: 99 STS metallic ticking noise from valve area

02-03-09, 07:48 PM
:alchi:I have an issue with my 99 STS with 80k that I'm sure has been discussed before, probably many times, but I am unable to find the specific answer. There are many posts about valve noise, and I've tried some of the recommendations; a change in oil weight to 10w30 Mobile1 from 5w30; Marvel Mistery Oil, WOT and a plug change seems to do absolutly nothing. In my case, the speed related clicking originates around the #6 and #8 cylinder head area. It sounds like a stuck lifter on an OHV engine. The noise is consistant and increases with speed. I have been noticing that car occasionally had a wet spot of coolant under it at times, but that has stopped. I can occasionally smell some antifreese near the radiator when I lift the hood after a drive, but there are no puddles nor is the coolant low. The car runs great except for the ticking (which can be heard outside the vehicle but you have to concentrate to hear it inside). Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated. If the worst is true, does anyone know a good N* mechanic in the Columbus Georgia area. I dont trust the dealers in the area at all.

02-03-09, 08:11 PM
Exhaust cam on the front. I recently saw one with the lifter worn all the way through. Remove the cam cover and check. If I remember correctly, it`s very difficult to remove the front cam cover because of the lack of clearance. The radiator brace comes too close to the cam cover to allow removal- you may have to remove the front engine mount and the nut on the passenger side mount, and lower the engine and trans to gain the clearance.

Leave it too long and you`re in for some serious problems.

I sell used cams and lifters, good ones, labelled so that the lifters match up with the lobes they were broken in with. Most of the time this works and this will save you a fortune.

02-03-09, 08:37 PM
Great! If this is the case, will the problem be noticable on visual inspection of the cam? Should all of the lifters be replaced if the cam is worn? Is this a job for the above average backyard mechanic or should it be left to professionals? How much are the parts? Is the cam cover gasket permatex or replacable? 50 Questions, I know and I aplolgize, I can take a SB Chevy apart and put it back together in my sleep, but the N*DOHC scares the crap out of me.

02-03-09, 08:48 PM
Hey no worries man. Visual inspection is very easy of the cam, you just have to rotate the engine in order to inspect all of the lobes and lifters. If you buy a used cam from me, install all of the lifters in the order as marked because this way you should have no problems with wearing. The cam cover gasket is re-useable, but de-grease the gasket and surfaces and run a good bead of RTV on either side of the gasket and you`ll be fine. It would be best to check the rear cam as well. Intake`s don`t wear out very easily but check them too.

The Northstar isn`t as complicated as it looks. It`s just hard to get your hands into certain places.

I can sell you a good cam and 8 lifters for $100+shipping.

02-03-09, 08:57 PM
My dads was very easy to notice: http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/northstar-performance-technical-discussion/156784-anyone-ever-do-headgasket-car-5.html

02-03-09, 09:37 PM
thanks 97eldoCoupe for the information and thanks to Krashed989 for the great pictures. I'll remove the cam cover this weekend (if the wife allows me the time) and examine the cam. The service manual indicates the water pump pully on the cam needs to come off to remove the cover. Is that true? Can the updated cam setup from the 00 and up be substituted for the 99 head? I appreciate everyones help and advice....

02-03-09, 10:18 PM
Yes the water pump drive pulley and seal has to be removed. Power steering puller is the tool of choice. No the new style cams and followers can`t be used. It would be cool though if it were possible. My supercharged `98 may be getting 00 heads with the roller cams. We`ll see once I really get into that project.

04-03-09, 03:44 PM
Follow up on the Right on accurate responses from members of this fourm. Once the cam cover was removed (no Small feat in itseld) One of the #8 exhaust lifters had a hole completly through it. The other lifters just showed some small signs of wear. I think it unusual that only one lifter would go bad if there was something that I did wrong...like not change the oil or forgot about maintenance. Obviously there was a flaw either in the lifter, but most likly in the Cam when made. I wish I took pictures to post, but the shop that performed the work had disposed of the parts after I saw them before the engine was buttoned back up. Good news is the engine purrs and runs great. The bad news, is I really don't trust it and am thinking about replacing it. I did check the other 3 cams and all looked good, no egging or noticable wear on the lifters.

Any thoughts on future reliability?

Thanks a million again to all (or at least $1200 worth)

04-03-09, 04:17 PM
#8, the last lifter, right? I saw a 99 engine that did the exact same thing- bad lifter worn right through. It's not your fault.

04-03-09, 04:20 PM
Did they replace the cam and all 8 lifters? You can't mix and match lifters and cam lobes- well you can and you might get lucky but I'd never trust it. If they already did this, best of luck and cross your fingers. Don't run synthetic- use normal dino oil so the cam and lifters can hopefully break in together.

04-03-09, 04:34 PM
Yes the #8 is the last lifter and I did replace all 8 with brand spanking new ones as well as the cam. I had to use the new parts since the shop that did the work was warranting the work. I was really very suprised when the mechanic also told me he used mineral oil when he changed the oil. I have been using synthetic since I bought the car with 14k.


04-04-09, 10:03 AM
Just for sport did they check the torque on the head bolts while the motor was open? I had both exhaust cams go bad at 100K and they checked while they were in there - 3 bolts spun :banghead:

04-04-09, 12:46 PM
You're better off not touching the head bolts unless you're prepared to stud/insert the block.

04-05-09, 05:06 PM
You're better off not touching the head bolts unless you're prepared to stud/insert the block.

My car had no symptoms of HG failure but since the motor was already out for the cams its just as well they checked. Otherwise I'd probably be getting it pulled again about now. I hit for the trifecta and had the lower case gasket done too.