2.3L breakin goes bad, lifter noise

Discussion in '2.3L (N/A & Turbo) Tech' started by R100RT, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. Hey 2.3L exsperts, I need some help. I am getting some pretty bad lifter noise halfway through the engine breakin. Oil pressure was good and I kept it at 1500 RPM. About 10 minutes into it, the engine dies like it ran out of gas. I manualy turned the engine over and it's fine. I figure that I should check the timing so I had my daughter start the car and I was at 12 ATDC. I set the timng, spout out, to 10 BTDC. The care stated right up but I ran it at 1500 RPM. I started to hear lifter noise and it got worse with increasing RPM.

    I pulled the valve cover and the cam looks great. I rotated the engine checking for lose sliders and found them all the same, just a tad bit of play.

    I waited for about an hour then tried again. I heard some noise, sounded like lifters again, when the motor started but it went away. As the motor warmed up, 1000 RPM, the noise stated up again. It sure sounds like loose lifters but I haven't any 2.3L exsperaice.

    The head was done by a local shop who has done four other motors form me. I am at a loss as what to do next. Any ideas would be helpful. My duaghters exsplorer is on it's last legs and this car is for her.
  2. stock cam? Lifters will make noise if they have compressed. Usually after they pump up they quiet down. Old lifters tend to make more noise, could always replace them if they dont quiet down soon.
  3. The head was completly rebuilt, everything new. Stock cam too.
    How long should it take them to pump up? Wouldn't 10 minutes of running be enough time? Thanks,
  4. I've had them take longer then that!
  5. There should be NO play in the lifters when they have pumped up.

    It will hurt nothing to run the motor for a few minutes more if it takes that to pump em up. What oil ya using?

    I will advise you that you wanna take that car out on the road for an easy drive soon now that initial ring seat is over with. After the engine is tuned you do not want it to sit and idle for extended periods, have a bit of load on it but not alot. For at least 50 miles keep it over 2000 RPM when accelerating to avoid lugging but no more than 4000 RPM, apply no more than half throttle most of the time but every once in a while make a full throttle run up to 3000-4000 RPM to hammer the rings against the walls then let it decelerate in gear and take it easy for a few miles to let the rings cool. After 100 miles you can pretty much beat on it but try to avoid extended idling and sustained high RPM and lugging till at least 500 miles.

    I suggest oil FILTER changes at 50, 300, and 1000 miles.
  6. thats some good info on a break in. sounds similar to how my shop did it when I had a motor rebuilt.

    As for the noise sometimes it wont go away untill it is driven a bit.if the lifters were not left in oil before installation, that could cause some problems. I would atleast take it out and drive it around the block. do what he said above basically.

    or even call up the shop that did the work and have one of them come out and listen to it or have them send a tow truck to pick it up if you think it is that bad.
  7. Thanks guys

    I went out this Am to give it another go. It started right up with lifter noise which went away about 5 seconds after the engine started. Within 30 seconds, the noise started to come back and got progressively worse until I shut the motor off after about 60 seconds of total on time. I would say the noise is getting worse and is louder. It seems to be comming from #3 or #4.

    It certainly acts like a tensioner isn't pumping up. I did a little research and found that Ford calls for .040-.050 clearance between the lobe and slider. To check this, I have to pull the spring out of a tensioner. I think I want to pull the valve cover and timing belt cover for another inspection.

    If anyone else has ideas, please chime in. I will post my progress later,

  8. Are you sure that is not for the solid lifeters. I have never heard of clearances being checked on hydraulics. after all that is the reason for them! The whole advantage to having the hydrolics is auto adjustement. besides, I dont think there is a way to adjust them anyways. how worn out is the cam though! you said the hyd.s were new, but what about the cam, and the slider!

    is there any metal shavings or anything apearing in there?
  9. These hydraulic lifters have a limited, well, range of motion. That's why there is a clearance spec. If a valve is too long the lifter piston could bottom in the bore, and if a valve is too short the lifter piston will be fully extended. Adjustment is via lengthening or shortening the valve. I'm not very good at articulating this, hopefully the meaning is coming through.
    R100RT, check for the presence of:
    *A cam seal on the front of the head.
    *A plug in the back of the cam.
    Something's wrong. IMHO, shut it down until you get it sorted out. Hope this helps.
  10. Touring23,

    There is a cam seal and a 1/4 plug in the rear of the cam altough I did not check it for tightness, my bad! I will check it before I fire back up.

    I talked to the shop and they asked how long I have run the engine and they said I need to run it at least 45 mins. What bothers me is that the more I run, the worse the noise gets. I'm way past valve noise and into valve racket! LOL

    Everything in the head is new including the cam, (no regrind). Can you help me understand how the cam oiling has anything to do with the tensioners?

    If you remove the tensioner spring then the lifter fully collapses and you can get a clearance check, according to some exsperts I found on the web.
  11. OK.
    >Can you help me understand how the cam oiling has anything to do with the tensioners?<
    A brief overview maybe? Oil enters the head at the rear driver's side, vertically. Turns 90* to connect to a passage running parallel and below the cam (in the head). This head galley is ~3/8" diameter, runs the length of the head, has a hex-screwed plug in each end, and feeds the four cam towers and eight lifters in parallel. Oil from the four cam bearings enter the cam through a hole in the bearing journals and is sprayed out onto the cam followers. Follow?
    So. It is possible for a cam (or cam bearings!) to starve the lifters.
    Your information on checking the clearance is correct. However, I checked my lifter clearance with the springs still in, just compress-n-check.
    The factory oil pressure guage is no more than a 7 psi(?) go/no-go indicator. Watch out for low oil pressure.
    If it's into valve racket lol I would not run that engine for another moment. Something is not right. Am I helping?
  12. Yes, you are helping and I have a plan of attack now. Here it is.
    Pull the valve cover, depress tensioners and check clearance. If any are out of spec, then the head needs to go back to the shop as they blew the valve job.

    Check for loose oil plug in rear of cam. Pull dizzy and run oil pump while watching for unusual things with the cam oiling. Rotate the cam until a slider is under the base of the cam lobe. Run the oil pump and check to see if the tensioner can be pressed in easy. Compare the tensioners looking for one that doesn't pump up like the others.

    Do you have anything to add or change?

    I primed the engine with the valve cover off before the first start up. I did observe oil commig from the cam holes at that time.

  13. Yeah, that's a good plan. You can also wiggle the valve to check for excessive guide clearance while the cam is on the base circle.
    Although unlikely, inspect the valve springs for breakage.
    If you have a micrometer you can mic the cam lobes and compare wear.
    Nothing else comes to mind at the moment; does anyone else want to post in?
  14. Why does everyone always say that the factory electric oil pressure gauge is just an idiot light?

    It generally used to show 45-50 psi and since I rebuilt the engine it shows 60-65 psi. I see pressure change a few psi if I use a different viscosity oil, or if the filter is plugged.

    Is it just a rumor that got spread because the oil pressure doesn't change much on these engines, or does someone actually have evidence of the idiot light thing?
  15. the newer cars 94+ on mustangs are idiot lights, 1psi of oil pressure is normal mid needle, 0 is dropped below red... that is a worthless light.

    On foxes, it is effective. Ican tell how many miles are on a motor by looking at the gauge, some people say its all bs, but I've always found it to be pretty accurate with my bad/good motors.
  16. Oh, and btw. R1000RT --- I had this exact same problem, started the motor up, it was fine, then it started tapping, and it got louder and louder...

    still does it...

    rod knock, had it for 24,000 miles now... except mine was a roller motor, 92, and I replaced all the followers and the hydraulic lifters with johnson parts, all new, still did it, I'm using an A237 cam though.
  17. rod knock could be a possibility since the motor is new, if it is going TAP TAP TAP then get under the car and listen to the oilpan, is it coming from there? (don't get close to the sides of the block when it's making such noises) If it is definitely coming from the top end and making more of a RACKET like you described then that is valvetrain noise. Unless it is a knocking sound coming from top end which indicates piston related damage which is extremely unlikely in a new motor.
  18. An update: I found the exhasust slider was pretty lose under the lobe on #4 . The tensioner wasn't pumped up or as solid as the others. I pulled the dizzy and ran the oil pump. I had oil from all the cam holes and from around the tops of the tensioners too. After run the pump a while, (lots of air comming at first) the loose sliders became tight. even after roatating the cam a few turns they stayed tighter than I found them. I am having trouble pushing the tensioners down enough to check clearance. I do know that after running the oil pump, all the sliders are tight against the lobe base circle.
  19. Hhhmm. Maybe Jade has something there with the rod knock, then.

    Have you been able to measure all of the follower clearances?
  20. I haven't measured as I can't seem to depress the pumped up tensioners enough.

    I quite sure it isn't rod knock. The sound comes from the rear of the valve cover area.