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Old 11-28-2010, 10:56 PM
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454 Ticking noise - Lifters or valves?

I've put a 454 from a 73 C-20 truck into my 79 C-10. I did not hear the engine run before I bought it and when I got ahold of it the heads were off of it so the guy could check the bores for wear. The heads were included and they were 049s but I instead installed a set of 781s that I had from my old 78 454. I knew how many miles were on the 781s where I didn't really know anything about the 049s and thus i made my decision.

Now heres the issue. The engine is ticking. I *think* the 78 454 was ticking as well but I dont think it was ticking this bad.

I'm pretty sure its either the lifters or something in the head itself. I used the rockers, push rods and of course the assembled heads off the 78 and yes they're all in the exact same spot they were in when they came out of the other engine. The only thing is that the lifters are original to the 73 engine and not the 78 engine although i really dont think that matters too much. I did use assembly lube on all contact points when I put the engine together.

So the lifters obviously can tick, what about the rest of the valvetrain? What else in there can tick and how do I find out what it is for sure that is ticking so I can fix it?

It runs great it doesn't pop, backfire, lack power or anything like that, it just makes a ticking noise is all.

what do I do from here? I dont think I've tightened the valves down too tight, I think I went 3/4 of a turn past zero-lash and I've done that same thing on several SBCs before with no issues so I really dont think its an adjustment problem. I do however think its the lifters or perhaps something in the heads.

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Old 11-28-2010, 11:15 PM
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My brother bought a new Suburban in '74 with a 454 in it. It had a lifter noise from day one, he had it in the shop several times. Chevrolet simply said, yes there is a problem with these motors, there's nothing we can do. I believe the noise was on the drivers side, not sure.

Not knowing the history of your motor, I wouldn't say it was one of those factory problems.
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:32 PM
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Wow thats strange. I wouldnt think theyd ever consider a noise like that to be normal.
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:34 PM
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I'd go back and recheck all the rockers just to be sure before you move on to anything more major.
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:39 PM
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I have heard some pretty strange things from the dealers before myself. And my response also was WOW!!!!!!.


Cole
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:45 PM
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Sounds to me like they're just lazy and dont want to work on it.
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torque454
Sounds to me like they're just lazy and dont want to work on it.
Could be that too.


Cole
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Old 11-29-2010, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torque454
Wow thats strange. I wouldnt think theyd ever consider a noise like that to be normal.
I didn't get involved in his dealership wars over it, and don't think they thought of it as "normal", except in saying we know it's ticking, almost all our new 454's have something going on.

So yes, I'd have to side with Cole and Torque on that one, lazy and blowing smoke.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:41 PM
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The 454 in my 79 C-10 has a fuel pump knock.
Had it for years---even with different pump

tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-

goes away just off idle, but my idle is set to about 500---barely turning
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:52 PM
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It sounds like its coming from the passengers side head but sounds can be deceiving. I need to check and see if the noise ever goes away, it does seem like it quietens down after it warms up but doesnt go away.
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Old 11-30-2010, 02:02 AM
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if you rev the motor up and let go of the gas (nothing crazy, just to say.. 2000 rpm) and it taps louder on the decel then the accell, there's a good chance it's a rod bearing going away.

also need to determine if it sounds like it's at crank speed, or 1/2 crank speed..

with a stethecope.. lifters have a pattern to them.. sort of a tap-tap-pause-tap-tap-pause since the lifter is only active for such a small part of the crank rotation..

rod bearings have sort of a two-tone sound them.. sort of a very heavy sounding tick-tock. but it will be at a pretty fast pace since it knocks every time the piston changes direction (twice per crank rev)

Im told main bearings make a squawking sound, but I've never had an engine develop main bearing issues.

we chased a rod knock through my buddies ford I6 before we figured out it was a noisey fuel pump so check that too.
easiest thing to do is take the pump off and fire it up briefly. won't hurt anything. .might leak some oil tho.. and obviously it will only run until the carb runs dry.
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Old 11-30-2010, 08:14 AM
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Valves and lifter noises are from the same source, miss adjusted or loose adjustment of a lifter.

Is this a roller motor by chance? Rods noise has a lower note then lifers, lifters tick a rod cluncks.

Last edited by pepi; 11-30-2010 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 11-30-2010, 08:39 AM
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Its a stock hydraulic flat tappet cam. Definitely a tick from the valve train or similar source and not from a rod. I've had engines with knocking rods and this sounds nothing like it. Like I said the engine runs great with plenty of power. I've found that knocking rods tends to take its toll on the engines power somehow and this just doesnt feel like anything is wrong.

Is it possible there could be an exhaust leak making this noise? Like I said I think it lessens up as the engine warms up but doesnt go away completely. I think I reused the old paper header gaskets from when I had these headers on my old 454 (for just a short time, the gaskets mostly fell right off when I took the headers off and I was doing this as cheap as I could so I reused the gaskets I had since they looked mostly fine)

If it is a valve or lifter would I be able to tell where the noise is at with a stethoscope or rubber tube held up to my ear in different places on the engine?

And if it where would the noise be located - at the valve or at the lifter? (As in, if I hold the hose to the valve cover over the rocker will i hear the noise or will i have to get closer to the lifter - over the intake manifold - to hear the problematic valve?
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Old 11-30-2010, 08:50 AM
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It could be as simple as an exhaust leak. Look for the telltale soot around each header flange. If your quick, on a cold start you can feel close around any suspect flange, before the header heats up to much.

If you had a rod bearing going away, you wouldn't be talking a tick tick, you would know. Same with a spun main, I spun the #1 main on one of my GTO's, it was a hard "clank" when free revving to about double idle.

If you have a piece of surgical tubing, put a piece of round rod in one end and cup the other around your ear, touch the head below the valve cover along the head, you might be able to pick up the offending cylinder if there is one.
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