: Noisy Lifters??

01-23-09, 09:50 PM
Got this 2001 Catera with 52,000 miles on the clock, just changed the oil and filter at the Cadillac dealer and I'm driving along minding my own business when bang, it happens. Just as I pull out of a stop I hear a knocking/ticking noise from the engine. No water in the oil, no oil in the coolant, got full oil pressure and full power. Anyone, anyone got any ideas???

01-24-09, 01:52 AM
It's running fine now though?

01-24-09, 09:09 AM
It seems to run alright, although it is noisy. Dealer has it now, hoping they can figure it out.

01-26-09, 07:58 AM
Check the spark plugs. I had a similar experience and finally determined that 1 of the 4 electrodes from the spark plug in cylinder 3 fell off and was tumbling around in the combustion chamber. The interference is near zero at the edges of the cylinder (front and back) and was causing the ticking noise.

My plugs had ~100,000 miles on them when this occurred.

01-26-09, 08:50 PM
Thanks for the response. I will ask my dealer to look at this as a possibility.

My Cadillac dealer has had the car a couple of days now. Looks like sometime tomorrow or the next day before they get it diagnosed.

Just some other ramblings that any other readers would like to respond to?

They have advised though that if it looks catastrophic in any way that they will replace the whole motor. Anyone else halve this experience, just seems extreme to me? Not that I'm complaining but I wonder how may crate motors are still available for these cars?
Is having the existing motor rebuilt a better option, considering I have had a lot of the usual Catera repairs already performed and hate to have to go thru all that BS again.


01-27-09, 03:00 PM
Well for starters, you duys do realize that this motor has hydraulic lifters... right!? So if your engine is not worn out... and you have a good oil pressure then the lifters should always be under pressure filled up with oil and you should have no tick at all.. .

Mine sounds like that too.. .but I dont pay much attention to it... I run mine up the revs every day... change my oil every 5-6k miles with some sort of cheap synthetic... usually what is on sale at walmart... and my trips to work are less then 2 miles... so its driven under the most severe conditions...

Its got 116k so far and it is running as strong as ever...

I think its fine...

The only thing i can think of is if you have sludge built up... then a hydraulic lifter could be plugged up.. no oil pressure no lift... so you get a tick...
Maybe you can pop the valve covers... and see what is under there... if everything looks clean inspect the lifters and while you are at it.. you can replace the gaskets as well

Good luck my friend!

Remember save some money and do your own maintenance...

01-27-09, 04:23 PM
How easy is it to replace the lifters? My 98 catera does have the noise and its been there for a while, it goes off when the engine is hot. I took it to the dealer and another mechanic, they said it could be the lifter. I did replace the valve cover gasket once and didn't see sludge in there. The car runs fine but curious to know if its easy to replace the lifters.

Let me know if there are any other suggestions.

Thank you.

01-28-09, 08:33 AM
Prior to discovering the real cause of the cliking noise (electrode bouncing around cylinder 3) I removed and cleaned on the lifters on that side of the engine using the procedure from the Omega forum, link below.

The intake and exhaust camshafts must be removed prior to pulling out the lifters.


01-28-09, 02:06 PM
You need to take the timing belt off, then the camshafts... and then the lifters will be right under the camshaft... not too hard but will take you a good part of the weekend to do. I would suggest you to go and get a bottle of lucas or some thick oil and see if it gets quieter, if not then procede to tearing up the engine.

I used some BARDAHL Stop Leak and this thing is like honey... it barely comes out of the bottle... but once I put it in, I noticed the motor got quieter and also the compression seems like it went up because the car seemed a bit more responsive. Improvement of Torque and HP was also seen on a dyno!...

01-28-09, 06:55 PM
Where can I get the Bardahl stop leak? I'm going to try that first, not thinking about tearing everything apart for now.

01-29-09, 07:56 AM
Well I get that stuff form walmart... I think its around 2.49 or something like that... and there is another version with stop smoke/stop leak whcih is close to 4$... its cheap and it works...

The only thing to remember is that you need to add it to the crank case when the engine is warmed up becuase the stuff is kinda thick and once it warms up it flows like oil...

No worries about cold start up either... I havent had any issues and I have been using it for the last 15K miles... let me know how that works out for you.

Another one on the market is Engine Restore... I think that may help too but its 8$/can... or you can even try a bottle of LUCAS oil stabilizer... its almost the same thing... its pretty thick and it helps the oil improve compression, and clearances around the engine...

Well, it worked for me and I think it will work for you too...

01-31-09, 11:27 PM
Well it seems that one of the heads has damage to the cam, cam bearings, and lifters. Dealer advises that possibly a "check valve" failed due to sludge build-up and not allowing oil to head.They had a couple of hours labor in it and elected not to throw any more money at it. Had the Dealer put the head back on and towed it home.

Funny thing about this whole thing is it was due to go to another dealer where I had struck a deal on a 05 STS V-8. Called of the deal until I can make a decision my next move.

Need to get back into a car whether repairing this one, where it seems it going to cost a couple thousand or take my chances on trading it in and getting out of it what I can. If I repair it I am either going to have to go thru this motor completely or replace it with another motor and gambling that the replacement motor performs satisfactorily. Have seen motors priced any where from $4,000.00 for new ones and upwards of $2000 for used ones. Of coarse a used one would have to have all the typical Catera repairs made (i.e. water valve, oil cooler. valve cover gaskets, crankshaft position sensor which were all performed prior to this P.O.S. Catera.

Any thoughts on this "Check Valve" ? Not a mechanic myself and certainly not interested in trying any repairs myself. Thought about just replacing the heads, but also not much of a patient person when it comes to this stuff and would not be to thrilled at the possibility of further repairs if the heads were not the answer.

I have spoken to a couple of dealers about still trading it in and have gotten an offer of about $2,300 for it as is. As much as this car has been a headache it only has 52,000 miles on the clock and is in immaculate condition.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.