Re: lifters ticking?
""the tick gets much louder when the engine is under a load [example, uphill in 3rd gear] and sometimes if i rev it hard then dump the gas i get a really loud bang.""
Check the exhaust - manifold to head gasket, manifold to headpipe gasket, even lower down than that.
A leak can sound like a lifter, gets louder under load, and the bang - rapping it up and decelerating pushes fuel in the exhaust, then the hole sucks in fresh air - bang, a small backfire.
To check if it's a rod, which I doubt it is, pull that plug wire - try to make the noise happen again - noise will almost dissapear. If unknown, pull one at a time.
If it is the exhaust, it will only make a slight difference.