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Annoying new valvetrain noise

1681 Views 30 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  PonyCarMan
Went to crank Jane up on Friday, and got a fun new noise. Sounds like it is in the valvetrain somewhere.

Car was fine when I pulled into the garage on Wednesday. Oil pressure good, usually it's 55-60psi and it's reading 55 now. Because I have a thicker oil in there (15w-50), cold starts in winter usually have some lifter ticking noise for the first two seconds until it pumps up. But this time, the noise just didn't go away! Lol.

She was due for a valve adjustment this weekend anyways so I had planned on doing that. But now I am wondering - if a lifter has gotten stuck compressed (hence the noise), will adjusting it actually hurt the cam? Bad idea to adjust the lifters? Or will it be very obvious if there's one that's stuck (nut needs a lot more cranking down to pick up the slack, resulting in a lot more stud showing)?

Relevant Specs: 289 last rebuilt 2016, about 40000 miles on it. Biggish Lunati hydraulic flat tappet cam with springs and lifters to match, stock ported iron heads, screw in studs, stock rockers and adjustment nuts.

Video (ignore the belt squeal lol):
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I had the same late summer after I drove to an early cars/coffee about 35 miles from home. When I pulled in to the event my buddy asked "man, you running solid lifters?" cause it was ticking like that. I just said yes lol

Went home and adjusted the drivers side bank by pulling valve cover, rotating engine a bit by hand and tightening any that seemed overly loose. I never got to the passenger side, but car was put away for the winter by then anyway. One of my checklist items in the spring. Valve adjustment on these cars seems like a Rubik's Cube and I don't understand why it need to be so complicated.

BTW... where did you get the cool valve cover breather? I have the same covers and would like that breather as well.
 

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I am not an engine expert, but wouldn't a compression test isolate the cylinder with the stuck lifter if there is one?
Not likely. Even if the lifter was collapsed you're only talking about 0.080" of travel. Enough to make noise but not enough to significantly affect compression.
 

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I would pull the valve cover in the side the noise are and start the engine, makes it much easier to locate exactly which rocker/lifter the sound is coming from. Don't rew it with the cover off, if you haven't prepaired with cardboard, towels or similar stuff to catch airborn oil drops.
I have an old valve cover, with the top cut off, for doing this. No mess, no fuss!
 

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Are ya sure it isn't just a lil' ol' exhaust leak?
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Well good and bad news. Sent that video to Chas (he helped me build that motor and knows it just as well as I do) and he too concluded it was more than your average loose lifter tap. But he said drive around the block at low RPMs until up to operating temp, then check under valve covers for anything amiss.

I did just that and...well, it sounded like hell until it hit 160*F and then it decided it was okay and resumed sounding normal 🤷‍♀️

So I assume it was a collapsed lifter and I guess it's "fixed".... For now?? Going to chuck some Rislone in there to help clean up any gumminess, and call it good until the next time it decides it's grumpy I guess.

Argh
 

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Well good and bad news. Sent that video to Chas (he helped me build that motor and knows it just as well as I do) and he too concluded it was more than your average loose lifter tap. But he said drive around the block at low RPMs until up to operating temp, then check under valve covers for anything amiss.

I did just that and...well, it sounded like hell until it hit 160*F and then it decided it was okay and resumed sounding normal 🤷‍♀️

So I assume it was a collapsed lifter and I guess it's "fixed".... For now?? Going to chuck some Rislone in there to help clean up any gumminess, and call it good until the next time it decides it's grumpy I guess.

Argh
Probably a piece of caliche…
 
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Curious if this noise has changed any or stayed the same.

I talked to my buddy that I used to work with who works on a lot of vintage cars this morning at Pistons on the Square, and he just listened to the video and said its not always easy to identify noises without being there in person, but to him it sounds like a loose rocker arm but could be a lifter. He also said the safest course of action is pull the valve cover and inspect things.

Have you taken a look yet, or just waiting to see if it has superhero powers and self heals?
 

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I've had the experience on two vehicles where a lifter makes noise shortly after startup, then quiets down after driving just a few miles. Only happens on cold starts on cold days. Adding an additional 1/2 quart resolved it. My conclusion is the cold oil isn't draining back to the pan fast enough, so the pump picked up some air. I could see a momentary dip in the oil pressure too, which was surprising considering how slow the Ford gauges react.
15w50 isn't going to help that situation. Why so thick?
 
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