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Unread 03-30-2009, 02:44 PM   #1
brtt485
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1988 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chelmsford, MA
Posts: 88
Lifter tick, valve chatter, sticky valve.....

Ok, so I have now spent the better part of 4 hours on the search function trying to identify the sound my jeep is making. I have an 88 YJ with a 258, Weber 36 Synchro carb, HEI ignition system.

When I bought the Jeep last August the PO said it had a "lifter tick." After searching here and elsewhere I tried some of the miracle in a bottle fixes to no avail. Now I have come across hundreds of threads with people talking about different ticking noises, some say lifters, some say timing, some say exhaust leak and so on. Also these ticks happen at different times, some people have it at start and it goes away some have the opposite.

Here are my symptoms: upon start up all is quiet, the tick/clack starts when the Jeep warms up and varies with rpms, i.e. as rpms increase so does the speed of the clack. I have tried marvel mystery oil in the crankcase, thicker 20w50 oil and thinner 5w30 oil. I have checked for exhaust/vacuum leaks, all seems fine there. Oil pressure is around 35-40 psi at idle and never drops much below 25-30 psi at any point while running/driving. The sound seems to be coming from under the valve cover. I had not yet removed the valve cover as what goes on underneath is somewhat foreign to me.

Before I go tearing things apart looking for something I dont know how to identify I was hoping to get some input on what the most likely cause of the noise is.

Any ideas?

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Unread 03-30-2009, 02:51 PM   #2
dodger889
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Use a large screw drive and your ear. Mechanic's stethoscope works great. 1/4 or larger hose use one end by the engine and the other end by your ear . Take any of the items above and start roaming the engine and listen when you find the sound the loudest you found the area where the problem is. Yes this is all old school LOL.

But I'm old school.
__________________
A 89 yj with a 4.0 aw4 sye out of an 92xj. Now the hard part is done time to get it up in the air just a bit. Working on 8.8 with 3.73 and lsd for the rear. and new D30 hp with 3.73 .
For those who have not figured this out I'm old school but can handle the new too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigsquat View Post
im just cheap, and cheap makes you creative.
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Unread 03-30-2009, 03:05 PM   #3
brtt485
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1988 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chelmsford, MA
Posts: 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by dodger889 View Post
Use a large screw drive and your ear. Mechanic's stethoscope works great. 1/4 or larger hose use one end by the engine and the other end by your ear . Take any of the items above and start roaming the engine and listen when you find the sound the loudest you found the area where the problem is. Yes this is all old school LOL.

But I'm old school.
Old school is what I am looking for. This miracle in a bottle stuff is just causing more frustration than anything else. Maybe it's my newbie ears but I tried that and had trouble pinpointing it.

What if once the sound starts I pull and replace plug wires one at a time until I find the cylinder the noise is coming from? Is that ok to do? If so, that should at least help me identify which cylinder is making the sound correct?
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Unread 03-30-2009, 03:21 PM   #4
dodger889
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If you done it the way I mention you should come real close to finding the noise. Weather it's come from the top of the engine or from the bottom on the I4 or I6 engines I would do my listening from the passenger side. So you can listen down the entire head where it meets the block and listen down by the block and oil pan too. If you are using any of them you will need to touch the area you are listening too. OH what you are listening for is that funny sound, tick or clack. If you have another vechile around that sounds nice a quiet listen to it to hear what is somewhat is normal.
__________________
A 89 yj with a 4.0 aw4 sye out of an 92xj. Now the hard part is done time to get it up in the air just a bit. Working on 8.8 with 3.73 and lsd for the rear. and new D30 hp with 3.73 .
For those who have not figured this out I'm old school but can handle the new too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigsquat View Post
im just cheap, and cheap makes you creative.
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Unread 03-30-2009, 03:29 PM   #5
4.7stroker
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My sig has a lot of links giving you good information on how to keep your camshaft alive after you install the new cam n lifters that you are going to need.
I would also have the head rebuilt by a machine shop while you are in there.
Don't forget to install new pushrods n rockers also.

Dwayne
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Unread 03-31-2009, 08:09 AM   #6
brtt485
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4.7stroker View Post
My sig has a lot of links giving you good information on how to keep your camshaft alive after you install the new cam n lifters that you are going to need.
I would also have the head rebuilt by a machine shop while you are in there.
Don't forget to install new pushrods n rockers also.

Dwayne
I was afraid that was what the consensus might be. Any suggestions on cheap fixes that will quiet it down for a little while?

I have seen some say to remove the valve cover and dump oil down each each from the top to quiet them down?????
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Unread 03-31-2009, 12:36 PM   #7
Sep
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I've seen manifold gaskets blow out and cause a sound just like a valve tick. However, since it's only after warming, it's probably a valve.

You may be able to simply replace the valve springs with the head on, if you get the right tools for removing the valve springs while holding the valve in place. I've only done this once and it required an earth magnet and REALLY steady hands. It was a royal PITA, and it was done on a 2.0 chevy with overhead valves.

From what you say, it sounds like a weak spring. I've had this problem in a couple engines and really becomes annoying. Worst part being, if the spring is weak and takes a shock or load the wrong way, it could snap causing the keeper to pop off and ending in disaster. However, I've seen small OHV engines run WITHOUT a keeper before.

Pull your valve pan cover, and see what you can find. A loose spring may not be evident at first and you may have to manually rotate the engine throughout a complete set of revolutions to find out if there is a loose spring. However, you may not be able to find it as it could be tight until it's moving. The weak spring will not be able to drag the valve back up from the combustion chamber before the compression stroke pushes the valve. This will cause the valve to "slap" into the seat. This can cause some minor damage and wear or even end up in a bent valve.

It's also possible that you simply have a bent valve. Sometimes a slightly bent valve will cause a tap but still allow for "close" to proper engine cycles. This could be a possibility, and the change that it would cause may not be noticeable.

Quick tips about valves :

Springs wear over time, and each cylinder will have different variables that effect the valves. (One valve doesn't go through the same exact stress as another at all times. Just most of the time)
Exhaust valves go through a LOT more stress over time since the extremely hot exhaust gasses are blown around the valve during the exhaust stroke. (Basically, most valve problems usually end up in exhaust valve problems.)
Over time and repeated use, valve springs will actually wear out. The used valve springs will have less compression rates compared to new.
Valve removal is very easy but requires special tools. Valve guide and seal replacement on the other hand can be tedious and requires special tools (from time to time) and a steady hand.

I hope this helps you out, I hate hearing about valve issues as they can be a real PITA to solve.

One last tip, you can run the engine without the valve pan cover off for a few seconds to help locate a problematic valve. A bent valve will become evident if the bend is great enough to move the spring/keeper assembly.

Good luck bud, if there's anything else I left out or that you would like to ask me about, please do so!
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Unread 03-31-2009, 01:57 PM   #8
4.7stroker
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There is another way to stop the valve from droping so you can remove the spring.
Get some 3/8" soft nylon rope, remove sparkplug, stuff 2 or 3 ' of rope into cylinder through plug hole and then rotate crank by hand thus compressing the rope into the head. This will stop the valve from dropping while you remove the spring keepers with a valve spring compressor.
Sounds getto but works great.
You will need the type that grips the spring and compresses it instead of the huge c clamp type.

Dwayne
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Unread 03-31-2009, 03:14 PM   #9
brtt485
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1988 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chelmsford, MA
Posts: 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sep View Post
I've seen manifold gaskets blow out and cause a sound just like a valve tick. However, since it's only after warming, it's probably a valve.

You may be able to simply replace the valve springs with the head on, if you get the right tools for removing the valve springs while holding the valve in place. I've only done this once and it required an earth magnet and REALLY steady hands. It was a royal PITA, and it was done on a 2.0 chevy with overhead valves.

From what you say, it sounds like a weak spring. I've had this problem in a couple engines and really becomes annoying. Worst part being, if the spring is weak and takes a shock or load the wrong way, it could snap causing the keeper to pop off and ending in disaster. However, I've seen small OHV engines run WITHOUT a keeper before.

Pull your valve pan cover, and see what you can find. A loose spring may not be evident at first and you may have to manually rotate the engine throughout a complete set of revolutions to find out if there is a loose spring. However, you may not be able to find it as it could be tight until it's moving. The weak spring will not be able to drag the valve back up from the combustion chamber before the compression stroke pushes the valve. This will cause the valve to "slap" into the seat. This can cause some minor damage and wear or even end up in a bent valve.

It's also possible that you simply have a bent valve. Sometimes a slightly bent valve will cause a tap but still allow for "close" to proper engine cycles. This could be a possibility, and the change that it would cause may not be noticeable.

Quick tips about valves :

Springs wear over time, and each cylinder will have different variables that effect the valves. (One valve doesn't go through the same exact stress as another at all times. Just most of the time)
Exhaust valves go through a LOT more stress over time since the extremely hot exhaust gasses are blown around the valve during the exhaust stroke. (Basically, most valve problems usually end up in exhaust valve problems.)
Over time and repeated use, valve springs will actually wear out. The used valve springs will have less compression rates compared to new.
Valve removal is very easy but requires special tools. Valve guide and seal replacement on the other hand can be tedious and requires special tools (from time to time) and a steady hand.

I hope this helps you out, I hate hearing about valve issues as they can be a real PITA to solve.

One last tip, you can run the engine without the valve pan cover off for a few seconds to help locate a problematic valve. A bent valve will become evident if the bend is great enough to move the spring/keeper assembly.

Good luck bud, if there's anything else I left out or that you would like to ask me about, please do so!
Great info, I really appreciate it. I am going to pull the valve cover this weekend and take a look around. No time like the present to figure out what goes on under there. I have already pulled a lot of it apart, eliminated most vac and electrical connections when I installed the HEI and Weber so there isnt much in my way.

If there is something wrong under the valve cover will it be evident or am I looking for very small imperfections? Also, I should have mentioned before, the motor just turned 91,000 miles which seems relatively mild for a 258.
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Unread 03-31-2009, 03:14 PM   #10
brtt485
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1988 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chelmsford, MA
Posts: 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4.7stroker View Post
There is another way to stop the valve from droping so you can remove the spring.
Get some 3/8" soft nylon rope, remove sparkplug, stuff 2 or 3 ' of rope into cylinder through plug hole and then rotate crank by hand thus compressing the rope into the head. This will stop the valve from dropping while you remove the spring keepers with a valve spring compressor.
Sounds getto but works great.
You will need the type that grips the spring and compresses it instead of the huge c clamp type.

Dwayne
Great tip. Thanks!
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Unread 03-31-2009, 03:57 PM   #11
Sep
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When you pull the cover, you may or may not notice any problems. An imperfection in the slightest could cause problems. Though, you may see a broke spring or something extremely notable. Each set of valves should look identical aside from the normal rotation with the pushrods.

When it is running without the valve cover, you'll note a loud tapping sound and you may see which valve is slapping. It could be slapping the rocker arm or the valve seats. Just pay careful attention and see if you can find it. It may take some time, but I don't recommend running with the valve cover off for long as it could cause contamination of the oil and/or dirt to fall into the valve seals themselves. Just be careful and watch the valves while it is running. When the engine is off, feel free to grab and feel for a loose spring or worn rocker assembly.

As for only 91,000 miles... I've seen a 2004 5.7l bend an exhaust valve at 20,000 miles. It's not always a "time" issue as something may have had to give and the valve or spring was the weakest in the link. So, don't concern with miles.

If you replace a valve, spring, or other valve component... I advise you to replace the entire set. This keeps the balance on the cam shaft and rockers. Remember, equal wear is the best thing for it. If you have to pull the head though, I'd spend the money for new valves, seals, guides, springs, retainers (keepers), and if needed rocker arm assembly.
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I know engines, this drivetrain crap really gets my head spinning!

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Unread 03-31-2009, 04:06 PM   #12
brtt485
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1988 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chelmsford, MA
Posts: 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sep View Post
When you pull the cover, you may or may not notice any problems. An imperfection in the slightest could cause problems. Though, you may see a broke spring or something extremely notable. Each set of valves should look identical aside from the normal rotation with the pushrods.

When it is running without the valve cover, you'll note a loud tapping sound and you may see which valve is slapping. It could be slapping the rocker arm or the valve seats. Just pay careful attention and see if you can find it. It may take some time, but I don't recommend running with the valve cover off for long as it could cause contamination of the oil and/or dirt to fall into the valve seals themselves. Just be careful and watch the valves while it is running. When the engine is off, feel free to grab and feel for a loose spring or worn rocker assembly.

As for only 91,000 miles... I've seen a 2004 5.7l bend an exhaust valve at 20,000 miles. It's not always a "time" issue as something may have had to give and the valve or spring was the weakest in the link. So, don't concern with miles.

If you replace a valve, spring, or other valve component... I advise you to replace the entire set. This keeps the balance on the cam shaft and rockers. Remember, equal wear is the best thing for it. If you have to pull the head though, I'd spend the money for new valves, seals, guides, springs, retainers (keepers), and if needed rocker arm assembly.
I really appreciate it. Looking forward to diving in this weekend!
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Unread 03-31-2009, 06:08 PM   #13
Sep
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Let me know what happens. If you need it, you can PM me and I'll give you some assistance that way. If really needed, we could get a phone call going and I could run you step by step how to check the valves on it with the cover off.

I hope it's all well and turns out to be something simple, but you never know. That's the BEST part about owning a jeep. They are very simple and average wrench turners can do a LOT to work with them.
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I know engines, this drivetrain crap really gets my head spinning!

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Unread 03-31-2009, 06:19 PM   #14
brtt485
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1988 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chelmsford, MA
Posts: 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sep View Post
Let me know what happens. If you need it, you can PM me and I'll give you some assistance that way. If really needed, we could get a phone call going and I could run you step by step how to check the valves on it with the cover off.

I hope it's all well and turns out to be something simple, but you never know. That's the BEST part about owning a jeep. They are very simple and average wrench turners can do a LOT to work with them.
I really appreciate it. Half the reason I bought an older jeep was to learn. So far I am definitely doing a lot of learning. I am going to try and pick up a valve cover gasket tomorrow so I can put her all back together when finished. Some say RTV some dont. I was going to grab the cork gasket. What are your thoughts on RTV in addition to the gasket?
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Unread 03-31-2009, 06:24 PM   #15
Sep
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I forgot to add this bit of information...

Those miracle jugs of oil additives.. Well those don't work miracles. Basically, if you keep your oil changed on a good basis and use a good brand of oil such as Mobil 1, Valvoline, Castrol, or other top brands, you won't have much trouble in the oil department. Those "bottled miracles" basically revitalize the oil and help eliminate any gelling that may have gathered around valves or the like. It won't work metallic miracles such as stopping a mechanical problem with valve tapping. There is no miracle fix for these types of problems, and usually end up in having to turn a wrench to solve them. It was worth the effort however, as it's possible the oil was gelled up around a valve causing the slap. The only "bottle miracle" I've ever seen that really worked well on gelled oils was called Reslone. It works well to ungel oils, but if it does fix the problem with gelled oil, I'd change the oil almost immediately after running it.
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I know engines, this drivetrain crap really gets my head spinning!

Sep's Basic Tune-up Guide for New YJ Owners
Sep's Layoff Build
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