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Author Topic: ??????Lifter noise!!!!!!!! and cracked head!  (Read 8048 times)
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Leafangel
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« on: 10/06/09 05:35 AM »

Ok, I have a 2003 AV with a 5.3 and just fewer than 62K miles.  Cheesy It has been a generally dependable, good running vehicle. Thumbs up! Two days ago I took it for a short drive and everything was as usual. Yesterday, I get in it to go to town, start it up, and whoa...... terrible lifter noise.  Shocked I mean this thing sounded like it had no oil pressure. I immediately shut it down. I started it again and same thing, terrible lifter noise. I checked the oil pressure gauge and it reads right where it normally is. I shut the engine down again. I get out and check the oil level. It reads normal on the dipstick. The oil on the dipstick appears normal, no unusual smell or color.I haven't let the engine run for more than 10 or 15 seconds each time and haven't run it more than a minute total since this started for fear of causing more damage. So far as I can tell it is lifter noise. All at the top of the engine and distinctly different than crank or rod bearing nock. What gives? How does an engine go from running perfectly, or so it seemed, to this?  Cry
« Last Edit: 11/23/09 06:30 AM by Leafangel » Logged
DougD
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« Reply #1 on: 10/06/09 08:18 AM »

Take an old piece of rubber garden hose, place one end to your ear and carefully manuever the other end around the engine to localize the noise (works MUCH better than the old screwdriver method)
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« Reply #2 on: 10/06/09 10:19 AM »

If you're a mechanical type, I'd pull the valve covers and have someone crank the engine, make sure all 16 valves are moving the amount they should, and you should also see oil even at cranking speeds.

Could be something like a lifter that won't pump up, though with your low miles, I wouldn't suspect it to happen, but stranger things have happened.

Does it sound like a single lifter, or is it more like all of them?
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Rich Q. in PA
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Leafangel
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« Reply #3 on: 10/06/09 11:34 AM »

Sounds like all of them. The noise is the same on both sides of the engine. If I didn't have oil pressure reading on the gauge, by the sound I would say I didn't have any oil pressure. Maybe I don't, but the gauge reads and functions just like it always has.
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ltxi
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« Reply #4 on: 10/06/09 04:35 PM »

Take an old piece of rubber garden hose, place one end to your ear and carefully manuever the other end around the engine to localize the noise (works MUCH better than the old screwdriver method)

...and you don't accidentally end up with your head in the fan.

Gotta admit, this is a new one on me. I have no idea what could suddenly kill the oil pressure to both banks of the top end like that.
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Leafangel
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« Reply #5 on: 10/07/09 10:57 AM »

So I got home last night and fired up the AV just to see if something magical had happened while I was at work. Nope, I fired her up and more of the same, terrible lifter noise. I let it run for maybe a minute to see if anything changed. The noise gradually got slightly better. By the time 4 minutes had passed it was down to one cylinder, front one on left bank. After another 2 minutes or so it had quieted down also. Great! But then that same lifter started rattling again for about 2 minutes and then stopped again. I took it for a short drive and all seemed OK. So, now what?
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ltxi
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« Reply #6 on: 10/07/09 03:13 PM »

Change the oil while it's hot and pay particular attention to any accumulation of junk in the drain pan. I might even cut the oil filter apart to see if there was any deterioration or loss of the filter media. The only thing I can think of that could cause a sudden onset problem like this is junk/gunk/something being picked up by the oil pump and being pumped into the galleries. If it was easier, I'd probably also pull the pan.

Be thankful that whatever it was cleared itself out....and if you can't find the cause, continue to be afraid.
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« Reply #7 on: 10/07/09 07:44 PM »

Did it get suddenly colder where you live? I am wondering it it could be that dreaded piston slap?
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Leafangel
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« Reply #8 on: 10/08/09 05:16 AM »

ltxi, I did just that! I changed the oil after a good warm up. I didn't find anything unusuall. I thought about pulling the pan but  it looks like that isn't to easy to do. I suppose if it happens again I'll have to. Right now everything sounds OK. I drove it about 50 mile last night with no problems.
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« Reply #9 on: 10/08/09 07:39 AM »

I've run a quart of ATF through the engine for 1,000 miles to clean things up on a motor with noisy lifters before, but unless you use absolute crap oil, I can't imagine it happening with so few miles!
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Rich Q. in PA
White '04 2500, loaded...  Custom 2-2 Magnaflow, intake, dyno tuned, ambers, HID high/low/fogs, spacers, diode modded, some LED's, more to come...
'98 Trans Am M6 - Built to turn, mild heads & cam, 405rwhp, 399rwtq
'73 LandCruiser buggy - 5.3L, 42" IROKs, 4 wheel steer, 2.5 ton Rockwell axles, ORI Struts, lots of tube and just a little bodywork

My Psychologist says I have OMD - Obsessive Modification Disorder

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« Reply #10 on: 10/10/09 07:08 PM »

ltxi, I did just that! I changed the oil after a good warm up. I didn't find anything unusuall. I thought about pulling the pan but  it looks like that isn't to easy to do. I suppose if it happens again I'll have to. Right now everything sounds OK. I drove it about 50 mile last night with no problems.

Yeah, pulling the pan is just too hard. At this point...let sleeping dogs lie, continue in fear, and may you live long and prosper. 
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« Reply #11 on: 10/13/09 09:26 AM »

Leafangel: I would use a Wix oil filter that has the anti-drainback diaphram. I use these on my 2500 since the 8.1's tend to have the noisy lifter issue also. I would flush the engine though first.

Avalon
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« Reply #12 on: 10/13/09 10:38 AM »

I have lived with that noise with my Avy as well,  it does it on start up and for a little bit while driving then goes away.  ive tried everything to get rid of it and just cant seem to,  everything to quiet lifters down,  nope doesnt work,  ive also ran intake cleaner,  keep the oil changed at every 3000,  use lucas, etc... nothing seems to help,  i have a lifter noise as well as a squealing noise from under the hood... ive also been looking for some help in solving these problems... i love my truck, but it sounds like hell !!!!!
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« Reply #13 on: 10/13/09 02:07 PM »

Again I ask, have you read the threads on piston slap and ruled that out?
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Leafangel
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« Reply #14 on: 11/17/09 08:05 AM »

So, Here's an update. Turns out the oil I drained from the AV after the episode of lifter noise was very sludgy after sitting in the drain pan overnight. When I changed the oil I also noticed that the coolant level was down a little, never have had to add coolant before,  so I filled it up. Drove it a couple of days and the coolant level was low again. I also have noticed a worsening puff of white smoke at cold start up. So I had a local Mechanic pressure test the cooling system. It held pressure. He pulled a valve cover and verified that the engine has the dreaded "Castech" heads. given the symptoms, I almost certainly have a crack or "porosity" leak.  Looks like new heads are in order. Lets see if I can get GM to make this right....... Big laughter with tears
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« Reply #15 on: 11/17/09 01:45 PM »

So, Here's an update. Turns out the oil I drained from the AV after the episode of lifter noise was very sludgy after sitting in the drain pan overnight. When I changed the oil I also noticed that the coolant level was down a little, never have had to add coolant before,  so I filled it up. Drove it a couple of days and the coolant level was low again. I also have noticed a worsening puff of white smoke at cold start up. So I had a local Mechanic pressure test the cooling system. It held pressure. He pulled a valve cover and verified that the engine has the dreaded "Castech" heads. given the symptoms, I almost certainly have a crack or "porosity" leak.  Looks like new heads are in order. Lets see if I can get GM to make this right....... Big laughter with tears

Wow.... only 62k miles and huge problems with those Castech heads.
So how common is this problem guys, out of 10 Avalanches, how many will get problems with the heads?
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Leafangel
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« Reply #16 on: 11/19/09 05:53 AM »

Sure enough Cracked head on drivers side. Dealer has passed case on to distirct service manager. We'll see what happens.
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« Reply #17 on: 11/19/09 06:30 AM »

Two friends of mine that both had 03's had this problem as well as a friend with a 1500 Silverado... All 3 "upgraded" to a Duramax which is what I had at the time and now they all look at me funny now that I've got a 5.3 Av...
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Leafangel
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« Reply #18 on: 11/19/09 09:18 AM »

The more I research this the more it seems like its time for a class action suit!
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« Reply #19 on: 11/19/09 09:42 AM »

My 03' started ticking about a month ago. It does it from an acceleration when there is a load on the engine. At idle it is okay. Sounds like an exhaust header leak to me. Mine is an 8.1 engine though. I will have to check it out. I have about 30,000 miles on it. My extended warranty just expired in October, that's about when the ticking started. banghead
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« Reply #20 on: 11/19/09 12:03 PM »

Wow Shocked, I just heard from GM, they are going to replace both heads. I will only be responsible for the cost of the 3 hours of diagnostic time and fluids used in the repair.  chevy It's very refreshing when a company stands behind a product. Thumbs up!
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« Reply #21 on: 11/19/09 02:22 PM »

My 03' started ticking about a month ago. It does it from an acceleration when there is a load on the engine. At idle it is okay. Sounds like an exhaust header leak to me. Mine is an 8.1 engine though. I will have to check it out. I have about 30,000 miles on it. My extended warranty just expired in October, that's about when the ticking started. banghead

As you're aware, the 496 is a completely different animal than the 5.3...

Yours most likely IS a leaking manifold..

All the block blocks have lifter noise as standard equipment ( when first started )   love
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Rich Q. in PA
White '04 2500, loaded...  Custom 2-2 Magnaflow, intake, dyno tuned, ambers, HID high/low/fogs, spacers, diode modded, some LED's, more to come...
'98 Trans Am M6 - Built to turn, mild heads & cam, 405rwhp, 399rwtq
'73 LandCruiser buggy - 5.3L, 42" IROKs, 4 wheel steer, 2.5 ton Rockwell axles, ORI Struts, lots of tube and just a little bodywork

My Psychologist says I have OMD - Obsessive Modification Disorder

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« Reply #22 on: 01/10/10 02:03 PM »

Consider yourself lucky.  I have a cracked Castech head and despite reported 'mysterious coolant loss' starting at 28K miles in 2005, good old GM didn't acknowledge the problem until 2008.  By then I had 109K miles and they wanted $1800 to fix which they claim as 'labor' to replace the heads, and no charge for the heads.  But they didn't realize that I had already got a commitment from the stealer to do the job for $1800, n/c for labor, just the cost of the heads.  What a scam.  GM Powertrain pays $130 per head from their supplier.  Bottom line, I will replace the heads with non-Castech junkyard heads from another 5.3 for $100.  Easy job for an afternoon in the garage.  And we all wonder why GM went bankrupt.  Any company who goes out of its way to piss off their customers will go bankrupt.
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« Reply #23 on: 01/10/10 03:17 PM »

What are "non-Castech heads" and how do you identify them? What did they come on?

LK
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« Reply #24 on: 01/10/10 06:31 PM »

Take an old piece of rubber garden hose, place one end to your ear and carefully manuever the other end around the engine to localize the noise (works MUCH better than the old screwdriver method)

plus a rubber hose won't puncture your eardrum like a screw driver will when you stick it too far in your ear Help me!
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« Reply #25 on: 01/10/10 06:44 PM »

I bought a used 1975 Pontiac LeMans back in 1988...It had a cracked block.  Should I complaine to GM??? Big laughter with tears



 Just kidding, but at what point do we say "Darn it", and foot the bill ourselves???  There is a reason cars come with specific warranties, and the manufacturer shouldn't be held accountable for repairs beyond that point.  This is all part of why auto manufacturers are in the pickle they're in.  Granted, modern vehicles have better warranties due to better manufacturing, but I honestly can't see holding them responsible in the case of an older vehicle out of warranty.

  I had a lot of noise in my '02 5.3L, even worse when it was cold or under load...I replaced the engine of my own accord. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #26 on: 08/24/10 08:36 AM »

Wow Shocked, I just heard from GM, they are going to replace both heads. I will only be responsible for the cost of the 3 hours of diagnostic time and fluids used in the repair.  chevy It's very refreshing when a company stands behind a product. Thumbs up!

hay i was wanting to know what dealer u took your truck to . l live in Marengo  Oh. and my 08 av is making noise from the lifters. also is yours still quiet?
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