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Discussion Starter #1
It is currently below freezing, and when I go and start up my engine for the first time of the day it sort of clatters for the first 5-10 seconds. I guess its the lifters not having any oil in them, but aren't they supposed to hold their oil? I'm running 5w30 and I just changed it recently. should I worry about this or just let it be?

the car in question is a 1982 amc spirit with a 4.2L inline six.
 

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it's the wrong oil filter, kind of. get a filter with a built in bypass, it won't take as long for oil to circulate and oil will pump up. some newer chryslers will do the same in the winter without the bypass oil filter
 

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I dont know anything about living in weather that cold and I dont want to know! If it were my car I would get one of those lil heaters that stick onto the oil pan just so the oil can get pumping easier. On a cold start like that you have to be doing some damage. :pain:
 

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You could install a mechanical gauge to monitor your oil pressure if you're concerned about damaging the bearings. I was raised in a very cold climate and remember how high the oil pressure was on startup (air temps -20 to -35F) in our old trucks (80-90psi) till they warmed up. The 90W gear oil in the manual transmissions would nearly kill the engine if you let the clutch out at idle while in neutral . I think you're correct in that the lifters are bleeding down over night and the thick oil takes a few seconds to reach the lifters. Are you running synthetic or petroleum based oil?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm currently running the cheapest store brand 5w30 non-synthetic oil, along with a cheap store-brand oil filter (made by fram I think). Also I don't currently have a working pressure gauge. I'm going to get a new oil filter from a real parts store, what brands are decent? A lot of places just seem to have a lot of fram.. I know that wix is good, not sure they'll have it though.
 

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fiscus said:
I'm currently running the cheapest store brand 5w30 non-synthetic oil, along with a cheap store-brand oil filter (made by fram I think). Also I don't currently have a working pressure gauge. I'm going to get a new oil filter from a real parts store, what brands are decent? A lot of places just seem to have a lot of fram.. I know that wix is good, not sure they'll have it though.
napa gold ( rebadged Wix filter ), with bypass. without the bypass the oil will return to the filter, the bypass is what holds in the oil.
 

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I've always live in the northern regions(down to 50 below),and have found that the way to go in cold climates is synthetic lube,picks up right away,even in older engines.
Give it a try.
 

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i use to live up north and don't remember the cold making any of my motors chatter. but i've had chatter and no oil presure from the fram filters here in florida at start up. i think the problem is the fram filter and not the cold.
 

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I beleive this has the filter mounted on the side of the block,if so the problem is the cheap filter not having an anti drain back valve. put on a napa or wix filter problem will go away the cheap filter is draing when setting and having to fill up each time you start it.I have fixed many a Ford 300 six cylinder with complaints of Knock at start up by installing a Motorcraft fl1-a filter inplace of el cheapos.
 

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It could be lifters not getting oil in time (being thicker cause its cold), but more likely is piston slap.

Is it a snick or click sound, or a knock or pock sound? I've had a few AMCs and they tend to have both problems. The noisy lifters are usually a very tinny high-pitched tick with lots of treble to them on AMCs, and the piston slap usually sounds like a little hammer hitting the block.

Either one is pretty harmless. If its the lifters, just let 'em tick. Its slightly tougher on the valvetrain, but not really an issue. If its piston slap, just go really easy on it for the first 5-10 minutes. Drive like a granny with as little throttle as possible. Piston slap comes from excessive piston skirt-to-cylinder clearance letting the pistons rock around. At idle and low loads its not really much of an issue, but the more throttle you put in it, the more chance you'll be putting lots of pressure on the piston while its rocked and it might score a cylinder wall over time.
 

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I'm an AMC guy, six cylinder specifically, and I agree with curtis73. It's likely the filter, but if piston to wall clearance gets to be much over the factory spec of 0.002" (over 0.004") the pistons will rock slightly at low speeds and "tick". No harm is being done though. Shortly after Chrysler took over they "loosened up" the specs on the 4.0L (same basic design as the 4.2L) and had problems with engines coming back with 30K-40K on them for engine noise. It was piston skirt ticking at low speeds. Some of those engines now have over 150K on them. They still "tick", but a few people "in the know" got great deals on low mileage 93-95 XJ Cherokees in the late 90s because it scared owners. I was one of those people, bought a 93 with a factory reman short block that started ticking again after ~30K on it (first one was replaced under warranty ~35K). I got a great deal on a 65K vehicle with a 30K engine! I finally sold it with over 100K on it. Chrysler made a few changes in the block and added a coating on the piston skirts for 96.
 

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Anybody know if 2.8 Chevy v6s are known for this too. Mine seems to have a similar sound, especially in the winter...It has 250,000km on it.
 

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Pretty much any GM engine from that era with 150k miles on the clock could be expected to have either problem.
 

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I visited Canada one time in January, and if I lived there I´d definately/without a doubt install a block heater or one of these heater pads
I had a block heater in a car I owned in Germany and it was sheer luxury to get into a car with warm air blowing immediately.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I put in a carquest (wix) oil filter, and the problem seems to have pretty much gone away. If the car sits a few days then I go start it, it will tick for about maybe 3/4 of a second or 1 second. I've been able to "pre-lube" it by cranking the engine a bit before I pump the pedal to turn on the choke, then when it starts there is no ticking at all.
 
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