New lifter tick in my GM 5.3L... could it be my oil?

OVERKILL

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Understand completely that the 4.7 litre Chrysler and the GM5.3 have nothing in common. I just cited that I had the same thing happen that he is experiencing at about the same mileage.

Did you switch from one synthetic to another though? He did, he went from a Mobil 1 product to a LiquiMoly one with about the biggest difference I can see being that one was a high mileage oil, which are typically a touch heavier for the grade and have added seal conditions and the like, to one that wasn't.

Most synthetics are made from base stocks or natural gas derivatives,
Well they all are made from base stocks, I think you accidentally missed a few words in there ;) In the case of the oils the OP is running, both are likely majority Group III, so base stock selection between the two is probably quite similar. And of course the GTL base stocks used by Shell are also technically Group III, like Mobil's VISOM product, even though the process is different.

but like I said, others have reported noisier engines when they switch to or run total synthetics vs syn blends, or straight dino oil, especially in older worn or low clearance engines. I too have heard good things about the Castrol Magnatec, but I have never used it myself. I will have to try it out at next OCI.

The moral I guess is, find out what works for you; oil brand, derivative, viscosity, filter, additives. Whatever combination makes the noise disappear, document that, and then keep on using it.

Personally, I'd try and confirm it isn't just an exhaust leak first, and once that's verified, perhaps switch back to the oil he was using previously. Seems the most straight-forward in this case as either the noise is related to the oil brand change or it isn't.
 

cfmistry

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Well I guess I was wrong fellas. I can't be sure where it's coming from, but I clearly have a missing/broken bolt on either end of the exhaust manifold.

Manifold 1.jpg

Manifold 2.jpg
 
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139
Location
VA
I know I hadn't replied on this thread but I was suspect that the ticking was a lifter just by switching oil brands. You've been using Mobil 1 and Kreen but didn't have ticking issues up until now which appears to be a separate underlying issue at hand. Yes the 5.3's are notorious for lifers ticking but I've been fortunate enough not to have that issue with mine and only has 116k miles. For a sticking lifter you could always try adding a quart of MMO couple of hundred miles before you change the oil.

Are the bolts just missing or are have they been sheared off? and how does the other manifold look? The 5.3's definitely do have their fair share of problems but I haven't heard of broken or missing manifold bots as being one of them but I guess that can affect practically any vehicle.
 
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Mine is missing the back bolt on both sides, and still no tick, even when cold. A front and rear missing is probably a lot more likely to leak. I have had zero engine noise on Pennzoil conventional, then Pennzoil high mileage conventional (before the truck belonged to me), then Quaker state FS HM and now m1 EP HM (all 5w30).

The only thing that made it tick was the fram ultra, which I switched less than 600 miles after the oil change, put an extra guard on and left the same oil. Next oil change I did early and left the same filter on.

So if you can't confirm an exhaust leak, consider trying going back to whatever filter you used before, if you changed to a different one.
 
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I once drove a 2008 Silverado with the small V-8 . Had 140,000 or 160,000 miles on the clock . It developed a tick in the winter when the temp got down to around freezing . Went away when it warmed up . The engine was quiet at warmer temps .

A lady ran into me and totaled the truck and that was the end of that .
 
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1,201
Very common, those broken manifold studs on the 5.3’s.

I learned a trick to get them out - actually I’m sure it’s no secret - weld a nut to the broken stud in the head. Boom, comes right out.

Just hold the nut with a pair of pliers, weld the center of it with your other hand. Let it cool and unscrew it with a socket.
 
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My 409 Chevy had lifter tick - actually a clack. then I tightend the lash a tiny bit and it sounded somewhat better.

If it is just some lifter noise, and if it goes away during warmup, I wouldnt worry a bit. You likely have and intake that is worn past its preload and after the parts heat up ( valvestem and pushrod ) the noise will fade away. At 170K , If that was the only issue on an engine I'd be a happy camper.

Now, What is the design timing set life on these engines? I know med duty trucks used to go maybe around 150-175K miles or a bit more due to metal sprockets without the over-moulded "nylon" cushion which made a "silent chain" for passengers cars but was a fast wearing item.
Trucks with gears instead of chain could usually go to the rebuild without cam timing issues 300-400K.
 
Messages
1,201
My 409 Chevy had lifter tick - actually a clack. then I tightend the lash a tiny bit and it sounded somewhat better.

If it is just some lifter noise, and if it goes away during warmup, I wouldnt worry a bit. You likely have and intake that is worn past its preload and after the parts heat up ( valvestem and pushrod ) the noise will fade away. At 170K , If that was the only issue on an engine I'd be a happy camper.

Now, What is the design timing set life on these engines? I know med duty trucks used to go maybe around 150-175K miles or a bit more due to metal sprockets without the over-moulded "nylon" cushion which made a "silent chain" for passengers cars but was a fast wearing item.
Trucks with gears instead of chain could usually go to the rebuild without cam timing issues 300-400K.
I’ve never seen timing gears on an engine, read about them, but never seen them. Must be loud, I suppose.

Passenger cars and trucks with the timing chains are supposed to be “lifetime”, but that rarely turns out to be the case anymore.
 
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I’ll bet there are other bolts that are cracked. Best to remove and redo the whole thing.

The 96 Toyota Tacoma I had was direct gears on the timing. That was the 2.7 four cylinder.
 

cfmistry

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Maryland
So it turns out cracked manifold bolts are extremely common on all GM engines of this era - 5.3, 6.0, 6.2 etc.

In fact it's so common that companies make a "clamp" to seal the manifold to the block so that you don't have to remove the broken bolts. I am going that route since my truck has 170k miles and I don't mind a band-aid fix (that's proven to work). I have 3 broken bolts in total, they area all snapped off. Replacing the manifold the right way is out of my ability and in the $1000 range, so the $100 clamps will work for now!
 
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N.H, U.S.A.
So it turns out cracked manifold bolts are extremely common on all GM engines of this era - 5.3, 6.0, 6.2 etc.

In fact it's so common that companies make a "clamp" to seal the manifold to the block so that you don't have to remove the broken bolts. I am going that route since my truck has 170k miles and I don't mind a band-aid fix (that's proven to work). I have 3 broken bolts in total, they area all snapped off. Replacing the manifold the right way is out of my ability and in the $1000 range, so the $100 clamps will work for now!
Really? Do mechanics get Brain Surgeon salaries in MD? :)

You got to join a "auto service club", they have them near me across the border in Lawrence, MA. A guy bought an old dealer and you can rent time on a lift in the service bay - and they have some power tools and Alabama hot wrenches you can use. Hard thing is you have to focus on the task at hand instead of storytelling while you are in there. A lot of guys "help" each other. Cool.

P.S: That manifold leak would fail Cal emissions. Check your warranty - some are very long.
 

cfmistry

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Maryland
Wanted to update this thread and provide some closure.

I bought one of those clamps and put it on the front area of the manifold (where one of the broken bolts was, and where I felt the noise was coming from). The ticking was immediately gone on cold start - I've now verified it 5 times. I was mistaken to blame or even point a finger at LiquiMoly. Their snake-oil Molygen is not to blame. 😁 I will continue using it since it is very cheap for me and seems to be a very high-quality oil.
 
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688
I'm thinking of buying the clamps for mine if it ever gets to the point of leaking. I've seen it work for a YouTuber that I watch.
Though my friend who's a licensed mechanic said to me "just fix it, it's cheap". He drives the same truck and already replaced his bolts.
 

cfmistry

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Location
Maryland
Removing the studs is NOT cheap, but it is the right way to do things. The clamps are working for now, and they're cheap, so I don't mind giving them a try.
 
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