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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can the hydraulic lifters be replaced on a SPI without removing the head?
Swapped heads recently, but i have a light clicking sound comming from the the head. Did a compression test to rule out bent valves and it checked OK. Car idles fine no vibration and has plenty power so I'm guessing a lifter that came on the cylinder head was bad or clogged. So i don't want to remove the whole head again to replace lifters and i want to know if i can remove at least those in cylinder 4 or 3 since the sound is coming from there.

Thanks!
 

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Short answer is yes! But before you start pulling the lifters out, check the rocker arms for play. I bet one or more is loose.
 

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Any rocker that is loose tells you either worn rocker, stand for it, lifter problem or dead cam lobe.

If you pull a lifter it MUST go back in correct spot AND turned correctly, reinstall backwards and just like mismatching to different lobes, the cam lobes can then tear up. Lifters and lobes are matched to each other once they are run in.
 

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Well he said the head was replaced. I wonder if one of them wasn't torqued correctly. I knew someone who put a lifter in backwards. It tore up one of the came lobes
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well now I'm worried they might of put something backwards and messed up the head. The sound is not loud at all and can only be heard if you're standing in front of the engine and pay close attention and it can't be heard from inside. Is there enough clearance to pull the camshaft without removing the head? How would i know from the get go without pulling things apart if the lobe was messed up?

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I also double checked the torque for the rocker arm bolts to 21 ft lbs. Chillton says 17 ft lbs, but i read in the forums 17-22 ft lbs. Neither my 3/8 torque wrench or 1/2 inch will do 22 ft lbs, but already pulled valve cover and see no significant movement compared to the old head which i still have with me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Should i try 22 ft lbs or would some detergent first to see if a lifter is clogged (the head sat in my garage 2 weeks before i finished)? If i do pull the lifter out should I compare it to the original head which still has the lifters and everything as it came out of the factory or should i put the lifter the way it comes out of the original head? I'm guessing the process for this would be to set engine to TDC and losen up the timing tensioner with a drill bit and removing the timing belt. Is there a specific sequence to tighten the rocker arm bolts since the head is already installed?

Thanks a lot for your input by the way
 

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Before going nuts on this thing, search the SPI performance section for older threads talking about lifter noises on these. (can't summarize it all from memory)
 

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Can look in hole to see cam lobe with flashlight with lifter removed. The torque is not critical, if at 21 you are fine, I just tighten them down solid and don't read torque at all. Tighten both rockers in a pair equally not real critical there. You don't 'see' clearance, you have to manually feel for it by hand. Leave your lifter as it is already running if you change anything at all there you risk damage. The lifter must come out and go back in hole in the exact same way. believe there is a retainer bracket that goes over pairs there, do not mix the lifters/holes up either. You will most likely not be able to tell the few thousandths difference in a collapsed lifter by any comparing to the old head. Waste of time. No need to pull cam for your issue. Leave belt alone too.
 

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I might be off in left field somewhere, but try changing your oil to a different brand to see if that helps any. Something like Pennzoil or Valvoline perhaps. Or a high mileage oil.

If you can't hear it from the inside, it's probably not all that loud.

Some oils are a bit rattly/clackity.

Poor quality oil filters can cause that sound too.
 

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I might be off in left field somewhere, but try changing your oil to a different brand to see if that helps any. Something like Pennzoil or Valvoline perhaps. Or a high mileage oil.

If you can't hear it from the inside, it's probably not all that loud.

Some oils are a bit rattly/clackity.

Poor quality oil filters can cause that sound too.


While I'm with you on the oil filters (*cough* fram...) I'm not so sure about the brand of oil. Oil is generally oil. The only thing that could cause oil to create an engine noise is wrong viscosity.
 

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While I'm with you on the oil filters (*cough* fram...) I'm not so sure about the brand of oil. Oil is generally oil. The only thing that could cause oil to create an engine noise is wrong viscosity.
Some oils can be a bit noisier than others. Take Mobil for instance.......it's obviously a good oil, but a bit rattly from my experience, depending on the engine.

I have zero experience with the SPI and about a year experience with the Zetec, so I don't know how it would sound in these engines, but I used to own a Chevy Cavalier with the 2.2L engine for 15 years and Mobil was definitely rattly in that engine versus Pennzoil.
 

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I agree. I ran mine up to 359,833 miles (from 8,000 when I first got it) and it still ran as good as new when I got rid of it.
 

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I loved the car, but got tired of no power options and that sorry a** excuse of an ABS setup that GM was known for around that time. I ended up junking it because the same price the junk man would pay for it would probably be the same thing I could've sold it for.
 

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I loved the car, but got tired of no power options and that sorry a** excuse of an ABS setup that GM was known for around that time. I ended up junking it because the same price the junk man would pay for it would probably be the same thing I could've sold it for.


The abs system is the reason I hit the car. Girl pulled out in front of me, I hit the brakes, nothing, bam
 

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I disabled the ABS in my Contour for same reason. The car just did not stop as fast with it on and working. Sure, it stayed dead straight but I'd rather stop a bit faster. My view is that you can stop no faster than with four tires locked and scrubbing the pavement. If the ABS allows them to turn then you do not have 100% stopping power. You can feel it in the decel rate of the car as well, it is not stopping as fast.
 

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Never thought about disabling it altogether. If I were to find myself with another 90's model GM or any vehicle with a sketchy ABS setup for that matter, I'd more than likely look into doing that.
 
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