I'm BACK!!! With a 97 Rodeo and ?s

12-15-2010, 12:39 PM
Hey all! Last night I got a very clean-looking 97 Rodeo at the auction. It's got 156k-ish on a 3.2 engine, and it has a seriously loud valvetrain. I read that you can't adjust the rockers, so DOH!!! The big worry I have is that the engine light is on, and as I get going it starts flashing. I have a theory of sorts as to why, would like to know if I need to lay off the airplane glue and quit thinking so much, or if I'm on track. :)

I believe the lifter ***!!!NOISE!!!*** is tipping off the knock sensor, causing the computer to retard timing, and when it doesn't go away it starts going haywire with the flashing. Warmed up thoroughly, the rattles quiet down some with the exception of a steady LOUD TICK that goes up/down with engine speed, like a stuck lifter. Not knowing anything about it's past life, I've half a mind to change timing belt/tensioner/water pump. While I'm at it, can the lifters be cleaned out? If so, how?

Thanks in advance, guys/gals!

12-15-2010, 04:28 PM
If you search a bit you will see that some have had some success with Rotella oil to help clean up the lifters. If you try sea foam I would run it for a short time (10minutes) since you do not know the true history of the truck.

a flashing CEL typically means there is "something really bad"... many times the truck has a missfire .... get a code reader and see what it says.

12-15-2010, 05:00 PM
Did the code reader thang, and sure nuff... P300, random or multiple misfires. Autozone guy suggested to check plugs, too. Makes sense to, but no doubt I HAVE to fix the valve train. Will do SeaFoam/oil change, too. Any suggestions on unsticking a lifter in case the oil change don't do it?

12-21-2010, 04:42 PM
UPDATE: I changed spark plugs, no more flashing CEL! It's still on, but I haven't cleared it out yet, either. Finding that, depending on which lifter is stuck, it might be a real easy fix once I get in there.

Also fixed a leaky trans line... some idiot never tightened down the flare nut going into the radiator and had way too big a hose clamp on the other end, so I replaced the clamp and tightened down the flare nut. Had to add almost three quarts of fluid, but the dang thang hooks up great now... no more slipping!

By the way, what's the option code for limited-slip differential on these things?

Cat Fuzz
12-21-2010, 07:07 PM
The valve train noise is very common on these early 3.2L engines. The cause is usually wear and has nothing to do with the lifters sticking. The flashing CEL means a severe misfire that can cause damage to your catalytic converter.

The option code for LSD is G80.

12-22-2010, 03:53 AM
Hey Fuzz, thanks for the code! I'm curious, because this thing won't break loose when I try. I know it has the huevos to do it with an open diff... but glad it doesn't at the same time.

Yeah, I'm used to the extra noise of an OHC engine, just not this borderline hammering. I checked the oil today... full, but it's thin, almost like vegetable oil. I'm guessing that could make for more clatter, because after I fired back up, I heard a lot more clatter, even for this engine. Oh well, needs a change anywho.

Coming soon: Seafoam and oil change. Then brakes. Then timing belt/tensioner/water pump. Then dual exhaust... then homemade stepped-tube headers. Maybe.

12-22-2010, 10:29 AM
Skip the headers. Pace-headers made a couple of sets for the +98 and found little to no gain. So out of the box your headers are about as good as they can get.

12-22-2010, 03:54 PM
Hmmm, that's wierd. Did they run a complete free-flow exhaust downstream, or pipe them into the stock muffler? Cuz 190 hp is about all you're gonna get out of a single 2" pipe, making me think they ran them into stock piping.

If I ever do it, I'll be fabbing up a set of full-length stepped-tube headers, cuz there's plenty of room upstream of the cats to route around 32" of primaries into them without having to relocate them. Then downstream into a 2 1/4" true-dual/X-pipe with a set of (still thinking on brand of) mufflers.

All in all, it's really just a pipe dream... no pun intended. :)

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