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I tried my mechanics stethoscope but I dont hear the tick unless the engine is running. The starter motor doesnt appear to turn the motor fast enough to make the tick happen.
Run the engine and listen. Try to prevent oil splash the best you can.
 

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AERA Engine Builders Association had a bulletin on valve train noise on 2001-2017 GM 2.0, 2.2 and 2.4 L Ecotech engines. If I remember correctly an oil feed restrictor to the cylinder head oiling system and a restriction to that orifice limiting the amount of oil to the lifters. Possibly becoming plugged with debris. Noise could occur do to limited oil to the train.
I believe there was a procedure mentioned to compare the oil pressure from the upper cylinder head to the lower engine in the cylinder block. I don’t remember the values,
but I’m sure it can be Googled.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Another update: -
After much messing about I found one of the rocker arms was slightly loose, but not loose enough to remove. I pushed down on the valve spring and I was able to get the rocker arm and lifter out. The lifter is sticky/not moving/collapsed. I bought a new lifter and rocker arm. I had to loosen the camshaft bolts to install the new lifter and rocker arm. My book says that the camshaft bearing bolts should be tightened to 10NM which is not very tight, hopefully it is correct.

Once installed I turned the engine by hand and the new lifter/rocker arm and cam lobe aren’t getting as much oil as the other lifters/rocker arms and cam lobes, is that because the hole in the new lifter is smaller or is that the issue that caused the old lifter to bad? I took it apart again and blasted the hole where the lifter sits with 90psi compressed air to try to open up/dislodge anything that might be causing the low flow. I tightened it all down and turned the engine by hand again and I think its now oiling at about the same rate as the others. I cleaned the valve cover, put new gaskets on and tightened it all down to 10NM and took the car for a run. I sounds good the ticking has gone (hopefully for good).
New and old lifter.jpg
 

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Good find. Congratulations, and thanks for adding it to our store of knowledge.
 

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I had always heard these called lash adjusters on our engines since they are not acting like normal lifters. I had a feeling this was your issue but I haven't heard it being a common issue with our cars.

My son has a 1992 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 and those engines are well known for developing this issue as they age. So much so in 1999 Mitsubishi made the oiling hole larger to prevent this issue and the newer lifters can be used in the older engines. This problem was on my son's car with multiple lifters having issues. I think your issue was a fluke as we just don't see it like my son's car does.

Glad you found and fixed it.
 

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Another update: -
After much messing about I found one of the rocker arms was slightly loose, but not loose enough to remove. I pushed down on the valve spring and I was able to get the rocker arm and lifter out. The lifter is sticky/not moving/collapsed. I bought a new lifter and rocker arm. I had to loosen the camshaft bolts to install the new lifter and rocker arm. My book says that the camshaft bearing bolts should be tightened to 10NM which is not very tight, hopefully it is correct.

Once installed I turned the engine by hand and the new lifter/rocker arm and cam lobe aren’t getting as much oil as the other lifters/rocker arms and cam lobes, is that because the hole in the new lifter is smaller or is that the issue that caused the old lifter to bad? I took it apart again and blasted the hole where the lifter sits with 90psi compressed air to try to open up/dislodge anything that might be causing the low flow. I tightened it all down and turned the engine by hand again and I think its now oiling at about the same rate as the others. I cleaned the valve cover, put new gaskets on and tightened it all down to 10NM and took the car for a run. I sounds good the ticking has gone (hopefully for good).
View attachment 114488
I have followed your journey with much interest and impressed that you figured it out! Congrats!
 
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