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Shift_Path90

Can anyone help with this tick? (video)

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Can anyone guestimate whether this tick is an issue with a valve or an issue with a rod?  I'm trying to decide on what to do with this Pathfinder.  Video is taken with the phone close to the passenger side head.

 

https://youtu.be/CWtFHRDVclw

 

Background info.

This is from my in-law's 90 Pathfinder, with 135k miles.  It has sat for extended periods, and because of the low miles, they did not feel that they should change the oil at recommended intervals so it may have been changed once a year, if that.  It starts without issue, but the ticking is fairly loud.  No lights on the dash, and no codes under the passenger seat.  Teeth on timing belt are correct, with marks on the sprockets at the right position.

 

I've thought about swapping an engine, but a mechanic has suggest a complete rebuild to know what we will be getting.  A neighbor believes it to be a sticky valve, and thinks I should pull the heads, and have them rebuilt.  I have a budget of 3k to get this thing back up and running.

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Man that does not sound good...could be a number of things in the valvetrain but doesn't sound like a rod knocking. I'd pull the plugs and do a compression test.

 

Standard compression should be around 173 psi and 128 minimum w/ no more than 14 psi difference between cylinders. Record what you get and post back.

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Sounds like a lifter to me. Mine clatters on cold starts in freezing temps, but only for a moment until oil pressure reaches the lifters. You may have a lifter that's not pumping up, possibly due to schmoo buildup if it sat a lot and saw infrequent maintenance. How's the inside of the head look under the oil cap? You might get lucky and get the lifter unstuck with an oil flush treatment. If that doesn't do it, you can get to the lifters without pulling the head. Expect to replace the valve cover gaskets while you're in there, they're almost certainly shot if they're original.

 

If you haven't yet, download the service manual here and check out the EM section.

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Rockyclymr,

I have a fear of running it too long as I'm unsure what this is.  If I do a compression test do I need to get it up to normal operating temps for accurate numbers?

 

Slartibartfast,

I've followed a few of your posts, and appreciate the info you've given the forum.  If I open up the heads, would I just be trying to loosen up all the valves to see if any are stuck?  If any are stuck, would I not need to pull the heads to have them rebuilt?  Also is there an oil flush treatment you recommend before opening everything up? 

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 No, you don't have to get it to operating temp  to do a compression test.  if you want to determine if its in the head or cylinder after testing the initial compression and finding which one is causing the noise put a good capful of fresh oil in through the spark plug hole and retest. if its in the cylinder you'll see your compression increase. If it doesn't its in the head ie valve train.

 

But I have to agree with Slartibartfast that you may have a collapsed lifter sitting for long periods can cause them to bleed down and get stuck. You do not have to pull the heads to change them just remove the rocker arms

 

The lifters are fairly inexpensive if they do need replacing and if it was me and having to tear down an engine that far would do anyway. Heres a link just to give you an idea what your looking at for them:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-12PCS-Valve-Lifters-Set-For-84-04-Nissan-3-0L-3-3L-VG30E-VG30T-VG33E-12V/222772701753?_trkparms=ispr%3D1&hash=item33de49aa39:g:ITAAAOSwrhhaRJJw&amdata=enc%3AAQAFAAACYBaobrjLl8XobRIiIML1V4Imu%2Fn%2BzU5L90Z278x5ickkgCVySCgrNFPU8Iu85TabMAB6F1MgCSiits7gUvGFi3VUxureSmvgEhoBwUXhdVml4bu9Ms52gxnhlFp4VhYFBVuJghsXgNLacIMCKccYiov1oLTbHQaXd%2FEy5BPWaDEGiU%2F2dL2x4HWld%2FQ6SVMXji3ZTMHTWrNU4La8w3C%2F0hMhaiTP4S1iTIqGD2uyaTmBcH9PlLbK4pL7yTt9qKYtxkC3lKHiLAq92FMbDKYvtQyOiGRtpOUtoZMiqyDvcebh6aEJW1Kn%2BY%2BGSTA9o2N2Mmet%2FWk2ZtwkYpBn%2FIX%2FUZbPSNxkS3O%2BLtDwr6g1aEjEQ910tF%2B3ZhS7eoF0dhAxCv6sq6OdZEJ0yOrBDLQ6wsQTt%2BJBXHkC%2FGD0ZtmKnu6aOBS%2B0Dm8MLHl1oDjuVNSF2rvf%2FIIxBI1NqH40i%2FbF%2FTS97p6jebV9jbe8n4MaBVlj34R7%2BSOUJiA2ZucgIoaPtSsXdsZp28bjQWQDNPHsSeuU%2FiiuUgaiGUX%2FoG4h3sHw%2BSv0b%2BQEJuIxMwGIR0I2OXFhE43LAFROR7BZIWwC8gGpf4QLv9CLExlUZFvYwoGSN2P55Xx4xdzZ4sQTUgrm1P9HT%2BKF6BqJ6IZKB9IFzzZ5b5XJrGa1b0ORjmD%2FCPgjmK6Bo%2BJhRj49G8faTKcR3QNr5zQz6wqqJ%2Bhc8b8w6QyaToz%2Fkv9OLx4F7kmw506Oq5c3YQ6lEWVCa1w%2Bc5JgFB6e69yVw4%2BZ5pri%2BBTShMOC5pZR%2FuKA6ohgI%2BR8qUE|cksum%3A22277270175384e960ac32bb4bc2a59a7e0917d7596c|ampid%3APL_CLK|clp%3A2334524

 

.

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Rockclymr,

Thanks for the link and the information.  It sounds like it is relatively straight forward.  The ticking definitely sounds like it is coming from within the passenger side valve cover/head.  I will see if I can get my hands on a compression tester to test for compression.  I have ordered the valve lifters you linked, as well as the valve cover gasket that slartibartfast mentioned.  I'm only going to open up the passenger side to remove/replace the valve lifters.  Is there any issue with only doing one side initially?  Thanks again.

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Doing one side should be fine. Make sure everything's properly lubed going in. I haven't done a lifter replacement, but the IIRC the service manual has a whole procedure for making sure they're primed right before you put them in.

 

Do the compression test first. If a valve isn't closing, you'll have no compression on that cylinder. If that's the case, you will need to remove the head to correct whatever is wrong with the valve. (I would have a look down the intake or exhaust port before pulling the head to see if there's some obvious foreign object or chunk of carbon holding the valve open, something I might be able to pull out without removing the head, but this is a very long shot.) If it's not a valve, I'd assume it's a lifter, unless you see something else obviously wrong.

 

You might be able to identify the bad lifter by which rocker arm is loose when its valve should be closed, but I'm not sure this works the same on hydraulic lifter engines as on solid lifter engines.

 

Mr. 510 had a retainer bolt come loose on his somehow which caused a ticking noise and some unusual camshaft wear. I haven't heard of anyone else having that problem, but if you don't find a smoking gun, it's one more thing to check.

 

I've seen Seafoam recommended, but I haven't done a crankcase flush with it myself. Might be worth a shot if it passes the compression test. I can understand being leery of letting it run and warm up while it's making that noise, though.

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On 11/28/2020 at 9:46 PM, Rockclymr said:

Man that does not sound good...could be a number of things in the valvetrain but doesn't sound like a rod knocking. I'd pull the plugs and do a compression test.

 

Standard compression should be around 173 psi and 128 minimum w/ no more than 14 psi difference between cylinders. Record what you get and post back.

I was able to find a loaner compression tester gauge.  I was only able to test 5 out of the 6 cylinders, prior to the battery pooping out on me.  I'll need to get it charged.  The last cylinder is the dreaded number 6 on the back end of the engine.  I'm unsure if the C4 number is accurate or if that is due to the battery losing power on me.

 

C1: 165

C2: 155

C3: 160

C4: 150

C5: 165

 

Thanks again for the advice and help guys.

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2 hours ago, Shift_Path90 said:

I was able to find a loaner compression tester gauge.  I was only able to test 5 out of the 6 cylinders, prior to the battery pooping out on me.  I'll need to get it charged.  The last cylinder is the dreaded number 6 on the back end of the engine.  I'm unsure if the C4 number is accurate or if that is due to the battery losing power on me.

 

C1: 165

C2: 155

C3: 160

C4: 150

C5: 165

 

Thanks again for the advice and help guys.

Sounds way too fast to be the bottom end.  Those numbers are passable.  You do not want more than 10% of a difference between the highest and lowest numbers. 150 to 165 is 9.5% so it's almost there.  Even so, you won't notice much of a hit to performance or gas mileage.  Once the battery is charged retest #4 and you may find it pump to 155 or 160.

 

So far as I can see/hear, your bottom end is healthy but that top end has a nasty lifter tick.  A mechanics stethoscope, or a long screw driver, could help you pinpoint which head you need to remove.

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22 minutes ago, silverton said:

Sounds way too fast to be the bottom end.  Those numbers are passable.  You do not want more than 10% of a difference between the highest and lowest numbers. 150 to 165 is 9.5% so it's almost there.  Even so, you won't notice much of a hit to performance or gas mileage.  Once the battery is charged retest #4 and you may find it pump to 155 or 160.

 

So far as I can see/hear, your bottom end is healthy but that top end has a nasty lifter tick.  A mechanics stethoscope, or a long screw driver, could help you pinpoint which head you need to remove.

Thanks Silverton.  I have ordered another battery charger, which should be here by Wednesday.  I may just drop it off to be tested and charged though, as the dead battery is the bottle neck to moving forward.  I am interested to open it up to see what kind of issues there are. 

 

I have a set of headers waiting to be installed, and if I have to take the intake manifold off, it might be a good time to get those installed as well.  But you all have me excited about getting this thing back on the road.

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17 minutes ago, SpecialWarr said:

OBX or PaceSetters?

Neither.  I got some Doug Thorleys.

Edited by Shift_Path90

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I swapped a jdm engine into my 95, I don’t know how long it had been sitting in the warehouse, but it sounded exactly like this. Eventually it came out of it after a few oil changes and has been silent ever since. That was 5 years ago now.

 

If I were in your shoes I would try and replace the lifter. They aren’t that expensive and at 135k that motor should have plenty of life left. Or you could try and clean it up with some seafoam or berrymans b12 in the crankcase.

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8 minutes ago, adamzan said:

I swapped a jdm engine into my 95, I don’t know how long it had been sitting in the warehouse, but it sounded exactly like this. Eventually it came out of it after a few oil changes and has been silent ever since. That was 5 years ago now.

 

If I were in your shoes I would try and replace the lifter. They aren’t that expensive and at 135k that motor should have plenty of life left. Or you could try and clean it up with some seafoam or berrymans b12 in the crankcase.

I have the lifters and gaskets ordered.  I'm going to test compression on cylinder 4 and 6 today as I had the battery charged yesterday.  I am planning on taking off the cover and remove the lifters for inspection.  

 

Any thoughts on any other things to do while the valve cover is off?  Using seafoam, some other additive, or cleanser to clean off other components?

 

If the right side lifter replacement resolves the tick, I'll plan on doing the driver side as well, but I'll need to plan on other parts to replace while the intake is off.

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I finished checking compression.

 

C1: 165

C2: 155

C3: 160

C4: 155

C5: 165

C6: 160

 

I have also removed the right side valve cover, and removed the rocker assembly.  There does not seem to be any abnormal wear on any components on initial inspection.  There is some sludge build up in areas that do not get much oil flow.  I will need to clean things up and take a closer look at surfaces.

 

I inspected all the valve lifters and none seem to be squishy when I try to compress them, but I also cannot compress them.  I used a 2 x 4  as to not damage the surface of the lifter,  with all my weight on it, and it didn't budge.  Should I be able to compress them?  

Edited by Shift_Path90

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With the engine being timed and you not knowing where the pistons are, I advise against forcing a valve open.  I would use some sort of screw driver or something long and metal to pin point the noise before taking a cover off.  Those numbers work out to 6.25% difference high to low, piston rings, head gasket, and valves are sealing plenty fine.

 

You may try adam's suggestion of running some sort of engine cleaner through it, do a couple short interval oil changes if you go that route.  Other wise take all the lifters out and give them a nice cleaning and an oil bath before putting them back in. 

 

My swapped vg33 makes a horrible clacking noise on cold start but goes away pretty quick. I'm also one of those people that doesn't put many miles on it, last oil change was in 2018, but it's been driven less than a thousand miles in that time. These VG's are quite indestructible.

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1 hour ago, silverton said:

With the engine being timed and you not knowing where the pistons are, I advise against forcing a valve open.

 

I was only referring to compressing the valve lifters, not the valves themselves.  I figured from the compression numbers that the valves and pistons/rings were all seating relatively well to build that pressure.

 

Either way I have a new set of lifters on the way.  I'm just wondering if there was a way for me to know by looking at the old ones whether they are really the culprit.  I'm wondering if the problem could lie in the rockers and wear on them, despite them looking as expected.  I figure even a really small amount of wear on the rockers or lifter would cause some metal to metal ticking sounds.  The rockers on the shaft are pretty snug.

Edited by Shift_Path90

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You should be able to compress the lifters as the spring inside is not so strong that they cant be moved. The pressure of the oil in the lifter while running is what absorbs the harmonics of the valvetrain so that's where the noise comes from if one or more of them are collapsed or not oiling properly. I usually pour about a quart of kerosene in before i do an oil change and run for 10-15 min to thin the oil and cut out that sludge. Must work ok since my VG30 went 320K w no problems before I pulled it.Those compression #'s are fine do doesn't appear you need to pull the head. Definitely check the cam lobes while you have the lifters out and look for signs of scoring or dark areas that look like its heated up. 

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1 minute ago, Rockclymr said:

You should be able to compress the lifters as the spring inside is not so strong that they cant be moved. The pressure of the oil in the lifter while running is what absorbs the harmonics of the valvetrain so that's where the noise comes from if one or more of them are collapsed or not oiling properly. I usually pour about a quart of kerosene in before i do an oil change and run for 10-15 min to thin the oil and cut out that sludge. Must work ok since my VG30 went 320K w no problems before I pulled it.Those compression #'s are fine do doesn't appear you need to pull the head. Definitely check the cam lobes while you have the lifters out and look for signs of scoring or dark areas that look like its heated up. 

 

Do you think that because I am unable to compress the lifters, that sludge has blocked the ports?  I may soak a lifter in kerosene and see if it compresses after being cleaned up.

 

I will take pictures of the components but everything looks pretty good.  I may need to pick up a micrometer to do some measurements.

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It's very possible. replacing them is definitely the best route to go as cheap as they are but flushing the motor out would be a big priority for me.

 

I usually take the oil filter off, remove the drain plug. then take a 1 gallon pump up sprayer of kerosene and wash the whole engine out anytime i have a valve cover off for any reason. that way i can flush out the oil passages and clean up any varnish build up. let it all drain good the coat everything w fresh oil before closing it up.

Edited by Rockclymr

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I like that idea, as I am not entirely sure if there are any sludged up oil passages.  How do you go about getting the kerosene out of the engine?

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There isn't enough left in the pan if you let it drain for a while to worry about as after you run it up to operating temp again it will evaporate off and mix in to the egr system.

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It would be the PCV that's sending the evaporating kerosene into the intake, but yeah. Should be alright. The risk of doing a flush like this is that the schmoo that comes loose could end up somewhere it shouldn't be, potentially clogging an oil passage. Unless your engine's heavily sludged and your oil filter is bypassing, it should be fine.

Years ago I did something similar with ATF, which I was told had more detergents in it than engine oil and would help clean things up. I thought the oil came out a little darker than usual, so it might've done something.

 

EM-33 of the '95 manual says to check the lifter by pressing forcefully with your finger. If the lifter moves more than a millimeter, it's got air in it. This suggests that your lifters not moving when pressed does not indicate a problem. Their recommended fix for a lifter with air in it is to run the engine at 1000 rpm for ten minutes. If that doesn't do it, replace the lifters and then do the 1000 rpm for ten minutes again. The only inspection they show for the lifters is to make sure the outside isn't scuffed or scratched, the OD hasn't worn undersize, and the bore in the head that the lifter slides in hasn't worn oversize. The manual has specs for the lifter, head, and clearance between them. 

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On 12/1/2020 at 7:23 AM, Shift_Path90 said:

I have the lifters and gaskets ordered.  I'm going to test compression on cylinder 4 and 6 today as I had the battery charged yesterday.  I am planning on taking off the cover and remove the lifters for inspection.  

 

Any thoughts on any other things to do while the valve cover is off?  Using seafoam, some other additive, or cleanser to clean off other components?

 

If the right side lifter replacement resolves the tick, I'll plan on doing the driver side as well, but I'll need to plan on other parts to replace while the intake is off.

If everything else looks good I would leave it alone. For the drivers side the only thing you'll need is a plenum gasket. Any parts store can get them and they are not expensive. TBH if the drivers side is silent and the valve cover is not leaking, I would leave it. The only other thing you need to remove the intake plenum for is the injectors ($$$) and the fuel pressure regulator. Both are not common failures (I've had one injector fail in 15 years of pathy ownership).

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The drivers side valve cover is leaking, so I may get into that, but it looks to be quite a bit more involved with that plenum removal.  On the other hand it may make installing the Doug Thorley headers a little easier.

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