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Old 12-25-2009, 06:42 PM   #1
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Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Hi, I'm hoping someone can help me out.

I think I have a stuck lifter (no 8 cyl) and have read 3 different ways of shifting it.

1) Drop a quart and add ATF.
2) Drop oil and filter replace with Marvel Mystery Oil and 5w30.
3) Add a quart of Diesel idle for 2 min's then replace oil and filter.

I've never worked on a push rod engine design before, and never had to service a tappet/lifter, have you ever fixed this type of problem before or tried any of the above methods?

Here is a youtube video of my camaro, its a hot start, car was running for 20 min's prior to taking this. The outside temp was about 60DegF.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehXyfx5TI10

Any help greatly appreciated..
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Old 12-26-2009, 10:16 AM   #2
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Its hard to tell from your video, but it does sound like a lifter. Lemme start with some basic questions. Are you running the correct weight oil, and is your oil level correct? (Im assuming you have checked these already)

All three of your methods do the same thing...they thin out the oil and add some cleaning detergents to the mix. Me personally? Id do 2 and 3....but remember that this may not fix anything. You may actually have to replace the lifter. If you have never done this kind of work before, its a rewarding job, but make sure you label everything as you take it off.
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Old 12-26-2009, 02:54 PM   #3
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

How'd you come up with a stuck lifter? Seems like a LEAP In Logic.

You FIRST remove the valve cover on the noisey side and have a look-see. You then look for anything unusual or different from the others.

Always investigate first then decide on what action is called for next. Approach this in a logical, sequential, detailed way. One step at a time.; don't jump over the PROBABLE to get to the POSSIBLE - See what I mean?

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Old 12-26-2009, 06:44 PM   #4
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Jake,

There is no leap in logic. The rockers, valve lash have all already been examined and ruled out. The lifter has been identified as probable cause with an automotive stethoscope, by an experienced mechanic.

This thread is asking if anyone has used the methods given to free a stick lifter, as I have read these on other forums.

I am not asking for advice in diagnosing the problem, or any general automotive troubleshooting advice, this is off topic and not needed.

Thanks.
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Old 12-26-2009, 07:04 PM   #5
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Scott,

Thanks for the reply, I did 2&3 as you suggested, the old oil was Mobil 0w-40 at the correct level, which I am told should be good for this motor in these temperatures.

I replaced with Castrol high mileage 5w30 and a quart of Marvel Mystery Oil, the ticking noise does go in and out now, and is a little quieter with the thicker oil, but i've also noticed a drop in power at about 2500rpm or so.

Like you say, I think its time to pull the lifters, its probably collapsed rather than blocked. I've rebuilt heads on 4cyl ohc european cars before, this is my first all American muscle car! so I enjoy working on it! May be I'll take the time to polish the TPi plenum and runners too..

That said, I don't know how many miles are on the motor, it has had some block/head work done before I purchased it, I can see the heads have been pulled in the past, it might be time for a rebuild. The motor shows great compression though.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 12-26-2009, 11:32 PM   #6
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Im not real familiar with your injected manifold, but my suggestion is to pull the intake and replace the lifters AND pushrods. (In case you bent one)...its cheap insurance and you have to pull the effected ones anyways. The most complicated part of the matter (other than draining the coolant...ughh...) is setting the valve lash. (Stop me if you know how...) You find CLOSED for EACH valve (Be it TDC, compression stroke, whatever you want to call it) and tighten it until the rod just stops rolling between your fingers.....give it another 1/2 turn and you are done. Not real complicated, but VERY lengthy.........16 friggen valves can take a while....
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Old 12-27-2009, 12:02 AM   #7
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Good call, i've done the valve lash a number of times before, it took a few times to get it right. But i've got it down now. The TDC procedure in the Haynes manual didn't help, I had them way to tight.

After speaking to an experienced friend, he said to back them off, and set them with the engine idling to 1/4 turn past zero lash. It was real easy with the engine running, if not totally messy! The difference with lash and without was clear to hear. I think there's still some oil burning off the manifolds!!

If that's the hardest part, then i'm cool with doing the work.

Any suggs on where to get some value roller lifters? The summit ones are the cheapest i've found so far. I don't know if branding means a lot in the roller lifter arena, I would think they take a lot of abuse. Esp at high RPM?
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Old 12-27-2009, 11:13 AM   #8
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

That's a roller cam.... the cam wont relaly grind itself into pieces like it would if it were a flat tappet cam. It doesnt need to rotate to stay lubricated. Maybe I'm way off base here, but I'd just leave it alone. My 305 had a tapping lifter one day, and it went away a few months later, but it ran fine the whole time so I just let it be.

I wouldnt want to tear that thing down that far unless I was doing a cam swap. But the good thing is that since it's a roller cam, replacing lifters isnt nearly as big of a deal as it would be otherwise. You have to go through the whole break in procedure and just hope the new lifter takes if you have a flat tappet.
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:19 AM   #9
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

I thought about leaving it alone, but the flat spot at 2500rpm is driving me crazy. My mechanic buddy recons its a tappet, but recommends examining the cam also. He's a ford guy really though, confesses not to know much about the sbc.

I've stripped down to the lifters, gave the runners, plenum, base and throttle body a good clean. Man they were caked in grease! Also found a couple of broken vacuum lines. I was getting an irratic idle up to 1200 intermittently, i'm guessing they were contributing to that. Also found a bunch of runner and base plate bolts missing and not screwed in properly.

The heads/valve ports look nice and clean, the injectors don't look too bad either.

I will pull the old lifters tomorrow, and see what I see.

I purchased a set of alum 1.6 roller rockers, just for the hell..but I'm beginning to wish i'd ordered a new cam, I recon I am one water pump and radiator away from fitting.. do I need to remove the iroc's front valance to get the cam out, with engine in?

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Old 12-31-2009, 01:26 AM   #10
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockstar08 View Post
I thought about leaving it alone, but the flat spot at 2500rpm is driving me crazy. My mechanic buddy recons its a tappet, but recommends examining the cam also. He's a ford guy really though, confesses not to know much about the sbc.
lol its basically the same thing. the only difference is the SBC doesn't feature the crappy design and crappy quality that the fords have.
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Old 12-31-2009, 03:40 PM   #11
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

I know when we used to have our fourth gen Camaro LT1, the #7 and #8 (as best I recall) lifters both had BAD flat spots on the bottom of the roller. I mean bad like pitted, looked like someone locked it up and drug it down the pavement bad. Found several posts on a fourth gen site where someone else had the same issue. I'd bet that's what you've got going on, not a fun job but not the worst.

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Old 12-31-2009, 10:06 PM   #12
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Stick this one in the back of your memory banks, just in case: worn out valve guide. It sounds for all the world like a bad lifter or mis-adjusted rocker arm and is worse when the engine warms up. About the time you've replaced everything in the valvetrain with no improvement, you'll be pulling your hair out and beating your head against a wall.

That's when you want to remember this post.

Not saying this is the first place to look. Just saying to keep it in mind for later. Been there, done that. My scalp is still healing.
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:20 PM   #13
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)



Ive replaced the lifters, polished everything in sight, checked and double checked zero lash with the lifters in plain sight and by checking no 1 piston on compression stroke. And replaced the rocker arms with 1.6 rollers. reassembled the friggin tpi, set the timing ( who's bright idea was it to put the distributor fixing bolt there? ) ... now the neighbors think i've gone crazy, cursing at my car, and hopping around the driveway..

The damn thing still ticks, aarrrgghhh...!!! ( tantrum over with )

The 2500 rpm flat spot has gone away, and there's a noticeable kick in the *** from the 1.6 Roller Rockers, over stock. Buuutttt...

But the damn thing sounds like a diesel motor!

The sound is better on this video, please take a look if you think you can help?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4H2625debEE

The old lifters seemed to be a little worn, they came out of their bores real easy, the new ones were a more precise fit.

Anyone, please?

How about a scored cam lobe? i've heard that's not possible with a roller lifter?

I did find a cut slither of metal on one of the lifter rollers?

I did notice when setting the lash, that some of the pushrods were not ejecting oil, when others were like a guyser.. is this normal? or a blocked gallery?
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:30 PM   #14
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockstar08 View Post
Jake,

There is no leap in logic. The rockers, valve lash have all already been examined and ruled out. The lifter has been identified as probable cause with an automotive stethoscope, by an experienced mechanic.

This thread is asking if anyone has used the methods given to free a stick lifter, as I have read these on other forums.

I am not asking for advice in diagnosing the problem, or any general automotive troubleshooting advice, this is off topic and not needed.

Thanks.

Not asking for "advice in diagnosing the problem" in fact, the title to your thread indicates that you didn't know if you had a stuck lifter or not. Need I quote it here?

Also, nothing that followed in your original post indicates anything about an experienced mechanic, etc. or any other diagnostic effort made by you. Since you readily admit not having worked on a pushrod engine engine before the logical conclusion to be drawn by someone willing to try to help would be to walk you through the procedure from square one.

I would hope that you now have learned how important it is to supply detailed information when you post about a problem. All this could have been avoided had you done so. There's no way for us to know unless you share the details.

Jake

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Old 01-05-2010, 04:43 PM   #15
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A quarter turn from zero isn't enough. Give them a full turn down.
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:59 PM   #16
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

"But the damn thing sounds like a diesel motor!" Since that's the case you've probably incorrectly set the lifter preload.

So now it's time to get down to the DETAILS;

What brand lifters did you install?

List the step by step procedure you followed in adjusting the lifter preload.

What rocker arms did you install?

BTW, there's a distributor bolt wrench, shaped like a "L" that makes accessing the bolt easy. Most auto parts stores sell them; very inexpensive.

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Old 01-05-2010, 05:53 PM   #17
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Jake, no offense intended! Your advice is appreciated!

I set the preload with #1 at TDC, by turning the pushrods until I felt resistance then went down 1/4 turn. With the base plate off so I could see where the lifters were.

This still sounded like crap, so I adjusted them further with the engine idling, backed off 1-2 turns then went down until the noise went away.

This was before the last video..

Took it for a spin around the block, the cars shaking like its missing a cylinder, would a spun rod bearing, or broken piston ring make that noise?

The lifters are summits own brand roller
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/SUM-HT214/

The rockers are proform parts
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/PRO-66915/

I'm beginning to think there's something else wrong, I filtered out the old 0w-40 oil found a bunch of metal shavings in there.
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:22 PM   #18
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

The tick sounds more like a knock now..

Here's another video..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCB5wUkvZVU

any thoughts?
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Old 01-05-2010, 07:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockstar08 View Post
I set the preload with #1 at TDC, by turning the pushrods until I felt resistance then went down 1/4 turn.
You adjusted all 16 rockers with the engine at the #1 position???

No wonder it's so noisy.

Try this:
With engine off, loosen all the rockers. Rotate the engine to the #1 position. Take the slack out of all of the rockers.

Rotate the engine 1/2 turn. Take the slack out of any rockers that are still loose.

Rotate the engine another 1/2 turn (should be back up to TDC). Take the slack out of any rockers that are still loose.

Rotate the engine one more 1/2 turn. Take the slack out of any rockers that are still loose.

Now give each rocker nut an additional turn down.

You're done. Put the valve covers back on, start it up.
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Old 01-05-2010, 07:57 PM   #20
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Each rocker must be adjusted on the "base" or "heel" of the cam--that's what five7kid is trying to tell you._ NOT_ on #1 TDC then ALL rockers get adjusted.
Great advice from JakeJr-- I learned from TGO that detailed info will get direct answers instead of guessing at the problem.
Vacuum problems can make it run//sound like s**t. Glad you addressed that.
Remember- when you change rocker ratio,the motor will act different since it's getting "more" ratio at the valves! It would be a good idea to know what size cam you have.
All adjustable valve trains are done the same way, just in different order.
There are some motors that are NOT adjustable but IDK which ones.

Best of luck to you!!
(edit)
Are the springs in good shape? Maybe a bad spring or two??
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:05 PM   #21
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

GOOD ADVICE, HAVE SOMBODY THAT KNOWS ENGINES COME TO YOUR HOUSE ( DO NOT RUN THE ENGINE ) HAVE HIM ADJUST THE ROCKERS FOR U , 20 min. JOB !!!!!!!

AND U BE DONE !!!!!!!!!!

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Old 01-05-2010, 08:19 PM   #22
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

THAT is good advice--& you willl learn how to do it!
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:43 PM   #23
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

I rotated the crank 180deg when I set the preload with the inlet manifold off. I watched the raised lifters go down onto the heal of the cam, before setting the remaining 8. Sorry i forgot to include that in my previous post, its been a long day.

I was using the method described in the Haynes manual albeit without the distributor in place. After setting the first 8 at #1tdc I moved the timing mark to go approx 180 from the tdc 0 place, when I rotated the crank, to simulate the 180 distributor turn in the same procedure.

I couldn't remember whether the distributor turns once for each crank revolution or not, so I set them when idling when also.

I tested each of the lifters I removed, by examining the rollers, which rotated freely when pushed along a counter top, they didn't bump or stick. I also tried to push them down from the top with a large screw driver. None of them would push down, which from the youtube vids I have seen tells me they are ok. I also examined each of the pushrods by rolling them over the flat countertop. None of them were bent. The springs and valves looked ok visually, nothing broken or bent.

This suggests to me the lifters & rods are okay and something else is causing this problem, I will ask a friend to come over and verify the preload is set ok and reset if necessary.

If anyone can give me anymore testing advice, I'd be grateful.
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Old 01-06-2010, 04:43 PM   #24
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The distributor makes one revolution for every two revolutions of the crank, same as the cam.

You can't adjust 8 rockers at a single crank location. 4 max.

Go through it as I explained. You don't need to know exactly where the cam lobe is to do it this way. It's fine for adjusting hydraulic lifters on a basically stock engine.
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:38 PM   #25
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

thats what my new 383 sounded like! and i snapped 2 rocker studs, destroyed a BRAND new 300$ comp cam XFI cam and 2 lifters died on me, one exploded its guts in my lifter valley and the other turned in the lifter bore and ruined my cam all after a brand new build with only 350miles on the engine!

first off... u should prob throw those lifters away... i purchased the speed pro stock replacement lifters and those are the ones that ruined everything. i called a tech guy and he said that speed pro makes the same ones for summit, comp cams, and crane i think... they are the stock replacements. they are the HT-2148 (http://www.summitracing.com/parts/SLP-HT-2148/) those lifters have a 30% failure rate from what i heard.

i just rebought another comp cams XFI 280 cam for 265$, then had to get new lifters. i went with the LS7 lifters from GM performance parts. i also went for a set of ARP rocker studs. BTW im running the same proform rockers. so far the engine is still running with maybe 300miles on it again.

the haynes manual states that u can adjust 8 lifters at the same time at TDC and then u can adjust the other 8 lifters at 180 degrees out. I WOULD not do it this way. i followed the comp cams instructions. i set engine at TDC, then i adjusted the #1 cylinder exhaust first, rotated the engine until the exahust lifter JUST started to more then (1/2 turn past zero lash) and then rotated the engine till the intake was almost all the way down after max lift... then adjusted it a 1/2 turn past zero lash. I then continued in the firing order untill all where done. (look at comp cams site to see if they have the adjustment procedure on there, if not i can scan it for u) this is the way they DO ALL there hydraulic cams... and im sure they know there SHlT!

the lifters should press down (pushrod pocket) if they dont that means they are primed... but they shouldnt be primed outa the box. My LS7 lifters pushed down easily with my finger right outa the box. Dont worry if they do because they will pump up as the engine is running and become hard again.

also when ur checking the preload, see if u can prime the engine or take off the coil plug and turn the engine over a few times to verify that oil is coming out of the pushrods and lubricating the rockers. if it does then ur good, if not then u got bigger problems.

also u need to kno that as u preload the other rockers and adjust the preload by the time u get done the other rockers should be pretty loose... this is normal as the lifters have bleed down there pressure, they will pump back up when the engine is running. DO NOT finish the lashing and then go back and adjust the play out of the rockers again! as five7kid said to do... this is incorrect. also do not go more than a 1/2 turn on the preload.

1/2 turn past zero lash is standard for street cars, you can however go as little as 1/4 turn past zero lash but this is not recomended for street cars and is "better" for race cars, 1/4 turn will cause more valvetrain noise but is supposidly better for race applications. A full turn past zero lash will destroy the lifter/cam possibly... this is what i was told but the chief engine builder at skips white performance.
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:42 AM   #26
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Quote:
"the lifters should press down (pushrod pocket) if they dont that means they are primed... but they shouldnt be primed outa the box."
Thanks for that comment, I read they shouldn't move somewhere, just goes to show you can't trust everything you read on the 'net.

So i decided to take apart the old lifters, I cleaned and rebuilt one of them so I could see how they moved. Below is what I found, in some of the others..

Should I just pull the cam, could debris from the cam end up in the oil galleries for the lifter? How do you suppose it got there would the oil pickup send shavings from the pan into the galleries?

I guess this is ground up cam and its makes time for an engine rebuild.

Comments?

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Old 01-07-2010, 08:21 AM   #27
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

just to be clear... the lifter pockets should be able to be pressed down by hand, since there is no oil in the lifter to cause it to be "pumped up" so basically the lifter is empty and has a spring,sleeve, a top cap/short sleeve and a retaining wire/clip. you would already know this bc u just took a lifter apart lol. but they CAN be stuck right outa the box and that would make it hard for them to compress by hand. You could find a way to compress them before assembly to make sure they are all okay. I used a bench vise and a bolt, but as i stated most of mine were easy to compress.

another thing is to soak the lifters in oil before installation... manual says to do this... some say you dont have to. some will only lube the roller part and the pushrod cup. i would say soak them in a 30wt. I tried putting assembly lube all over mine (SHlT is STICKKYYY) and it wouldnt allow my lifters to push oil up through the pushrods to the rockers for about 10-15min with the engine running. im assuming the assembly lube is so thick that it caused it.

I have no idea about your shavings... there isnt any really wide open areas for that metal to get into the lifter like that.... but i guess it could just as well. u need to figure out wat type of metal it is... is it magnetic? if not then its prob aluminum and i would be checking ur pistons etc.

with the prob your having with your lifters i would check all the rollers on all of them to see if u see any wear issues... the ones that were there that were giving u all the problems. u might have to pull the cam to check it and be safe. A worn lobe will just destroy more lifters and could take out the engine. if u had the intake/heads off u could look down the lifter bores and look right at the cam lobes with a flashlight and you could check the lobes to see if they were ok. thats how i spotted both of mine. look for any indents/flatspots/grooves anything. the cam is a softer material than the lifters so the lifters can divit/gouge the cam pretty easily.

just assume that metal shavings can get ANYWHERE! as the are tiny and ninja like. bc they are stuck in the lifter doesnt mean they cam from there. so its safe to check everything. also look into getting a LARGE magnet to stick on the oil pan, i have one that can pick up a 10lb chunk of steel lol and i need 2 arms to get it off the pan. i also have a magnetic oil pan drain plug. after my first engine tear down after the ruined cam i found alot of small metal shavings stuck to the magnetic oil pan drain plug so its worth the extra 5$.
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:36 PM   #28
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

WOW! What a mess. Sorry for your loss. Hellofaway to start the New Year.

Here are a few things you can check:

Remove the oil filter and cut it open, then look deep within the pleats to see if there's any sign of lifter material in there.

You can also drop the pan and look for the same signs in the bottom of the pan AND any material caught in the pick-up screen.

Removing the oil pump cover and checking inside at the gears and the interior cover/walls can show if there's been any metal fragments in there. You'll see scratches on the gears/walls if any pieces got past the pump pick-up screen. Even small scratches can effect the proper operation of the oil pimp; tolerances are held pretty close in there.

New lifters often come with heavy grease both on the outside of the lifter body and inside, on the roller bearings. This is done during assembly and must be washed away with solvent before the lifters are installed in the block.

The presence of grease will inhibit oil flow to the lifter bearings once the engine is fired so it must be washed away. After washing, dry them and let them soak, submerged in engine oil; 30W is a good weight.

If one side of the engine is still intact, it would be best, before disassembling it, to carefully examine all the valve train clearances for any sign of wear/contact/etc. When you do the autopsy, take your time and be thorough. It's important to discover what caused this so it won't recur.

Let us know what you find.

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Old 01-08-2010, 02:47 PM   #29
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Not to get ahead on this, but Crane warns that insufficient lifter preload can cause lifters to explode. Many guys running 1/4 turn or less of perload don't realize that's the risk they're taking.

The lifter plunger continually crashes against the retaining clip until the clip finally fails. BANG! Seems to happen most often when the engine is repeatedly run up top.

Just something to consider.

Jake
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:27 AM   #30
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

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Originally Posted by rockstar08 View Post
I rotated the crank 180deg when I set the preload with the inlet manifold off. I watched the raised lifters go down onto the heal of the cam, before setting the remaining 8. Sorry i forgot to include that in my previous post, its been a long day.
You don't rotate the crank 180 degrees. You rotate the crank 360 degrees which results in the camshaft rotating 180 degrees!

When you rotated the crank 180 degrees you only turned the cam 90 degrees (the crank turns twice for every one camshaft revolution)

When you turn the crank so the timing mark on the damper lines up with the zero on the pointer you will be at EITHER the number 1 firing position or the number 6 firing position. You need to make sure that you are at the number 1 firing position.

To do this, remove the pushrod from the number 1 intake lifter and push down on the lifter with your finger. Have a helper turn the crank. When you feel the lifter starting to push up you are now on the intake stroke for number 1. Continue rotating the crank until the damper mark lines up with the zero on the pointer. You are now at number 1 top dead center.

Now adjust the Exhaust valves #1,3,4,8 and the Intake valves #1,2,5,7

After adjusting those, turn the crank one full revolution (360 degrees) until the mark lines up with the pointer again.

Now adjust the Exhaust valves #2,5,6,7 and the Intake valves #3,4,6,8

I also fully agree with the previous posts which say to turn the rocker nut one full revolution past zero lash. You don't want that plunger slamming against the SMALL retainer.
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:15 AM   #31
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Thanks for all the help, I really need it;

I removed the rocker covers today to reset the valve lash as recommended by custombackbird. I also read about his method on comp cams website and in the cartech book "rebuilding the small block chevy" which shows the exact same procedure on the included DVD.

After taking off the right side rocker cover, I found one of the polylocks had come off the rocker stud. I guess I must have forgotten to turn down the allen bolt after setting the lash, I remember getting distracted by a neighbor when I was adjusting them the previous day.

I reset the lash as per customblackbird's description with 1/2 turn, then ran the engine, idling without the valve covers on, the valve train noise was definitely quieter, however there was still the distinct loud ticking. I placed shop towels over the manifolds to stop oil from smoking me out.

When doing the half turn, I could feel progressive resistance against the lifters as they pushed down. I didn't get that with my old seised lifters that were removed, they felt like I was tightening against a flange. This gave me some confidence that the lifters were moving properly and the preload was definitely 1/2 turn past lash.

I double checked the springs, and triple checked polylocks were tight.

After about 5 mins of idling, listening to the damn ticking, and watching the rockers, only two rods on the left ejected oil ( intake on cyl 1, exhaust on cyl 3), and only one on the right (exhaust cyl 5).

I thought that maybe the pushrod ends were not quite sealing against the lifters enough to allow the oil to be pushed up, so with the engine running I added 1/2 turn (total 1 full turn) to the preload adjustment. As I did the second rocker, on #2 cyl I noticed a distinct drop in idling RPM, and increased vibration. So I took that additional 1/2 turn out of the ones I added, the RPM went backup and the vibration went away. I had checked the pushrods previously and they were all clean.

I stopped the engine, reassembled my rockers and AIR tubes, cleaned my tools, and put 'em away.

Took her for a test drive around the block; the engine revs freely, idles well, and has great throttle response with no hesitation or flat spots. If it wasn't for this pronounced ticking and seeming lack of lubrication I would say its great to drive.

Under acceleration the ticking is not heard over the exhaust note, however when you let off the throttle its sounds more like a rattle than a tick..

Tomorrow i'm going to dig out the old oil filter, open it up and see what is in there.

Then remove the cam and take a look at the lobes and journals. I'm beginning to think that one of the oil galleries could be blocked.. the only picture I can find describing oil flow is this one, it does state that the galleries have been redesigned though..

Click the image to open in full size.

I'm not sure which orientation this picture is, but it looks like if a cam bearing gets ground out on this, then it can cause the oil lifter/tappet galleries to become restricted with deposits as the oil is pumped through...

After removing the cam I'll take the oil pan off and look for shavings in the pan and pump as per Jakes recommendations, and poke at the rod caps to see if there is any movement..

I'm going to measure the journals and lobes on the cam for consistency and look for wear marks on them. Although the old lifters had perfectly neat and functional rollers, as Jake said you just can't presume anything... I am also beginning to realize the value of taking your time, double checking and being thorough. At least I did remember to leave a clean job :-)

I'd like to get to the bottom of this, and find out what the root cause is, but I guess if I cannot, my only option is to pull the engine and send it for a recondition.. and put it down to a cam bearing, piston ring or sticking valve problem.

PS: Oh, I also forgot to say on my previous post that I did soak the new lifters in 30W oil for 30 min's or so before fitting 'em. I didn't clean them in solvent though. They came with no instructions.

Any more recommendations would be greatly appreciated, I'll be back with my results.. and once again I REALLY appreciate all of your help!!
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:26 PM   #32
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

i suggest a slight re-organizing of your investigation.

Since pulling the cam involves dropping, at least the front of the oil pan be lowered, I suggest you first drop the pan to check it first, before moving on to pulling the cam.

Also, you should be able to see the cam lobes with the intake removed, so that could save you the effort of actually removing the cam, itself. Using a BRIGHT LIGHT and maybe even a magnifying glass (if your eyes are old and worn out like mine are - LOL) will help.

Any grease in the new lifter(s) could act as a barrier to oil flow; think about how thick it is. Once the oil heats up, it will, in time, dissolve the grease and allow better old flow but in the meantime the lifter bearings could be starved on lube. Could be why you're not seeing oil flow from all the rockers.

The lifters are only exposed to oil pressure when they're in a certain location/position in the lifter bore. The oil hole in the lifter has to be aligned with the lifter oil hole in the block.

One thing I do when priming a fresh engine is to continue to prime it, using a priming tool/1/2" electric drill, until oil flows freely from all the rocker arms. The requires me to manually turn over the engine many times to allow all the oil holes in the lifters to become aligned with the holes in the block.

If, with the engine idling, you tighten one of the rocker arm nuts/poly locks to increase preload, it's NORMAL for the engine to stumble and idle funky until the lifter self-adjusts to the new setting. Best way is to make such adjustments very gradually which minimizes the amount of time it will take for the adjustment to occur.

To prevent the allen set screw on the poly locks from loosening, after the preload is set, use a box end wrench to tighten MORE the poly-lock (not the allen set screw). It will only take a small amount of tightening, but doing that will lock the set screw more tightly to the stud. There's no "torque" setting involved that I know of, just don't tighten the poly-lock like a gorilla would. It has to be done by feel.

As I written many, many times, the most critical thing in adjusting preload is for the lifter to be on the BASE CIRCLE of the lobe when searchihng for ZERO lash. If the lifter is riding on the ramp, the ZERO lash position will be incorrect and, so, the preload setting that follows will also be incorrect.

So even though you may "think" you set 1/2 turn of preload you may INFACT have NOT set ANY preload at all. The end result is a noisey valvetrain and perhaps loose rocker arms. This is so important I can't stress it enough.

Using TDC to set preload can actually have both valves open in the over-lap position with both lifters on the ramps and not on the BASE CIRCLE. With the exhaust valve closing, the intake valve can be opening. This over-lap helps drawn in fuel/air at higher RPMs, but can cause a problem when trying to find ZERO lash.

I'd first suspect the noise you're hearing to be a preload issue. I'd THOROUGHLY investigate that possibility before tearing into the engine. Check the easiest things first then, if necessary, move to the more labor intensive checks. Process of elimination.

Hope some of this helps.

Jake
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:22 PM   #33
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

jake and rockstar... id like to comment on both your posts.

first rockstar, im currently experiencing the same valvetrain ticking that you are... but and i have a very slight chug/vibration when the gas is being pressed but its almost so faint that i could just be halucinating. lol. i do however have valvetrain noise. mine might be bc of the cam/head combo ect but its like i can hear the valvetrain moving and its not quiet. I assume this is pretty normal in my case but i could be wrong.

My comment is about your lifters being primed. I also as jake stated prime my engine before startup, with a pump priming tool and a 1/2" electric drill. But i had the same issue as you, i DID not soak my lifters in oil as orr89rocZ said no need to (he was running the LS7 lifters as i am) i did cover them in assembly lube. I primed the engine for about 3min total, 30sec bursts but i never say oil come to the rockers. i was stumped bc i read 30psi on both my mechanical and electrical oil pump guages in the car. i knew i had pressure and no leaks yet no oil. I said the hell with it and started the car under the belief that the lifters where just blocked by the super sticky/thick assembly lube and it would dissolve after a while when the engine was running and heated (is 18 degrees out in jersey) so with valve covers off i started the engine and watched the rockers, every min or so i would fill the rocker cups with 30wt oil so there wouldnt be a dry situation. slowly 1 by 1 they began to flow oil. they never really POURED out oil but it seemed addequate. it would spirt oil on my headers if i gave it a throttle stab etc.

as i stated dont go above 3/4 turn... most say not to do more than 1/2 turn past zero lash but some say u can 3/4 turn.

im in agreament with jake on that you shouldnt pull the cam. with the intake off u can see the lobes through the lifter bores. just rotated the engine by hand and watch the lobes.

your rattle seems like it could be a exhaust rattle or something else related to the vibrations an engine sees when the engine is under deceleration without firing. ive had a slight raddle for the longest time only on deceleration like a downshift when the engine decels from a higher RPM say like 3000-down to 2000 or so. i would rule out the simpliest of ideas since they are probably wats wrong. so check for vibrations from something on or near the engine.

JAKE, just a few things... how does the lifter have to be positioned in the bore to recieve oil? I noticed on my speed pros that all the lifters had different locations for the oil holes... and that even if they are installed 180degrees out it wouldnt make a difference. Its also no stated in any of my manuals that they lifers must have the oil hold/oil pressure bleed hole facing a certain direction during installation. just as long as the roller tappet faces correctly on the cam lobe your good.

also the instructions by comp cams makes sure your on the base circle of the cam. waiting right before the intake valve to move would put u at base circle and the same when the exhaust valve is almost all the way down. Im talking a hairs width to see the lifter move when preload is set.

right now im trying to deal with an elusive oil leak that i cant seem to pinpoint. behind the engine passenger side (probably behind the pass head) oil on the starter bolts and goes down into the trans/flexplate cover. its gotta be the head gasket or the intake but not sure yet.
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:29 PM   #34
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Just so I could be sure it wasn't a preload issue, I tried different turn's on the rocker polylocks and shot a small movie. I used Jakes technique to ensure the polylocks were secure.

The first part is with the rockers on 1/2 turn, the second is with an additional 1/2 turn, 1 turn total past zero lash. They were both done with the lifter on the base circle of the cam, they both have the same ticking noise. With 1 turn total, the engine felt lazy and underpowered, I could also see the valve get pushed down as I added the extra half turn... i ended up removing the additional 1/2 turn..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpNnY5aSzS8

I also noticed that more pushrods were ejecting oil. Im guessing the factory assembly grease is dissolving. I also looked down the pushrods with a flashlight, to ensure that the pushrods were seated right into the lifter, they were..

When I installed the lifters...

The lifters have a hole on one side to allow oil into them. The lifters I removed had no consistent orientation, some had holes pointing to the rear some to the front, in no given order. When I installed the new ones I placed them with the holes pointing away from the center of the cylinder pair. I guessed that they could go in any way. This video explains how a hydraulic lifter works..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lorANZ1Tptw

I've also noticed that when first fired up, the noise is barely noticeable, it increases as the engine heats up.

I noticed earlier in the thread that Damon said it could be a worn valve guide. Any ideas how I could check for that, before pulling her to bits..

Thanks RS..
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:41 PM   #35
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

first vid doesnt work.

did u look at the lifter bores and see where the oiling hole was located? im sure that either position wont matter but im just curious.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:55 PM   #36
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

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first vid doesnt work.

did u look at the lifter bores and see where the oiling hole was located? im sure that either position wont matter but im just curious.
Just checked the video, worked for me..

Yes the lifter bore had holes on both sides.. if you look at the side of the lifter its recessed where the hole is. I'm guessing it passes oil around the lifter to the next one in line..
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:31 PM   #37
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

keeps telling me to sign in... doesnt work.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:19 PM   #38
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

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keeps telling me to sign in... doesnt work.
Ah, youtube says they're doing site maintenance and will be back shortly..
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:17 AM   #39
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Its up now... let me know if you still have problems..
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:39 PM   #40
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

as i stated dont go above 3/4 turn... most say not to do more than 1/2 turn past zero lash but some say u can 3/4 turn.


JAKE, just a few things... how does the lifter have to be positioned in the bore to recieve oil? I noticed on my speed pros that all the lifters had different locations for the oil holes... and that even if they are installed 180degrees out it wouldnt make a difference. Its also no stated in any of my manuals that they lifers must have the oil hold/oil pressure bleed hole facing a certain direction during installation. just as long as the roller tappet faces correctly on the cam lobe your good.

also the instructions by comp cams makes sure your on the base circle of the cam. waiting right before the intake valve to move would put u at base circle and the same when the exhaust valve is almost all the way down. Im talking a hairs width to see the lifter move when preload is set.

.[/quote]

The "lifter install direction question" has come up before and I tired finding a specific answer to it. Nothing I found indicated that it makes any difference as to which direction the oil hole faces.

The lifter receives pressurized oil when its hole aligns with the oil hole in the lifter bore. I have a link to a site that explains all that; gotta track it down to post here.

In finding zero lash to set the EXHAUST you watch the movement of the INTAKE valve until the INTAKE valve is ALMOST CLOSED (hence IC/EO method) NOT when it first begins to open. The EXACT position isn't all the critical, just as long as the INTAKE valve has passed the mid-point on the way to being closed and is just before it's fully closed.

Preload recommendations are all over the map. All the way from one guy recommending ONLY a one-flat turn of the poly-lock to the opposite end of one guy recommending TWO FULL TURNS. My 96 Vette FSM says ONE FULL TURN +/- 1/4 TURN. That translates into anything between 3/4 TURN to 1 and 1/4 TURN (One and One Quarter Turn)

I run 3/ turn.

Jake

Jake
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:45 PM   #41
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

When you changed the oil last, you didn't notice if the oil bypass (located where the filter screws on) was flipped open did you? If it's open, that's how it got past the filter, if it's closed it had to come from an area post filter. If it were my project, I would probably be thinking about dropping the pan to take a looksie. Finding out where those chunks of metal came from is imperative.

Dan
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:04 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by JakeJr View Post
as i stated dont go above 3/4 turn... most say not to do more than 1/2 turn past zero lash but some say u can 3/4 turn.
I say, baloney. Go a full turn down from zero. Less doesn't help the engine run any better, and typically leads to clattering rockers. 1 full turn down is the way they were designed.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:28 PM   #43
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

I had a engine guy come over today to take a look. I explained the problem before hand so he would know what to expect.

When he arrived he asked me to start her up, after listening to the ticking noise he smiled knowingly and said straight away that the rockers were mal-adjusted.

We took the valve covers off..

He rotated the crank by hand and tested each of the rockers when they were at base circle on the cam. He said that they were all adjusted ok, without any lash. After running the engine for a minute he noticed that one of the rockers was squirting oil over the manifold while the others were spilling little or none at all. Shock!

Here lies the problem he said.

Not all the lifters are getting pressurized with oil, if they were then oil would be ejecting from each pushrod. Because they have no pressure, its impossible to set the lash/preload correctly and the valve train will tick. So for me whether its a 1/2 turn or 1 full turn is really a mute point.

Also because one rocker was ejecting oil over the manifold at idle, this tells him that all the oil pressure is going through one pushrod, he says the the rest of the galleries that feed the other lifters are either blocked by the same material that was found in the lifters, or a bearing that feeds them is rotated (less likely, should sound more knockey).

He recommends a rebuild based on the following:-

1) Each rocker needs to be lubricated, without this the engine will suffer a catastrophic failure sooner or later.
2) If its a crank bearing damaged it needs to be rebuilt.
3) If its a cam bearing damaged it needs to be rebuilt.
4) If you replace the cam, your shiny new cam could get damaged from those metal shavings. So rebuild the engine..
5) The oil galleries can only be cleaned properly with a strip down, so you might as well rebuild the motor then anyway.

This car isn't my daily ride its my pride and joy.

I feel like crying, I will pull the engine for autopsy and start with the accessories and radiator this weekend. May be have it in the machine shop in 2 weeks

I'm gonna have to cheer myself up with some AFR heads. Its the only way.

danandamy; I'll check the oil bypass when I pull the motor.

Thanks RS.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:54 PM   #44
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockstar08 View Post
I had a engine guy come over today to take a look. I explained the problem before hand so he would know what to expect.

When he arrived he asked me to start her up, after listening to the ticking noise he smiled knowingly and said straight away that the rockers were mal-adjusted.

We took the valve covers off..

He rotated the crank by hand and tested each of the rockers when they were at base circle on the cam. He said that they were all adjusted ok, without any lash. After running the engine for a minute he noticed that one of the rockers was squirting oil over the manifold while the others were spilling little or none at all. Shock!

Here lies the problem he said.

Not all the lifters are getting pressurized with oil, if they were then oil would be ejecting from each pushrod. Because they have no pressure, its impossible to set the lash/preload correctly and the valve train will tick. So for me whether its a 1/2 turn or 1 full turn is really a mute point.

Also because one rocker was ejecting oil over the manifold at idle, this tells him that all the oil pressure is going through one pushrod, he says the the rest of the galleries that feed the other lifters are either blocked by the same material that was found in the lifters, or a bearing that feeds them is rotated (less likely, should sound more knockey).

He recommends a rebuild based on the following:-

1) Each rocker needs to be lubricated, without this the engine will suffer a catastrophic failure sooner or later.
2) If its a crank bearing damaged it needs to be rebuilt.
3) If its a cam bearing damaged it needs to be rebuilt.
4) If you replace the cam, your shiny new cam could get damaged from those metal shavings. So rebuild the engine..
5) The oil galleries can only be cleaned properly with a strip down, so you might as well rebuild the motor then anyway.

This car isn't my daily ride its my pride and joy.

I feel like crying, I will pull the engine for autopsy and start with the accessories and radiator this weekend. May be have it in the machine shop in 2 weeks

I'm gonna have to cheer myself up with some AFR heads. Its the only way.

danandamy; I'll check the oil bypass when I pull the motor.

Thanks RS.
DAMN BRO,,i feel for ya. Sorry to hear. But atleast u will have a fresh engine and can stick some super stuff in it wile rebuilding.LOL
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:58 PM   #45
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

no offense to the engine builder but im not convinced what he said is correct. a bad/worn bearing in the cam/crank would cause loss of oil pressure. and if that was the case then that one lifter wouldnt be squirting it all over the place. the lifters are feed together and not seperate which means that if one is getting lots of pressure that means the other ones arent flowing it up fully. think of the lifter bosses connected with a tube of oil that passes through them. this is what i see in some of the diagrams ive seen.

heres a simple diagram.
http://garage.fasterdeals.com/SBCOiling.gif

as u can see the oil passages are a single line that connects lifter bore to lifter bore. so if one lifter is getting oil then the other ones are as well. the pressence of oil pressure contradicts his statement of bad bearings. a bad cam/engine bearing would cause more noise than the lifter tapping.

how much oil is spitting out of the other pushrods? can u take a video of that? it just doesnt seem right, esp bc my block was just COMPLETELY cleaned and machined and was working fine before the machine work and i have the same situation as u (as far as oil coming out of the pushrods) i dnt think u should pull the motor yet. maybe u could drain the oil and try a thin synthetic oil and see if it helps with the lubrication. thinner oil should push easier through the lifters etc.

also are u verfying oil pressure? how much pressure are u getting at idle, cold idle, hot idle? how much u get are part throttle. and dont trust the electrical gauge, always check oil pressure with a mechanical gauge.

just as reference, i have 65psi at cold idle, and i have 30-40psi at hot idle. as soon as i step on the gas i have 50psi minimum even when hot. usually its 60psi. i have all that pressure, with new main/cam bearings and a new high pressure pump and my rockers dont shoot oil out.
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:44 PM   #46
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockstar08 View Post
He rotated the crank by hand and tested each of the rockers when they were at base circle on the cam. He said that they were all adjusted ok, without any lash. After running the engine for a minute he noticed that one of the rockers was squirting oil over the manifold while the others were spilling little or none at all. Shock!
The "without any lash" is the part that confuses me. What did he mean by that?

Did he mean there wasn't ANY preload or something else????

Jake

Last edited by five7kid; 01-13-2010 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:08 PM   #47
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Quote:
Originally Posted by customblackbird View Post
no offense to the engine builder but im not convinced what he said is correct. a bad/worn bearing in the cam/crank would cause loss of oil pressure. and if that was the case then that one lifter wouldnt be squirting it all over the place. the lifters are feed together and not seperate which means that if one is getting lots of pressure that means the other ones arent flowing it up fully. think of the lifter bosses connected with a tube of oil that passes through them. this is what i see in some of the diagrams ive seen.

heres a simple diagram.
http://garage.fasterdeals.com/SBCOiling.gif

as u can see the oil passages are a single line that connects lifter bore to lifter bore. so if one lifter is getting oil then the other ones are as well. the pressence of oil pressure contradicts his statement of bad bearings. a bad cam/engine bearing would cause more noise than the lifter tapping.

how much oil is spitting out of the other pushrods? can u take a video of that? it just doesnt seem right, esp bc my block was just COMPLETELY cleaned and machined and was working fine before the machine work and i have the same situation as u (as far as oil coming out of the pushrods) i dnt think u should pull the motor yet. maybe u could drain the oil and try a thin synthetic oil and see if it helps with the lubrication. thinner oil should push easier through the lifters etc.

also are u verfying oil pressure? how much pressure are u getting at idle, cold idle, hot idle? how much u get are part throttle. and dont trust the electrical gauge, always check oil pressure with a mechanical gauge.

just as reference, i have 65psi at cold idle, and i have 30-40psi at hot idle. as soon as i step on the gas i have 50psi minimum even when hot. usually its 60psi. i have all that pressure, with new main/cam bearings and a new high pressure pump and my rockers dont shoot oil out.

After thinking about this....i am with u 100%.
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:17 AM   #48
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

Jake, I took that to mean past zero lash.

Today I found the oil bypass spring was stuck sideways in the oil cooler adaptor, leaving it permanently open. Since i have an G92 oil cooler I wonder if its always been that way. I guess that explains my metal pieces.

Customblackbird, I agree. Thanks for posting that diagram, it explains a lot. As my gushing lifter is at the end of the lifter chain, and the front of the engine on cyl #5. I think I still have some stuck lifters, because the oil flows past all the prior lifters to get to cyl #5. The advice I got explained it as if each of the cam bearings provide oil to the lifters, which is not true.

I'm putting my engine pull on hold, and removing the lifters, again. I'll clean them and make sure they operate by hand before soaking them for reinstallation. I'm also going to attempt to clean the lifter-lifter oil galleries, might drop by a local engine shop to see if I can to see a stripped block..

Right now i'm thinking that my lifters are not getting oil pressure.

I also want to prime using a distributor tool, any advice on that? I've got to see oil coming from all those rockers before I reassemble!

I guess from the diagram, you could either have a blocked lifter oil gallery or faulty lifter(s), if one ejects oil on either side. If none eject oil then may be a problem with the rear cam bearing blocking the passage or a longer hex plug maybe blocking a rear oil gallery, its a warning i've read before. I also read in another forum that even a dipped engine can still have blocked galleries.

My oil pressures are roughly the same as yours from the dash, but I see that the pressure gauge connects just past the oil filter, so it wouldn't pickup a pressure blockage further down the line anyhow.

I guess you can never presume new parts are going to work out of the box..

The exhst cyl #5 rocker oil "squirted" over the manifold, there was quite a bit of velocity behind it. The other rockers "dribbled". I've got the sump pan off right now so I can't do a video.

Will keep you posted..

Also, I measured how much preload a lifter can take before its spring is compressed all the way down, It can take 3 turns to push the pocket all the way down. So i'd say that 1 turn past lash would easily be safe and 1/4 not nearly enough. Don't flame me, just an opinion!
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:33 AM   #49
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Quote:
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I measured how much preload a lifter can take before its spring is compressed all the way down, It can take 3 turns to push the pocket all the way down. So i'd say that 1 turn past lash would easily be safe and 1/4 not nearly enough. Don't flame me, just an opinion!
Flame you?!? It's what I've been saying all along.
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Old 01-15-2010, 03:33 PM   #50
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Re: Do I have a stuck lifter? (with video)

i also have the G92 oil cooler... and i was unaware of the tq specs so i prob could have over tightened mine ... i forget the tq specs but they are real low.... so dont tq them crazy tight.

i can assure u that there is no way to clean the oil lifter oil passages. ive cleaned every hole i could find in mine with an engine brush kit and the lifter bores are the only thing i was able to get to in that department. i even cleaned the little holes that are in the valley that go to the cam. theres no way your getting to those lifter oil holes just to let u kno.

im not sure how ur ever going to figure out if theres a blocked oil passage to the lifters. but an idea that just popped into my head is to leave the pan on and prime the oil pump with the distributer tool, but leave the lifters out, since your only spinning the pump nothing is at stake, make sure u have 5qts in the pan and look at the oil holes. even at 30psi (which u can get with a 1/2 drill at slow speeds) will be enough to see that oil is being pushed out the holes. it could get messy so wear some goggles and a mask (unless ur like me and drink oil and brake fluid like a protein shake ).

another thing. the oil pressure sender is NOT above the filter... that sensor looking thing above the filter is the oil pressure switch. this is just an idiot light that turns on when the sensor doesnt sense oil pressure. think of it as a fail safe... no oil pressure and the engine shuts off. that is NOT the oil pressure sender for the gauge on the console. the sender for that looks like alittle metal can with a pigtail connector right behind the intake, by the distributer on the driver side. its plugged into the back of the motor with a 90 degree fitting.

AGAIN i can not stress this enough... DONT trust the stock oil pressure gauge. these things can sense oil pressure but are by no means ACCURATE! heres an example. i have the stock gauge in my bird on the console... i just replaced the sender... maybe 400miles ago... it reads 45 psi when warm at idle. my aftermarket stewart warner MECHANICAL oil pressure gauge in my pillar pod reads 30psi at idle the same time the stock gauge reads 45psi... thats a 15psi DIFFERENCE! dont mess around, but a cheap 60 or 100psi mechanical oil gauge and temporaily plug it into the stock location (the 90 degree fitting at the back of the block) and read the REAL pressure at idle cold, hot idle, and part throttle hot etc. this will be a more accurate way of reading oil pressure. again the gauges are cheap, i got mine for like 60$ and i spent like 40$ on 6ft of braided line to hook it up. remember that the gauge does come with fittings usually but they are the nylon tubing type which i dnt trust with oil.

the distributer tool is simple... plugs into a 3/8 or 1/2 drill. u slide it on the pump drive shaft (with distributer out) and spin the pump clockwise... read oil psi on the gauge and look at the lifters to see oil coming out. might take a few min.
this one is awsome
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/SUM-901010/
this is the cheap one i have but its difficult to kno when its on and not crooket and rubbing against the cam gear, i will be getting the above one.
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/MOR-62200/

im still not convinced its a blocked oil passage... u dont need rockers to be squirting oil all over the place. as long as enough is coming out to lube the rocker and the valve tip and have enough oil coming down the spring to cool the springs off u should be fine.

you could prob do a full turn but u would be losing clearance and you could loss top end power/ have a durability issue with the plunger pushed down that far in the upper RPM ranges
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