Went after the front valvetrain today, as the stethescope pointed to the front bank for the ticking, possibly the #1 cylinder. In the process of disconnecting and inspecting plug wires, found the coil end of #3 wire was pulled partly back out of the boot, and not in full contact with the coil post.
Found nothing out of the ordinary on the front valvetrain, even after completely disassembling and reinspecting each piece. No noise there, has to be a lifter. Put it back together, and added half a bottle of Lucas Oil Stabilizer to thicken things up for the lifter'* benefit.
Took it out for a drive in lower gears than it wanted (2nd gear in a 45 zone, 3rd in a 55, up to 75mph) to hold the RPM'* high for a 5-minute drive. Power was noticably better with #3 firing consistently, and the ticking is BARELY audible at idle now. Homing in on it, and getting close to doing some scans.
On a side note, I found a bad-nasty exhaust leak coming out of the heat shield over the crossover pipe. This will be repaired probably this week if the budget permits the remainder of the exhaust work.
Katie and I are going to fix the airmix actuator on the 95 today, then take the SSEi out for some more runs.