lifter noise - give me advice for engine shop | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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lifter noise - give me advice for engine shop

Sir Robin

Active Member
November 3, 1999
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
'94 XLT
'94 Ex. XLT 4.0L stock engine - 165k miles. (3.27 rear end.)

The engine's quiet for the first few minutes cold, then the tapping starts at varying degrees of loudness until the engine is completely warmed up.
I don't want to go the engine additive route. I admit I have been a little lax about oil changes, but would rather get the problem fixed for real.
I'm seriously considering using some of my tax return money to put it into an engine shop. Is there anything I (or the engine shop) should know that is particular to the 4.0L? Any warnings? Any "Make sure they look at ..." or "Make sure they don't forget to...."??

Is a complete rebuild warranted? Or is it OK to just do the top?

This was a soccer-mom car for the first four (leased) years of its life. I got it at lease-end with 50k miles. I always use 93 octane, but it is driven hard (I know the high octane can cause build-up); mostly highway miles.

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You probably should do the whole thing but if you want to go cheap a compression test will tell you how the cylinders are but not the bottom end bearings.
I once did a 289 where I did top end and bottom bearings ,seals, polished crank etc. without pulling pistons or rods. It worked ok but I would likely do it all as there wasnt much savings anyway. Good luck

Anybodybody want to venture a guess as to what this will cost me?

If you are just doing the top end it should cost you about $400 if you do it yourself and use OEM parts. That'll include new lifters, pushrods, and intake & head gaskets. That price doesn't include doing anything to the valves or pistons.
If you take to someone else to do it, tack on about 4.5 hours labour, so 4.5 * $70 = another $315.

I'm doing mine next weekend and that's the average quote I got. Seems to me that I'll just do it myself and save the money for another project.

I forgot how I found this (its been in my Favorites for a while), but the following looks like it pretty much describes my problem:
Dead Link Removed

Ford Certified Technician

The 4.0l overhead valve hardly ever have lifters that make noise, I think you are mistaken that noise for the rocker arms. the way the rocker arms are set up they have a tendency to pit badly and sometimes pit the top of the valve stems as well. DO THIS, remove both valve
covers, and remove the three bolts holding the shaft
(looks like a bar that has three bolts in it and some odd looking spings, spacers, roll pins and rockers), after the bolts are remove flip the bar upside down and look at the rocker arms mating surface. if there are little indentions in them replace them. If the indentions on the top of the valve stems (spring surrounds the stem),
don't look to bad use some abrasive type cloth or sand paper and clean it up as best you can. Replace your rocker arms by knocking out the roll pin at the end of the bar and just be sure to put it back together like it come apart. I bet this is your problem, the only bad thing is the parts are kind of high. Atleast at my dealorship they are, its possible you might be able to find them aftermarket at an engine rebuilder supply.:shoot:

MSupertek dude - Thank you very much for the reply!!
Pretty much the kind of answer I was hoping to get.
Funny thing is, in my mind I'm picturing a gap between some parts on the top as being the source of the noise, but being caused by collapsed lifters. So that's why I think I said "lifter noise". But you picked right up on that. If you follow my link to the Marsmonkey page you can see his pics showing just what you said.
Let me ask you this, then (whether or not it pertains to my problem): I've read that hydraulic lifters can fail in two ways, either by collapsing or sticking. I understand collapsing (they fail to pump up or fill with oil), but don't understand "sticking". What exactly is sticking to what?
Anyway, I hope what you said is the case, because that sounds more like a job I can handle.

That actually might explain my problem as well. I felt that my noise wasn't associated with the lifters becasue it didn't have the distinct ticking sound during a cold start up. My noise comes when using OD on the hwy or higher gears in town. When I hit any hills or try to give it gas there is a clicking/ticking sound that comes from the top end. All I know is that there's some clearances in the top end that are too big.

ajevenson If it only does it under load or going up a hill it might be something esle. There are other possible problems. Could be an octane knock or maybe the MAS is dirty. Have you tried different grades of fuel?

Mine does not tic during a cold start but after a minuite or so it starts to sound like a sewing mechine, I have a core 4.0 from a 92 X and i examined the rocker assembly very close only to find the rocker arms where shot and there was major wear on the end of the pushrod, ajevenson; if you want to see what the valvtrain looks like your welcome to examin my 4.0 core give me a shout 370-1383 ask for dan its in beddington but i live in forest lawn.