So I bought my 99 XJ Cherokee around Christmas. Did a oil change immediately to Pennzoil 10W30 with a pureone filter. It drove fine, Had the lifter tick I knew about from my family's history with Jeeps and reading about it online. It has a power steering leak and a intermittent belt squeal, and a few electric problems that are none other than inconvenient (intermittent power locks, radio inop, blower only on high/low). I did another oil change about 2500 miles later in February-same filter/oil.
Anyways on my way to work friday night That tick tick tick became a tock tock tock. NO power loss, no smoke, no leaks. I did another oil change saturday with Pennzoil 10W30 and a fram filter- no change yet. I thought I completely lost the lifter but I pulled the rocker cover and found that amazingly all the rockers are pretty tight- little slop in a couple but nothing worth mentioning. There was a good amount of sludge that I attempted to remove/loosen. Drove it about 30 miles since it changed tone. It currently has almost exactly 180K original miles.
I have a couple videos of the noise to share: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkjVuQXcusk
After reading about piston slap I'm left to believe that is what this is. Unless I blew a hole in the exhaust manifold. My dad told me to cover the tailpipe and see if it got louder- it didn't, and with it still being 30-35 in the mornings here I don't see any vapor/smoke around the manifold area in the cold startup, so I'm kinda going with piston slap since I know its a non-interference motor and the valves aren't breaking up on the pistons.
So I guess what I'm asking is someone to confirm this. And how far/should I drive like this? Its my only car and not warm/long enough days to bike to work.
I can't afford another car or huge repair. I am an aircraft mechanic working on piston engines so I have mechanical ability but not alot of experience on car engines. And I just have a giant tarp as shelter to do the work.
Any advice? I think after reading the comments on here and other forums I'll be switching to Rotella oil next change-if I can make it that far.