Rocker Arms rattling - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 18 Old 06-08-2021, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
Malachi73
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Rocker Arms rattling

Over the last week I pulled the head off my '01 WJ 4.0 and replaced all 12 lifters due to what seemed like extreme lifter noise. Today I got it back together and started it up. Before I ran it I first cranked it over a lot with the fuel pump fuse pulled until I got a good 40 psi oil pressure.

Once I got it running I can hear pretty well the same noise it had before new lifters. I let it run for a few minutes to see if the noise would clear up but it didn't. So, I pulled the valve cover back off and checked the rocker arms and found at least 4 of them I could move with my hand, a couple of them were quite loose. I double checked the torque and it was fine.

So, I found one that was loose and one that was not loose and swapped the rocker arms and it still rattled. So I found another one that was not loose and swapped the push rod and it still rattles, but not as much.

Can someone help me? Is it normal for the rockers to move at all? Could it be that some of the rockers/push rods are worn?

What would you do? Put in all new push rods and rockers?

Here is a video of the noise before replacing all 12 lifters. It sounds pretty much the same now.



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post #2 of 18 Old 06-08-2021, 08:16 PM
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pushrods will wear out before roller lifters. if i did lifters, i'd be doing pushrods at the same time. i'd probably do springs and seals as well. i'd also look closely at the rocker arm pockets, where the pushrods seat into them. i have seen them wear through, with the rod actually busting through the rocker arm. you don't say how many miles, but if you have loose pushrods/worn rockers, i'm guessing your over 250. something to consider. when those pushrods/rockers are wearing, (and getting shorter/thinner) all that metal is being pumped through the engine.... i cut open oil filters when i change them, and see what's going on inside them. i'd consider dropping the pan as well, just for a look around.

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post #3 of 18 Old 06-08-2021, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
Malachi73
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Only 150,000 miles on the Jeep. Judging by the gunk in the block where the lifters sit I'd say previous owner did not change oil regularly and/or used Quaker State oil. I bought the Jeep at 144,000 miles, changed the oil about 5 times in 5,000 miles and used either tranny fluid or MMO each time I changed it (trying to unstick the lifter) and it was still kinda dirty.

And the lifters are Hydraulic, which I think is different from roller lifters, correct me if I am wrong.

Just was looking on Napa website and the rockers are the same for the 2001 and the 1998. I have a '98 with just under 200,000 miles sitting in my driveway. I think I'll pull the rockers and push rods out and swap them in the '01 and see if that fixes anything.

One more question first. Is there anything particular you need to do when torquing the rocker arms? Seems straight forward to me but could I be doing something wrong?
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post #4 of 18 Old 06-08-2021, 10:19 PM
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You are adjusting them while on top dead center for each cylinder? If not, some will be loose and some will be too tight.
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post #5 of 18 Old 06-09-2021, 06:20 AM
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" what seemed like extreme lifter noise."
all my jeeps are noisy and it aint lifters...parts changing is guesswork...
my xj was 168000, now 180000, still noisy.
my wj was 138000, now 160000, still noisy.
probably piston slap.
head work will only make parts guys rich.
my guess...
btw i too thought lifters so i used risolone additive. made it worse.
have no idea what it did...

99wj, 150,000 miles
00xj ,189,000 miles
10hummer3,76,000 miles
98xj, 133,000 miles
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post #6 of 18 Old 06-09-2021, 07:01 AM Thread Starter
Malachi73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2oldjeeps View Post
" what seemed like extreme lifter noise."
all my jeeps are noisy and it aint lifters...parts changing is guesswork...
I know what you are saying. This is like my 5th Jeep with 4.0 and all have had noisy lifters, but nothing like this. If you have a moment, would you mind watching the video I posted? I've never had a jeep that noisy.

Anyway, I was watching a video today where a man was showing how to replace push rods and rocker arms and he mentioned that if a push rod is not rotating while engine is running then that is a bad cam. I did in fact have one push rod not rotating but figured it was a bad lifter.

So, is he right? Could my problem be a bad cam?

I don't mind the typical 4.0 rattle, but this noise is not a typical 4.0 rattle.

Last edited by Malachi73; 06-09-2021 at 07:01 AM. Reason: correct spinning to running
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post #7 of 18 Old 06-09-2021, 07:25 PM
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hydraulic lifters use oil pressure inside the lifter body, to create a cushioned connection between the cam and the rockers. roller lifters use a wheel on the base of the lifter, instead of just a flat, metal to metal contact point, that relies on constant oil to not melt down. roller lifters and rocker arms make more power, as you have a solid connection in the valvetrain, without the loss of lift from the oil cushion of hydraulic lifters, and the wasted motion of taking up the slack. in theory, a complete roller setup could be run at zero clearance, perhaps just a little, to allow for thermal expansion. it takes less horsepower to run roller assemblies, and the reduction in friction could, in theory, keep the oil cooler. at higher rpm's, hydraulic lifters might not pump up completely, causing the valves to have shortened cycles, and lift heights, resulting in lost horsepower. it can also cause valve float, and will quickly destroy the valvetrain, if left uncorrected.



as far as an engine flush goes, then getting noise, (for oldjeeps) you probably washed away a coating of sludge, thickened oil deposits, etc, that were providing a layer of "protection", keeping worn parts from moving through the worn points of contact. once you washed away the varnish, sludge, etc, it gave the lifters, and other parts, room to move (in directions they weren't intended to move in). that movement made more noise. all it really did for you, was make it more apparent, you have/had parts that needed replacing. some guys add heavier oil to engines, rear ends, manual transmissions, to "hide" the noises coming from worn parts. some old heads will even tell you about packing a rear end with sawdust, to cover gear whine.

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post #8 of 18 Old 06-10-2021, 06:09 AM
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I am a Chevy mechanic and have done very little to my Jeeps. I can say that that noise is nowhere near normal. It is definitly valve train related. I hope your Jeep wasn't overheated and/or run low on oil. If the rockers and pushrods don' t show obvious wear, you may have a bad camshaft. I don't even know if these are flat tappet cams or roller cams. If they are roller cams and lifters then maybe it is only the rocker arms and pushrods that failed. They don't normally fail at 150k so they must have been abused at some time.
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post #9 of 18 Old 06-10-2021, 06:32 AM Thread Starter
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@snowbuggy , I agree this noise is no where near normal.

These are flat tappet cams. I inspected the bottom of each lifter and they all look just as good as the new ones I put in, so I don't think it is a bad cam, but could be.

After work today I plan to pull all the rocker arms back off and look them over closely.
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post #10 of 18 Old 06-11-2021, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malachi73 View Post
@snowbuggy , I agree this noise is no where near normal.

These are flat tappet cams. I inspected the bottom of each lifter and they all look just as good as the new ones I put in, so I don't think it is a bad cam, but could be.

After work today I plan to pull all the rocker arms back off and look them over closely.

pull the pushrods too. keep them in order. roll them on a flat piece of glass, or a granite countertop, and check for bending. next, measure them with a precision measuring tool and check the length. eyeballing with that ruler from your desk drawer isn't gonna work. check the ends of the pushrods they should be rounded/spherical in shape. examine the rockers carefully as well. compare them side by side, looking for obvious differences. keep them in order as well.


flat tappet lifters aren't really flat on the bottom. they have a very slight dome shape to them, that creates the rotation in the lifter bore, mentioned above. once a lifter actually goes flat, it stops rotating, and starts to eat the camshaft. roller lifters does away with the need for rotating in the bore, and gives a better lift profile, throughout the full range of the lifter motion. if you wore any lifters flat, or worse yet, hollow, it's time to get a new cam. with that should also come guides, springs, retainers, seals, and shims (if needed) after measuring seat height/cam installed spring seat height.



the height is adjustable through seat shims, and offset retainers. you could rhino-line/undercoat the outside of your valve cover, before installing it. a lot of the noise you hear is due to the cheap, stamped valve cover. spray on liners/undercoats dampen the sound of the valvetrain. the sound deadening pad under the hood also help keep engine noise down, somewhat.
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post #11 of 18 Old 06-13-2021, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Started the Jeep yesterday and let it run for a good 20 mins and the noise never went away. I've posted a link below to a video I did of the noise now.

After it cooled down I pulled the head off again to see if I could find a problem. Nothing I can see at this point. Plan to pull all the lifters out tomorrow or Monday and look down the holes to see if there are any camshaft problems I can see from there.

I did check the rockers and they all appear to have quite some wear on them where the push rods push up against them, but nothing crazy thin or anything. I'll check the push rods on flat surface next time I go over to work on it.

Also, my tappets appear to be perfectly flat on bottom, both the new ones and the old ones. I don't see any dome shape at all to any of them.

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post #12 of 18 Old 06-13-2021, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2oldjeeps View Post
" what seemed like extreme lifter noise."
all my jeeps are noisy and it aint lifters...parts changing is guesswork...
my xj was 168000, now 180000, still noisy.
my wj was 138000, now 160000, still noisy.
probably piston slap.
head work will only make parts guys rich.
my guess...
btw i too thought lifters so i used risolone additive. made it worse.
have no idea what it did...
It does sound a lot like piston slap
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post #13 of 18 Old 06-15-2021, 08:31 PM
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the "dome" isn't noticeable, but it's there. you might take a straightedge to it, and see for yourself. there is a slight "dome" shape to the bottom of a flat tappet lifter. that dome allows/causes the tappet to rotate in the bore. this prevents cam/tappet wear, and it helps keep the lifter bore clean, so the lifter can't become carbon fouled, and "wear in" to the bore, which can cause the bore to become out of round. you could run the engine with the valve cover off, and you could check to see if you have any slop in the top end. use a hammer handle, or wear some thick gloves and use your thumb, and press down on each rocker, one by one, while idling. if you have a loose/worn rocker/rod/lifter, you can push the slack out of it, and eliminate the rattle. be prepared to get oil spray on everything, but it's a quick way to find slack, when you don't find it with a static engine. if you find nothing, look at the pistons, as mentioned above.

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post #14 of 18 Old 06-15-2021, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
Malachi73
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I drained the oil the other day and plan to drop the oil pan as soon as I can get back to it, hopefully Friday evening, or more likely Saturday morning.

If I find piston pieces in the oil pan then I plan to pull the block and rebuild the engine.

If I find one or two pistons bad, do I need to replace all 6? Or just the ones that are bad?
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post #15 of 18 Old 06-16-2021, 01:40 PM
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Since the motor still runs, I don't think you'll find any piston pieces. Journal and bearing wear will lead to noisy slap without anything breaking off. You might find a glittery streak (bearing material) so drain and look at the oil surface for it.
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