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Engine clicking noise (lifter?) comes and goes


SimGeek
07-26-2006, 05:45 PM
I have a '97 Venture with 129K mi. Sometimes a loud clicking or tapping noise can be heard - it seems to be coming from the engine. Sounds like a bad lifter, right? Problem is that it's not always there!

When it happens, you can drive it (gently!) for a few miles - varies between a couple and 10 or so - and it will eventually disappear; it does not slowly quiet down, it just goes away. You can go thru several short drive cycles during this time, so shutting down the engine does not solve the problem. We can then drive it for a few days or a couple weeks before the problem returns. When the problem is happening there is also a loss of power (sluggish), and the trans delays shifting to a higher rpm (because of the loss of power?).

So, any ideas on what could be causing this? I thought if a lifter failed it just went bad (or was slow to prime), not sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Would a malfunctioning lifter cause a noticeable loss of power, and a change in the shift pattern?

FYI, it does have a minor intake gasket leak, external thank goodness. There is no evidence of coolant in the oil - the oil is clean looking and there is no "brown mayo" under the oil fill cap, no evidence of oil in the coolant either.

Thanks for any help!

89ltd
07-26-2006, 09:38 PM
I wouldn't think a lazy lifter would cause it to be sluggish. If you live in the states, take it to an autozone store and have the codes pulled from the compter for free. We can narrow it down from there. If you live in Canada you will have to go out and buy an obd2 code reader. I bought myself a good one for $250 canadian on sale. You can buy cheaper ones that will still get you in the right direction.

SimGeek
07-26-2006, 10:39 PM
Hey 89ltd, thanks for the reply! I do not get a "check engine" light (or whatever it says on the Venture), can there be codes stored without ever getting a light? I'm in Florida, so I'll stop by AutoZone...

I'm beginning to wonder if it's a computer problem (retarding the timing and messin' with the trans) - can the computer affect the timing (or anything else) so much that then engine makes significant valvetrain noise?

89ltd
07-26-2006, 11:58 PM
there could be many codes stored without the check engine light on. At least it can give us a place to start. Usually, lifter noise is more common when the engine is cold, just started up and then goes away after it warms up and the oil get to them. I guess if you had a lifter that was collapsed completely, then that valve would not open, but that is very rare and the problem would not come and go, it would always be there until it is fixed. The timing is computer controlled through info from all of the sensors. I would have it checked for codes and let us know what they are, for now we can only speculate.

SimGeek
07-27-2006, 12:09 PM
Well, the van was running fine this morning, took it by AutoZone at lunchÖ The only code was P0172 ďSystem Too Rich (Bank 1)Ē, but Iím sure this is old Ė had this issue about a year ago, my usual shop cleaned the throttle body and added fuel system treatment, engine light went away. I donít think the code was ever cleared.

So today, we cleared the code. Went back into the store to buy a couple things (time for an oil change) and when I started the van to leave the problem was back! Got the guys back out to check the codes, but there werenít any.

So, Iím pretty sure my problem isnít generating any codes. What next?

89ltd
07-27-2006, 02:03 PM
click on this link, don't know if it would effect it enough to cause any noticable problems
http://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/generic/p0172-system-too-rich-bank-1-oxygen-sensor.php

cjstew4
07-27-2006, 03:17 PM
Well, the van was running fine this morning, took it by AutoZone at lunchÖ The only code was P0172 ďSystem Too Rich (Bank 1)Ē, but Iím sure this is old Ė had this issue about a year ago, my usual shop cleaned the throttle body and added fuel system treatment, engine light went away. I donít think the code was ever cleared.

So today, we cleared the code. Went back into the store to buy a couple things (time for an oil change) and when I started the van to leave the problem was back! Got the guys back out to check the codes, but there werenít any.

So, Iím pretty sure my problem isnít generating any codes. What next?


Here's the deal. I will bet you have or are developing a stuck lifter. Please heed my advise. Had the same symtoms in my '97 at around 115k; something knocking pretty hard in my front valve cover area, loss of power big time, engine heating up close to overheating within 10 miles, no trouble lights coming up. Mechanic said stuck lifter :disappoin. Prior to this and as long as I could remember (previous 1-2 yrs), waiting till 6-8k vs 3-5k miles before changing oil :nono:. Mechanic said to change oil immediately, replace with last qt being that of an oil treatment and see if that unsticks the lifter. Did the oil change with last qt being an oil treatment. Ran it for two days of city driving. Still no changehttp://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/images/icons/icon9.gif. Oil change again with last qt that of a different oil treatment (Risoline). Ran 2-3 days, still no change http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/images/icons/icon8.gif. I said, what the hell, change the oil again with last qt of still a different oil treatment, Risoline. Voila, almost immediately, stuck lifter went away and has been fine ever since (over 1 yr). I do not know if there is something special about Risoline, but that is the only oil treatment I use in every other oil change in both my vehicles around 5k miles. AutoZone guy said to put it in at every other oil change forever on. I am now a believer and probably saved myself around $900 to do all the lifters if I could not get that one unstuck. FYI, at 138k, I still have the original plugs, plug wires, etc, in it and it runs great. I am temped to change them though. You can contact to discuss further at my email cjstew4@san.rr.com. Good luck and let me know how many changes with Risoline it took you to resolve if that is your cure too.

SimGeek
07-27-2006, 09:44 PM
I have changed the oil every 3K miles since we bought the van with 38K on it (OK, I think once I let it get to 5K before changing it :eek: ). It does seem to be a bad lifter, but I never heard of one coming and going (sometimes it runs just fine) Ė is that what yours did before you did the Risoline thing, or was it always running bad? FYI mine doesnít affect the engine temp as far as I can tell, just loss of power and late shifting (along with the racket coming from the engine).

It just so happens that itís time to change the oil, so I was thinking of using a motor flush (CRC brand probably) then putting in an additive with the new oil. I donít think going to a full synthetic oil will be any help (itís not just a problem when the engine is cold, it can happen any time), plus the dino oil thatís in it now is still pretty clear. Will probably do this Saturday, unless someone comes up with any other ideas...

Thanks

cjstew4
07-28-2006, 02:14 PM
I have changed the oil every 3K miles since we bought the van with 38K on it (OK, I think once I let it get to 5K before changing it :eek: ). It does seem to be a bad lifter, but I never heard of one coming and going (sometimes it runs just fine) Ė is that what yours did before you did the Risoline thing, or was it always running bad? FYI mine doesnít affect the engine temp as far as I can tell, just loss of power and late shifting (along with the racket coming from the engine).

It just so happens that itís time to change the oil, so I was thinking of using a motor flush (CRC brand probably) then putting in an additive with the new oil. I donít think going to a full synthetic oil will be any help (itís not just a problem when the engine is cold, it can happen any time), plus the dino oil thatís in it now is still pretty clear. Will probably do this Saturday, unless someone comes up with any other ideas...

Thanks


Could be a tranny issue as well. May want to take it to a non-dealer place and have them assess. I would not do an engine flush. Heard those can can premature seals and other wear where, due to the high pressure, may lodge stuff where it wouldn't normally go or should not go. See a tranny place (watch out for the big chains that want to tear it out before you can say WHAT!!!). Mine problem did not come and go, but began to build up over about a week and then I felt like I had a Yugo until I did the 3rd flush. I would definitely do the Risoline flush now, and then, unless the tranny place finds the cause related to the tranny, repeat the oilchange/Risoline in a few days and then a few days after that as well. I know, it's a pain, but may just do the trick. How about a tune-up lately, any new plugs, wires recently, how many miles again. Please advise. Thanks, Corey

SimGeek
07-28-2006, 02:38 PM
Yeah, I had already decided against an engine flush - I think the detergent additives (like Rislone) are a more gradual and safer way to clean out any gunk. I did take it to a shop (not the dealer) and they diagnosed it as a bad lifter (based on the sound mostly), but could not explain why it comes and goes; they said that the reduced performance could be from the knock sensor retarding the timing 'cause it thought the rattle was knock, but did not have much of an answer as to the trans symptoms. I'm sure the trans symptom is related because it only occurs (and always occurs) when the lifter noise is present.

Have not had any service done recently (other than regular oil changes), and I'm still running on the original plugs and wires :eek: ; van has 129,000 miles. Today it is running great again :banghead: . I'm going to change the oil tomorrow, including a quart of Rislone, and we'll see what happens. It will be awhile before I know anything since we are going to the beach next week (and I don't want to take the van out of town with this issue), so the second oil change, if needed, won't be for a couple weeks...

cjstew4
07-31-2006, 01:45 PM
Yeah, I had already decided against an engine flush - I think the detergent additives (like Rislone) are a more gradual and safer way to clean out any gunk. I did take it to a shop (not the dealer) and they diagnosed it as a bad lifter (based on the sound mostly), but could not explain why it comes and goes; they said that the reduced performance could be from the knock sensor retarding the timing 'cause it thought the rattle was knock, but did not have much of an answer as to the trans symptoms. I'm sure the trans symptom is related because it only occurs (and always occurs) when the lifter noise is present.

Have not had any service done recently (other than regular oil changes), and I'm still running on the original plugs and wires :eek: ; van has 129,000 miles. Today it is running great again :banghead: . I'm going to change the oil tomorrow, including a quart of Rislone, and we'll see what happens. It will be awhile before I know anything since we are going to the beach next week (and I don't want to take the van out of town with this issue), so the second oil change, if needed, won't be for a couple weeks...

Maybe just run it with the new oil change/Risoline for onlyt a few days with
the lifter noise, then change again also adding the Risoline again. I put new filters on each time as well and left the oil/Risoline that finally cured the stuck lifter in for the the 3-5k. Then it was Risoline every other change. I also keep a qt in the van just in case. good luck. Keep us posted as to whether it finally did the trick or not.

SimGeek
09-12-2006, 11:45 AM
Thought I would post an update Ė the Rislone treatment seems to have worked (so far).

I did the first oil change with 1 qt Rislone and a PureOne filter, but the problem still occurred Ė though maybe not as often? Left that in for 500 miles (2 weeks) since the problem only occurs once every several days. Did a second oil change with 1 qt Rislone and a Mobil1 filter (they were on sale!), and the problem still occurred a couple of times but has since disappeared Ė hooray! (crossing my fingers). It has been 1,000 miles since the second oil change, and havenít had the problem for over 2 weeks. I think I will do one more oil change with the Rislone just to be safeÖ

Thanks to cjstew4 for the tip!

cjstew4
09-12-2006, 06:28 PM
If 1000mi is the longest so far between engine ticking noises, I think you are beginning or have solved it. Definitely change near 3000 miles though with the last qt being Risoline. Great work and avoidance so far in hundreds of $ in possible lifter repair. Glad to have been able to help so far. Remember Risoline is less viscous: so any valve cover, oil pan gasket leaks are a little worse.

cjstew4
01-07-2010, 07:48 PM
Thought I would post an update Ė the Rislone treatment seems to have worked (so far).

I did the first oil change with 1 qt Rislone and a PureOne filter, but the problem still occurred Ė though maybe not as often? Left that in for 500 miles (2 weeks) since the problem only occurs once every several days. Did a second oil change with 1 qt Rislone and a Mobil1 filter (they were on sale!), and the problem still occurred a couple of times but has since disappeared Ė hooray! (crossing my fingers). It has been 1,000 miles since the second oil change, and havenít had the problem for over 2 weeks. I think I will do one more oil change with the Rislone just to be safeÖ

Thanks to cjstew4 for the tip!

SimGeek...are you still around? How's the van running if you still have it? My lifter noise just came back today and then went away even though I have been using 1 qt Risoline every other oil change. Will switch to every oil change now and it is also at 193K. My brother also told me as a temporary fix to add 1 qt of tranny fluid to the oil, but change it very soon. Go back to the last qt of Risoline then.

roadrunner2
01-07-2010, 10:04 PM
cj,
Your brother is right.
The tranny fluid will clean out any dirt that may cause a lifter to stick.

I used this trick to clean the lifters in a '94 van I had and replaced the oil and filter about 100 miles later.

Make sure the oil level isn't too full before you add the tranny fluid.

zekey1
08-31-2010, 11:23 AM
I am a 66 year young grandmother with a 1999 Mercury Cougar, always been into sport models, like the car but not the engine, it has a ticking noise (sometime loud) but not always, no loss of compression, it also has a noise that sounds like a jar full of marbles when excellerating and then goes away after it leaves first gear, sometimes I will start if off in 2nd and go to first, (its an automatic) and its fine. It has no leaks. What can I do without paying out the wahzoo to take it in.

lesterl
09-02-2010, 09:55 PM
You realize this is not a Mercury forum? Two issues, first sounds feasable to be lifter tick, second could be a transmisison issue? IDK, find the Mercury forum and post there, surely those guys may have seen those issues before and know.....

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