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Old 08-22-2004, 10:31 PM   #1
eborgen
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Default How do I diagnose a bad lifter (SOHC)

My Car:
1991 SL
SOHC, 1.9

I took my valve cover off this weekend to try to diagnose a ticking sound that corresponded with the RPM's of the engine.

I found a few pieces of torn metal that I eventually determined to be a guide plate that stabilized (and oriented) the lifters (and is held down by a spring device that is attached to the rocker bar... thingy).

I bought a replacement plate from my saturn dealer (20-ish bucks) that was thinner than the plate I was replacing, and it also lacked a groove for the spring device.

I saw uneven wear on the surface of one of the cam lobes that were visible (standing in front, looking at the engine, it was the 2nd from the right) and removed the lifter to examine the cam closer.

I've never seen a lifter before, but mine wasn't right. At the friction point on the bottom (the surface should be a smooth round wheel) was instead worn flat. Like a tire that was utterly flat. And this was the point that the cam lobe was grinding against.

It was sunday at this point, and I couldn't get a replacement part at this point, and need to drive the car to work on monday.

I searched around this board, but only became more concerned about the rest of my lifters, not to mention the one that is ground flat.

The flat one was the only one that I couldn't depress the top of and feel at least a little give.

My questions (sorry this is getting long) are these:
About how much are these lifters to buy?
How should they feel on the top? Squishy / Firm?

Before I reinstalled the valve cover, I swathed the parts with MMO and hoped for the best.
The ticking didn't go away (although I was happy to get the chunks of broken metal out ot there).

Thanks for any help you can offer.
-Eric

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Old 08-23-2004, 06:57 PM   #2
FrozenPilot
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1995 SL1
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Flat obviously isn't good. The sooner you can get that lifter out of there and a new one in the better. The rest should be OK, the techs here can confirm if I'm correct or not.

...
Its all about the coffee...

'06 Mazda 6i & '95 Saturn SL1

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Old 08-24-2004, 12:22 PM   #3
dixonba
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2007 ION-2 Sedan
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Ok....

so lifters from saturn will run you about $25 bucks a pop. I don't know if autozone or advance carrys saturn lifters. I know they carry beretta lifters that are pretty much identical ($15 a piece). You would have to check with a local parts store.

My experience with lifters:

If the wheel is ground flat...that must mean that the little bearing on the wheel seized up. You can consider that lifter toast...

eborgen minus $15 to $25

You would seriously want to make sure there is no significant damage to your camshaft...this would be an important thing. I don't know how you would gage the damage...but you can probably use your common sense. If its not too bad...i think you'll be fine.

You should be able to depress the top of the lifter...if you cant (or its already depressed)...its stuck. You can try to repair it by taking the retainer clip out and soaking the disassembled lifter in solvent. You would then want to try and unstick the lifter. There is a cylinder that slides in the lifter housing. I successfuly did it with some banging and prying.

I don't know how important the firmness of the lifter is. I think new ones are so firm they are actually hard to depress. The ones i ran into were kind of soft. I don't know...someone else can chime in here.

It seems like you are on the right track.

Be really concerned about that camshaft though. I'm tellin you...you don't want to have to take it out. It comes out one of two ways.

1.) Through the freeze plug on the right of the engine. Need to take the timing cover off to remover sprocket from cam.

2.) Cylinder head off and leave the freeze plug on.


Needless to say...dont wanna do it...

g-luck

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Old 08-24-2004, 01:14 PM   #4
eborgen
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Thanks for the great answers.
My cam lobe at that position isn't looking all that great, but this little car just has to last until it falls apart. Thats all
That said; a cam replacement isn't in my future.

Gonna check some non-saturn auto parts stores around town and see if I can get a lifter to get by with.

The idea that I should be able to mash the tops of the other lifters in a little bit is reassuring, because that is what the others feel like.

-Eric

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Old 08-24-2004, 02:14 PM   #5
Lucas1
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if you want to fix your car right, then replace all of the lifters and the camshaft.

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