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valve train noise

This is a discussion on valve train noise within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; about two weeks ago my car started making a "clacking" sound,after a day or so it seemed like it was ...

  1. #1
    Member BRANDON's Avatar
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    valve train noise

    about two weeks ago my car started making a "clacking" sound,after a day or so it seemed like it was getting a little worse,so i parked it, the sound was louder near the driver side,the rockers and everything up top looked fine so i pulled the heads. all the lifters seem to check out fine,the only thing out of the ordinary i found was a lifter tray that was loose enough to move around and tap against the block,the bolt was all the way tight,i dont think loose lifter trays would be normal?, all the lifters were still pumped up and the roller looked good with no signs of wear,so im thinking the sound was the lifter tray but should i still replace the lifters? they are the comp 850-16 and are a little more than 2yrs old,the noise was faint at idle but was mainly noticeable around 2-3k rpms,not sure of any other way to tell if a lifter is bad

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    Bump.

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    I'm assuming you checked pushrods right? What springs are you running? Go over them with a fine tooth comb. As far as your lifters......I would have to be put in that position to decide. Part of me thinks that as long as you have it tore down that far why not drop $200 and know that the lifters are good to go. The other part of me thinks that if you really have no reason to believe there's a problem with them then there's no need to spend the money. I would have to be put in that position.

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    Member BRANDON's Avatar
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    I went over everything very thoroughly and took my time, I did find that one of the lifters under the loose tray has a flat spot on the roller, so I will be replacing all of them just for the piece of mind, everything else looks good, I already have new trays so hopefully new trays and lifters will fix the problem

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    Member BRANDON's Avatar
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    I missed the damaged lifter the first time I checked them out, just goes to show to double and even triple check your work!!

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    I know for me that would now make me wonder what the lobe of that cam looks like........

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    Can you post a pic of the damaged lifter?

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Ouch, yep I'd be worried about that cam lobe for sure. I've had the roller needle bearings fail on a lifter in the past and it wiped the lobe in short order before I could even shut the engine off. That roller just locks up and makes a racket (mine made a squeaking or chirping noise).

    The only way that could have flat spotted the roller would be that roller locking up, it's definately had to scar that lobe in some way.

    Those needle bearings don't seem to like alot of spring pressure if you spend alot of your time idling around town, always makes me paranoid. Those little needles flat spot themselves over time which locks up the roller and it's on from there.

    There are new lifters out on the market now that use a bushing type design and don't have this problem, I know Crane and Isky were making them, and I'm sure Comp has jumped onto that bandwagon by now. They are more expensive but are said to be more durable and take higher spring pressures. It's what my father just installed in a big solid roller motor he just built that has some pretty stout spring pressures. Should be an excellent lifter for an engine that sees alot of street miles and idling.

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    Member BRANDON's Avatar
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    image.jpg this is the best pic I could get, my phone didn't want to focus, and I'm going to check the cam before I put it all back together, I was worried about it too

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    ouch!!

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    Yikes! Can the cam be checked with a dial gauge or just a visual inspection?

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    Member BRANDON's Avatar
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    I think I can look through the lifter hole and see it but its close to the back so I'm gonna have to dive in lol, I'll get someone to turn it by hand while I look through the hole before I take it out, hopefully it's ok, I don't need to be replacing the cam too

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    An inspection camera would work well in that location. The one from Harbor Freight isn't all that expensive and has a great video image.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Eeeeuuuw, that's going to have a cam lobe problem guaranteed. Like Jeff mentioned an inspection camera would work well in this case. But I'd be prepared to be pulling that sucker out anyway. Not to mention the metal shavings it's created. Cut the filter apart and see what that caught, and flush out what you can really well. Any of that trash went through the oil gallies and bearings, also most definately has passed throughout the other lifters and those are nearly impossible to clean and be 100% certain.

    Once the new cam and lifters are installed and running, change the oil within 50 miles again just to be certain things are as clean as they can be.

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    Member BRANDON's Avatar
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    I have already discarded the filter, but it did seem heavier than normal and the magnet on my drain plug had a little bit of shavings on it, I have already flushed it out so ill be checking the cam this afternoon, what causes this?? Could it have been the loose lifter tray or is there something else to check before it all goes back together?

  16. #16
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    All kind of things can cause it.

    Too much spring pressure can kill them pretty quick, flat spots the needle bearings, then the roller locks up and it's game on from there. Or,,,,not enough spring pressure and floating the valves, the roller bounces on and off the cam lobe which also flattens the needle bearings = very bad.

    A racical ramp profile on the camshaft can accelerate the problem too.

    Cam walk can also cause the problem. Roller cams can't be walking back and forth in the block and should have a max of .003-.005" end play.

    Possibly trash in the oil that locked up a roller, but not that likely.

    And to compound all this, a car that idles around alot is hard on roller lifters.

    How many miles on the setup? They can sometimes prematurely fail but that's not common. The biggest culprit is spring pressures and alot of idling, that's how I killed mine.

    I always frowned on magazines that promoted finding factory roller blocks for cheap roller cam upgrades because they would always try to use the original roller lifters to save a few bucks and tell people "this is how you get into a roller cam cheap" for guys that were playing with the Gen 1 SBC stuff. I personally wouldn't recommend installing used 100k mile roller lifters in an otherwise brand new engine, which is exactly what they were promoting a few years back.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 03-21-2014 at 12:29 PM.

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    FBJ... you are a walking encyclopedia of car smarts. All good info that I was not aware of.

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    Member BRANDON's Avatar
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    This is a h/c build I did about 3yrs ago, I got the kit from vengeance racing, the cam is a vrx4 street/strip cam,I also purchased the lifters from them they are the comp oe 850's, everything is basically new on the top end which is why I want to make sure I cover all bases before it goes back together

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    Member BRANDON's Avatar
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    Well I checked the cam and believe it or not it's ok! I checked it twice, you can actually see the lobes pretty good through the lifter holes, the lobe that had the bad lifter has a few rub marks but no damage, the rub marks aren't bad either I think it will be ok

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