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Old 01-12-2008, 12:10 PM   #1
mshan
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

My car started making a funny noise last Thursday (car makes new noise, but seems to drive totally normally). I had a loose belly pan where all screws have fallen out, but I was able to secure back two ones since they were still there. Sound is still there and now my engine really sounds like a diesel engine.

I think it might be a bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge). Last oil change was Mobil 1 0w40 about 9000 miles ago.

Is it safe to drive car around town till I get it evaluated, or is there risk of causing damage to engine by doing so?


1999 Audi A4 1.8 liter Turbo Quattro manual (slightly less than 53000 miles)


EDIT: if I had a problem developing with turbo, would I see performance difference (i.e. car wouldn't drive normally)?

EDIT #2: And can I add an additional quart of oil as a temporizing measure? (is it possible to overfill an engine with oil? last oil change I think they used 4 quarts).
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:41 PM   #2
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of oil sludge?

If it is indeed a lifter (Does the 1.8 Audi have lifters?), then it would be OK for a while. But until that is determined, I wouldn't drive it. If it is a bearing on the crankshaft or cam, then it would damage it by driving it further.

If it's a turbo problem there may or may not be a performance hit....

Don't add any more oil than the manufacturer recommends.

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Old 01-12-2008, 01:09 PM   #3
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of oil sludge?

Probably has hydraulic lash adjusters which are basically lifters so lots of people still call them lifters including me. If it were the turbo you would hear a howling kind of sound not so much a ticking kind of sound. When the bearing go out in the turbo the wheels can move around and hit the housing which makes the howling/grinding kind of noise. Doubt you have that problem at only 53k miles though unless you just got a bum turbo from the factory. It could also be a bad exhaust manifold gasket. When those things leak they tick and sound a lot like a bad lifter. As the manifold heats up and expands they will often times seal up and quiet back down again.

Have you checked the oil level yet? If you have lost oil from the belly pan that will certainly cause the lifters to tick and if its real low it will soon take out the bearings and you will get knocking to go with the ticking which is really bad.
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Old 01-12-2008, 01:38 PM   #4
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of oil sludge?

Oil level appears fine.

Oil appears very dirty, though.

Do you think it is safe to drive about 7 miles to garage that services Audis?
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Old 01-12-2008, 03:21 PM   #5
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

I've been googling for engine knocking and engine tapping.

I think the sound my car makes is engine tapping (higher pitched sound sounds like coming from inside top of engine itself).

Would make sense that it is (I pray) just a clogged lifter that can be fixed with an oil change.

Not going to drive car at all, except to take to garage for servicing.

If it were a low pitched knocking, seems like recommendation would be to have it towed to garage. Is engine knocking something that would be see in car with low miles like mine (53000 miles, though 8 years old). Oil was lasted changed (Mobil 1 0w40 about 9000 miles ago).
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Old 01-12-2008, 03:53 PM   #6
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

Step 1. Change the freakin oil!!!

then evaluate
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Old 01-12-2008, 04:03 PM   #7
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

Read this not exactly good news for you. I'd suggest finding an Audi forum and seeing what they say to do. You maybe able to get away with just flushing the engine and changing the oil more often from now on rather then following the owners manual.
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Old 01-12-2008, 04:32 PM   #8
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

Yes, I am not going to drive car at all, except to garage that services Audi, and pray that it is only a clogged lifter.
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Old 01-12-2008, 05:00 PM   #9
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

I think it's ticking (just started engine and idled from cold start and it sounds like there is this tapping in the right front part of engine).

Can you tell me how to distinguish ticking from knocking (sound quality, location, exacerbating and attenuating situations) and likely situations in which they occur. Is fatal engine knock something that happens with an engine with a lot of miles on it or has been driven aggressively?


And check check engine or low oil pressure lights come on if I am in that dangerous to destroying engine zone?
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Old 01-12-2008, 07:54 PM   #10
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

Some just call them hydraulic lifters.

Sounds like you might have just missed the warranty period. :brokenheart:
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:22 PM   #11
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

a little lifter tick never hurt anyone. Mine ticks at idle... bought new lifters but didnt get around to changing them yet. $11 each or something, x10. (x20 for 1.8T)

exhaust, qty 8
058 109 309 E

intake, qty 12
058 109 309 F

look about $20 each... probably $300-350 for a set.

Run a few changes of good synthetic oil through and see if the ticking stops. I'd change it more on a 5k schedule, unless you do mostly highway driving. The light oil you've got will tick more than a heavier oil.
5w30 in winter, 15w50 in the summer.. something like that.

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Old 01-12-2008, 10:27 PM   #12
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

Why did you wait 9000 miles to change the oil?
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:35 PM   #13
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

How can you tell the difference between fairly benign ticking and much more dangerous knocking (?)?

I usually drive less than 7000 miles per year and was planning on changing oil in the next couple months, but I made several 1000 mile round trips recently and problem just popped up a couple days ago.

EDIT: it also started all of a sudden. Car has less than 53000 miles on it, usually just running errands around town several times a week, with several 500 mile/each way trips per year. I'm just a little worried about potential of doing real engine damage if it knocking, but I am guessing that is more something that happens with car with lots of miles on it and / or aggressive driving habits. Is this correct logic (basically risk of engine damage typically occurs with end of life engine due to heavy lifetime wear?)
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Old 01-13-2008, 12:10 AM   #14
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

Isn't 5W-30 lighter than 0W-40 when the oil is up to temp?

OP, you don't appear to have determined exactly what the noise is yet.

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Old 01-13-2008, 09:56 AM   #15
mshan
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

Yep, I'm hoping it's just lifter tick, and hoping it's not anything worse (i.e. I have already damaged my engine).

Taking car to mechanic on Tuesday.
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:07 AM   #16
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

Quote:
Originally posted by: LTC8K6
Isn't 5W-30 lighter than 0W-40 when the oil is up to temp?

OP, you don't appear to have determined exactly what the noise is yet.

Technically yes on the oil temp thing.

Also don't overfill your crankcase with oil. The oil will start splashing as the crank hits it and can cause oil starvation and more issues.
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:43 PM   #17
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

OP, try to put some Seafoam or Marvel Mystery Oil in it. If the lifters are indeed just clogged it should clear them. However, you'll need to change the oil about 20 miles after you put the stuff in.
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:29 PM   #18
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

Anybody think there is any need that I have the car towed to garage?

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Old 01-13-2008, 08:29 PM   #19
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

It's your car, it's up to you. It might be something really minor, it could be major, but from the sounds of you, you don't have the experience to differentiate between the two. If you don't want to risk it have it towed or trailer, it shouldn't be more than 50 bucks. But whoever fixes it will have to start it up.
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:03 PM   #20
mshan
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

Yes, based upon my limited knowledge, I suspect it is lifter tick (tapping in my case).

I think I am going to risk driving it about 7 miles to the garage.

I bought oil already and will keep it in car, and if check engine or oil pressure light pops on during driving, I will pull over, add some oil, wait a couple minutes, and hopefully be able to restart without problem.

EDIT: generally speaking, how can I differentiate lifter tick from something more ominous (knocking). I understand that I am responsible for any damage to my engine if I choose to start it up.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:14 AM   #21
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

Don't drive it, have it towed.

And you might want to consider taking better care of something that costs so much money.

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Old 01-14-2008, 09:31 AM   #22
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

Quote:
Originally posted by: mshan

I bought oil already and will keep it in car, and if check engine or oil pressure light pops on during driving, I will pull over, add some oil, wait a couple minutes, and hopefully be able to restart without problem.
Why do you have oil in the car, is it leaking or burning it? Adding oil to a car that has low pressure and already has enough oil in it is just going to cause more problems. I didn't see it in the thread but is your oil pressure light coming on?

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Old 01-14-2008, 09:56 AM   #23
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Default Is it safe (i.e. won't damage engine) to drive car with bad lifter because of dirty oil (not sludge)?

I bought the oil for the oil change (garage uses different type of oil).

Gonna put it in my car when I drive the car there.

Car drives normally, and no check engine or oil warning lights have ever come on.
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