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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I get a ticking/ clattering sound coming from what sounds like the upper engine space from 2K to 3.25K rpm ONLY when ACCELERATING IN GEAR.
There is NO clattering when revving in neutral or at idle, only when the engine is under load (in gear and accelerating).
I have the understanding that if it were a bad hydraulic lifter, I would hear that noise both when accelerating IN gear as well as in neutral and when idling, and especially when the engine is cold, like at start-up. Is this a correct assumption?
The noise increases frequency with the rise in rpms and is no longer audible past 3.25 - 3.4K. I do not hear this noise at all upon start-up.
Any suggestions as to what this clattering/ ticking might be?
This thread on Engine-Ticking Noise was interesting.


I recently replaced timing chain, timing chain tensioner, timing chain guides, ROCKER ARMS, LIFTERS, and cams (OEM). I also drained and refilled the manual transmission oil with GL-4 gear oil. I did not change or adjust the valve shims or rocker guides when replacing the rocker arms. The hydraulic lifters were taken from a year 2000 engine. I cleaned then out and bled the air from them before installing them. I did let the engine sit for a couple of days before returning to finish the installation of the cams and valve cover. I don't know if this would have been enough time for some of the oil in a lifter to have leaked out and allow air to enter the lifter. The lifters sit in an oil galley of sorts, which has a puddle of oil in it, ad the lifter sits in this oil.

As a side note, I noticed I do have a leak in the EGR port on the underside of the upper intake runners.
One of the EGR port plugs has a hole clean through the middle of it, and the EGR exhaust gas is pushed out via this hole in the plug. This hole was present on my other p10 and made me wonder if it was supposed to be there, when I first discovered it. The fact that soot accumulates on the coolant by-pass hose that runs under the upper intake makes me think that plug should not have a hole in it. The innermost end of the plug appears "eroded", not smooth.
Would an EGR exhaust leak like this cause ticking/ clattering sound only while accelerating under load?
 

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I think the issue is likely in your valve train.
Did you keep your OE hydraulic lift adjusters? Are you replacing same for same, as in RR for RR? Not Hi-port for RR?
Lash adjusters can loose their oil level if you have a blockage in your oil passages. If the bottom of your valve cover looks like burnt coffee, then you could easily not have clear pathways.

Anywho, this my recommendation:
1. Pull the valve cover and press down on the end of each lash adjuster, via rocker arm, to check if it moves.
a. You will have to rotate the crank to spin the cams, because you are measuring them when they are not under load of the cam lobe on the rocker arm, but "free".
2. If any can be squished more than 1mm, then you should pull them and re-bleed. Ether/WD40 via straw can shoot
down the oil passages pretty well with the lasher out.
3. If the HLA's are good, and match your engine, then it could be your shim setup (probable), or a torque issue.

You can spend hours getting the shim thickness right, and if you didn't keep them in order when you did you work, then that is a problem. Nissan recommends a fancy machined plate to measure the height of the valves from, and then compute the shim height. Its in the Service Manual. MotoIQ had an article somewhere for a DE, but this VE discussion is similar The Heart of a Record Breaker III: Completing the VVL Head Swap and Engine Assembly - Page 5 of 8 - MotoIQ
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks a lot, NortonMechanic. I read page 5 of the link you sent.
I didn't remove the shims or rocker guides, just the lifters and the rocker arms. I replaced the OEM rocker arms (which were scored from the bad cams) with a set of rocker arms with no scoring. However, I didn't adjust shim thickness, despite changing out the rocker arms.
The person who sold me the rocker arms (and JimWolfTechnologies) told me it wasn't necessary to re-shim when using a new set of rocker arms, just that I should stay under 3000 rpm for the first 100 miles with the replacement OEM camshafts and not to allow the engine to idle for long at all, staying under 4000 rpm for the first 1000miles.)
I did save my OEM highport lifters. I labled each one, but I replaced them with lifters from a RR engine.
I was following a knowledgeable fellow's advice. He said the smaller hole on the top of the RR lifters was the updated, "better" design because it creates more oil pressure through the lifter causing more oil to pass through the top hole quicker than the HP lifter that has the top and side holes of the same size. Is his reasoning not accurate?

But with that aside, wouldn't I hear the ticking noise ALL the time (anytime the camshafts were rotating, especially when revving) if the noise were due to incorrect lifters, oil-starved lifters (clogged oil passageway), a bad lifter or not having re-shimmed the rocker arm/ valve stem? The most perplexing detail for me is that there is zero ticking at idle, or while revving in neutral, or when I depress the clutch after accelerating under load. That ticking noise is only present when accelerating under load (in gear). If not in gear, there is zero ticking.
In 1st gear the ticking is not as loud/pronounced as it is when in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gear, but it can still be heard very slightly while accelerating through 1st gear.
 

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its hard to speak to what minute changes could exist between the engine spinning freely, vs being engaged and under load. You have a lot of variables in your project, which also makes it hard to try and find a root cause. I hope you are using all OEM parts and not any Autozone / aftermarket bits.

Aside from what I recommended above you could also:
1. Check wear on the cam gears / timing chain
2. Look for any aggressive wear on the guides you can see/access
3. Check tension on the timing chain, verify the tensioner is applying tension.

I would track down the PN for your OE HLA's that came with your cylinder head and make sure the RR's have the same PN. I wouldn't swap them, unless my HLA's were confirmed to have failed and the PN's crossover.

When you mention that the rocker arms had severe wear marks and your cams were bad; i.e. the reason for your project. All of that points toward an oil supply or blockage concern to me. I have only seen failed cams and on junkyard motors that had terrible maintenance, and bad rockers on engines with improper cam installation or incorrect shims.

You have two options I think. Run some engine flush and try to clean out gummed up passages ways in the head/block/oil pump. Or, tear the head back down and measure and set everything to OE spec with the service manual.That's the only way to start removing variables.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks for the excellent assessment and advice, NortonMechanic.
I will take your advice and guidance in trying to eliminate variables.
Your clarity in assessing my situation is outstanding. I greatly appreciate it.

Here is some extra information for the account:
I installed all Nissan parts, except for the new timing chain (Melling) and oil pump (Hitachi).
Nissan parts used: crank sprocket, both chain guides (I removed the upper guide), OE cams and sprockets, lifters, rocker arms, tensioner. Four rocker arms were from one engine and four were from another, judging by their coloration. I bought them from a forum member on here.
I verified the new chain tensioner had extended and was creating tension in the chain by first rotating the crank by hand probably 10 times, then by priming the engine - no fuel, no spark, just the starter rotating the engine)
I used newer cam sprockets (from RR engine - but had the same part number as my p10's OE sprockets). Half of the tip of one of the teeth on one of the original sprockets was broken. (The chain was replaced at one point about 130k miles ago, and the sprocket was probably dropped, Not sure.)
I cleaned out the oiler tubes twice by taping the holes, filling the tubes with carb cleaner and letting it soak for a couple days. I blew into the tube to make sure that the holes were not obstructed. You are right. The tube holes were partially clogged, and their was a lot of carbon build-up in the head.
I ran LIQUI-MOLY Engine Flush before replacing everything. I plan on running it again before the next oil change. It cleaned a good bit of carbon crud out, but the tensioner had failed and the plastic "tracks" on both chain guides had begun to break loose of their metal bases. I was getting the chain-slap noise from the chain hiiting the upper guide. There was also considerable play in the slack-side guide at the bolt. I upgraded the bolts and guides, using the ones from the 2000-2002 p10, Bolt - 13094-53J01, Guides - 13091-2J202, 13085-1N500. (The bolt for the slack-side guide is more robust and fits the guide hole better.)

On the tension-side chain guide, the plastic track actually shifts on the metal base about an eighth of an inch. This struck me as odd, but I was told by Courtesy that it allows the chain to ride on top of the guide without the plastic being subject to as much stress from the chain at load (accelerating from a stopped position). I am still not sure whether this design with the shifting of the plastic on the guide is proper, especially because the guide I removed had been replaced previously. It had a stamp of SR2 on it whereas the new one I ordered through Nissan has a stamp of SR1 on it. Almost like it was the second design but not the latest design. What is odd is that the latest design was superceded by the second "shifting" version, which is the one I installed on my engine.

Regarding the HLA's, Nissan made an HLA for only 1990 to 9/1991 G20 (mine) and Primera's but it has since been superceded by qs ingle part number, 13234-53J01.
My p10 has manufacture date of 2/91, so it corresponds to my car's engine.

For p10 HLA's listed on InfinitiPartsdeal and amayama:
The HP10 Primera and p10 G20 HLA's from 7/1990 - 9/1991 have part number 13234-60U00 (7/90 - 9/91).
While Amayama lists ONLY 13234-60U00 for the HP10 Nissan Primera, (1990, 1991, 1992),
InfinitiPartsDeal lists this number and dates along with two others (13234-53J00 & -53J10 for 9/91 - 01/94 G20's ) but supercedes all three of them with # 13234-53J01.

The HLA's I used from that RR Sentra are either number 13234-53J01 or 13234-53J10 and are identical to a different set I salvaged from a 1999 G20.
NPD says both part numbers were used for Sentras 1/2000 - 8/2001. InfinitiPD says both were used in 1999 G20's.

The following thread also informed my decision to use the HLA's from the RR Sentra engine: sr highport hydraulic lifters - different sized?
 

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Sounds like you are working in the right direction.
I do want to mention that the rocker arms wear surface is matched to the specific cam they ran with. I.e. 150k mile rocker arms will have a slightly different profile than ones from a 90k engine, since it is a wear surface. So if you have rocker arms from engines with various mileage, mated to used cams; you do have the potential for some valve train noise. When I had money and no kids, i bought a set of new rockers arms for the BC cams I put in my SR20DET, specifically to avoid any issues with mismatched wear surfaces.
I hope with some measuring and cleaning, you can take care of the noise without having to do a full teardown.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Ok, Good information, Thank you.
The used set of OE replacement cams had 29K and 68K miles on them, and the mileage on the rocker arms is unknown.
The person who sold me both, the used cams and rockers, told me that I would just have to "break in the rocker arms to the cams", not going above 3000 rpm or for the first 1000 miles, and that with time any difference in wear surfaces (cam to rockers) would disappear.

It sounds like you are saying that if engine flush doesn't eliminate the noise and the lifters are good, outside of solving the problem by measuring and re-shimming the existing set-up, the only sure way to do away with any disparity in wear surfaces is to buy brand new cams, rocker arms, lifters and still need to re-shim anyway.

When you installed your new BC cams and new set of rocker arms, did you also have to re-shim for the new rocker arms/ cams? Or did the fact they were both new do away with the need to re-shim?
 

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I'm just sharing suggestions. I can't give you steps towards a solution, because I can't see or test what you can, and I could be wrong.

With my SR20DET build, I also did a valve job which meant that I had new valves that were not at the original height of the matching shim when installed in the cylinder head. This is the main reason to check your shim thicknesses and make sure the rockers are sitting evenly across both shims. The 99 service manual EM-5 points out the tool i am referencing, and EM-49 for how to use it.

My general suggestion is to clean everything you can, and print out the assembly section of EM so you can make notes on how you installed each component, tighten to the correct spec, etc. etc. To do this well, you need a decent caliper, micrometer, and torque wrench; something well reviewed and not Harbor Freight please.

There is truth that you will need to wear the unmatched profiles or the used cams to the rocker arms. I would run non-synthetic oil, put a rare earth magnet on my oil filter, and drive normal and hope the sound goes away.
After ~500-750 miles, I'd do another engine flush, and run Mobil / Catsrol 5/30 if I was happy. Otherwise I would plan to rebuild or replace the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I really appreciate your suggestions. I am trying to learn and understand reasons, so your explanations are hugely helpful. It helps a lot, believe me. Thanks again.

Why run non-synthetic oil for ~500-750 miles? I never fully understood why. I ran Valvoline non-synthetic for the first 100 miles with risilone zinc additive, and then I changed the oil/ filter, using Castrol GTX hm 5W-30. The fellow at Advance told me it was because the non-synthetic oil has more additives than synthetic oil, but I didn't quite follow as to why those additives would be ideal to have in the oil. Is it just not as thick and clings more than synthetic would?

Which non-conventional oil would you recommend? I've been using Green-Jug Castrol GTX High Mileage formula, which is a synthetic blend. I thought the White-Jug GTX was conventional but in 5W-30 the jug says Synthetic Blend.
Do you know if Formula Shell 5W-30 a good conventional oil?


What happens if the camshaft caps are tightened too tight? I realize the bolt would snap if it were tightened beyond what it could withstand, but I am curious as to whether over-tightening would create more pressure against the camshaft (if it is possible to do this by over tightening the bolts on the caps). I followed the torquing sequence procedure in the FSM, so I don't believe one section of the cam was tightened sooner than it should have been.

I have an oil pan plug with a very strong magnet on it. Does putting a rare earth metal magnet on the filter offer an advantage?

Just so I have it clear in my mind
-----> So, the fact the rocker arms and cams are not originally paired means the dimension of the gap between the valve stem and the underside of the rocker arm (where the shim and valve guide sit) is likely to be different than what that gap would be with the original cams/ rockers in place, correct? (I never adjusted the valves or shims themselves, but you're saying the difference in gap size would produce the same effect, correct?)

I was reading some this weekend and came across a possible cause for a ticking noise while accelerating, an obstructed oil pick-up screen or a failed oil pick-up gasket (where it meets the base of the oil pump). I did replace this gasket while I was in there, but I did not know which direction to face the embossed face of the gasket.
Do you know which direction the embossed surface (the protruding ridge) should face when installing the oil-pick-up gasket? My car is a '91, but I installed p11 upper and lower oil pans and pick-up on it. (The p10 lower oil pan is ridiculously expensive.)
I chose to face the raised ridge of the gasket toward the oil pump. The gasket gets compressed when the bolts are tightened, anyway, but I still was unsure which direction the ridge should face and did not know if it could be a potential interior oil leak. I don't get a low oil pressure light while driving or at idle, though. Just the normal second or two upon cold start-up. And apparently oil pressure is what it needs to be for the timing chain tensioner to function properly. (The timing isn't off from the chain skipping a sprocket tooth.) So, the oil is making it to the tensioner's level, and I see it has been squirting out the oiler tube beneath the oil-fill cap. This makes me think there is enough pressure to move the oil up to where the HLA's are (higher than the lifters' oil galley. I have a oil pressure tester on the way, so I'll be testing that just to rule out a bad sender and hopefully the "bad pick-up gasket" possibility.

I have LiquiMoly Engine Flush I plan on using to clean out as much build-up from the oil passages and gallies as it can.
If that doesn't eliminate the ticking, I'll remove the valve cover and test the lifters for movement. If there is no movement and they are OK, I won't change them.
At that point, I will have to either take the car in to a shop and have them measure and re-shim, or I'll buy a caliper, micrometer, a mini-torque wrench and attempt to follow the FSM's instructions for re-shimming. I have not re-shimmed before, but I did see the instructions in the manual.
 

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Why run non-synthetic oil for ~500-750 miles?

A: You want the rocker arms and camshafts to wear into each other. Synthetic oil is better at protecting an engine from metal on metal wear. Straight weight oil without additives would be preferred.

The filter is probably more important than the oil. Use OEM, Mobil 1, or maybe a WIX; everything else is marginal, and FRAM is junk.

Which non-conventional oil would you recommend?

I like mobil and Castrol full synthetic oils in a 10w30 or 10w40 if you live in the south. For oil theory, read up at A Review of Mineral and Synthetic Base Oils - Bob is the Oil Guy


What happens if the camshaft caps are tightened too tight?

A: Nothing good

I have an oil pan plug with a very strong magnet on it. Does putting a rare earth metal magnet on the filter offer an advantage?

A:
Yes, it keeps any metallic shavings or debris in the filter. I prefer this to the drain plug, since it can only hold so much due to its surface area.

Just so I have it clear in my mind
-----> So, the fact the rocker arms and cams are not originally paired means the dimension of the gap between the valve stem and the underside of the rocker arm (where the shim and valve guide sit) is likely to be different than what that gap would be with the original cams/ rockers in place, correct?

A: No. Your shims should be checked and could be off, but they could be okay. The main issue is mixing various used valve train bits that don't have matching wear profiles.


Do you know which direction the embossed surface (the protruding ridge) should face when installing the oil-pick-up gasket? My car is a '91, but I installed p11 upper and lower oil pans and pick-up on it. (The p10 lower oil pan is ridiculously expensive.)

A: Down I believe. There will be a picture in the service manual.


I have LiquiMoly Engine Flush I plan on using to clean out as much build-up from the oil passages and gallies as it can.

A: oil flush can only go so far. Bad oil buildup can be as hard as carbon buildup and require mechanical removal.


At that point, I will have to either take the car in to a shop and have them measure and re-shim, or I'll buy a caliper, micrometer, a mini-torque wrench and attempt to follow the FSM's instructions for re-shimming. I have not re-shimmed before, but I did see the instructions in the manual.

A: Don't pay a shop. They likely have never done it before, and they guys that did are probably retired.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Do you know which direction the embossed surface (the protruding ridge) should face when installing the oil-pick-up gasket? My car is a '91, but I installed p11 upper and lower oil pans and pick-up on it. (The p10 lower oil pan is ridiculously expensive.)

A: Down I believe. There will be a picture in the service manual.
In the p10 there is a recessed o-ring that serves as a gasket between the oil pick-up and the oil pump, so my manual won't have a picture of the gasket. I found Nissan started using the GASKET (15053-1E400) (instead of the O-Ring (15059-V5001), beginning in 1/94 (see "Part Fitment"). I found an on-line service manual for a 1999 G20. 1999 was the year G20 my oil pans and pick-up came from. The gasket is shown on page LC-5, but the orientation is not indicated one way or the other.

I have LiquiMoly Engine Flush I plan on using to clean out as much build-up from the oil passages and gallies as it can.

A: oil flush can only go so far. Bad oil buildup can be as hard as carbon buildup and require mechanical removal.
Wish it weren't so baked on. I cleaned all the build-up off of the camshafts, the journals, cam caps and oiler tubes, but I tried not to scrape much inside the head or ream any oil galleys or passage ways. I have been told to avoid doing so in order to avoid loosening any larger piece of crud and have it in the oil supply, potentially clogging the small passages like the timing chain tensioner and HLA's.
It would be ideal to pull the head and take it to a shop and have it steam cleaned, but that's not going to happen, haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Why run non-synthetic oil for ~500-750 miles?

A: You want the rocker arms and camshafts to wear into each other. Synthetic oil is better at protecting an engine from metal on metal wear. Straight weight oil without additives would be preferred.

Which non-conventional oil would you recommend?

I like mobil and Castrol full synthetic oils in a 10w30 or 10w40 if you live in the south. For oil theory, read up at A Review of Mineral and Synthetic Base Oils - Bob is the Oil Guy
When you say "Straight weight", do you mean just a 30 weight conventional oil and not a conventional 5W-30? I'll read up on the oil theory, Thanks for that link.

After ~500-750 miles, I'd do another engine flush, and run Mobil / Catsrol 5/30 if I was happy.
So, you are saying you would run the straight weight oil for 500 - 750 miles before changing it to 5W-30 or 10W-30? I'm in NC. (I am curious as to why not use 5W-30 like Nissan calls for.)

What happens if the camshaft caps are tightened too tight?
A: Nothing good
Can the caps actually be drawn closer to the cam to the point they cause more friction? I didn't know if the cam cap could actually be over tightened onto the camshaft, such that the cap would exert resistance to the camshaft when it spins. I know the bolts can be over-torqued, just didn't know if the cap could be drawn any closer to the camshaft than what he shape of the cap allows for.
 

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Last reply.
Straight weight would be a 30wt, but a non synthetic 10w30 w/o additives would be good too.
I have ran 5w30 and 10w30 oil. I run a heavier weight in the south to help with engine protection.
Torque specs are there to prevent engine failures. Dont question the engineering specs; they keep SR's at their best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey, NortonMechanic! Thanks a lot for all the information and clarification! Huge help in understanding my options in fixing this noise. Huge Thank You, sir!
I was asking about the cam caps because I wondered if I had accidentally over-torqued ths bolts. (I didn't have a mini torque wrench.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
I realized I forgot to ask NortonMechanic about break-in oil. I did some investigation and meant to ask which straight weight 30 would be recommended, in particular, for my odd cam/rocker combination.

I found two that might work, Lucas Break-in SAE30 and Shell Rotella T1 30.

Lucas Break-in Oil SAE 30
I have read on HotRod.com that Lucas Break-in Oil has high zinc and phosphorus, which sounds good.
The site says it is recommended for flat tappet and roller camshaft applications.
What about using it in an engine with HLA's? Would it be too thick to be pumped up to the hydraulic lifters quickly?

Shell's Rotella T1 30 Straight Grade.
I read that Rotella has higher levels of zinc. Shell says: "Shell Rotella® T1 oils use well-proven performance additives to fight engine wear and prevent deposits, providing reliable lubrication and consistent performance. "
Would the "additives" wash away the zinc and phosphorus that are supposed to be there to protect the metal surfaces during break-in?

Is Rotella T1 advisable to use as a break-in oil for camshaft/rockers?

Thank you
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
After reading about pre-ignition - detonation, I verified the ignition timing. Using 87 octane gas, it never made any noise when it was set at 17.5 so. Still, I put it back to 15 - 16 just to rule it out completely. This change did not have any effect on the clattering noise on acceleration under load. I recently changed my spark plugs NGK BKRE6-GP (7092), and they look good, not gleaming white or fouled out/ sooted over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
UPDATE:
This evening, I jacked up the front end so the wheels could turn freely.
With the wheels off the ground, I ran the engine, shifting through the gears, and there was NO ticking or clattering with the wheels off the ground. The noise is only heard when actually driving (the wheels on the ground).
I took the car out for a short drive and the ticking / clattering was present.
Does anyone have an idea what would make the noise ONLY when driving the car (accelerating under load)? I'm thinking of using Sea Foam to try to eliminate any carbon build-up that might be in the cylinders.
 
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