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Technical 53 Chevy SBC 350 Ticking Noise - Bad Lifters?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 53CHKustom, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. Looks like you have been doing your homework at least, good for you.

    Being able to compress the lifter is not necessarily a sign of a bad lifter. I got good high quality lifters in my 355 and from new you could compress them a little bit.

    Your ticking noise could be from bad rockers or bad rocker balls or it could be that your lifters are not as good as they should be or a combination of any of the above. You already got the rocker covers off and you know how to adjust things well enough, it wouldn't hurt a thing for you to pull the rockers off and inspect them, look for cracks, burrs and galling. A set of long slot rockers and no gall balls is pretty cheap and if you find that your rockers are bad that maybe just the ticket for you. Also if I found a burnt valve on one head I would probably think that a valve grind on both heads was in order. The cost is minimal and a good valve grind may net you an MPG or two. ;)
     
  2. 53CHKustom
    Joined: Jun 24, 2014
    Posts: 1,433

    53CHKustom
    Member

    Is there anything else I can check? The rocker studs are pressed into the head I believe? Here are some more photos.

    The rocker arms are really hard to take out on some of the valves. The pivot balls seem to press on to the stud when I tighten the nut down. Some are not as bad as others. I cleaned the studs a bit with a rag but didn't want to sand them or do anything to them. I have to wiggle the rocker arms quite a bit to get them to pull out since the pivot balls are tight onto the studs.

    I was going to get a new set of rocker roller arms with new nuts and pivot balls but after looking at some of these other issues I decided to wait. I'm not sure if I have a bad cam, etc...

    IMG_0197.JPG IMG_0199.JPG IMG_0200.JPG IMG_0201.JPG IMG_0202.JPG
     
  3. 53CHKustom
    Joined: Jun 24, 2014
    Posts: 1,433

    53CHKustom
    Member

    Thanks so much. I asked the previous owner who built the car and had the engine rebuilt. He said he could swear the engine builder put new lifters and used the same RV cam. I don't know if he had that cam on another engine. Not sure.

    I was going to get a set of COMP rocker roller arms for $150 on ebay. I had seen some for $70 made by speedmaster but I didn't want to risk using crap parts. I'm not sure if I should buy them or not. I've decided if I need a new cam I might just button it up, finish the brakes and put it for sale at a reduced price. I don't feel confident I can do a cam without pulling the motor out and I don't have room in my garage for a cherry picker.

    The oil doesn't indicate metal shavings but I only looked at the oil on the head and didn't drain any oil from the plug to look.
     
  4. Flat cam is pretty easy to tell, first off look at your rocker studs when you have the valve adjusted, is there one that has a lot more stud sticking through than any of the others. That will only tell you if the heal of the cam is damaged but it is a starting place. To tell if the nose or ramps are damaged is a little more complicated than that.

    From your description of the rockers I a going to bet that the balls are shot. They should be snug but not tight. While you got it apart it wouldn't hurt to take a piece of fine emery cloth to the studs and also take a tape measure or a caliper to them and see is any are pulling out. If you use somewhere between 900 and 1200 emery cloth on the studs it really won't do much more then polish them. Just don't lean on them much.

    Posts are overlapping, don't buy off brand vale train components it is not worth the heart ache. Comp cam roller rockers from Summit racing today:

    http://www.summitracing.com/search?SortBy=BestKeywordMatch&SortOrder=Ascending&keyword=rockers GMsmall block
    unless you are just bi I would shop for them @ Summit. :D

    To change the cam in the '53 you pull the radiator and the grill, you should be able to do that with the engine in it no problem, but I a confident that your problem is outer valve train and not cam shaft. Just from our conversation. ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  5. 53CHKustom
    Joined: Jun 24, 2014
    Posts: 1,433

    53CHKustom
    Member

    Thanks. I will take more photos and take the rocker arms off and try your suggestions.

    The only weird thing I noticed was the #3 intake has far fewer threads sticking out than the others. It was like that the first time I pulled the valve covers off and it also is like that after adjusting 1/4 or 1/2 turn after zero lash.

    Someone told me that could just be the cam profile (supposedly it has an RV cam).
     
  6. RV cam could mean one of anything. :D

    You would not have one lobe different then the rest, you may have one different stud or one that is sunk deeper then the rest or one rocker ball that doesn't match the rest of them. I probably have at least 3 different brands of rocker balls here and I'll bet that not a single one matches the others.
     
  7. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,244

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    Don't waste your money on the comp rockers , they're noisier than stockers.. BTDT.. that #1 exhaust rocker looks like a crappy stamping..... If the noise stops momentarily when you're adjusting , could be crappy lifters... changing a cam in that car wouldn't be difficult , just time consuming.... if you can't diagnos whether or not the cams going flat , pull the intake & look at the bottoms of the lifters... rocker mis-aalignment on sbc is pretty common
    dave
     
  8. 53CHKustom
    Joined: Jun 24, 2014
    Posts: 1,433

    53CHKustom
    Member

    Thanks, I bought that #1 exhaust rocker (and the #1 intake rocker) from NAPA.
    The driver side is pretty quiet.

    I bet I'm likely going to have to take the intake off again, I just put it on 2 weeks ago.
     
  9. I've got a 51 Fleetline with a SBC in it. I changed the cam and valve train, eventually the heads too, last summer. All with the engine in the car. I had to disconnect the motor mounts and jack up the front of the motor and put wood blocks between the mounts and frame to gain clearance to remove the oil pan. Pulled the radiator to get the cam out and in. All went well. Cars a bear now. :)
    All this to let you know it can easily be done in the car if ya want to.
     
  10. If the pushrod guide hole in the head is worn like the pictures and your description is indicating, a new lifter, rocker or pushrod will not solve the problem. The problem is there is nothing to keep the pushrod from going over the side and then causing subsequent rocker to slip sideways over the valve stem. The fix would be to install a guideplate to hold the pushrod in line. The problem is your heads do not have screw-in rocker studs, and the guideplates are normally installed under the rocker studs.

    So if my root cause analysis is correct - no pushrod side control due to worn pushrod hole in head - then the only fix is some method to control the side force of the pushrod. I am not sure if you can use a guided rocker arm like some of the newer engines use on your older engine. That would be an easy fix if they will work. Maybe someone can verify that?
     
  11. 53CHKustom
    Joined: Jun 24, 2014
    Posts: 1,433

    53CHKustom
    Member

    Thanks, that is bad news, I just had that cylinder head out. It is definitely obvious the whole is worn to the side making a D shape so its easy for that rocker arm to pivot while running.

    I'm not sure what to do at this point with the three issues (ticking noise, rocker arms/pivot balls being hard to remove from studs, and that one rocker arm pivoting badly).
     
  12. 53CHKustom
    Joined: Jun 24, 2014
    Posts: 1,433

    53CHKustom
    Member

    I found these:

    http://www.jegs.com/i/Chevrolet+Performance/809/12495490/10002/-1
     
  13. 53CHKustom
    Joined: Jun 24, 2014
    Posts: 1,433

    53CHKustom
    Member

  14. It's tough over the Internet and not being there with only pics to look at.
    But....

    image.jpg

    The push rod seems to be all the way to the left side of the hole here , and there doesn't look like near enough hole space on the right to correct it.

    In other words, if the hole were the sole cause of the problem, the hole should be much bigger on the right side of the pushrod in order to achieve enough movement to correct the rocker alignment.
    image.jpg
     
  15. The self centering rockers may need to have the push rod holes made even bigger. You know that's going to require removal of the heads for drilling. I can almost guaranty you that a self centering rocker will cause the pushrod to drag the right side of that hole on #1 cylinder.

    I wonder if the stud is moved too far right from a manufacturing defect or repair?
     
  16. oldsrocket
    Joined: Oct 31, 2004
    Posts: 2,146

    oldsrocket
    Member

    I mostly skimmed the thread, but has anybody brought up the possibility of a leaking exhaust manifold gasket? A minor gasket leak sometimes manifests itself as a "ticking" sound.....

    I chased a ticking sounds once using a mechanics stethoscope and couldn't find it by putting the probe to the engine when running. Then my gloved hand ran over the area where the exhaust leak was and the tick stopped...

    There's a few methods for checking for exhaust gasket leaks... shop rag, spraying water, sheet of paper, etc. You can search on it and find more info.....

    If this has already been ruled out, sorry for bringing it back up.
     
  17. wayne-o
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 274

    wayne-o
    Member

    I had a rocker arm that was crooked like the one you have. The hole in the head as worn, probably from a bent push rod in a previous life. I got one of the later self aligning ones and made sure the pushrod was not rubbing on the good side of the hole in the head. Ran it for a long time with no problems.
     
  18. 53CHKustom
    Joined: Jun 24, 2014
    Posts: 1,433

    53CHKustom
    Member

    Thank you. I had replaced the driver side and passenger side exhaust gaskets just a couple weeks ago. The exhaust is new from the manifold back. I for sure hear the ticking on the passenger side and I didn't hear any exhaust leak when I used a piece of hose but I didn't try looking very carefully. I know when I tighten the #4 intake or #4 exhaust past 1/4 turn the ticking noise would go away for a few seconds and then come back. I'm not sure if that rules out an exhaust leak?
     
  19. 53CHKustom
    Joined: Jun 24, 2014
    Posts: 1,433

    53CHKustom
    Member

    Thanks, are there any particular brand/models I should look at if I want to leave the head in place and not have stud modifications done? I'm just so sick of the car sitting for two months and I just had that head out.
     
  20. 53CHKustom
    Joined: Jun 24, 2014
    Posts: 1,433

    53CHKustom
    Member

    I will try to take better photos and maybe video too on that rocker. God only knows where the engine, and the heads came from and what some "engine builder" did. I'm learning lessons the hard way at least with hot rods
     
  21. I was trying to get at the possibility of using late model "rail" rockers last night, if in fact the push rod hole is worn, as it appeared in the picture..
    If that's the case, you will have to address that situation some way.
    The late rockers might get you by.
    In any case, you can't run it long with the # 1 rocker sitting like that..You'll end up with more than a ticking noise.
     
  22. 53CHKustom
    Joined: Jun 24, 2014
    Posts: 1,433

    53CHKustom
    Member

    Is this the kind you are referring to? I wouldn't mind buying myself a little time so i can drive it even a couple times before I go through a heavy amount of work to get rid of the issues. I'm going crazy seeing the car in my garage for two months without being able to drive it.
    g.jpg
     
  23. Road Angels
    Joined: Mar 2, 2015
    Posts: 121

    Road Angels

    Its a long shot but have you looked at the face of the valve stem to see if its been ground at an angles or worn off to one side, put a straight edge to compare it to the valve on either side, also with the rocker off see if you can wiggle the valve from side to side like if the stem is bent
     
  24. Yes.
    Try one on that # 1 intake.
    Turn the engine over by hand until the #1 exh. starts to go down.
    Spin the 1 intake pushrod with your fingers while tightening down the lock nut. As soon as you feel a bit of resistance, tighten the nut another half turn.
    Start it up and rev it at about 15-2000. See if it stays centered and gets quiet.
    If not, sorry...Best we can do over the internet.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015
  25. 53CHKustom
    Joined: Jun 24, 2014
    Posts: 1,433

    53CHKustom
    Member

    Great thanks so much. For sure the noise is coming from the passenger side so that pivoting rocker arm isn't contributing to the noise. I have three problems as I had said earlier in the thread, the pivot balls go over the studs really tight and makes the rocker arms so hard to pull out. The #1 intake pivots, and the ticking noise on the passenger side.

    Crazy... I'm going to work on the brakes the next several days, im going to adjust the best I can, and maybe drive a mile max and come back home and see if my feeling about this whole mess changes.
     
  26. blackout
    Joined: Jul 29, 2007
    Posts: 1,270

    blackout
    Member

    #1 intake does not have a deposit of oil on the valve end of the rocker arm. Did you wipe it off or is this how it looks after it has been running?

    [​IMG]
     
  27. 53CHKustom
    Joined: Jun 24, 2014
    Posts: 1,433

    53CHKustom
    Member

    I cannot remember, I may have wiped it off but I will look at it again when I run it.

    Also a work related colleague (who has a machine shop) said I might be able to take the stud out and carefully tap it and put a threaded one. I would ask him to help me. He may be able to come after work this week to help me look at it.
     
  28. I probably should not say this just because someone will run with it, but it seems to me that the solution for that problem is bigger pushrods. :rolleyes: :D :D
     
  29. Back to your pic with the self-aligning rockers, yes those are the ones I was referring to. I think it is worth trying, not much to lose at this time. If it saves pulling the head, and it may last a long time.
     
  30. deto
    Joined: Jun 26, 2010
    Posts: 2,621

    deto
    Member

    false
     

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