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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello!

My 351 Cleveland 2v has been making a ticking sound for a while now and it seems to be getting ever so slightly worse with time (or maybe I am just focusing on it more now). I do not think it is an exhaust leak simply based on the fact that the sound is NOT present at initial startup / when the engine is cold, but starts ticking after the engine warms up. Also, using my mechanics stethoscope, the ticking sounds louder on top of the valve cover (at cylinder #4) than it is anywhere on the exhaust manifold. Further, I added 8oz of MMO to my Valvoline VR1 (10w-30) and after a couple hundred miles it seemed to make the ticking sound louder. I then decided to drain the oil and I switch to Mobil 1 15w-50 synthetic (as recommended on here a bunch) and that seemed to take it back to pre MMO sound levels. (thinking the MMO thinned out the 10w-30 a little too much)

Clips of the engine running are found below, excuse me moving around so much, I wanted to make sure I captured the sound as best I could...

Sound from passenger side of engine found here

Sound from underneath engine found here


I also pulled the passenger side valve cover and ‘inspected’ the rocker arms and push rods. None of the rods had any vertical wiggle but I could spin all of them with my fingers pretty equally. I also checked the tightness of the rocker arms and they also seemed equal.

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Out of curiosity, I decided to do a compression test. I pulled all the spark plugs (pictures below), disconnected the coil positive and opened the throttle all the way. Results are as follows:

#1 - 166
#2 - 179
#3 - 159
#4 - 179

#5 - 165
#6 - 160
#7 - 174
#8 - 150 w/ ~1 tablespoon oil = 156

I only added oil to the lowest performing cylinder as I did not have an equally reproducible method of delivering the same amount of oil to each cylinder.

Cylinder #8 is 16.2% worse than the best cylinder. According to the repair book, as long as its within 25% I am within acceptable specs.. I thought the oil would have brought the compression up more, but maybe its valvetrain related? I need to rent or buy a leakdown tester..

Oil pressure when cold is ~72psi, warm idle at 750rpm is ~11-12psi and warm pressure at 2000rpm is 35psi… (definitely on the low side, but still within repair book specs..)

EDIT: Vacuum at idle, in park is 20 in/hg and in gear drops to 18.

Spark plugs after idling to get engine up to temperature to do compression check: (sorry for the blurry pic)
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How healthy do you think my motor is? Ideally I would like it to make it another year or so before I was planning on pulling and doing a full rebuild, but this ticking sound has me a little concerned.. IF it is valvetrain related, would it be advisable to do a top end rebuild for the time being? I plan on installing new aluminum heads, new valvetrain and cam anyways when I rebuild the engine, but should I just wait to do everything at once or would it maybe solve my ticking sound?

Any comments, suggestions or concerns are greatly appreciated. I am not new to working on cars but I am still learning as I go and trying to do as much research as I can before I make a post. Also, be gentle on the appearance of my engine bay.. It is a work in progress, and I still have a loooong way to go!

Thank you!
Anthony
 

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- Your Cleveland is running very rich. Whatever carburetor you have likely requires smaller jets.

- The ticking sound is most likely an exhaust leak. When the manifolds heat up, they move. That movement is likely causing a leak.

- The factory Cleveland rockers are positive stop, so there's no adjusting that valve train.

- The compression is all over the place. You could have some bad valves. Or, based on the fact the engine is running so rich, your valves could be gunked up. After you lean out the carburetor, dump two bottles of Chevron Fuel System cleaner into a full tank and drive the car. This will go a long way toward cleaning up the valves.

- After a tank of fuel system cleaner, run the compression check again to see if there's any improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
- Your Cleveland is running very rich. Whatever carburetor you have likely requires smaller jets.

- The ticking sound is most likely an exhaust leak. When the manifolds heat up, they move. That movement is likely causing a leak.

- The factory Cleveland rockers are positive stop, so there's no adjusting that valve train.

- The compression is all over the place. You could have some bad valves. Or, based on the fact the engine is running so rich, your valves could be gunked up. After you lean out the carburetor, dump two bottles of Chevron Fuel System cleaner into a full tank and drive the car. This will go a long way toward cleaning up the valves.

- After a tank of fuel system cleaner, run the compression check again to see if there's any improvement.
Thanks for the lightning fast reply!

- I am still waiting for my RPM Air Gap to show up before mounting my new Summit carb so hopefully that will help with the way she runs overall. The current carb is a stock 2100 and needs to be rebuilt. I think the accelerator pump diaphragm might be shot. Prior to playing with the idle mixture screws my AFR at idle was at ~12.5-13 but had a nasty lean spot (around 16:1) at the slightest tip in and my novice thinking was that I might be able to richen the idle circuit enough to help richen that spot. (shocker, it didn't help..) Hindsight, I should have returned the idle mixture screws to where they were before pulling the plugs for the compression test (it was idling at 10.8-11:1). Also on that note, driving around town at a cruise the AFR hangs out in the 14.4-15 range, light tip in drops it momentarily to 15.5-16.5 (my idiotic thinking that richening of the idle screws would help was a mistake) and WOT is ~12.8.

- Interesting on thinking that it is still an exhaust leak. I don't see any glaring evidence of soot anywhere on the manifolds and the sound is louder at the valve cover. Is there any other tricks on identifying a leak? I tried covering one of the tailpipes but couldn't hear any discernable difference. I do have an H pipe if that makes a difference on that test (maybe I should go ahead and order the Sandersons :cool::cool:)

- I know the rockers are positive stop but had read on here of a couple peoples rocker nuts coming loose and attributing to some valvetrain noise. Figured it was worth taking a peak/feel but good to officially confirm that there is nothing to be adjusted.

- I will pick up some of that Chevron cleaner and get to driving!

Out of curiosity,
Say I had bad rings, would the tablespoon of oil that I added raise the compression more than the 7psi that it did? I expected a higher reading after adding the oil which made me think that it was valve related vs bad rings.


Thank you again for taking the time to try and help me.
My fathers health has declined rapidly over the past couple of years and he can no longer help me the way he used to, so I seriously appreciate any help I can get!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I wish I would have done a little more investigative work when I had the intake off a month ago... I am guessing that this picture I snapped when I had the stock intake off (leaking at the china walls) doesn't help.. I should be receiving the intake this week, so hopefully ill be pulling it back off this weekend to take a better look..

791809
 

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i'd say overall the inside of engine valley and the area under valve covers is pretty darn clean for a used cleveland. They are usually pretty sludged up. It looks like a rebuild happened in the not too distant past. I'd do much more invesitigating instead of ripping into a rebuild...but that is just my .02.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
i'd say overall the inside of engine valley and the area under valve covers is pretty darn clean for a used cleveland. They are usually pretty sludged up. It looks like a rebuild happened in the not too distant past. I'd do much more invesitigating instead of ripping into a rebuild...but that is just my .02.
The engine was last rebuilt by the PO sometime before we bought it in 1992. We have put approximately 66,000 miles on it since its was purchased way back when. Car still feels strong even considering the out of tune carb that it currently has.

I would love to throw a cam into it but the heads would need to come off to machine the heads for screw-in rocker studs and pushrod guides. Or, I switch to an aftermarket aluminum head that already has them, but either way, I figure if I am that deep into an old engine I may as well pull it and start fresh with a rebuild.
 

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The first time I pulled the intake off my Cleveland the intake valves were loaded with black crud. It might have residue from the leaded gas days. It was pretty easy to remove, clean up and check the liters, pushrods, and rockers for wear. I rinsed the valleys with carburetor cleaner and changed the oil twice. The Cleveland ran much better without tar-covered valves and a rebuilt carburetor. Later when I pulled the intake again it was still clean because the engine was never in a bad state of tune.
 

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I'd slap a fresh carb on it, cam it if you feel the need. you do not need the guide plates and studs unless you are going radical with the cam...its a 2bbl cleveland, I'd run the crap out of it. The 66,000 you put on in 30 years is nothing, still plenty left in that motor...
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This has been more positive news than I was expecting to receive! Hopefully my intake shows up this week so I can pull the stock one off again and actually take a look at the intake valves.. Kicking myself for not taking a closer look while while I had it off last month... Hindsight is 20/20!

As far as the ticking sound, I am guessing it is not concerning to anyone here. Maybe this is the justification I was looking for to pull the trigger on the new headers and hopefully the ticking turns out to just be an exhaust leak after all.

I would LOVE to put a radical cam in the car, I have always wanted that aggressive idle (within reason.. I still have PS/PB so I need some vacuum at idle) but if the motor is still healthy, the cam upgrade can wait until I pull the engine to rebuild it and paint the engine bay. I have already spent my allotted budget for the year... and its only April... Good thing I love this car!!
 

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It is very easy to check the valvetrain with the valve cover and intake off. The liters are hydraulic, no adjustment needed. Take the bolt off the rocker arm perch and check everything below. Be certain to put each part back into its original location. Check pushrods for straightness by rolling them on flat glass. If there is slight wear on the rocker side of the pushrod, just flip it. The surface of the lifter should be very slightly convex so it can rotate on the cam lobe. You can pump some oil through the lifers with your fingers to check their operation. If you see excessive wear on a lifter there may be wear on the cam lobe too.

The exhaust manifolds on a Cleveland are so hard to get to. It's not easy to detect a tiny leak there ether. Good luck!
 

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You can get one of those inspection cams. This works well with a smart phone.


Pull the exhaust manifold and the carb and you are able to see a lot.

Did you use soap water to check for exhaust leaks?

Ticking sound can also come from spark wires. Pull the wire at the distributor side if the ticking stops you found it. If you don’t see a rpm drop this cylinder was not contributing much. Another indication something is wrong.


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The surface of the lifter should be very slightly convex so it can rotate on the cam lobe. You can pump some oil through the lifers with your fingers to check their operation. If you see excessive wear on a lifter there may be wear on the cam lobe too.
Remember to put each lifter back into the same lifter bore it came from after you're done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You can get one of those inspection cams. This works well with a smart phone.


Pull the exhaust manifold and the carb and you are able to see a lot.

Did you use soap water to check for exhaust leaks?

Ticking sound can also come from spark wires. Pull the wire at the distributor side if the ticking stops you found it. If you don’t see a rpm drop this cylinder was not contributing much. Another indication something is wrong.


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I have one of those inspection cameras too.. Now I am extra mad at myself for not checking things out when I had the intake off.. To make matters worse, I found out last night that my RPM Air Gap manifold wont show up until mid June because of Edelbrock moving out of California causing production delays... Looks like I am going to pick up a rebuild kit for my 2bbl and hope the fuel system cleaner clears up any gunk I may have on the valves..

Soap water idea is smart! I am definitely going to give that a shot this weekend! I wont have much time to look for bubbles before the manifolds burn off the liquid but hopefully tells me one way or another.

I will also check the spark plug wires but the whole ignition system is a brand new. MSD ready to run distributor and 8.5mm wires. Its easy enough to check though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It is very easy to check the valvetrain with the valve cover and intake off. The liters are hydraulic, no adjustment needed. Take the bolt off the rocker arm perch and check everything below. Be certain to put each part back into its original location. Check pushrods for straightness by rolling them on flat glass. If there is slight wear on the rocker side of the pushrod, just flip it. The surface of the lifter should be very slightly convex so it can rotate on the cam lobe. You can pump some oil through the lifers with your fingers to check their operation. If you see excessive wear on a lifter there may be wear on the cam lobe too.

The exhaust manifolds on a Cleveland are so hard to get to. It's not easy to detect a tiny leak there ether. Good luck!
When my intake decides to finally show up, I will go ahead and pull the valvetrain to verify everything is still in working order. Thank you for laying out the process, doesn't sound difficult at all! The more I learn about them, the more I realize that these engines really are simple creatures. I have just been intimidated for whatever reason.

Thank you again to everyone that has contributed to this thread!!
 

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For your intake, allow me to suggest using a Felpro "Turkey Pan". Edelbrock recommends using paper gaskets and RTV at the front and rear. However, an Edelbrock intake leaves enormous gaps at the front and rear which are difficult to seal with RTV. I went round and round with this and ended up using a turkey pan gasket with the neoprene seals at the front and rear and RTV. Also, hit both sides of the metal gasket port areas with a coat of Permatex "Copper Coat" just make sure everything is going to seal.

Since a Cleveland intake is dry, you don't have to worry about coolant leaks. It's the vacuum leaks and oil leaks that will drive you crazy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
For your intake, allow me to suggest using a Felpro "Turkey Pan". Edelbrock recommends using paper gaskets and RTV at the front and rear. However, an Edelbrock intake leaves enormous gaps at the front and rear which are difficult to seal with RTV. I went round and round with this and ended up using a turkey pan gasket with the neoprene seals at the front and rear and RTV. Also, hit both sides of the metal gasket port areas with a coat of Permatex "Copper Coat" just make sure everything is going to seal.

Since a Cleveland intake is dry, you don't have to worry about coolant leaks. It's the vacuum leaks and oil leaks that will drive you crazy.
The turkey pan is the plan! I saw that you recommend the turkey pan to someone else installing an Air Gap so I went ahead and picked another one up.. It is sitting next to my new Summit carb waiting to be installed.. When I pulled my intake last month to put on a new gasket I also used the copper coat as recommended by you. However, I ended up using over a third of the can to coat both sides of the ports since it comes out pretty thin.. I didn't end up with any leaks so I am not complaining, I am just wondering if I may have used too much.

Also, I know they are generally considered to be single use, but would it be possible to reuse my month old turkey pan with maybe 200 miles on it? Since I'll be waiting until mid June to receive my new intake I might want to pull my stock intake again to have a look at the valvetrain but don't want to sacrifice this fresh pan.
 
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