Hello everyone, I need some help. I have a 1996 Ranger with the 3.0 w/ auto trans. It started making a knocking sound a couple weeks ago but it would only do it when accelerating from a stop, now it has started doing it constantly. I pulled the spark plugs last night and they were toast (the driver side was worse than the passenger side) so I put in a new set but it didn't stop the knock. I'm thinking it may be a timing issue but I just don't know. I had the codes checked and the only one that came up was a bad purge valve but I don't think that should have anything to do with this. If I had to describe the sound, I would say it sounds like something metal hitting the firewall. It won't knock at an idle or in park, only under load. I've tried checking for any vacuum leaks with carb cleaner, found one small one and repaired it with a new hose.
Our other car is currently broke down so we are currently without a vehicle and don't have the money to take it to a mechanic so any help is highly appreciated.