Lifter / engine tapping... oil pressure issues.. - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old July 7th, 2007, 04:20 PM
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Steve Maietta
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Lifter / engine tapping... oil pressure issues..

Hey all, many months of trouble free rovering! Something had to pop up right?

Lately, there has been an intermittent tapping coming from the engine. ti follows the revs, and sounds like the tapping you get when the engine is first started up. (But usually goes away in two seconds) This is the time it takes for the lifters to pressurize I think?

Anyway, the noise is pretty loud, and comes and goes.. Also, my oil pressure light has been flickering on/off a little at idle.

So my presumption is that my oil pressure is low and one of the lifters isn;t getting enough pressure, leaving slack in the top end, leading to the loud tapping.
Waddya think?

The engine is '94 3.9 original everything. (im original owner) around 140k miles. regular oil changes always. I know its probably due for a new cam/ timing chain/springs, etc.. I guess oil pump and lifters too?

maybe a blocked oil passage?
worn out oil oump?


thanks all for any insight!

~Steve in NJ
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  #2  
Old July 7th, 2007, 04:39 PM
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Charles Galpin
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Steve, the flickering oil light doesn't sound good. You can confirm it by hooking up an actual oil sender and gauge to see what the pressure is. I got a cheap set at pep boys and drilled/tapped a rover sensor to make it fit.

Mind had a similar tapping noise but in my case only started once it warmed up. I didn't trust it so replaced the engine.

hth
charles
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  #3  
Old July 7th, 2007, 08:04 PM
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Hans Haase
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Flickering light and tapping lifters definitely leads toward low oil pressure, which is a pretty urgent thing to take care of.

Which oil are you using, and how old is it? You may be able to get away with a thicker viscosity oil and rebuilding the pump, but it all depends on how bad the internal wear is and what is worn. If the bearings are too worn down, you can dump a lot of pressure out around the crank and rod bearings. Not much you can do about that other than regrinding the crank and putting in a new set of bearings.

-Hans
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  #4  
Old July 8th, 2007, 12:40 PM
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Steve Maietta
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Thanks for the comments guys.. much appreciated.

Worn main bearings! Say it ain't so! I pretty much baby this thing and its mostly highway miles.. I would love to think the bottom end is fine..

I imagine the cam/lifters/chain are all pretty worn at this point, and probably the oil pump as well. The present oil in there now (10w30) is a month old and still nice and brown.

Im thinking of getting a new oil pump base and rebuild parts, to get my pressure back plus cam/chain/lifters to get the valve train back to spec. (RPI - anyone similar in the US?)

But these are all assumptions! and guesses.. Is there any way to really check whats going on?

Check oil pressure like Charles said - sounds good.

Can I check for wear with the valve covers off somewhere? Lifters take some time to leak down, right? Perhaps if I took the cover off immediately after running the engine I could feel if any weren't pumped up by working the pushrods?

Main bearings, would it be possible to drop the pan and take a cap off to check these for wear? Is this a common enough problem to warrant this?

thanks again guys, for any thoughts or v8 expereince here. I have two weeks off in August which would be a good time to do this work - if I can figure out what to do by then!

~Steve

Follow-up Post:

did a bit of searching through the archives..
I think Im going to..

1-get a hose or something so I can really isolate where the sound is coming from..

2- Hook up a mech oil pressure gauge so I can really se what my pressure is.

3- chek the oil pick up screen and tube for blockage, check that the pressure relief valve/ball isnt stuck.. (my pan hasn't leaked for years, hate to break that seal!)

4- go from there.. check under valve covers to check rockers, I guess eventually get manifold off and inspect my cam/lifters.

any thoughts?

Hey Charles, any specific info on what you got to rig up the oil pressure gauge? I think I might leave the gauge attached and mounted somewhere in the engine compartment.

~Steve

Follow-up Post:

One thing I just noticed as I was going through my workshop manual.. It states that overfilling of oil could cause air to get into the oil system, thus not allowing the lifters to operate correctly. (leading to the tapping noise)
Well I removed my oil cooler lines months ago (almost had a fire!) and have been running this way fine ever since. My system now takes less oil obviously, how much less I not sure, but by filling my oil to max on the dsipstick no actually be overfilling it, thus causing the above symptoms? (it is currently at the max line on the dipstick)

just a thought, never heard it mentioned before...

~Steve
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  #5  
Old July 8th, 2007, 01:42 PM
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Andrew Najarian
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No, you should not have a problem with the oil anywhere in the range on the dipstick. BTW, the range is supposed to be exactly 1qt from bottom to top. As for main bearings and how common they are...it all depends how picky you are. Every time I have done a rear main on a rover with about 100k+ on it the mains are worn through to the copper but they aren't knocking yet. If you are going to completely rebuild the top and are planning to keep the truck you are probably better off just doing the entire engine and be set for another 100k+. If you are taking off the pan anyway, you might as well pop a cap and take a look at the bearings, but I'll bet they're pretty worn. Good luck, and I hope I'm wrong, but that has been my experience.
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Old July 8th, 2007, 02:16 PM
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Steve Maietta
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Thanks for the insight Andrew, your experience is appreciated.

~Steve
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  #7  
Old July 8th, 2007, 11:11 PM
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J. Michael McCaig
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Lot of good suggestions about checking your oil pressure etc. In hot weather with a high mileage engine I would go with a heavier weight oil such as 20w50. That should help too.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 12:22 AM
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Charles Galpin
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I'm no expert so please take whatever I say lightly (and you should wait for the experts to chime in).

First you can remove the valve covers and run it to listen to the listers.

Then if you remove the intake assembly and gasket, remove the valve covers, and then the rocker assemblies, you can see the camshaft and lifters. You can look at the lobes on the camshaft for wear as well as the lifters and iirc wear marks on the edges are an issue. I am told if you see copper on the bearing they are shot. Since you might have oil pressure issues, you should look at the rocker assemblies for wear. You are supposed to be able to check the timing belt wear in this state as well.

With the rocker assemblies off, all valves should be closed so you can do things like a leakdown test to see if they really are closed, which might give you an idea of which lifters might give trouble.

The RPI site has good info on how to access the condition of the engine.

hth
charles
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  #9  
Old July 9th, 2007, 02:17 AM
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Andrew Najarian
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If you remove the valve covers be very careful not to drop one of the bushings. The gaskets have little bushings built in where the bolts go and they often come loose from the rubber. If you aren't careful when you remove the gasket you could potentially drop one of these down an oil passage and it could get lodged just about anywhere. Be careful and count that you have all 8 when you are done. Good luck!
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  #10  
Old July 12th, 2007, 06:16 PM
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Steve Maietta
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Ive been doing my research trying to figure out exactly how Im going to go about this.. I have a question for those of you who have done an oil pump rebuild before. (94, non serpentine 3.9l) I've been reading the RPI website which is half technical-helpful, half a big advertisement, and they suggest replacing the baseplate as well as the gears and pressure relief ball and spring. The normal rebuild kit obviously doesn't include a new baseplate..
SO
have any of you guys noticed wear to the baseplate that indicated it should be replaced?
Spend the extra$$?? or not a big deal?

thanks
~Steve
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  #11  
Old July 12th, 2007, 11:04 PM
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Charles Galpin
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Steve, I somehow missed your followup question above. PM me your address and I'll send you what I setup - I don't need it anymore. It's a proper oil pressure sender, but still electrical so you can route the wiring any way you want and mount the guage under the hood if you wanted. I just wanted to see my pressure, so I did it redneck style into the cab (just temporarily).

charles
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