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Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

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Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby BlackoutSteve » Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:59 am

Typically, what causes a hydraulic roller lifter to start making noise? (tack tack tack tack tack tack...)
I have known hydraulic lifters to be noisy when engines are cold, from an open valve bleeding them down when they're not running, and then they typically pump up and quieten down once oil starts flowing and warming again..

But what about a lifter that is quiet cold and then starts tacking away once the engine warms? That is what I have.

The engine is an almost 250K mile Buick V6 in my Holden (S/Charged L67), and without yet double checking a few things, I am doubting it's a cause from withing else within the valve train like a bent pushrod or loose rocker.
Recently the rocker arms were swapped from the OE 1.6:1 for a set of Yella Terra 1.9:1, and I checked every valve's stem seal-to-retainer clearance. Most are ~.050" but the smallest is ~.030". Coil bind is miles away with these beehive springs. About.100" away.
The OE spring spec is 71-79lbs on the seat, and the pair of reconditioned heads I recently fitted were supplied with ~65-70lbs. Because I upped the boost from the OE 6psi to 10psi with a smaller pulley, I decided to add .060" shims to bring them all up to 85-90lbs.
The oil is a semi-synthetic Delco 10W30.

Have I added a little too much load to these stock lifters after so many miles?
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Re: Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby steve cowan » Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:13 am

hey blackout, i worked for a holden dealership from 1985-1996,v6 buick stuff has always rattled,my own vs v6 does it has done from day 1 the only question i ask is you changed rocker ratio from 1.6 to 1.9 0.060'' more lift? so what is the effect on an hydraulic lifter,i dont know ,will it pump up because of the extra lift,i have researched the crow cam kits i think alot of money for the return(my opinion only) i am sorry i cant answer your question but there are guys here who can but you will get 20 different opinions so who is right and who is wrong? i never seen a cam or lifter failure but i seen a couple of balance shaft bearing failures when i worked there
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Re: Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby Strange Magic » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:42 am

You might want to remove them and disasemble them to see if there is any debree in them. Are they some sort of oem factory lifter or aftermarket?
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Re: Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby JoePorting » Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:24 pm

Why not just replace them?
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Re: Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby benno318 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:02 pm

sure its actually a lifter?

18 months ago i helped a bloke with no money replace head gaskets after he cooked his. it was cooked bad enough that it wouldnt start due to no compression from blown gaskets, so never heard it run prior to me getting it going. with the heads off, everything LOOKED ok with regards to the block, bores and pistons etc, so i serviced the heads, fitted new gaskets and fired it up.
it had a noise just like a ticking lifter (im normally pretty good with noises and diagnosis) left it running for a while, it got worse not better. tried thicker oil. thought it may have been balance shaft related after several other mechanic's suggestions, so disconnected it. replaced lifters. ended up fitting a used engine for the guy.

when i pulled his engine down, i found 3 "burnt" pistons, black as the ace of spades underneath, they looked normal from the top, no strange bore marks but piston to bore clearance was now 19, 17 and 16 thou!! the noise was actually piston slap. the pistons had shrunk! never seen it on one of these before. i honed that engine and fitted a new set of std pistons, and got decent money for it, the new owner is happy with it.

why did you pull your heads in the first place, has it been overheated??
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Re: Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby jsgarage » Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:50 pm

Any high mileage hydraulic lifter is prone to accumulate varnish which can stick the adjusting piston inside, as its fit-clearance is less than 0.001" If you're a poor boy and you know which lifter it is, take the thing apart and clean off the film of varnish inside with a scotch-brite pad by hand, then reassemble. Don't use a drill with the scotch-brite pad and don't mix up parts from doing several at a time. The noise at low rpms is likely due to too much clearance at the rocker; at high rpms it might be due to valve float. If ignored, you'll dent or mushroom some part and then have to replace the lifter (and maybe other parts) anyway.
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Re: Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby 6sally6 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:42 pm

JoePorting wrote:Why not just replace them?


^^^
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Re: Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby BlackoutSteve » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:32 am

If it's a lifter, I fully intend on replacing them. :)
But before I shell out $300 on the required intake and S/C gaskets etc, plus ~$150 on a new set of lifters (same as LS7 apparently), and put my daily off the road for a day or two, I just want to ask hoping for some advice that says "check that.." or "try this..". It might save me doing or spending unnecesarily.

Thanks for the replies everyone. The engine has cooled and I'm going in for a look. :P
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Re: Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby BlackoutSteve » Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:46 am

Valve cover off and ran the engine. #4 exhaust shuts up when pressing on the rocker arm with a rag..
The pushrod is straight, the rocker is good, all wear surfaces are good.
Might try something I once read, I think in "How to Rebuild Big Block Chevys".. which is sqirting carb cleaner down a clean pushrod in hope it may break down any crud in the lifter and leave it over night before restarting. Might help.
What have I got to lose except for maybe 20c worth of carb cleaner. :P
Any other ideas?
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Re: Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby Lockwire » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:53 am

( which is sqirting carb cleaner down a clean pushrod in hope it may break down any crud in the lifter and leave it over night before restarting. Might help. )

Put a can of Marvel Mystery Oil in it and run it for the oil change. It is an old Rolls trick . Hope it work for you too, make sure the oil is not too heavy. :)
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Re: Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby barnym17 » Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:29 pm

By going to a 1.9 rocker you have increased the springs pressure on the lifter causing it to bleed off thereby causing your issue.If all the others sound good I would try the marvel mystery oil trick or with the mileage on the engine I would step up to a heavier oil not lighter. Another trick that works well is to run 1 qt of atf in your oil. It is a high detergent 10 wt oil so it cleans as you run it. It also has the advantage of cleaning gradually so there is no chance of chunks of gunk breaking off and causing problems. Going the atf route may take 3000 miles to work totally but it normally does work.
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Re: Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby Hectori » Fri Feb 28, 2014 1:39 pm

I haven`t use that Marvel mystery oil stuff, but similar Product from Forte was used sometimes to correct similar complaints.

Forte Advanced engine flush
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Re: Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby BlackoutSteve » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:59 pm

The carb cleaner hasn't stopped the tacking, but it is noticeably quieter after a good 60 miles today, so perhaps there is some crud causing the noise.
I can get some of that Marvel stuff locally (interstate) for ~AU$50 a gallon plus post, so I might give it a go. I couldn't find the Forte locally unfortunately.
I like the transmission fluid idea. That's an easy one.

Thanks again everyone. :)

barnym17 wrote:By going to a 1.9 rocker you have increased the springs pressure on the lifter causing it to bleed off thereby causing your issue.

Yeah, I worked out that there is about an additional 45-50lbs at full lift due to the higher ratio and the shimming (still less than 250lbs open), but also, if these lifters are the same as the LS6, they should easily be able to accommodate the higher pressure. Age and/or accumulated crud is the exception in this case I assume. :)
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Re: Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby barnym17 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:25 am

Try the tranny fluid trick it really does work it just takes time.
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Re: Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?

Postby MileHighMan » Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:08 am

While the ATF trick works very well,,,We often do what we call a crankcase flush where we use a gallon of straight diesel fuel mixed with a quart of motor oil....We let it idle for about 15 minutes,,,jacking the throttle about a minute apart,,then drain well,,,and refill with a new filter,,and fresh motor oil....Works real well on this later model roller cam stuff...Dan.
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