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Thread: Top end ticking?!?!

  1. #1

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    Top end ticking?!?!

    My 88 Ram50 2.0 (resently its been under 20F) just resently started ticking in what sounds to be the top end on the exhaust side just wondering if its common, if its the cold, if i should be worried, and what it can be... ps i havent had the valve cover off to see

  2. #2



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    Change the hydraulic lash adjusters. I think you have them. Just pull the cover and look to see if you have adjusters or not.
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  3. #3

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    ok sweet! so all I have to buy is some new ones and a valve cover gasket?

  4. #4



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    A "valve lash adjustment" is just another term for a valve adjustment, And it's required on all cars that have adjustable valves. There are fewer and fewer cars that fall into this category, but yours could be one of them.

    The "valve lash" is the space between the valve stem and the rocker arm. The rocker arm is what strikes the valve stem and pushes the valve open. And for the engine to run properly, there has to be just the right amount of space between the two. Adjustment is done while engine is hot or cold, but each temperature has a specific setting to adjust them at.

    If there's too much space there, the rocker arms will slap against the valve stems, and you'll get the classic "click and clack" tappet noise--which, by the way, is the annoying noise from which our nicknames (Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers) were aptly derived.

    On the other hand, if there's too little space between the rocker arm and the valve stem, the two will touch, and won't allow the valves to close completely. Eventually, that will burn out the valves.

    So a valve adjustment is important and it should be done every 30,000 miles. It shouldn't cost you more than $50 or $100 to have the valves adjusted and the gasket replaced.

    The adjusters are usually replaced if the dome shape is worn down, pitted or a flat service on the tappets. Buying new is one way to regain the dome or sending to machine shop to have them grinded.

    If you replace them, you will need to adjust all of them as you install them. Your tapping noise could also be a sticky or stuck lifter. These are different from lash adjuster and they fill with oil and use the oil to help pad the impact with the cam or valve stem. Adjustment is done in steps also. TDC does one set and turn engine 180 to TDC again and do the second set of 4.

    Getting a manual is probably your best thing to do. We have them in our manual pages.



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  5. #5

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    A couple things you might try, first: run some Seafoam through the crankcase, then change the oil. See if this free's up any dirt in the hydrolic lifters. (Mystery Oil also comes recommended by a racing professional). Both approaches will thin the oil and allow any blockages to be purged during an oil change. This cold winter we've had here in the eastern U.S. has been brutal on all of us...and our vehicles.

    Seafoam you can run in the crankcase for a while, (they say to run it 'til the oil turns black) but as with any oil change, you want to drain old oil at an optimum point (while the engine is hot) when all the particulate can gather in the oil pan. I like to have a wrench ready to start draining as soon as the motor is shut off, and I allow draining to continue for an hour, if possible. A step further is to "flush" with a quart or so of paint thinner or kerosene while the drain plug is off and the drain pan still in place. This extra flush doesn't go through the engine so much as it does the cylinder head oil passages, down to the pan bottom, flushing remaining clots and gunk gathered on the oil pan. Let it drain real good, then replace the filter and do your oil change. Most forum experts here recommend a multiple viscosity oil of 10-30 or thereabouts. They are also pretty much against oil additives, but a sparing few ounces of STP with the ZDDP additive may prove beneficial. As I can personally testify, thick oil in the cold weather spells disaster for these little engines: "sparing" is the key word.

    In previous posts, you said the truck has 17,xxx miles on it. This is unlikely, it is more probably 117,000 and you should consider this in maintenance...meaning check the timing belt, because if the truck DOES have 117,000 miles, it's due for a belt replacement.

    Please also remember that if you remove the valve cover, be sure to block the oil passages so nuts and bolts don't drop down the oil passages: you don't often get a second-chance once those things happen.

    See also tips regarding replacing the hydrolic lifters http://www.mightyram50.net/vbulletin...ll=1#post26624 should you decide to do that.

    Happy motoring, Mr. Luke!
    Last edited by royster; 02-07-2014 at 07:54 AM.
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  6. #6



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    I would not run something like kerosene or seafoam in an old engine with a lot of sludge and high miles on it - it will clean everything up all right, then you will find out what else is worn out, like rod and main bearings. If the lifters are noisy, replace them following the procedure in the posts on here - soaking them in motor oil before install works well.The lash adjustors are like miniature hydraulic lifters, so they need oil in them to pump up properly. Flushing the block out with kerosene without running it through as if it was motor oil is ok to desludge the block - I did that in Geronimo 23 years ago and he is running fine and the oil comes out clean after 3k miles. I have used Rislone in place of 1 quart of motor oil for almost 40 years in my cars (can't believe I have been driving that long) it's a super detergent that will clean out the oil passages slowly without causing issues, and usually makes the motor run better and smoother.
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  7. #7

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    well I just found out last week that the guy before me went to Pennzoil and they put the wrong oil filter on it so 10mins down the road the engine locked up so they replaced the whole bottom end. When they started it up they couldn't get it to run right (due to the spark plug wires being switched) so they went and replaced the carb. So since it ran dry of oil and me driving around 300 miles sine the rebuild it kind makes sense that the HLAs should be replaced. that's my thoughts though. I found some new ones on eBay for $37.95 plus 10 for the valve cover gasket from AutoZone.
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  8. #8


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    Personally (and professionally) I never recommend flushing engines with any product if you do not have the history. They cause more damage than good. Seafoam is one of the worst products I have encountered in a long time. I know everyone swears by it, and they still use it, but it has blown more engines than I care to count anymore. On the honest side, about 40% of the many engines that have been brought in were user error like Sucking down a whole bottle through the brake booster hose with the throttle closed.

    The most common problem with many flushing additives is clogging. So much junk can get released which will cause clogging of oil passages, thus, engine failure. If you don't know the history, or can'tphysically look Iinside to inspect it, don't use cleaners.

    Mitsu lifters/lash adjusters ware out. That's all there is to it.... They go bad. You can easily rebuild/service them if you know what you are doing, or replace them completely. The same HLA's are in just about every SOHC Mitsu for about 15 years. You can pull them from a yard for 2 bucks and be on your merry way.

  9. #9

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    I guess I stand corrected. No way that odometer is reading anything but what we see, there.

    I will stand by my own comments regarding Seafoam and kerosene/paint thinner: different views are good for a broader perspective.
    Last edited by royster; 02-07-2014 at 01:27 PM.
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  10. #10

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    Just my 2 cents, Marvel Mystery Oil is the best snake oil out there, every engine I've had that had a little tick was cured with a little dose of it. Half a quart in the crankcase and the other half in a full tank of gas!

  11. #11

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    I wasn't real big on Marvel Mystery Oil until my NAPA/racing friend recommended it. I've never put it in the tank, but it DOES quiet lifters down. I also soaked my new hydrolic lifters in it, by his recommendation.

    I suggest that with any product that gives good benefits, it should be remembered that more is not always better. Sometimes the best results are from, as you say, "a little dose of it".

    Just for the record: I did not suggest running the engine with paint thinner or kerosene in it. The suggestion was to pour it through the top, let it come right out the bottom. I offer that simply leaving sludge in an engine is not a good common-sense practice.
    Last edited by royster; 02-07-2014 at 06:20 PM.
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  12. #12



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    I was just trying to prevent problems caused by running cleaners like seafoam through in the oil. Marvel Mystery oil is an oil of some type, some say it is auto tranny fluid, although I don't think it is - doesn't smell like it anyways. I put the marvel with Rislone and Wynns friction proofing - been around for 50+ years and still used by many in their vehicles. I do agree that you want to flush the sludge out of a motor to get it to run better, just have to be careful how.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by BradMph View Post
    A "valve lash adjustment" is just another term for a valve adjustment, And it's required on all cars that have adjustable valves. There are fewer and fewer cars that fall into this category, but yours could be one of them.

    The "valve lash" is the space between the valve stem and the rocker arm. The rocker arm is what strikes the valve stem and pushes the valve open. And for the engine to run properly, there has to be just the right amount of space between the two. Adjustment is done while engine is hot or cold, but each temperature has a specific setting to adjust them at.

    If there's too much space there, the rocker arms will slap against the valve stems, and you'll get the classic "click and clack" tappet noise--which, by the way, is the annoying noise from which our nicknames (Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers) were aptly derived.

    On the other hand, if there's too little space between the rocker arm and the valve stem, the two will touch, and won't allow the valves to close completely. Eventually, that will burn out the valves.

    So a valve adjustment is important and it should be done every 30,000 miles. It shouldn't cost you more than $50 or $100 to have the valves adjusted and the gasket replaced.

    The adjusters are usually replaced if the dome shape is worn down, pitted or a flat service on the tappets. Buying new is one way to regain the dome or sending to machine shop to have them grinded.

    If you replace them, you will need to adjust all of them as you install them. Your tapping noise could also be a sticky or stuck lifter. These are different from lash adjuster and they fill with oil and use the oil to help pad the impact with the cam or valve stem. Adjustment is done in steps also. TDC does one set and turn engine 180 to TDC again and do the second set of 4.

    Getting a manual is probably your best thing to do. We have them in our manual pages.



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    Does the 4g64 need to have this done after a certain amount of miles too? My engines been running funky this past day and has started ticking pretty loud

  14. #14

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    Simple things first: did you check the oil level? I don't mean to be a smart~ass, but it could be just a low oil level.

    The 4G64 lifters don't have any adjustment, so they depend on oil flow to keep them happy. Maybe time to change the oil.
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  15. #15

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    Dude,
    Add oil...ticking goes away! Then look up "replacing valve stem seal" and save up $10.00 (or thousands for new engine/ rebuild..)!

  16. #16

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    lol yep of course I changed it a few days prior to the ticking and I check my oil level every time I get gas. I stay really vigilant about my oil changes, every 3000 miles it gets changed with a wix filter and high mileage synthetic. Its still ticking but it quiets down after I drive a few miles.

  17. #17


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    This is the standard Hydraulic Valve lash adjuster problem, well documented for the 4G6X valve train. replace the lash adjusters and be done with this.

    page 2B-6 of the Haynes Manual available here http://www.onsiteconcrete.net/d-50/F...-1983-1993.zip

  18. #18

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    Good read you guys!

    I'm gonna be the other guy though. I hope no one takes offense.

    I just picked up my 94 max with a junkyard engine installed. On start up.... boyyyyyyy did that lifter tick like hell. Once it warmed up however it cleared up and was smooth until the engine cooled down again.

    I'm a mechanic and have been for 12+ years and have experimented with a lot of things. I know from turbo diesel experience when the injectors were starting to stick that a good synthetic blend of oil can help clear them up after a bit of driving. I also know how sea-foam works and highly recommend it WHEN USED PROPERLY.

    So with my horrendous top end tick this is what I did.

    1. Added about 3-4oz of sea-foam to the oil on a cold engine.
    2. Drove around for a bit. I noticed a difference after about 5-10 minutes. I have my idle set as low as possible (around 600rpm) and when sitting at a stop light I noticed the oil light flickering. Super low idle plus sea-foam means the oil was probably thinner so I hauled off and...
    3. Changed the oil with a synthetic blend 10w-30.

    Problem even on a dead cold engine doesn't show at all. She's quiet as a church mouse now. No ill effects. It is more apparent that I have to change the valve seals now but I'm not surprised after replacing the camshaft seal to find it so hard that it crumbled in my hands.

    True story.

  19. #19

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    If I add my two cents, here, you'll have almost a dollar.

    When I re-replaced intake valve guide seals recently, I had some ticking on initial start up. (I had to remove the rockerarm train). These are new valve lifters. It took a few regular-use start ups and running for the ticking to go away.

    I am in amiable agreement with all that has been said here by others: no two engines are identical, and indeed we seldom know what their true history is. And no two mechanics approach problems/products the same way.

    Part of my learning about these engines is that they respond slowly, but respond. So for my own approaches, I allow more time for repairs to settle in. An example is the valve seal replacement: someone suggested that the new seals take time to seat. This seems to be the case, because smoke on start-up is getting less and less. And the ticky lifters have quieted down to a normal, contented sound.
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