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Piston slap or lifter noise on cold starts

This is a discussion on Piston slap or lifter noise on cold starts within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Hi all, Ive got this cold start noise and Im trying to determine if its piston slap or lifters. I ...

  1. #1
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    Piston slap or lifter noise on cold starts

    Hi all,

    Ive got this cold start noise and Im trying to determine if its piston slap or lifters. I know its hard to diagnose over a audio file, although I might get some ideas.
    Seems to be more apparent now its alot colder at night.

    Ive run Penrite HPR10 and Castrol Magnatec both resulting in similar noises at a cold startup.
    The noise practically goes away after about 3-5 minutes.


  2. #2
    Your friendly policeman FinZ28's Avatar
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    What year is the car? Early (read 1998 or so) LS1's are notorious for piston slap, particularly when just being started.
    2001 Chevy Camaro Z28 A4
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    Its a 2000 model so its a early model.

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    If it goes away once it warms up then nothing to worry about. Lots of disimilar metals in these motors that expand and contract different rates. Also, alumunum does not dampen sound as a cast iron block does so noise can seem louder. As well there is less insulation on these cars so motor noise is more apparent.

    If you are trying to make it go away with oil, you are wasting your time because its not oil related. Performance engines are not going to be quiet like a luxury car, not intended to be. Even if you could dampen it with heavier oil you would be doing more harm to the motor by not using the proper 5W-30 oil is was designed for. Heavier oil (say 20W-50) is harder to pump when motor is cold (first started) and that delays oil getting to critical engine parts. Thinner oil is better, synthetic oil is better yet.
    Last edited by ZZ71; 06-30-2012 at 05:02 AM. Reason: typo

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZZ71 View Post
    If it goes away once it warms up then nothing to worry about. Lots of disimilar metals in these motors that expand and contract different rates. Also, alumunum does not dampen sound as a cast iron block does so noise can seem louder. As well there is less insulation on these cars so motor noise is more apparent.

    If you are trying to make it go away with oil, you are wasting your time because its not oil related. Performance engines are not going to be quiet like a luxury car, not intended to be. Even if you could dampen it with heavier oil you would be doing more harm to the motor by not using the proper 5W-30 oil is was designed for. Heavier oil (say 20W-50) is harder to pump when motor is cold (first started) and that delays oil getting to critical engine parts. Thinner oil is better, synthetic oil is better yet.

    Our LS1's require 10W30 but your point is correct.


    OP - Like they posted above our motors can sound like sewing machines till they warm up. What you need to pay attention to is the oil pressure and proper fill level. At start up should read in the 50's-60's. At idle and warmed up it will dropped to around the 40's.

    You should get in the habit of constantly checking your oil level. They love to consume it almost as much as gas. It is by GM design, that the POS PCV set up makes it easy to do so. If you ever take your throttle body and look into the intake you will see years of oil build up. The way Gm design the PCv to relieve crankcase pressure was to recirculate it into the intake and "burn" it off. It does to some small degree but not enough in my opinion. Installing a catch can can help reduce the oil that blows by the PCV. They are very simple to instal and price varies from $69 -$200. All depends on what you want to spend.

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    Member cobra12345's Avatar
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    i wouldnt worry to much at all sounds normal for our engies wish my valvetrain was that quiet lol

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    Scott is correct. The LS1 is an oil monster by design. Performence motors are built loose. Install a good catch can and check your oil on every fill up.
    My ride is a 2002 Camaro SS SLP #3296 with 30k, LTH, 3" Y, CME, Frost tune, K&N, ported TB, Blackwing lid, Bellows, MSD, Denso Iridium, and 85mm MAF, Bilsteins, Eibach springs, SLP strut brace, Adj. Panhard, TA Girdle, UMI, Pro 5.0, Nitto NT555
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    '09 Cadillac CTS4
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    Our LS1's require 10W30 but your point is correct.
    I recall my 2002 called for 5W-30??

    I ran 0W-30 synthetic in my 02 LS1. I am using that in my 2012 6.2L as well and in my 2009 CTS4.

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    Owners manual says the best blend all around is 5W-30. I would feel this is better for cold starts ? I'm so OCD with changing my oil that I've never had to add. Then again I've only got 14K as of now. I've had it for one year now and to the best of my knowledge when I bought it at 8K miles, the oil had been changed once in nine years. Thankfully it was synthetic and car stored in climate controlled storage.
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    Tezza....I feel for you because i know what your going through! I ordered my 02 SS in September 01...It was brand spanking new with only 10 miles on the odometer, When i got in it a @ the dealership i was so stoked that i really didnt hear the sound there. Once i got home after a few days and started really checking out the motor i heard the same noise,,I freaked!!!! So i took it back and the guy gets in revs it up (too high for my liking!) and says ''huh..its quieter then my vette''.,,"That sound is normal"...Needless to say i wasnt happy! So i brought it in more then once to complain and told them that other Camaros ive heard dont sound like that! One mechanic finally conceeded that it was ''piston slap'' and not to worry.It wont harm anything! I really wanted the thing either fixed or replaced with a new engine,They looked at me like i was crazy... Years later i found a GM bulletin that warned dealership managers to ''only replace motors if the customer is irate and was relentless'' about the problem.Needless to say it was past the warranty time and i really didnt want them tearing into my new car! Ive learned that cast pistons especially aluminum contract and expand alot from heat this sometimes causes ''piston slap'' and also the rings to trap unburned fuel in the top ring causing emmissions problems While forged or hyperuetectic pistons dont have that problem.Sorry you and i were just on the other end of luck ! I try and ignore it but once in a while it still pisses me off!
    Last edited by SuperSSguy; 07-01-2012 at 06:47 PM.

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    Hey Redrokit8...Is a ''Frost'' tune a program or a company?

  12. #12
    Your friendly policeman FinZ28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperSSguy View Post
    Hey Redrokit8...Is a ''Frost'' tune a program or a company?
    Frost is the name of the company. Their website is www.tunedbyfrost.com. Steve Williams is the main guy at Frost.

    I know your question wasn't aimed at me, but there's your answer.

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    Member Redrokit8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FinZ28 View Post
    Frost is the name of the company. Their website is TunedByFrost.com - Professional Tuning For Your LSx Powered Car or Truck. Steve Williams is the main guy at Frost.

    I know your question wasn't aimed at me, but there's your answer.
    Thanks Chris. I've only used the "mail order PCM, Add On external mod Tunes". They have worked great for me because I have not changed Cam, Heads, etc. I think you can also visit him for a complete dyno tune in Richmond, Va. Either way he'll turn out to be one of the best guys you will deal with.

  14. #14
    Member SuperSSguy's Avatar
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    Thanks Redrokit8 & FinZ28....!

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