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Question Got my first 944! Some ticking/lifter questions...

Hi all, I just bought my first Porsche (944s) last week and it has a ticking that sounds like a flat lifter or two. I can distinguish the ticking from the injectors (which are loud) and it increases in speed with engine revving.

I changed the oil (20w50 ) and ran some ATF for 5 mins before the oil change. The oil actually came out pretty clean.

The noise went away after the first 5 mins on the first start after the oil change. Then it came back after 10 mins and kind of cycled on and off every 5 seconds. I then drove it for 10 mins and it was much quieter, but after a 20 min drive, it's back to ticking and hasn't gone away. This has got to be lifters, right?

I checked the exhaust bolts and they seemed tight. The oil is at 5bar at cold start and drops to ~3 at warm idle around 1k RPMs.

Is it common on these cars for the lifters to simply go bad?

I also couldn't find much info on the procedure to replace the lifters...would I need to remove the camshafts? Do I need any special tools?

I got an automotive stethoscope and I think the loudest metal-ticking noise is heard when the probe is touching the top plastic part of the plug wire for cylinder #4 and also (not as loudly) on #3. Touching the valve cover doesn't really produce the noise. It's there if I touch the block near cyl's 3 & 4 on the exhaust side, as well as on the headers, but not nearly as loud as touching the plug wire of cyl4.

I'd hate to have to rip off the valve cover if unnecessary. The previous owner replaced the timing belt 9k miles ago (it's at 126k now) and made an observation at 119k that the cam chain tensioner showed no wear.

Any help is appreciated!
Old 08-10-2009, 05:51 PM
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I have the exact same problem. I plan to switch to 20w50 to see if it helps soon. I'll keep an eye on this for responses.
Old 08-10-2009, 06:52 PM
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Welcome to the forum.

Clark's Garage http://www.clarks-garage.com/ has an excellent shop manual that has, among other things, a procedure for removing the cam cover. The whole cam cover / camshaft assembly comes off as a unit. The lifters are inside and accessible when you lift the cam cover off. http://www.clarks-garage.com/shop-manual/repair-procedure-index3.htm

Removing the cam cover can sometimes be a pain, so I'd try some more ATF/Seafoam/whatever before diving in.

Did the car sit for quite a while before you bought it? If it did, it could just be a matter of running it for a while, and having it even out.

126K miles is awful early to have a lifter fail - they're pretty robust. But I s'pose it's possible. There really isn't an awful lot else it could be coming from the top of the engine - you're sure it isn't the injectors, you said.
I got an automotive stethoscope and I think the loudest metal-ticking noise is heard when the probe is touching the top plastic part of the plug wire for cylinder #4 and also (not as loudly) on #3. Touching the valve cover doesn't really produce the noise.
I really don't know what to make of that.

I don't have a stethescope, but what I use in similar situations is just a piece of plastic hose - maybe a 3/4" diameter. What I found was that the sounds I heard when touching metal (the cam cover, block, etc) were confused because there was just too much background noise (grinding, swishing, clicking, etc).

For me with the hose, when trying to localte the origin of a noise, I found it worked a lot better when I held the end an inch or so away froom whatever I was listening to. I don't know if that'd help your situation or not.

If it is loudest at the plastic plug wire - and you can't hear it on the actual cam cover - it'd almost make you think it's coming from the cylinder and that just ain't possible.

Like I said, unless the noise is really nasty, I'd try some SeaFoam and drive it a bit to see if it'd even out.
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:13 PM
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Hello and welcome.

The ATF or SeaFoam should have cleaned up the tapping lifter. It sounds like you have some background with engines.

Here is a little information on lifters from member many944s.

http://www.benms.com/944lifter.html

Very good infromation posted by mikepellegrini.

If you use the stethoscope again. put it on the oil pan and check to see if it may be a rod bearing starting to fail.

GL
John_AZ
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:54 PM
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My old 944S had ticking lifters. They are just loud, all 16 of them. At idle you will be able to hear them nicely but when you rev the car the ticking noise should be drowned out by the noise of the engine. I use to run 20w50 oil in mine and it worked great.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:17 AM
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When I rev the engine, the ticking actually overpowers the exhaust until ~4500-5000 RPMs. I can hear it ticking as I drive by buildings/walls/cars and it is audible until maybe 45mph, then the wind drowns it out.
Old 08-11-2009, 06:48 PM
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That sounds pretty intense. If it doesn't go away real soon, I'd stop driving it and look at pulling the cam tower.

But I would try the SeaFoam again first - just in case.
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:57 PM
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That doesnt sound right. I know the lifters are loud but not that loud. You shouldnt be able to hear it while driving. Maybe you would be able to hear it at idle while standing next to the car with the hood down and definitely with hood up. But if you rev the engine standing over the engine bay you shouldnt be able to hear them with the engine noise. You might have to investigate that. Where do you live?!?! Maybe you know of someone else in your area with an "S" so you can hear theirs? Or they can hear yours? Or anyone that knows what it's suppose to sound like?!?!
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:40 PM
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A few more possibilities:

http://forums.rennlist.com/rennforums/924-931-944-951-968-forum/350563-knocking-from-cam-tower.html

Valve spring ?

GL
John_AZ
Old 08-11-2009, 08:47 PM
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OK, I checked all around the engine with the stethoscope.... it sounds the same from the bottom or top, but is the most pronounced right above cyl #4. I tried pulling each plug individually, but the sound stayed consistent.

Interestingly, I checked the plugs and they all look good (and were tight), except that plug #4 was covered in oil.....

So, the noise is located around cyl #4, (loudest when the stethoscope is pressed against the top of its spark plug wire) and the #4 plug was coated in oil.

Any guesses?
Old 08-12-2009, 07:50 PM
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Wow well oil on a plug is never a good thing. Head gasket is probably failing. I read the head gasket failure is common around Cyl#4. Reason being because of heat build around that cylinder. Heat build up because its hard bleeding all air from the cooling system of these cars. There are air pockets around Cyl#4. The heat eats away the gasket.

A leakdown would tell you for sure. What does your coolant look like? Clean? It will look like a milk shake if theres enough oil in it. No oil leaking externaly around the head gasket?

I did a head job on my "S" a long time ago with very few special tools. The only special tools I had was the tensioning tool and the pulley wrench I thing? I was able to do the whole job with regular tools. I timed the engine with a dial caliper. I can't instruct you to do it because I dont want to be responsible for you trying and failing. But it can be done. If your head isnt damaged, no bent valves etc,... you can probably just get away with cleaning it yourself. Replace the gasket and other various seals in teh area,... and your done. Fairly cheap.

to have someone else do it will cost. Let other here chime in though. They know more than me.
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:03 PM
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How do I do a leakdown? The coolant is clean and green, the oil is clean. Nothing is frothy.

There is no oil leaking around the head area that I can see.

I doubt it's oil splashing up from in the cylinder, since the threads don't see the combustion area and the car doesn't seem to burn any oil.
Old 08-12-2009, 09:07 PM
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How much oil was on the plug? Ont he tip or on the threads? Some people actually put some oil on the threads to install them. If the tip is clean then you might be ok. Carbon build up is all you should see. If you tip is fouled a bit then that could be a problem.

Leakdown,... you have a compressor? No someone with one? You can buy a leakdown kit for pretty cheap. $40 at harbor frieght. I just bought one.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=94190

It pretty easy. Not as easy as a compression test but it is more accurate though. You can hear where the ait is escaping from which will tell you whats failing. Bent valves you'll hear air from exhaust or intake or both depending. Bad piston rings you'll hear air escaping from oil test port. Bad valve seals from oil fill port. the point is that it will tell you whats wrong and not just that there is something wrong. the procedure for it,... I myself havent done a leakdown yet so I am new to it myself. I am only sharing what others have told me about it. I know that each cylinder has to be TDC. As to how to hook up and use the kit I dont know. I was told that the results should be between 5% - 8% leakage. Thats goods.
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRallyDriver View Post
How do I do a leakdown? The coolant is clean and green, the oil is clean. Nothing is frothy.

There is no oil leaking around the head area that I can see.

I doubt it's oil splashing up from in the cylinder, since the threads don't see the combustion area and the car doesn't seem to burn any oil.
Here you are:
http://www.dietersmotorsports.com/Compression-leakdowntest.htm

Harbor Freight has a good price as mentioned

Compression numbers should be in the range of 145 to 160 (VG). Record each cyl and hope you have similiar numbers on each cyl.

GL
John_AZ
Old 08-13-2009, 03:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRallyDriver View Post
OK, I checked all around the engine with the stethoscope.... it sounds the same from the bottom or top, but is the most pronounced right above cyl #4. I tried pulling each plug individually, but the sound stayed consistent.

Any guesses?
Going back to basic checks.

An exhaust manifold gasket may be leaking and sound like tapping. Check the header gaskets as well. Are the nuts torqued correctly?

This will not solve the oil soaked plug issue.

GL
John_AZ
Old 08-13-2009, 04:45 AM
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OK I triple checked the exhaust bolts and a couple did tighten a little, but the noise is still there. It does get quiet at times for 3-5 seconds. Like I said, it "comes and goes."

It's not as loud as it was. Revving the engine up to maybe 3000-3500RPMs does mask the noise now. I'm not sure if it's the new oil helping and still filling things up, or tightening the bolts...

I took off the cam cover just to see if anything was obviously out of place or broken... all looks good as far as I can see, but I'm new to these cars.

Is it possible to check the lifters without pulling them out? How does my tensioner look?

Here are some pics:

Here you can see how the plug has oil on the threads and the part with the writing "WR7DC." The is no oil on the tip, though. Any thoughts?
(Also, the red you see on the cam lobes is just the reflection from the underside of the hood)






Old 08-16-2009, 09:02 PM
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I bet that oil on the plug is because the valve cover gasket around the plug hole is leaking and oil is seeping down to the top of the plug.

Not nearly as bad of a deal as the head gasket leaking oil from an oil passage into the cylinder.
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:07 PM
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Drive the car a bit. If there's gunk in one of the lifters, it may take some time to clear up.

Alternatively you can remove the valve cover, pull all the lifters out (carefully) and soak them in some ATF for a few days to help de-crud them. I suppose you could use seafoam too if you really wanted (I've used that to clean up injectors before by soaking them in it).
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:09 PM
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If you do pull the lifters out and soak them, BE SURE TO KEEP THEM IN ORDER!

They've gotten used to riding in their respective locations. Mixing them up is not a good idea.
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:58 PM
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What about worn piston rings causing "piston slap" between the piston and cylinder wall on No 4?

cvriv.charles suggested a compression test. Have you done one? When you do a compression test, remove the DME RELAY or you will wash the cylinders walls with gas.

GL
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:38 PM
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