Any ideas about what could be causing noisy lifters?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1995

Dear Tom and Ray:

I own a 1987 Ranger 4X4 with a 2.9 liter V6 automatic. The truck has 100,000 plus miles on it. I purchased it used a year ago, so I don't have a lot of vehicle history. To make a long, painful story short, I have had the lifters, oil pump, and main bearings replaced recently and I still have what is being diagnosed as a couple of noisy lifters on the passenger bank of the engine. They are extremely noisy at cold start up, and quiet down slightly after warm up. It seems unlikely that new lifters would go bad so soon. What else could be causing the lifters to be noisy?

RAY: It may not be the lifters at all, Mike. It could be one of the things that's very close to the lifters.

TOM: One possibility is that the valves haven't been adjusted properly. There's a very specific procedure Ford recommends to adjust the valve clearance on these 2.9 liter engines. It involves adjusting one cylinder at a time, rotating the crankshaft by hand while facing east, turning the adjusting screw 1.8 millimeters etc., etc. Your Ford dealer will have the write up on this, or your local mechanic can look it up if he has a "Mitchell On Demand" computerized service guide, or something similar.

RAY: When that doesn't work, Mike, I suggest you replace the entire rocker assemblies including the rocker shafts. The rockers are the things that push open the valves. They're moved BY the lifters. And I've seen the rockers on some of these engines get so much slop in them, that the rockers make more noise than the lifters.

TOM: And just for extra luck, suggest your mechanic face east while doing the work. Good luck, Mike.

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