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OhioTed 11-03-2013 03:36 PM

noisy valve train
We recently built up a 289 with an Eagle-brand 347 stroker kit and Edelbrock Power Package flat-tappet cam/aluminum heads/intake kit. Roller rockers are utilized as well.

Engine runs great, but after a couple of hundred miles the valve train now becomes noisy after the engine is up to temperature.

Went back and check all component specs, including pushrod length. Also checked oil pressure - 35 psi @ 1000 rpm. Have adjusted preload on lifters several times now. Summit, Edelbrock, and local shop's recommendation are vary slightly, but have tried anywhere from 1/4 turn to 1 full turn most recently. Still noisy when hot.

Any suggestions? One shop suggested I'm getting a lot of expansion from the aluminum head and need to go with even more preload, but that does not match any manufacturer's specs. Another shop said the lifters may be bad. Any information would be greatly appreciated, as I am out of ideas.

Gun Jam 11-03-2013 03:47 PM

Does it do it when it first starts up?
or only when hot?

which brand of lifter are you using?

are all the valves doing it?

After its hot remove a valve cover and find a valve that is in the fully seated position so there is little to no pressure on the push rod. Use your thumb and attempt to push the rod into the lifter by pressing on the top of the rocker arm just above the pushrod. It should feel rock hard if you feel any squish its probably a bad lifter. If you dont feel any squish is there any noticeable up and down movement in the pushrod it too should not move up and down at all


67mustang302 11-03-2013 08:05 PM

Did you break the cam in properly? Flat tappets are pissy with oils these days.

As far as preload, minimum is best, 1/4 turn, but anywhere from 1/4-1 full turn is fine.

A lot of valvetrain noise is from rockers and cam. Which rockers are you using? Chances are the Edelbrock cam is just noisier than some, customs tend to be the quietest.

MonsterBilly 11-03-2013 11:48 PM

I have a set of scorpion roller rockers on my engine and I have a set of aluminum heads. they are noisy as well. In fact, you can here them at idle when you stand bhind, and beside the car. I also have a loud exhuast. I have just gotten used to it.

dawson1112 11-04-2013 06:24 AM


Originally Posted by MonsterBilly (Post 8304649)
I have a set of scorpion roller rockers on my engine and I have a set of aluminum heads. they are noisy as well. In fact, you can here them at idle when you stand bhind, and beside the car. I also have a loud exhuast. I have just gotten used to it.

yea I have 1.7 rrs on x302 aluminum heads and it sounds like a sewing machine under the valve covers. Some rrs are just noisy

Op if you can get a video of the noise up maybe someone can tell you if its an abnormal sound.

67mustang302 11-04-2013 02:38 PM

Scorpions are actually some of the quieter rockers out there. Noise is more likely from the cam setting the valve down hard or throwing the rockers around brutally.

Another reason I go with custom cams, the custom grinders for the most part are really big on picking up and setting the valve down gently with the cam profile, and being gentle with the valvetrain; so the valvetrain lasts longer and makes way less noise.

kenash 11-08-2013 07:30 AM

noisy valve train
I realize, this is 5 days later but,.......
Have you taken a peek at the wear pattern on the valve tip, if there is one yet? This will give you an indication of your P/R setup.
Good Luck!

OhioTed 11-09-2013 11:17 AM

Thank you for all the input, gentlemen. Here's the latest. Pulled the valve covers back off last week and started from scratch, at 1/4 turn. Fired it up, noisy as heck. Went back in, applied a full turn, fired it up, sounded great. Let it come up to temperature, still sounding great. Headed down the road and I was riding high - until the engine got good and hot. Then it started getting louder and louder. By the time I was back home we were right back where we started from.

Got on the phone with Edelbrock, because they built the motor (seriously - no kidding - long story). Anyway, they asked for all specs, what oil we're using (conventional, NAPA, 10w30), what break-in lube (CompCam additive). They asked if ends of pushrods are distorted (no). Asked if there is any metal in the bottom of the oil filter. Cut it apart with snips. There is metal there - trace amount of very tiny particles.

I reported all to Edelbrock, but no response yet. Communication with them is intermittent at best. I did not yet check the lifters per Gun Jam's advice. I figure Edelbrock will next have me pull the lifters, at which time we will hopefully be able to evaluate them. Did not closely eyeball the valve tips for wear pattern. Will do so.

That's it for now. Sure is frustrating. Note, reason Edelbrock got involved in rebuilding motor is because first time around the cam tore up all the pushrods. There's something weird going on here . . .

67mustang302 11-09-2013 11:44 AM

Metal in the filter....tiny metal bits, or is it like a paste or peach fuzz? A little bit of metal is normal, especially on a new engine breaking in, but it should be like peach fuzz or a paste (often collects on the magnet on the drain plug). But it should be a small amount and there should not be any particles that are large enough to see as being a piece of metal.

Did you break the cam in with break in springs, or the springs for operation? Flat tappet cams these days have all sorts of problems because most of the oil these days is ****ty. And with the more aggressive cam profiles these days even when everything is right, flat tappets can still have issues.

OhioTed 11-10-2013 06:02 AM

The particles are not like the "fuzz" which shows up on magnetic drain plugs, but more like what is created when you file metal (bad).

When the cam and lifters got torn up first time around I asked Edelbrock about the need for break-in springs. They said "no".

Sure wish we would have rebuilt the second time around with a roller cam, but Edelbrock performed the work, so . . .

kenash 11-10-2013 06:13 AM


Originally Posted by OhioTed (Post 8307556)
The particles are not like the "fuzz" which shows up on magnetic drain plugs, but more like what is created when you file metal (bad).

When the cam and lifters got torn up first time around I asked Edelbrock about the need for break-in springs. They said "no".

Sure wish we would have rebuilt the second time around with a roller cam, but Edelbrock performed the work, so . . .

Bud, I'm thinking your cam is "wiped" to some degree. It's for conditions like this, I chucked the cam and lifters and converted to a full roller set up.
Have to ask, when you broke in the cam, did you run it up to 2K-2500 Rs and cycle the engine? My condolences.

OhioTed 11-29-2013 06:19 PM

Think I may have found the problem, guys. I tested all lifters per Gun Jam's instructions and found six of them to be "squishy". Should have done so before now, but have been tied up at work and on another project car.

Thanks so much for all your advice and input. I'm going to report this to Edelbrock and see how they respond. Hopefully we're just a new set of lifters away from resolution.

I'll keep you posted.

Gun Jam 11-29-2013 07:38 PM


did you check them after you ran the car or did it sit for sometime? Its not uncommon for lifters to bleed out a bit when the sit and are new. But if you checked them after running the engine for a bit and immediately pulled the cover and found 6 bad ones. I would suspect over preload or some other type of extreme pressure cracked the oil metering disc inside the lifter and caused the check valve to jam up and leak.

If you checked them right after it was run and 6 were squishy...its a rare chance that they simply need more time to seal up well. I had a few lifters that over time would bleed down but that went away after a few 100 to 1k miles but they would stay fully pumped up for at least 10 min. Its more likely they are collapsed.

Here is a really cool article on it. Look at the material that oil metering disc is made from. See if you can find any of those pieces in your oil filter or magnet or oil pan...they will be very tiny but easy to recognize.

Good luck


OhioTed 11-29-2013 08:18 PM

Here's a rundown of what took place leading up to identification of six "squishy" lifters. Note, this all took place after running the engine for about 15 minutes and getting it up to temperature.

We removed the intake today, pulled all the lifters, and inspected them and the cam. Good news is that the bottoms of the lifters are perfect. Not a mark on them. The cam lobes appear good too. No scoring. We also confirmed the rollers on the rockers are operating nicely centered on the valve tops.

Next, we measured the lift on each cam lobe. Two things stuck out, here. First the cam card which came with the Edelbrock Power Package I purchased and installed the first time around lists the Lift at Cam on the Exhaust side at .325 and the Intake side at .310. However, they actually measure out at .246 on the Exhaust and .265 on the Intake.

These numbers are consistent except on three lobes. Two of the Exhaust are .265, and one of the Intake is .246 - exactly opposite of what the other Exhaust & Intake lobes are. I know this sounds odd, but I measured every one with a dial indicator, and checked the three anomalies three-times each. Measurement was performed by installing the lifters and pushrods, securing the dial indicator on top of each pushrod, one at a time, then rotating the cam through its lift.

Then we started testing each lifter to assure they are working properly. One by one we reinstalled the rockers, set preload on them and carefully observed the tops of the lifters to assure that the preload was transferring properly to them. The first few checked out ok, but then we started finding lifters which were not firm. Their tops were collapsing under just the slightest pressure. In the end, six lifters were found to collapse in this way.

Gun Jam 11-29-2013 10:07 PM

When I got my lifters new in the box some would collapse and others were firm. They really need to be checked directly after shutting down the engine.... within 10 min.

If possible find a collapsed one and see if you can disassemble it. If its not a linkbar roller lifter (which its not) You should be able to easily pull the lifter out of the bore, pull the snap ring on the top, slide out the piston, the oil metering disc and visually inspect the check plate for blockages.

Thats what I would do now.


OhioTed 11-30-2013 08:02 PM

Well, it's just like you said, GJ. Was at Summit today picking up some other stuff and had them pull six new lifters off the shelf. Checked each one and found several which collapsed easily.

So now I'm back at square one. I just can't find anything wrong with this motor! Makes me wonder if there is actually any problem at all. It's just that sound! Other posters have suggested roller rockers sound like a bunch of sewing machines. To me, it sounds like there is no oil in the engine, or it's got a bunch of bad lifters, or it's a diesel!

Is it possible this is typical? If so, I'll give up some horsepower and go back to non-roller rockers. I'd rather have a decent-sounding engine rather than one that always sounds like it's in need of maintenance.

So what's the consensus? Given that I can't find anything wrong, is this just the way a roller-rocker equipped engine sounds?

barnett468 12-01-2013 03:31 AM

lifters with no oil are fairly easy to collapse, i wouldn't worry about it.

there should be no metal in a properly cleaned newly assembled engine.

metal paste is a very bad sign, it means it has been getting pulverized in your engine.


one helpful thing to do is take a cell phone video of the noise with the hood open moving from one fender to the other. put it on or similar, post the link to it here.

if the lifters are comp cams they are likely the problem.

roller rockers might make a mild uniform sewing machine noise but not as loud as a solid lifter cam.

OhioTed 12-02-2013 05:41 PM

GJ - forgot to mention, I attempted to disassemble lifters as you described. Excellent post by the way. However, unable to get these Edelbrock-brand lifters apart. They do not utilize a conventional snap ring. Instead, pistons are held in place by malleable washers. I could dig them out, but lifters would be unusable afterwards. I'll wait out to see what Edelbrock has to say. No response, yet.

69mach1377 12-03-2013 01:19 PM

Flat tappet cams should be using high zinc/phosphorus oils or additives.

Gun Jam 12-03-2013 10:23 PM

I used valvoline VR1 10-30w when I had my flat tappet valve train. The top of the tappets looked great a mirror finish no pits. Now that I have a roller valve train I still use VR1 10-30 I figured what the hell.


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