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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 65 200 6cyl with the standard cast iron head. Three or four times now I drove it on the highway and it seams like one of the lifters sticks badly. It is ticking loudly. If I shut it off for a while, it will still tick, but eventually goes away. I take the rural route home, not the highway. I can hear a very faint tick at times when idling in the driveway.

I plan to pull the valve cover and Look over the rocker arms and push rods. I have a feeling I have a lifter that collapses on occasion. My question is, can I change the lifters without pulling the cylinder head?

The engine was rebuilt at some point. It has a 65 block and a 68 head. I had an overheating problem that was resolved. I am running 15w40 oil and it was changed in October.
 

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I'm afraid you have to pull the head to get down to the lifters. I'd run some engine cleaner in the oil (just before a change). You could have a starving lifter or two from a sludged up oil pickup tube (or low oil pressure due to worn bearings). You can pull the valve cover to check your rocker adjustments and the rocker shaft. If the shaft is worn, you'll get a good adjustment sometimes then it'll move a little and change the clearance on the valve (the oil hole on the shaft for a particular rocker could be plugged).
 

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IMO, the 15W/40 is too heavy. Drain it. Flush it. Re-fill it with 5W/30. The heavier oil won't flow as easily through the rods and lifters like it should.
I broke my engine in on 5W/30. After break-in I changed to 10W/40. The recommended oil (usually 10W/40 for the 60's) when the cars were built was so it could fit and move within the tolerances in the engine. Oil that's too thick won't fit where it's supposed to.
 

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There's no way to get to the lifters without taking the head off. They just won't fit though those tiny pushrod holes.
743503


They're down at the bottom of these deep chambers:
743505


Couple of things.

Are you sure it's not an exhaust leak? That donut gasket at the bottom of the manifold likes to leak on mine and causes a ticking sound.

It's not just pinging 'cause the timing's too advanced, right? You've got a good carb/distributor combo that work together? The i6 has to have them matching whether you're going with the SCV and Load-O-Matic or something else.

Do you have a lot of blowby coming out the breather or the oil dipstick?

How's your oil pressure when it starts ticking? And how long does it take on the highway before you hear it ticking?

So, here's the reason for all the questions so you don't think I'm nuts for writing this whole long thing. I had a problem at one point where I had some worn rings and a fair bit of blowby but it was alright around town. When I got on the highway though it got to the point where I couldn't go more than probably 5 miles, maybe 10 depending on the speed before it would start ticking like a bad lifter. I replaced the lifters and that made it better, but still didn't fix it.

It turned out that at sustained highway speeds there was so much blowby that it overwhelmed the three tiny drainback holes in the bottom of those lifter chambers and the oil just couldn't drain back fast enough to keep everything lubed. At least that's the best I can figure.

Drain hole example (one of three):
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It took a lot of time and frustration to track that down and I started off just like you are wondering why my lifters are ticking on the highway. Hopefully it's not your issue but I'm throwing it out here in case it might save you some frustration.

Aside from the ticking my best indication of a problem was that the oil pressure needle would start to move down, and that's not normal at a steady speed on the highway. I put a mechanical gauge on and that made it obvious. The pressure drop on the mechanical gauge was sharp and alarming.

Again hopefully not your issue, but just something else to keep an eye out for especially if you've got a lot of blowby going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks to all for the replies. I went with the 15w40 due to the higher amount of ZZDP. It did it when I was using 10w40 too.

Magnus, thanks for the detailed explanation and pics. I’m 99.9% sure it’s not the exhaust. I checked and tightened the manifold bolts and the donut gasket. The ticking was loud.

The carb was changed to non SCV type and the distributor is a 68 single diaphragm that was recurved by Mustang Barn. No evidence of blow by from the dipstick or breather cap.

the engine was rebuilt at some point. It has a 65 block and a 68 head according to the casting numbers. I haven’t pulled the valve cover yet, but being a 68 head, it might have adjustable rockers.

i don’t know what the oil pressure is at any point. It has the light. I do get lifter chatter on start up after the car sits for two or more weeks. I’ll check to see if any adjustment is needed and if the drain holes are clear.

It will be about a month before I can get under the hood and check. It took the car out last Sunday since it was warm and the problem came back. It’s a strange problem since it comes and goes and only shows up while on the highway.

Could the problem be a lifter is adjusted too tight?

Thanks again for all of the input.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Some additional info I forgot to add. It likes the timing at 14 BTDC. Spec is 12. I usually let it warm up in the driveway for about 5 min and I’m about 1/2 mile to the on ramp. Heavy ticking comes in after about 5 min running 65 to 70 mph. I’m guessing that’s about 3000 to 3500 rpm
 

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Thanks to all for the replies. I went with the 15w40 due to the higher amount of ZZDP. It did it when I was using 10w40 too.

Magnus, thanks for the detailed explanation and pics. I’m 99.9% sure it’s not the exhaust. I checked and tightened the manifold bolts and the donut gasket. The ticking was loud.

The carb was changed to non SCV type and the distributor is a 68 single diaphragm that was recurved by Mustang Barn. No evidence of blow by from the dipstick or breather cap.

the engine was rebuilt at some point. It has a 65 block and a 68 head according to the casting numbers. I haven’t pulled the valve cover yet, but being a 68 head, it might have adjustable rockers.

i don’t know what the oil pressure is at any point. It has the light. I do get lifter chatter on start up after the car sits for two or more weeks. I’ll check to see if any adjustment is needed and if the drain holes are clear.

It will be about a month before I can get under the hood and check. It took the car out last Sunday since it was warm and the problem came back. It’s a strange problem since it comes and goes and only shows up while on the highway.

Could the problem be a lifter is adjusted too tight?

Thanks again for all of the input.
Those are some good pictures!
 

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Some additional info I forgot to add. It likes the timing at 14 BTDC. Spec is 12. I usually let it warm up in the driveway for about 5 min and I’m about 1/2 mile to the on ramp. Heavy ticking comes in after about 5 min running 65 to 70 mph. I’m guessing that’s about 3000 to 3500 rpm
Many older cars like the additional timing as newer fuel formulations take longer to burn. As for your tick, especially with the symptom of it beginning after running it on the highway for a bit, I'd do TWO things... one, remove the valve cover and inspect the oil "drainback" holes in the heads for restrictions and second, drop the pan and inspect the oil pump pickup screen for sludge. Ticking that begins like you describe seem to indicate an oil pressure/supply issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks again for all of the replies. I plan to get a mechanical oil pressure gauge and check that first then pull the valve cover and check things out there. Need to get some time to do that. I will post back..
 

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Ok. Since the stay at home order is in place, I had some time to dig into this a little further. I got a mechanical oil pressure gauge. At idle, the pressure was 35 psi. I let it idle for a while until it got to normal temp. No change. I ran it up to about 2000 rpms at the oil pressure went up to 50 psi. Held it there for about 3 minutes. No change. The manual I have shows it should be 35-60 psi at 2000 rpms. That all seems ok here.

I then pulled the valve cover. I knew the car had a rebuilt engine since it is an early 65 and the tag shows it was originally a 170. It now has the 200. The cylinder head looked brand new. I attached a picture. I checked all of the push rods for up and down play. All were good except the intake on number number 6. It had a little up and down play. I pulled the rocker shaft and checked the push rod. It was straight.

I am thinking that I have a faulty lifter on that cylinder. At 3000 to 3500 rpms, it appears that it is sticking up or hanging up on occasion. It doesn’t happen all the time and won’t if I drive around the city or county roads.

I have put 500 miles on it since I bought it in 2012. I changed the oil twice a year, so the oil is clean and no sludge build up. I was using 10w30 and switched to 15w40 to see if that made a difference. None.

My plan is to pull the head and change entire set of lifters. Some say not to change the lifters without changing the cam. They indicate that the new lifters will wear out the cam quickly. I don’t think the engine has more than 2000 or 3000 miles on it, if that.

I‘m looking for thoughts on the plan and if anyone thinks the cam will wear out if I just change the lifters.

Thanks for the input.
 

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Thats a pretty clean valve train.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
What about running some Marvel Mystery Oil in the engine for a bit to see if that loosens things up?
It doesn’t happen all the time, so it don’t think it is dirt or sludge. I’m pretty sure I narrowed down to which lifter it is so I going to just change them all.
 

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I would suggest that you upgrade the cam while there. You can get cam, lifters and springs as a kit. We did that to my sons 200. Runs great. More work n money , but you will like it. Don’t go big, unless your ready for more upgrades...this is not a large cam but helps with power, and sound
here is the kit from my sons car
 
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