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Old 07-08-2009, 09:57 PM
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Sticking lifter... easy fix? Is that what it is?

After hearing several different opinions as to what the ticking in my engine is...


Timing chain slapping against timing cover, bent pushrod, connecting rod bearing, loose rocker arm, spun bearings, etc.


I finally got more than one place to say the same thing: sticking lifter. The explanation I got was that it was also probably the reason that there's such a big smoke cloud after the car sits for more than 4 hours; all of the oil in the top end of the motor was draining back into the combustion chamber.



Is this an easy fix? Or do I have to tear into the whole motor to fix it? I haven't popped off the valve covers yet to see where exactly it's coming from, but I'll probably get into that tomorrow.

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Old 07-08-2009, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefasaurus
Is this an easy fix?
How long is a piece of string?

While you ponder that, if this is a flat tappet engine, realize that just replacing the lifter w/a new one really is a last-ditch fix. You can not just replace a used lifter from a used cam lobe w/a new lifter. In most cases, a rapid failure of the new lifter as well as the old cam is going to occur.

The lifter and the lobe it is mated to is a matched set- for life. The wear pattern that occurs will be unique to that set of parts.

The options you have is to take the lifter apart and clean it thoroughly and hope that you don't find any galled, scored or terminally worn parts- including the lifter "foot" (the bottom of the lifter that contacts the cam).

If the foot's worn to a concave shape, all bets are off. Despite cleaning the lifter, the cam and lifter is worn and will need replacing. This means a cam and all of the lifters. I'll leave new cam break-in procedures for another time.

If the lifter and its parts look good after being cleaned up, you can reassemble it and reinstall it and using cam lube, start the engine back up after lashing the valves and see what you get.

If you take the chance of replacing the old lifter w/a new lifter, use cam lube, lash as you normally would, and follow all the break-in procedures just like if you were replacing the cam and lifters w/new parts. This includes using an oil supplement w/zinc and running the engine at 2500 RPM for 20 minutes, etc. The chances of this working are not good.

If this is a roller cam engine, you can safely replace a bad lifter w/a new one or a good, used one for that matter.

Quote:
Or do I have to tear into the whole motor to fix it?
This depends- what engine do you have? That's the "How long is a piece of string?" comment- w/o knowing what you are working on, it's unknown.

As an example, if you are working on a Jeep 4.0L, it needs the head pulled to get the lifters out. A SBC (and others) only needs the intake pulled.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt327
How long is a piece of string?

While you ponder that, if this is a flat tappet engine, realize that just replacing the lifter w/a new one really is a last-ditch fix. You can not just replace a used lifter from a used cam lobe w/a new lifter. In most cases, a rapid failure of the new lifter as well as the old cam is going to occur.

The lifter and the lobe it is mated to is a matched set- for life. The wear pattern that occurs will be unique to that set of parts.

The options you have is to take the lifter apart and clean it thoroughly and hope that you don't find any galled, scored or terminally worn parts- including the lifter "foot" (the bottom of the lifter that contacts the cam).

If the foot's worn to a concave shape, all bets are off. Despite cleaning the lifter, the cam and lifter is worn and will need replacing. This means a cam and all of the lifters. I'll leave new cam break-in procedures for another time.

If the lifter and its parts look good after being cleaned up, you can reassemble it and reinstall it and using cam lube, start the engine back up after lashing the valves and see what you get.

If you take the chance of replacing the old lifter w/a new lifter, use cam lube, lash as you normally would, and follow all the break-in procedures just like if you were replacing the cam and lifters w/new parts. This includes using an oil supplement w/zinc and running the engine at 2500 RPM for 20 minutes, etc. The chances of this working are not good.

If this is a roller cam engine, you can safely replace a bad lifter w/a new one or a good, used one for that matter.

This depends- what engine do you have? That's the "How long is a piece of string?" comment- w/o knowing what you are working on, it's unknown.

As an example, if you are working on a Jeep 4.0L, it needs the head pulled to get the lifters out. A SBC (and others) only needs the intake pulled.

77 Mercury Monarch with the 302, stock flat tappet cam. It has either 120K or 220K on it. My odometer only shows 5 digits, so the first number is a mystery. Based on the condition of the rest of the car, it's *probably* 120K, but 220K is a possibility.


I have a Lunati Voodoo cam and lifter kit on order, so if that *is* the problem, I've got a buddy that can help me with the swap.
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Old 07-09-2009, 08:57 PM
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sticking lifter.

Hi,put a quart of auto transmission fluid (oil) in the engine,start it and drive it,if,its a sticking lifter,this will probably free it up.trans fluid is super high detergent oil.it will not hurt to run the engine with this in it.ive been doing it for almost 50 years,never hurt an engine yet,.After the lifter quits making noise,change oil and filter.
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Old 07-10-2009, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt327
How long is a piece of string?
You can not just replace a used lifter from a used cam lobe w/a new lifter. In most cases, a rapid failure of the new lifter as well as the old cam is going to occur.

The lifter and the lobe it is mated to is a matched set- for life. The wear pattern that occurs will be unique to that set of parts.

The first part is completely false, an old wives tale.
Although the part about them wearing a pattern into each other is true, a fresh lifter will simply wear into the pattern on the cam and be fine. I've personally done it, and seen it done, dozens of times.
Of course, my opinion would be to replace the works with a nice aftermarket set since he's going almost that far into the motor anyhow.
That said, if he's looking to do a cheap fix (notice to the OP, I didn't say necessarily easy, I don't know your skill level), then putting a new, stock replacement lifter in it, and breaking it in like you would a new cam will be fine. Use a good moly lube, hold at 1500-2000 RPM's for 20-25 minutes, etc. etc. for breaking in. http://www.moramotorworks.com/engine%20break%20in.htm
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