: Lifter?valve noise

Doug Jackson
04-07-06, 01:04 PM
My 2001 ETC 300hp N* has developed a lifter/ valve noise that is getting progressively louder on cold engine start up. After several miles the engine sounds normal. Anyone else have this problem and what was the fix. The car has 25K miles but is out of warrenty based on age, almost 5 years. Thanks for any help. Doug jackson

04-07-06, 04:39 PM
Sticky lifters are no where as near as common as they were years ago because of much better oils today. That said, if you are pretty sure it is a lifter, you might try the old tried and true Marvel Mystery Oil. Can't hurt.

04-08-06, 12:06 AM
I've started to get a bit of tapping noise after a cold start as well. It kinda bugs me, but it'll go away within a minute or so, before the engine even gets up to normal temp. I'd like to get rid of it if I can..guess I should try some of that mystery oil. Lifter noise can be caused from low oil level too right? Like if the engine drank 2 quarts of oil before more was added, could that damage the lifters and make that noise? Also, would a noise from a prematurely worn lifter happen all the time, or just when the engine isn't warmed up?

04-08-06, 01:19 PM
No, I doubt lifter noise. I think it's carbon rap.

04-08-06, 02:49 PM
Second the carbon rap. Time for some WOT therapy.

04-08-06, 04:26 PM
Not sure about Doug's noise, though noisy lifters seem to be very rare, but Odin8's definately sounds like cold carbon rap.

04-09-06, 09:33 PM
Hm, I beat the piss out of this car. Well, er, I use the engine to its full potential. Although, I have been going a little soft lately, trying to get good gas mileage going back and forth to school. Guess I'll have to try the whole 2nd gear open all the way up and let it rev all the way down deal.

04-12-06, 10:38 AM
Could be piston slap when cold. That isn't uncommon on the Northstars, and pretty common with LS1s and other GM aluminum engines.

Doug Jackson
04-13-06, 09:19 AM
Tried both suggestions,Marvel oil and WOT bursts. The Wot reduced the noise so I think the carbon rap when cold is the problem. Will try several more WOT runs for good measure. The funny thing is that I don't baby this car so I am suprised at the carbon build up. Use Chevron gas. Thanks guys. Doug Jackson

04-24-06, 04:16 PM
O.K. Could someone please tell me what mystery oil is and what WOT means?

I'd like to say I'm just a clueless female blonde, but I'm neither dumb or blonde.:)

04-24-06, 04:30 PM
WOT = Wide Open Throttle

MMO = Marvel Mystery Oil. It is probably older than I. It is mostly solvent and was very popular in "days of old" when oils were no where near what they are today and would sludge and varnish up an engine in short order if frequent oil changes where not done. Hence the 3000 mile oil change schedule that some people still follow, but I digress. Lifters would sometimes get clogged with varnish and sludge, thus not operating properly, causing a rough running engine and loud ticking lifters. MMO would frequently clean that crap out after a while thus saving the costly and time consuming teardown. With todays oils, I am surprised that it is still on the market. It is rearely needed for what it was created for any longer.

06-04-06, 08:32 AM
Marvel Mystery Oil is an additive sold at all auto parts stores. WOT is shorthand for "Wide Open Throttle". Have a look at the link Larry posted up in message #6. All of that being said, I have a noisy lifter in my car I just picked up. Didn't think to try the Marvel, but I did put a can of Seafoam in the oil...didn't help. I will change the oil this week and try a bottle of Marvel. What does it take to repair one of these?


06-04-06, 02:21 PM
Sticky lifters are no where as near as common as they were years ago because of much better oils today. That said, if you are pretty sure it is a lifter, you might try the old tried and true Marvel Mystery Oil. Can't hurt.

I hade the same prob on cold starts little tap tap for a couple of minutes.
Added Mystery Oil when engine is HOT and running took it for a short drive
and have never heard a cold start tap again.:bouncy:

06-05-06, 11:26 AM
I would like to state my feelings about Marvel Mystery Oil. I add a half a quart or so to the oil the day before I plan to change the oil. Thinking that anything it loosens up will either be in the pan or the filter during the change.

Then when I change the oil I used to add STP to the fresh oil. I have recently switched to Lucas oil treatment.

Knock on wood but I have driven many a Cadillac into the 250k plus range using this ritual.

Also can I ask a stupid question. I thought there weren't any push rods in an OHC engine. No push rods = no lifters?

06-08-06, 09:05 PM
So, if I do nothing other than change the oil, add Marvel Mystery Oil, and do wide open throttle runs and the noise continues but has lessened, is there potential for major engine damage? If not, that will be my plan since I can't hear the lifter in the cabin anyway.

06-12-06, 09:02 AM
I been getting on cold startups kind of a squeek mixed with a rat tat tat, I rev it up and it goes away, only started a day or so ago. Noticed oil is lower than it was last time I checked it, will see what happens after I change the oil this week/weekend. I think its a new sound mixed with the waterpump belt that makes some noise on cold start.

I can record sounds easily on my computer, if I can catch I'll post an audio file one of these days.

06-12-06, 04:17 PM
Along with MMO and WOT cures, here's another to obsess over: The oil filter itself. Several forums have opined that a Fram filter (or rebranded Fram) can have a tendency to cause cold valve noise, either from lifters or hydraulic cam followers (OHC). A filter change is a piece of cake on a N*, so prefill a WIX filter with your favorite juice, screw it on, and see what happens. And, yes, MMO has been around since the 50's at least. Unless my nose is shot, MMO used to be much more "pepperminty" smelling....... Kendall used to be "the 2,000 mile oil" hence the hand with 2 fingers extended....from back in the days of Lincoln flathead V-12's.