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How bad is a lifter failure...

This is a discussion on How bad is a lifter failure... within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; My current car is a 94 Firebird automatic. I have found a car that I definitely want. It's a red ...

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Red
    2000 Trans Am WS.6 6Speed

    How bad is a lifter failure...

    My current car is a 94 Firebird automatic. I have found a car that I definitely want. It's a red 98 Trans Am WS.6 6-speed. It's got 55k miles on it, and all the goodies. I test drove it today and there were knocking sounds coming from the engine, most prevalent around 1,800 rpm. Turns out the LS1 needs new lifters. I'm not sure how serious a problem this is, as in can a failed lifter or two damage other parts of the engine? They are asking $12,500 for the car the way it is, and will replace the lifter(s) for $1,500. If this car was in perfect condition, the fair dealer price is $11,600. I of course would try to negotiate for a lower price, but what do you think? I think 55k miles is kinda soon for needing engine work....

  2. #2
    Member keliente's Avatar
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    99 Firebird Formula

    No way in hell should you be paying $12,500 for a 1998 ESPECIALLY with engine problems. Knocking? That's more of a rod bearing problem. When a lifter fails it makes for slack in the valvetrain, which gives more of a tick noise.

    Keep looking, please. I know you are excited (I was too) but don't get attached to the first car you find...it is painful but keep looking. In the end you can find something much better. I wouldn't give more than $6k for that car as it sits...I mean what if you commit to buy it and find out the lifters weren't the problem, and you end up buying a new engine out of pocket?

  3. #3
    Senior Member 02z28ls1's Avatar
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    navy blue
    2002 Z-28 Camaro M6

    Do not buy a used car for more than fair market value that has a major engine problem. They should fix it first-and you should buy something else. Keep looking-there are plenty of cars out there in better shape and less money-you just have to keep looking.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Red
    2000 Trans Am WS.6 6Speed

    I guess so....this car just showed up in my price-range; most of the others of similar cost that I can find don't have the WS.6 package, are really far from where I live, or are some wierd color. I suppose i'll just have to continue to restrain myself.....and just wait for a good car to surface. I can do this...

  5. #5
    Junior Member jeffsredt/a's Avatar
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    red
    2001 ws6 trans am a4

    Ok i think after reading this thread i might have a lifter problem. I took my 01 ws6 a4 out today for the first time in like 4weeks (damn snow). However i ran the car a few time a week in the garageand it sounded ok, but when i drove it it ticked really fast and loud it was really noticeable from 1700rpm to 3000rpm in 1,2,3 but not really as loud in drive. Please help!!!

  6. #6
    1 of 396 T/A Conv 2001 Wayah-bird's Avatar
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    Taupe/Red
    2001 Trans Am Conv

    Keep looking

    Good heavens! A ragged out car with 55K and you are thinking of buying it? Listen to everyone here at LS1. DON'T BUY!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member 02z28ls1's Avatar
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    navy blue
    2002 Z-28 Camaro M6

    There is a big difference between a normal noise and a really loud noise. I've noticed that people don't really listen to their cars a lot,and then when they do they freak out at the noises they hear. If you would listen to your car on a regular basis,you would know whether that noise just started ,is it a normal noise, or what. My LS1 makes a ticking kind of noise when it's cold,and has since almost new. The piston slap thing kinda sounds like a tick to me,alloy engines are made a little loose so they can expand more as they heat up. So a little noise when cold is not all that big of a deal. Make sure there is enough oil in the engine and it's been changed on a regular basis. Listen to the engine when it's completely warmed up. Look at your oil pressure readings too. I haven't really heard of these engines "breaking" lifters,these are roller lifters,should'nt be that many problems.

  8. #8
    Member wesTXwitesnake05's Avatar
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    White with silver stripes
    2000 Trans Am WS6

    I got my 00' ws6 with 35,7**, she now has 52,800 on the clock and is making a fairly loud ticking noise also. the car has alot done to it, mostly by me, and it runs great- 12.59@ 115. there were like 5 or 6 owners (REPOED FORM 2) before me and it had been ragged on pretty hard cuz when i bought it there was no tread on the rear tires! ive noticed the ticking noise for over a year now and its gotten a little louder recently. it sounds like its one of the left rear rockers (if you are facing the engine its your left). the car has a custom tune and the rev limiter was removed- so i think someone missed a shift and detinated the engine . i have new heads,intake,ect for a future rebuild BUT i still have 2 1/2 yrs left on the warranty. so should i get this looked at? the car runs fine but this thread got me worried.

  9. #9
    Bombguy99Z28
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    There is a big difference between a pushrod/rocker problem and a lifter problem.

    pushrod/rocker problem = easy fix.

    lifter prolems, depending on how severe, can effect engine oiling and if bad enough (lifter turns or something) can destroy a camshaft or worse.

    Lifter replacement/inspection requires removing the cylinder heads, which is a lot of work.

    If you think you have a noise that warrants inspection remove the valve covers and inspect the rocker arms and pushrods. All you need to perform this simple task is 8mm and 10mm tools, and a torque wrech to put it all back together. Its worthwhile to do if you have a noise that you don't feel comfortable about.

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