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Pontiac of the Month

PontiacStrong65's 1965 Tempest Station Wagon

2023 November
of the Month

Investigating Valvetrain noise.

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Well I have a new ticking noise from under the hood. I was hoping it was an exhaust leak but it wasn't. I know the valve train on a cammed LS1 is louder than usual, I've done 40k miles in it but this was a new sound.

Took the rocker cover off.

All valve springs look good and intact. no metal bits in there, so probably not metal hitting metal in this head. Rocker cover looks good, nothing been hitting it. Rockers look tight. Thought I'd start the car up, but couldn't connect the coil pack on this side as it would be resting on the rocker. I've started the car on 4 cylinders. Here is a video of it.

All moving parts are moving as they should.

I havn't change the oil filter for a while, although I am getting good oil pressure on tick over, 40-60psi which is usual. I have a spare oil filter.So I'm off to pro-parts to get some oil flusher, give it a little run and taking care.

I run the oil flush int he car on fast idle(about 1300 rpm) for 15mins. The ticking is more constant now. Turned the car off and changed the oil. New fresh 5w30 in there and some lifter additive. The noise still there. Got Paul Bristow to have a listen, its coming from the valley of the V8. So its gonna be intake manifold off, and take a look. This is where the Cam and lifters are located. Although I believe to take the lifters out the heads need to come off. It seems to be leaning towards a lifter problem.

So whats the plan.... well I'm gonna reverse the car into the garage, this is a task in itself as the car bottoms out and gets stuck on the ground when reversing in. So I'll have to build up the drive way with some wood first. Once in the garage I will take off the intake, and the valley cover to take a look. the reason for reversing in, as if the engine needs to come out it can. Because if heads are coming off I will get them reconditioned and depending on funds a stroker kit will happen as at the moment the bottom end is still standard and its done over 170k miles.


Car in the garage


Took out the spark plugs and I can turn the engine with a breaker bar, although it is stiff. Perhaps that normal as your fighting against the valve springs.
Felt the push rods when the valves are closed, all feel tight. So there isn't a bent one, as this could have caused the rattle sound.

The mission goes on...

Got one head off. That was a challenge.


Took out 8 lifters on one side. One of them had a loose surclip. This would have giving a ticking noise as the oil pressure wouldn't have happened in the lifter.


So that was my problem.

Full story in a blog.. http://www.solent-renegades.co.uk/blogs/transamdan/37-got-bit-valvetrain-noise-trans.html#comments

Had a few cuts along the way. I started doing this in December, so it was cold other there in the garage, no light, no heating.

Glad the car is all running again now. Just need to flatten the driveway so I can get the car in and out easily without scraping.

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Excellent mechanical and detective work. Too bad it was miserable weather to work on it. Any idea why the surclip might have come loose in the first place? Obviously you don't want this to happen again.

I look forward to reading the entire story.

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Alot of work, but sounds like you caught it early. You didn't mention it, but I'm sure you flat edge checked the bottom of the lifter? (the cam beating on the bottom will cause a valley and wont let it spin around freely) And of course checked the cam lob for damage? Rounded edges or flat spot on the lobe. Thankz for sharing the project.

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I did over rev the engine a while back when I missed a gear, which may have caused the lifter failure. Also I missed the last oil change. so either way its my own fault.

I havn't put the same lifters back in. i have changed all 16 to a slightly different design also made by CompCams, but better for high-revving.


The one at the top is the new one. The surclip looks a bit more substantial. I'm keeping a listen out for engine noised every time I drive it now, and not revved over 3000rpm yet.

Its been good fun working on the car, although a little scary doing it on my own as I am more computer orientated than mechanics.

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Its been good fun working on the car, although a little scary doing it on my own as I am more computer orientated than mechanics.

Thats what we are here for!

I know where you are coming from. Can you image how nerve wracking it is to work on a late model, first gen X-body that has absolutely no following? You mess up one thing and your in for it lol The only aftermarket support I have is from shared parts

None of us are complete experts on everything, but our collective knowledge on a variety of topics that don't necessarily include cars is invaluable in my honest opinion.

We have old car guys

New car guys






and that damn Sonic the Hedgehog enthusiast....

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Glad to see you not be afraid to tear into the problem yourself. My Grand Am gave me valvetrain problems before, so I know that pain. Damn thing broke a lifter twice on the same head. -__-

Good luck with the repairs...with the engine apart, it's a good excuse to upgrade. ;)

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