Valve Train Ticking
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Valve Train Ticking in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; I have a 94 Northstar with 170K miles. Is there a good way to stop a lifter from clacking? I ...
  1. #1
    mark460 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Valve Train Ticking

    I have a 94 Northstar with 170K miles. Is there a good way to stop a lifter from clacking? I hear the rockers are not adjustable, but could I replace a worn rocker and fucrum, mill a pedistal, or something? I have experience with conventional engines, but not the Northstar.

    Thanks
    Mark

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  3. #2
    wydopnthrtl's Avatar
    wydopnthrtl is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Valve Train Ticking

    If it's truely a lifter ticking you'll just have to replace them. Or maybe try some marvels mystery oil.

    Rich

  4. #3
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    Re: Valve Train Ticking

    Mark, there are no rocker arms in your Northstar engine. The camshaft lobe directly operates the valve, through a bucket type hydraulic "lifter", which is really only a flat cam-follower in this application. Have you confirmed that the noise is in the top end? It could be something pretty benign like a wrist pin. Mine (2001) has an occassional light tapping/clicking at low speeds that can be heard outside the car. There is a TSB regarding the wrist pins that indicates that this is a "normal" condition. That may only apply to the 2000+ engines though.

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    mark460 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Valve Train Ticking

    Ok I wasn't thinking, no rocker arms, I was thinking old school engines. I haven't confirmed valve train noise. It does get a little worse when the engine gets really hot, like waiting in a traffic jam on a hot day. I can hear it outside the car with the hood closed.

  6. #5
    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Valve Train Ticking

    Are you sure it is internal and not an accessory bearing or such?

  7. #6
    jackc is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Valve Train Ticking

    How loud is the noise? Is this a new problem, or something that's been there awhile?

  8. #7
    FrankT's Avatar
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    Re: Valve Train Ticking

    Could using the wrong engine oil for about 3k miles cause excessive camshaft wear?

    My N* has 40K, I've always used Mobile blend 5k or 7.5K mile life oil 10w -30.
    Now, the last oil change the wrong Mobil oil was used 5w-20.

    Now the engine is ticking, I change the oil yesterday and used Mobil 1, 10w-30, the correct oil. The lifter tick now goes away after driving it for a few miles. I hope it goes away totally. Has this happened to anybody else?
    Thanks, Frank

  9. #8
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    Re: Valve Train Ticking

    Running 5W-20 synthetic for a while, especially in Michigan, should not hurt anything. Actually it would be similar to running a light-bodied oil additive (MMO) for a few thousand miles. Doesn't your manual specify 5W-30 oils? Do a Google for "motor oil GM recommended" or close to that. Very eye-opening.

  10. #9
    FrankT's Avatar
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    Re: Valve Train Ticking

    Hey submariner409, thanks for the reply, that's a relief knowing I didn't damage the camshafts. The manual recommends 10w-30 and that's what I've been using all along until the last oil change.
    Do you think this damn tick will go away or do you think is a stuck/worn lifer? Wait, I can answer that, only time will tell.
    Thanks, Frank

  11. #10
    FrankT's Avatar
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    Re: Valve Train Ticking

    I bet this is my problem.
    Engine Cold/Knock/Tick Noise (Clean Deposits) #99-06-01-010C - (11/11/2003)
    Some customers may comment about a tick/knock noise, sometimes described as an upper engine ticking noise or a deep low knock that sounds similar to a main bearing knock. This noise is more often heard during engine start up after a long cold soak condition and may or may not diminish as the engine reaches normal operating temperature. The knock may appear to be the loudest at the exhaust manifolds on either side or both. This noise does not change when disconnecting spark plug wires, or individually disabling the fuel injectors. As a general rule, the source of this noise cannot be determine

    So, do a top end clean and drive it like you stole it. I baby this car too much!

  12. #11
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    Re: Valve Train Ticking

    Frank,
    Do a search for "Cold Carbon Rap". Then take it out and flog it. My '97 developed the cold carbon rap and it sounded just like collapsed lifters. Went away 60 seconds or so after start up. A good WOT treatment cured it. Now I do it about once a month.

  13. #12
    jh225 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Valve Train Ticking

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger View Post
    Frank,
    Do a search for "Cold Carbon Rap". Then take it out and flog it. My '97 developed the cold carbon rap and it sounded just like collapsed lifters. Went away 60 seconds or so after start up. A good WOT treatment cured it. Now I do it about once a month.
    I have only driven my Dville about 200 miles since I aquired it from an old lady w/60K miles, and have noticed that it was ticking at start up.

    I bought the GM TEC but have not had time to put it in yet. I drove the car today and decided to see what would happen if I stomped on it.

    Well...............30 mph, dropped it into 3rd, and jumped on it. 2 huge puffs of black soot came out of the dual pipes. Took it up to 70 and backed down.

    Tried it again and got nothing out of the pipes.

    I will check in the AM to see if the ticking cleared up. Just might have done the trick.

  14. #13
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    Re: Valve Train Ticking

    Don't be afraid to run the snot out of the car once in a while. A N* is NOT an "around town" engine. Curiously, the harder you run it on a country road trip once in a while, the less error codes it will set. The ENTIRE N* engine management system is so sensitive that a difference of a half volt or 10 rpm will trigger codes a-poppin'. ((BigBrother is watching you.........(Orwell, 1984))).

  15. #14
    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Valve Train Ticking

    Well...............30 mph, dropped it into 3rd, and jumped on it. 2 huge puffs of black soot came out of the dual pipes. Took it up to 70 and backed down.
    Do it in 2nd gear till you see no more carbon from the tail pipes.

  16. #15
    FrankT's Avatar
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    Re: Valve Train Ticking

    Well, I should've known better, but all I could think of was the previous oil change and putting the wrong oil in my N*, since that's when all the clattering / ticking noise started. The ticking noise was just a coincidence. I was planning on doing a top end clean soon, but, after some WOT's and 2nd gear decel's the ticking noise is gone.

    It sounded just like collapsed lifters.
    Thanks Ranger and submainer! points!

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