is to change the brand of oil you're using and see if that doesn't solve your issue after a couple of complete heat cycles. (That's engine oil temperature and not coolant) The oil takes much longer to fully heat/cool down.

A couple of decades ago I owned a Bosch Service Center, BSC. We serviced primarily BMW but also did a lot of work on the Porsche/Audi/VW marques. Castrol was the oil of choice back then and most of the Audi/VW older cars would have a slight HVA ticking. For a myriad of reasons we switched over to Pennzoil in the bulk oil tank.
A funny thing happened to all of the cars that had a tick, it went away. Unsolicited my customers called me to thank me.

If you don't want to change the brand of oil you're using, might I suggest the Liqui-Moly # 20004 Hydraulic Lifter Additive. We've had good results with it.
For oils we use here everyday, we stock Fuchs Titan Super-Syn LongLife 5-40 and Liqui Moly 5-30 & 5-40. All BMW LL-01 and/or LL-04 approved. All generally w/o lifter tapping.
BTW, Fuchs (factory fill oils in a myriad of BMW transmissions, differentials etc.) is the manufacturer of Pentosin brand oils. Pentosin is really trying to break deeper into the BMW market by now offering many new oils for later BMW's using the (ridiculous IMO) LL-14FE & LL-17FE approvals.

As a generality we find the lifter bleeding technique (outlined in a BMW TSB) only to bring about temporary solution. Eventually it will return. Changing oils (again additive package) is the best solution thus far.
Only a couple of cars were not solved by a couple of trial/error oil brand swaps.
YMMV.
 
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