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Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/22/2012 12:01 PM

Can a valve lifter come unprimed? If so what kinda noise does it make. I ask because I think this has happened to my truck, a 2003 ranger 4.0 v6. All my pressures stay fine, coolant stays cool,idles fine,accelerates fine,gas mileage is not affected that i can tell, its just a new noise and its freaking me out. I drive 67bearings miles on way to work everyday and don't have time for new noise. LOL! Oh and when I floor the accelerator the oil pressure does NOT drop. If that helps.

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#1

Re: valve lifter unprimed?

02/22/2012 12:37 PM

If they are hydraulic lifters, one could collapse, but you would have more symptoms. Whats it doing? tap-tap-tap..........................

You could have a worn lifter..................if that's the case, I would replace them all and relace the valve seals while your in there.

Or, you may just need a valve adjustment. Either way, you are going to have to pull the valve cover to determine.

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#2

Re: valve lifter unprimed?

02/22/2012 12:37 PM

They used to call valve lifters tappets.

Tappet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The affected valve will make two taps for every firing cycle of the piston.

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#14
In reply to #2

Re: valve lifter unprimed?

02/23/2012 8:58 AM

"The affected valve will make two taps for every firing cycle of the piston." I believe the tapping will be 1/2 that rate because the camshaft is turning at 1/2 engine speed. The noise can also be caused by a bent push rod or improperly adjusted rocker arm.

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#17
In reply to #14

Re: valve lifter unprimed?

02/23/2012 1:00 PM

Yes, the cam turns at 1/2 the crank speed.

But, the valve opens and closes twice per "firing" cycle.

Maybe firing was a bad choice of words. And, it doesn't matter anyway.

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#3

Re: valve lifter unprimed?

02/22/2012 12:58 PM

Rattly lifters usually make a rhythmic "clacky" (no not clucky, clacky) noise when, there is low oil pressure or low oil level. Do not mistake "good" oil pressure for good oil level. The Lifters are the last in the line of oil supply and the first to suffer oil loss.

If your lifters are rattly at start up and come good as the motor is running then its just an indication of wear or poor oil condition.

If it is just one recalcitrant lifter that is rattly then it needs to be replaced, though if the engine has pushrods, then I'd be checking to see if the offending noise is due to rocker arm/fulcrum wear or if the pushrod is bent or "short". Overhead Cam motors I'd be looking for excess wear on the cam follower and the cam lobe profile.

If you haven't done any maintenance for a while, then I'd be changing out the oil and the filter. Despite the marketing engineers insistence on long service intervals I still change my oil and filter every 10,000km (5 - 6000miles) without fail. Don't skimp on the filter, OEM or a respected brand name only no supermarket no name filters. Same goes for the oil, Oil's ain't oils as the ad goes...

Don't be tempted by any "mechanic in a can" fixes, this is a barked knuckle job.

It's a bit hard do diagnose a noise on the interweb without hearing it, I'd suggest that if it is "freaking" you out that you get a trusted mechanic to have a listen and freak you out properly with the cost of repair....

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#4

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/22/2012 1:36 PM

I change my oil @the 3k mark and use fram but preference motorcraft when I can get it. I check oil when I first herd this and oil is at good level. When the truck is cool - no noise when truck is warm - noise.

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#16
In reply to #4

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/23/2012 11:53 AM

I had a recent problem that sounded like something major had gone in the engine when it warmed up. Turned out to be the bi-metal flywheel starting to come apart as it heated up. At full revs it sounded like the engine was going to blow but it never did any harm. In the end the flywheel was replaced as a "goodwill" gesture as it should really last the life of the vehicle.

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#5

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/22/2012 2:43 PM

Is this the SOHC Cologne 4.0 motor? If thats the case it may be timing chain rattle. The motor apparently has 3 timing chains with the attendant tensioners etc.

You need to take it to a mechanic or one of your mates who is mechanically inclined to determine the cause of the noise.

May still be a lifter getting "loose" when warm but usually a clacky lifter stays clacky hot or cold.

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#22
In reply to #5

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/26/2012 12:09 AM

Have a GA then.

I still think the OP's car will be subjected to guess diagnosis and trial and error fixing at the garage....disappointing really.

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#6

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/22/2012 3:10 PM

That's an excellent way to find out where the issue really is...floor the accelerator.

I recommend putting about 800 pounds of material in the bed of your truck then accelerating up a 12% grade with the pedal all of the way to the floor...the problem child under the hood will probably become quite apparent at that time.

I guess the lifters could be "past their prime"...nyuk nyuk nyuk...that would definitely make it a "time"ing issue.

If the oil is bypassing your lifters then I would say the pressure would maintain quite nicely.

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#7

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/22/2012 4:51 PM

If it's a tick, tick it could be a small exhaust leak. Had that on my '89 Jeep Cherokee - turned out to be a cracked exhaust manifold. I have an '03 Explorer probably your engine - let us know what you find

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#13
In reply to #7

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/23/2012 8:55 AM

Most exhust leaks are worse when the engine is cold not warm, as the manifolds heat up they seal. This could be a noisey fuel injector.

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#8

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/23/2012 12:47 AM

Not if the oil is clean and the right viscosity. You don't mention how frequently you have changed the oil or whether you have an oil pressure gauge or merely an idiot light. But the noise probably comes from one or more stuck lifter(s) that can not expanded to their correct height because the inner piston is frozen by gum, varnish or sludge. The noise you hear is the valve striking the head. The best solution is to remove, disassemble and clean all the lifters. However, as a first step I would change the oil to pure synthetic and install a high efficiency oil filter (Mobil1, Pure One or Baldwin) because synthetic oil has sufficient detergents and dispersants that it will actually remove varnish from the engine. Change the oil frequently not less than every 5K miles. If that does not free up the lifter after one oil change you must remove, disassemble and clean the lifters.

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/23/2012 7:24 AM

Good information/ideas, well thought out.

If the OP had used Synthetic oil from new, he probably wouldn't have the problem he has now!!!

I am a huge fan of this modern oil.

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#9

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/23/2012 3:20 AM

Check your fire wall insulation, some may have come loose and you are just hearing it differnetly. Yes Hydraulic lifters can leak, but you would detect something else. Good luck.

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#10

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/23/2012 4:57 AM

The valve itself could be sticking. To diagnose this put your hand over the exhaust, take care' it's hot! If you feel an intermitant suck then it's a sticking valave.

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#12

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/23/2012 8:07 AM

A Mitsubishi Galant engine will sound like it is trying to pull the rod out of a piston when it is cold and will sound better after it warms up. The wonderful sound of thier valve dampers once they wear out.

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#15

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/23/2012 10:04 AM

I had a similar noise come out of my Ford Escort that I thought was a valve problem but it turned out to be the clutch/pully on the AC pump! one of the three splines went bad and I got a tick tick tick sound that sometimes got very loud and rattly. Warmed up it was better, and it would go away almost completely if I turned the AC on and engaged the clutch.

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#18

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/24/2012 4:03 PM

Tookw truck to ford dealership today. They said it's the timing chain guides or is it is the oil tube in the valve cover. Sorry it took so long to get back

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/24/2012 9:35 PM

Sounds like the specialists are guessing too.

Noisy oil tube? Ok......

Only happens when the engine is hot, doesn't sound like a timing chain guide to me, maybe a hydraulic tensioner fault.

Ask them if they will still charge you if their hit and miss fault amelioration doesn't yield results...it may prompt them to apply a little bit of science first instead of guessing and trying.

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#20
In reply to #18

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/25/2012 4:20 AM

Bingo, looks like I had the winning guess

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Valve Lifter Unprimed?

02/25/2012 8:37 AM

That deserves a GA, after the fact.

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