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Noisy valve lifter(s?) -- what are my prospects?

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,920
1,028
126
OK. You know it's my Trooper. YOu know that I fuss over it. You know, that of the four some-odd things that occupy my senior retired life, one of them is . . . my Trooper. I'm essentially making educated gambles based on the probabilities, statistics, mileages and expected lifespans of components, as I defer buying a newer used or brand-new vehicle. I count on the Trooper being a viable ride for another ten years. IF not ten, then five.

I've thumped my chest about my GM engine. At what is now 192,000 miles, I cite as my reasons: no oil consumption; very little in the way of oil leakage from the mainseal -- if any, stellar smog-test results every time, plenty of power -- but for detractors who call the Trooper a "Pooper". Then, there is the following intelligence I've received from a peanut gallery of successive mechanics:

1st solid-gold mechanic from 2005 to 2018:

2007 -- "Damn! That's a good engine!"
2009 [after broken timing belt, damaged water-pump and radiator and a tow from AAA to his shop -- and following his repairs for same]: "Damn! That's a good engine!"
2017 -- "Damn! that's a good engine!"

Smog-test station owner/operator:
2018 -- "Don't do ANY-thing with this engine! It's perfect!"

Let me take you back to 2005, three years after I purchased the car used. I went to my aunt's wake across town. My cousin had been a mechanic, then he got into the smog-test business for the state. I remarked that there seemed to be a sticking valve lifter -- "Tick-tick tick tick tick . . . . . . . . . tick tick tick tick tick . . . . . . . " Cousin had told me "Why don't you get some 'Murican Iron to drive?" Well -- it IS American Iron: the engine and tranny are GM. As for the noisy lifter, he told me "Eventually, it will get worse . . . " That was 56,000 miles ago. And -- No -- it never got worse.

In 2007, the 1st solid gold mechanic had put a can of engine flush in the crankcase before an oil change, and didn't mention why, but I simply assumed it was a good idea. Other than that, when he didn't "say anything", he always said "the same thing".

In 2018, I was trying out an alternate repair-shop because 1st solid gold mechanic had retired. The proprietor told me "If the noisy valve lifter annoys -- just add a bit more oil."

And I tried that -- with an extra 16 oz or half-quart on top of the full mark. He was right -- more or less.

But I soon began to wonder how I might reduce the noise more or just eliminate it. Here and there, a little reading among internet offerings.

Supposedly, the sticking lifter could be the result of crud build-up in the engine, with a slightly-obstructed oil channel. So, beginning last year, I've done more than required oil changes -- easy with my Valvo-Max drain valve. I started putting in a half-bottle of Marvel Mystery Oil (~ 20W) mixed with a half-quart of 10W/40 -- 10W/30 for the remainder, hoping it would dissolve some of the crud and varnish.

More or less -- it did. Status of the symptom? If I start the engine cold, it exhibits the valve-lifter noise. By the time it warms up to operating temperature, most of it goes away. A muffled, barely detectable ticking occurs in cycles -- 20 seconds without, then returning for a few seconds, etc. etc.

I've decided to use a "real" engine flush instead of Marvel, so I ordered a can of Liqui-Moly flush.

Now suppose I can't entirely resolve this entirely with additives and oil changes?

If I went 54,000 miles after my Cousin's presumptuous pronouncements, can I get another 30,000 without having any significant engine work done? And if I want to just fix and replace the lifters -- all the noise seems to be coming from the drivers-side of the V6 -- the mechanic will need to: 1) remove the common chamber or intake manifold, making various hose and wire disconnections, 2) remove the valve cover -- at minimum on the driver's side, and 3) service the valves and valve-lifters. I understand parts for this are inexpensive. The preparatory actions of (1) and (2) are more time-consuming.

So I could ask "how much am I likely to spend on such an action?" and I might add -- if you remove the common chamber, then might as well pull the passenger-side valve cover off and service all of the valves and lifters.

Or -- suppose I just "let it go", and apply additives?

The other morning -- a cold morning indeed for a So-Cal Cinqo de Mayo -- I went out to start the car and it didn't go through the ticking ritual before it warmed up. It was absent the lifter noise from the minute I turned the key.

I suppose anyone can see how an obsessive car-owner can become familiar with noises and progressively more sensitive to them.

In the end, I just want the car to last another ten years without significant repair. These last three years have been extraordinary for higher-than-average outlays, but I can't really count the new tires I ordered and installed three weeks ago.
 

Greenman

Lifer
Oct 15, 1999
17,271
2,521
126
If a can of Marvel doesn't fix it, ignore it.
200k isn't that many miles, I would expect another 50k at least.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,920
1,028
126
If a can of Marvel doesn't fix it, ignore it.
200k isn't that many miles, I would expect another 50k at least.
I'll file that away with all my other quotes. I've made this car something that seems a real pleasure for me to drive -- others may differ about pleasure. Because the fam-damn-ily consists entirely of seniors who are 65 and disabled, 74 (me), and Moms at 96 who stopped using her walker in March, I'm trying to assure that we all have a graceful, trouble-free passage into the next life. We have to have a nice ride! And -- I know -- I can't "take it with me". But I explained my perspective about the coming paradigm shift away from gas-burners. I could spend the money on something else -- like "long-term care", or a less expensive home for my final years in a less urbanized environment.

This year, once I've got the vehicle situation resolved to meet my expected future, I'll fret over something else. I think I'm almost there. I have this desire to buy a quart of Paint-Scratch pour-and-spray, some clear-coat and primer -- to re-paint the roof. I just need a week of cold days and nights, some drop-cloths, masking tape, sandpaper and a sander -- all of which I have. It's gonna be beee-uuu--tiful!

We all need something to fret about. We all need ongoing special projects. When you're tired of searching for meaning in life through earning endeavors, they provide some meaning. It's the Unabomber's "Power Principle" from the Manifesto.
 

Greenman

Lifer
Oct 15, 1999
17,271
2,521
126
I'm still a couple years away from retiring, but when I do the one thing I don't want to worry about is a car. I am concerned about keeping busy. I've worked hard my entire life, and I'm pretty sure I'll die if I quit cold turkey.
Maybe I'll stop by your place and help you rebuild the Trooper.
 
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RLGL

Golden Member
Jan 8, 2013
1,809
213
106
What weight of oil are you using, if not what the manual calls for, try it. I ran 40 w in my truck and had a piston slap at a cold startup for years. I switched to 30 w that the manual calls for and it was gone.
 

Dranoche

Senior member
Jul 6, 2009
220
26
91
I believe the Trooper has hydraulic lifters, which can be expected to make some noise on startup. You said it goes away after warming up, so I probably wouldn't worry about it unless it changes. Could have them cleaned if it starts to get worse, but it sounds like additives are working for now. Could also check lash and adjust.

You're coming up on a scheduled timing belt replacement. Worn belt could be contributing a little. Also possible the tensioner is worn a little at this point if it's still the original.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,920
1,028
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I'm still a couple years away from retiring, but when I do the one thing I don't want to worry about is a car. I am concerned about keeping busy. I've worked hard my entire life, and I'm pretty sure I'll die if I quit cold turkey.
Maybe I'll stop by your place and help you rebuild the Trooper.
To me, for driving less than 3,000 miles per year and looking back on the years I've owned it, I didn't worry about it then. These last three or four years, I began to make a "project" out of it. The more familiarity you gain with a vehicle, the more you'll fret about it, where others wouldn't even waste the mental energy.

There is a pattern of behavior common to the retirement experience. It takes a couple years to adjust to it. Some people cast their self-image in terms of their job and career, so suddenly, this can be depressing. I had all sorts of things in mind for spending my time, but I still went through the two years of adjustment.

Anyway, having made a project out of my old ride, I expect I won't be worrying much about it for a few years. The only uncertainty at this point was the noisy lifters. If you become obsessive over the car-as-project, you begin to notice all the sounds that you never much paid attention to before. I think the mind even amplifies the sounds. So I can't imagine anything going wrong with the car for quite a while, but I had been gambling on the stand-up engine, and I . . . began to wonder . . . . The worst thing that could happen would be for the engine to go south. Then, I have to accelerate my plans to get another ride. But THIS is the ride that I WANT.

Of course, nobody is telling me I "have engine trouble". I don't think I have any engine trouble. I've been to five mechanics or repair-shops -- part of my sampling process to replace the two solid-gold ones who retired recently. Of those, I have to discount what they may of said -- one told me "300,000 miles easy!" and the other one never mentioned anything about the engine. Then -- the smog-test guy was emphatic.

I guess I don't like surprises, and I'm constantly planning to avoid them. Some people go on Norwegian Cruises; I plot and plan at my desk at home . . .

What weight of oil are you using, if not what the manual calls for, try it. I ran 40 w in my truck and had a piston slap at a cold startup for years. I switched to 30 w that the manual calls for and it was gone.
Owner's as well as Factory Manual has a chart for different ambient temperature ranges. 10W-30 is recommended for temperatures below 95F. But this is So-Cal, and we have swings between 40F in the winter months to 110F (sometimes) in July and August. For those hot summer months, the manual shows 10W-40.

Somewhere I read that oil that was either too light or too viscous could exacerbate the noisy lifters. It never resolved which it was, or when it could be one or the other.

I was thinking to use the remainders of the 5qt bottles of 30-weight from the last oil change, and mix them to measured proportions with 10W-40 to give me "35" for the summer. As I may have mentioned, I'm religiously adding a half-quart above the fill-mark, because it reduces -- or even eliminates -- the valve noise. I believe that the extra oil had its effect, but also the quart of Marvel used over two oil changes also had a positive impact. But the behavior now is the same: I can start it cold -- no noise. Then it warms up a little, some noise. Then it warms up to operating temperature -- no noise but for here and there at idle -- and it seems really muffled.

The ear-doctor tested me in March and said I had measurable hearing loss in my right ear -- but I was never able to notice it. Even so, I mentioned the way one can become "tuned in" to mechanical noises out of an obsessive focus.

I believe the Trooper has hydraulic lifters, which can be expected to make some noise on startup. You said it goes away after warming up, so I probably wouldn't worry about it unless it changes. Could have them cleaned if it starts to get worse, but it sounds like additives are working for now. Could also check lash and adjust.

You're coming up on a scheduled timing belt replacement. Worn belt could be contributing a little. Also possible the tensioner is worn a little at this point if it's still the original.
Yes -- had to check that in the spreadsheet -- 33,500 miles since the last timing belt. Replacement is recommended at 60,000. At the time the belt was last replaced, I replaced the tensioner.

So -- summing up -- I don't think the valve-lifter noise has gotten worse since I spoke with my cousin in 2005. I'd never turned my attention to it as a potential problem. For SOME cars, there could be problems -- a bent push-rod, lack of lubrication to other parts of the engine. It could be a symptom of an oil pump going bad. But I'd notice a change in operating temperature, and no problem there. Point is, and I'm bolstered by other poster comments -- it goes away when it warms up. I shouldn't worry. 15,000 miles? I should still be driving it 5 years from now..

I've had a lot of older cars among some used cars. 192,000 miles and counting is uncharted territory for me. Of course, the folks who put their name on the vehicle go way back for manufacturing commercial trucks. I have a feeling that their customer base is not a "consumer base", but entities who do a lot of capital budgeting. So you'd expect to get a lot more miles from a truck . . . I suppose . . .
 

RLGL

Golden Member
Jan 8, 2013
1,809
213
106
Owner's as well as Factory Manual has a chart for different ambient temperature ranges. 10W-30 is recommended for temperatures below 95F. But this is So-Cal, and we have swings between 40F in the winter months to 110F (sometimes) in July and August. For those hot summer months, the manual shows 10W-40.
Yeah that applies here too. During the summer when I was working, I would tow 10K loads several times a week. That is one of the reasons I used the 40W oil. As far as mixing different weights of oil, I would suggest consulting an engineer who works with oil to check if that is a good practice. Nothing in the manuals suggests mixing different weights of oil.
 

deadlyapp

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2004
5,892
346
126
hydraulic valve lifter noise is quite common in early generation components. My 1991 Mitsubishi made engine in my first car had it bad, upgrading the lifters to something with a larger oil port solved it. If you're going to have the valve covers at some point in the future (likely for a timing belt replacement), it's fairly simple to pull the lifters and replace them if ones with a larger bore are available. Usually they're around $10 ea, the cost is only in the labor to replace them. Also worth doing valve stem seals while in there, which is another cheap part which can lead to oil burn off and usually should be replaced around the 200k mark.
 

thedarkwolf

Diamond Member
Oct 13, 1999
8,950
89
91
Pretty much the norm in NA miatas. When they got to the point of always making noise I changed the lifters while doing the timing belt and that fix it for a while. Now they are just back to making noise at start up and it is really bad if the car has sat for awhile. I just ignore it.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,920
1,028
126
Yeah that applies here too. During the summer when I was working, I would tow 10K loads several times a week. That is one of the reasons I used the 40W oil. As far as mixing different weights of oil, I would suggest consulting an engineer who works with oil to check if that is a good practice. Nothing in the manuals suggests mixing different weights of oil.
I always followed the very reasonable myth about that, and didn't mix different weights. More recently, I ran some web-searches, and my best understanding so far is that it's mostly OK. Take for instance my use of Marvel Mystery Oil. It's about 20-weight -- very light. Using a half-quart at a time, I mix it with regular 40-weight full synthetic and then pour in another 4 quarts of 30-weight plus about 16 to 20 oz more.

If my "intel" is reliable and true, it facilitates a change between winter and summer. I almost always have some oil left over from the 5-quart bottles. I figured for my ease in changing oil and doing it with greater frequency, while the WIX XP filters are good for 12,000 miles. I'll change the oil again tomorrow afternoon, but I'll change the filter at between another 4,500 to 6,000 miles.

$25 or so for 5-quart bottles of full synthetic. I've paid someone else $50 to $80 for that, and one time I got regular motor oil and not the synthetic I asked for -- per the detailed shop-order and receipts.


hydraulic valve lifter noise is quite common in early generation components. My 1991 Mitsubishi made engine in my first car had it bad, upgrading the lifters to something with a larger oil port solved it. If you're going to have the valve covers at some point in the future (likely for a timing belt replacement), it's fairly simple to pull the lifters and replace them if ones with a larger bore are available. Usually they're around $10 ea, the cost is only in the labor to replace them. Also worth doing valve stem seals while in there, which is another cheap part which can lead to oil burn off and usually should be replaced around the 200k mark.
That's a great idea, because I'll eventually need a timing-belt/water-pump replacement. With or without the timing-belt replacement, one needs to remove the common-chamber/intake-manifold to access the bolts and remove the valve covers on this engine. Even if I already had new valve-cover gaskets in 2019, the kit of gaskets is also a cheap item. This is all very good information, and I can see plans taking shape for future maintenance and repair.

Here's the really good note about all this, however. I was aware of the noisy lifter(s) when I saw my cousin at my aunt's wake in 2004. The noise never really got worse. That was like . . . 70,000 miles ago.

I've been preoccupied with my sound-system, blue-tooth, GPS and rear-night-view-camera upgrade for the last year. So I loves to run those new polk-audios and DS-18 red-bullet speakers, don't I?!

I was concerned about the lifter noise -- more concerned recently in my obsessive preoccupation -- when I'd run the car in the garage at idle, or when I'd pull it out of the garage with the engine still warming up. Then I'd put on my Van-Halen or the Stones and crank it up a bit.

Today I ran it out on some errands, and muted the MP3 feeds.

When the engine is warmed up over a 4-mile circuit, there's no lifter noise. None. Nada. Nichts. Ge-endet. Gone.

I'm going out to the garage, opening up my home-made chiller and pull a bottle of 2013 Cabernet. This is a moment to celebrate. Maybe I'll pull one of the older ones, but that was a very good year . . .
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
56,863
5,197
126
I'm still a couple years away from retiring, but when I do the one thing I don't want to worry about is a car. I am concerned about keeping busy. I've worked hard my entire life, and I'm pretty sure I'll die if I quit cold turkey.
Maybe I'll stop by your place and help you rebuild the Trooper.
I agree...that's why I buy a new truck every couple of years...

I always followed the very reasonable myth about that, and didn't mix different weights. More recently, I ran some web-searches, and my best understanding so far is that it's mostly OK. Take for instance my use of Marvel Mystery Oil. It's about 20-weight -- very light. Using a half-quart at a time, I mix it with regular 40-weight full synthetic and then pour in another 4 quarts of 30-weight plus about 16 to 20 oz more.

If my "intel" is reliable and true, it facilitates a change between winter and summer. I almost always have some oil left over from the 5-quart bottles. I figured for my ease in changing oil and doing it with greater frequency, while the WIX XP filters are good for 12,000 miles. I'll change the oil again tomorrow afternoon, but I'll change the filter at between another 4,500 to 6,000 miles.

$25 or so for 5-quart bottles of full synthetic. I've paid someone else $50 to $80 for that, and one time I got regular motor oil and not the synthetic I asked for -- per the detailed shop-order and receipts.


That's a great idea, because I'll eventually need a timing-belt/water-pump replacement. With or without the timing-belt replacement, one needs to remove the common-chamber/intake-manifold to access the bolts and remove the valve covers on this engine. Even if I already had new valve-cover gaskets in 2019, the kit of gaskets is also a cheap item. This is all very good information, and I can see plans taking shape for future maintenance and repair.

Here's the really good note about all this, however. I was aware of the noisy lifter(s) when I saw my cousin at my aunt's wake in 2004. The noise never really got worse. That was like . . . 70,000 miles ago.

I've been preoccupied with my sound-system, blue-tooth, GPS and rear-night-view-camera upgrade for the last year. So I loves to run those new polk-audios and DS-18 red-bullet speakers, don't I?!

I was concerned about the lifter noise -- more concerned recently in my obsessive preoccupation -- when I'd run the car in the garage at idle, or when I'd pull it out of the garage with the engine still warming up. Then I'd put on my Van-Halen or the Stones and crank it up a bit.

Today I ran it out on some errands, and muted the MP3 feeds.

When the engine is warmed up over a 4-mile circuit, there's no lifter noise. None. Nada. Nichts. Ge-endet. Gone.

I'm going out to the garage, opening up my home-made chiller and pull a bottle of 2013 Cabernet. This is a moment to celebrate. Maybe I'll pull one of the older ones, but that was a very good year . . .
If the lifters get noticeably loud turn up the tunes!
 

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
7,900
3,301
136
I always followed the very reasonable myth about that, and didn't mix different weights. More recently, I ran some web-searches, and my best understanding so far is that it's mostly OK. Take for instance my use of Marvel Mystery Oil. It's about 20-weight -- very light. Using a half-quart at a time, I mix it with regular 40-weight full synthetic and then pour in another 4 quarts of 30-weight plus about 16 to 20 oz more.

If my "intel" is reliable and true, it facilitates a change between winter and summer. I almost always have some oil left over from the 5-quart bottles. I figured for my ease in changing oil and doing it with greater frequency, while the WIX XP filters are good for 12,000 miles. I'll change the oil again tomorrow afternoon, but I'll change the filter at between another 4,500 to 6,000 miles.

$25 or so for 5-quart bottles of full synthetic. I've paid someone else $50 to $80 for that, and one time I got regular motor oil and not the synthetic I asked for -- per the detailed shop-order and receipts.




That's a great idea, because I'll eventually need a timing-belt/water-pump replacement. With or without the timing-belt replacement, one needs to remove the common-chamber/intake-manifold to access the bolts and remove the valve covers on this engine. Even if I already had new valve-cover gaskets in 2019, the kit of gaskets is also a cheap item. This is all very good information, and I can see plans taking shape for future maintenance and repair.

Here's the really good note about all this, however. I was aware of the noisy lifter(s) when I saw my cousin at my aunt's wake in 2004. The noise never really got worse. That was like . . . 70,000 miles ago.

I've been preoccupied with my sound-system, blue-tooth, GPS and rear-night-view-camera upgrade for the last year. So I loves to run those new polk-audios and DS-18 red-bullet speakers, don't I?!

I was concerned about the lifter noise -- more concerned recently in my obsessive preoccupation -- when I'd run the car in the garage at idle, or when I'd pull it out of the garage with the engine still warming up. Then I'd put on my Van-Halen or the Stones and crank it up a bit.

Today I ran it out on some errands, and muted the MP3 feeds.

When the engine is warmed up over a 4-mile circuit, there's no lifter noise. None. Nada. Nichts. Ge-endet. Gone.

I'm going out to the garage, opening up my home-made chiller and pull a bottle of 2013 Cabernet. This is a moment to celebrate. Maybe I'll pull one of the older ones, but that was a very good year . . .

Run 0W-30 Mobil 1 synthetic for a bit
 

Meghan54

Diamond Member
Oct 18, 2009
9,977
2,923
136
FWIW, BD, I, too, have a ticking lifter on a GM product. Old Silverado I refuse to let go...love that truck!

After "exhaustive" research on BITOG and other places, these seem to be the solutions-in-a-bottle that the consensus generally agree upon that are the only "real" bottle treatments to consider for ticking lifters. Take it for what it's worth....

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002JMLRE/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_7?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1


 

BUTCH1

Lifer
Jul 15, 2000
19,762
1,348
126
MMO is your friend, I use about 1Qt roughly 500 miles before an oil change, it's not harsh and reduces my GM 3.5L pushrod, (oh, excuse me, GM called it a "cam in block" technology LOL) lifter ticking quite a bit.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,920
1,028
126
FWIW, BD, I, too, have a ticking lifter on a GM product. Old Silverado I refuse to let go...love that truck!

After "exhaustive" research on BITOG and other places, these seem to be the solutions-in-a-bottle that the consensus generally agree upon that are the only "real" bottle treatments to consider for ticking lifters. Take it for what it's worth....

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002JMLRE/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_7?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1


The first one seems to be an additive that addresses friction. The second one -- which we could consider for this problem -- looks like a detergent or "flush" product.

All the hydraulic valve-lifter advice suggests that they get gummed up, with oil-channels or journals clogged. The lifter may not work properly; it may affect fuel economy, and there could be other prices to pay.

Even here on the forums, I was a bit startled to see someone tout Marvel Mystery Oil: "IF MMO doesn't fix it, nothing will."

So the up, down and sideways of it, as follows . . .

I think I put 16 oz of MMO in the oil with 16oz of 10W-40 to balance the viscosity around 30. I was using 10W-30 synthetic for the rest of it. that was 1,700 miles ago, and the lifter noise was getting more quiet, occasionally going away and then returning. I decided to change the oil and put in another 24 oz together with an equal portion of 10W-40, filling up the rest of the crankcase to the "Full" dipstick indicator. That was about a week ago.

A lot of cars will have lifter noise when started cold, and then after about 1 minute the car is warming up and the noise disappears.

I think I have got to -- or beyond -- that pattern. Sometimes, I start it cold and there's no lifter noise. It begins to show itself about half way to warmed up, if measured on the temperature gauge. It quickly becomes very faint, and then disappears.

So my Trooper now sounds like a high-end Japanese delivery truck. Lovely! Really! I'm serious!

I"m wondering if I might detect improvements in gas mileage. I need to fill it up and drive it for the arithmetic.

Whatever wear or damage has occurred over the 192,000 miles, it is likely to be a good ride without engine-work for at least my remaining lifetime. All it will need is a new timing-belt and water-pump in about 30,000 miles more. OK! Maybe I'll have occasion to take a trip and go camping up in the mountains. I'm still not going to put more than 4,000 miles on the odometer for any given year.

Not unless I give it a shake-down cruise round-trip to Alaska.
 

BUTCH1

Lifer
Jul 15, 2000
19,762
1,348
126
Exactly which GM engine is in your Trooper?, although even MMO hasn't completely eliminated my start-up ticking I'm not concerned at all with it, heck, it might even be piston-slap, I don't care. I can tell her compression is good by the power she still makes.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,920
1,028
126
Exactly which GM engine is in your Trooper?, although even MMO hasn't completely eliminated my start-up ticking I'm not concerned at all with it, heck, it might even be piston-slap, I don't care. I can tell her compression is good by the power she still makes.
Sure. You're right. I've just become obsessive, and I'd never had a vehicle that was headed past 200,000 miles. So a person becomes a bit neurotic. "This isn't perfect!" "That isn't perfect!" I suppose that's OK, as long as one has a good time and doesn't screw something up in an attempt to make another thing . . . perfect.

I distinguish between "intelligence" which can be "hearsay" and what I can verify factually. I THOUGHT I'd determined the Trooper engine origins. But I looked it up again. The engine model I had seen was a model number EK350. The transmission is most certainly verified as GM -- GM 4L30-E. Just browsing, I thought this transmission was used for a particular year and model BMW, but I'd have to look again. The Wikipedia article on the 3.2 L SOHC engine doesn't mention GM, but the description and pictures are definitely those of my engine.

That valve clatter is gone, gone -- GONE! I just went out to get a giant tub of Vanilla ice cream for Moms. Came into the garage -- didn't want to turn off the engine because it sounded so purr-tty.

MARVEL MYSTERY OIL -- AIN'T NO SNAKE OIL! See, to make this work, I couldn't just take it to the solid gold mechanic, let him add the chemicals once and -- done. You have to use something that stays in the oil through a couple oil changes, or that is added again to new oil with a change.

So you wonder about other engine flush products like Liqui-Moly. Some may be great. Others? I can't say. But the solid gold mechanic used something other than MMO or the German stuff some ten years ago. And we only put it in the engine once, and that was probably for 10 minutes running to a half hour. Then -- fresh oil with no flush product added. The MMO -- you can run that stuff forever, adding the $10 (?) to your 5-quart synthetic oil purchase every time -- fresh.

It's a 20-weight oil so you can fine tune the viscosity to preference.
 

RLGL

Golden Member
Jan 8, 2013
1,809
213
106
The only stuff I put in the crankcase of my engines is what the manufacturer recommends, same with transmissions and rear ends. I have never had any issues over a period of 50 + years. I have had the ability to speak with engineers who work with engine design, The only thig all these additives do is extract hard earned cash from wallets. The old adage applies, If it sounds to good to be true it probably is.
 

nakedfrog

No Lifer
Apr 3, 2001
51,073
3,672
126
Another NA Miata driver here, the general consensus from the community for our motors is you can do a lot of things and maybe get rid of it for a while, but it will be back, and doesn't seem to hurt anything.
 

BUTCH1

Lifer
Jul 15, 2000
19,762
1,348
126
The only stuff I put in the crankcase of my engines is what the manufacturer recommends, same with transmissions and rear ends. I have never had any issues over a period of 50 + years. I have had the ability to speak with engineers who work with engine design, The only thig all these additives do is extract hard earned cash from wallets. The old adage applies, If it sounds to good to be true it probably is.
Well MMO doesn't say it's a "valve job in a bottle" or anything and generally I'd agree to your point, in certain high=mileage engines though a 25% blend of MMO 2-3 wees before a change can help clean out deposits, if it's real bad the engine should be torn down and cleaned.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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The only stuff I put in the crankcase of my engines is what the manufacturer recommends, same with transmissions and rear ends. I have never had any issues over a period of 50 + years. I have had the ability to speak with engineers who work with engine design, The only thig all these additives do is extract hard earned cash from wallets. The old adage applies, If it sounds to good to be true it probably is.
I'm very conservative in the matter of oil additives. Don't add it if it doesn't do anything, or if other causes for the condition being addressed require direct action.

But conventional wisdom about engines with enough mileage on them seems to consistently recommend that an engine "flush" is good common-sense regular maintenance. You do this to either eliminate or avoid build-up of carbon deposits and varnish in the engine.

Every advisory I found about sticky valve lifters also supports the practice, or says the same thing.

The Marvel Mystery stuff is not going to hurt your engine, and as I said -- you can balance and tune oil viscosity as desired with it. But it will definitely have a cleaning affect on the internal engine without taking it apart.

Another product I use sparingly is the line of Blue Devil "Main Sealer", "Engine Stop Leak" and "Transmission sealer". That stuff also works, and the manufacturer insists that it makes a "permanent fix" to leaky seals. Well, nothing is completely permanent, but it does have lasting effect, or does what it says it does. In fact, it may do it too well. I advise people to use half as much of the tranny sealer as the bottle recommends for total oil capacity (Dexron or Dexron III, for instance).

The engine stop leak products -- I named two -- are essentially the same formulation, but the "Rear Mainsealer" is less concentrated, and slower acting. The "Stop Leak" formulation will work on the mainseals and other leaking seals.

There is also a hazard in using the transmission sealer (at least as people reported), but it more likely depends on the age or condition of seals and the amount of the substance used. Some users didn't pay enough attention to the product instructions and used more Transmission Sealer than recommended for the capacity of Dexron. So they made their seals swell, and some of them would just blow out, so the vehicle owner would complain that his entire transmission leaked like a sieve.

But the stop-leak products -- and I would only recommend Blue Devil -- are only going to be in the crankcase or tranny for at most for a half hour before an oil change, or for a single oil change as directed for Blue Devil. The Marvel Mystery Oil can be run in the engine continuously through successive oil changes, just to keep the engine as clean as possible.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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EPILOGUE TO ALL THIS

My attention to the valve-lifter noise began about 2,000 to 3,000 miles ago. At first, I was just adding a half-quart of oil above the dip-stick fill-line, and the noise would attenuate.

I've since run two quarts of Marvel Mystery Oil through three successive oil changes, mixed at less than 20% of the total oil added. The last MMO application was 24 oz of its one-quart bottle for a total 5 quarts of capacity. I've only run the Trooper another 200 miles since this last oil change and MMO application, this time with the dip-stick showing oil only up to the fill-line, and the valve-lifter noise occasionally manifests when the engine is cold, but very much muffled. Once the engine is warmed up or after about 1 minute, the noise is essentially gone.

So-o-oo-o-ooo . . . Today . . . I have to replace a rear parking-light bulb. Big deal . . . not much trouble, really.

But back to this matter of the valve-lifter. I had also been focused on minor oil leaks, from the engine and transmission as well.

Is it my imagination? Or have I actually observed that treating the valve-lifter (for its noise) has suddenly caused the Trooper to stop leaking engine oil AND transmission oil? Without further insight or information, that almost doesn't make any sense. Or does it?
 

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