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lifter tick

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.
1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
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lifter tick

Postby phils94850 » 10 Jan 2010, 08:57

I've noticed after starting and engine cold and after a couple minutes I'm getting a noticeable lifters ticking. It doesn't do it on initial start when cold, they start after a couple minutes.

After I drive for about 10 or 15 min. Then its quiet and doesn't come back. I jus changed the oil yesterday and used 5w30 and it seems like it made the ticking worse.

Any ideas on what I can do to help with the ticking and is it hurting anything? I've read the ticking can last up to 15min. And its normal. The engine has 176k miles.
96 850 R
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Re: lifter tick

Postby meteg » 10 Jan 2010, 09:41

hello,

for an engine that has 176,000 miles it will be wiser to use semi synthetic 10w-40 oil. this is recommended by the oil manufacturers too.. the full synthetic will be too thin for a moderately worn engine and the worn valve terrain.. especially for the engines which have hydraulic lifters like our volvos have the valves get oil starved because the full synthetic doesnt fill the worn parts with oil.. the oil has to be thicker so it will fill the worn parts..

but the engine valves will tick if the the car is not used for more than 10 days.. and that is normal.but it shouldnt tick after it reaches operating temperature..
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Re: lifter tick

Postby phils94850 » 10 Jan 2010, 10:26

When I changed the oil yesterday I used regular non synthetic 5w30 oil. I figured a full synthetic wouldn't be good on a older engine. With temps getting down in the single digits where I live what's the heaviest weight oil I can use ? I've also read about people using lucas oil treatment ?
I'm getting the ticking after the car sits for example all night.
96 850 R
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Re: lifter tick

Postby meteg » 10 Jan 2010, 10:46

the best thing to do is to switch to semi sythetic oil like 10w-40.this will cure your problem.. when you use oil additives it will ruin the engine oils chemical structure.. the oils which are used in the market already have some additives in them.. and using another additive is not recommended by the manufacturers..

other members of the forum will soon see the post and make more comments..

by the way I forgot to mention, make sure the oil level in your engine is at the maximum mark if it is not bring it to the max line..
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Re: lifter tick

Postby phils94850 » 10 Jan 2010, 11:18

Meteg.. Thanks for the advice ill give it a try
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Re: lifter tick

Postby JRL » 10 Jan 2010, 13:57

Try giving your engine a SEAFOAM treatment
Costs you all of 10 bucks.
Also could be your O-rings in the oil pan (common issues with high mile Volvos)
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Re: lifter tick

Postby jblackburn » 10 Jan 2010, 16:12

+1 on the Seafoam treatment. You'll have to change your oil after anyway.

The oil pickup rings in the oil pan deteriorate with age, and cause the oil pump to pick up less oil at idle, and cause the tick you describe. I'd try other things before tearing into that though.

If you're not leaking oil visibly anywhere, making the switch to synthetic is one of the best things you can do for it. I switched to Mobil-1 10W-30 from dino oil 30,000 miles ago with no problems, and my car has never been happier.
'98 S70 T5 218K miles
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Re: lifter tick

Postby Ozark Lee » 10 Jan 2010, 22:45

What brand of oil filter did you use?

Anything other than OEM Volvo, Mahle, or Mann will cause severe lifter noise on startup. I have heard that K&N and the premium NAPA filters are OK but I have never used them and thus I cannot vouch for them. Fram filters are the orange cans of death - I did try a Fram filter - once.

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Re: lifter tick

Postby renns » 11 Jan 2010, 02:06

-1 on SeaFoam - sorry guys, but I feel compelled to provide this link. The noise, which appeared after SeaFoam treatment, continues to this day, and was confirmed by an experienced Volvo mechanic to be stuck lifter(s). It's been about 4k miles since the SF treatment. I've tried various oil types and weights, and also changed out the oil sump o-rings. Nothing's left but swapping out the lifters, and I just couldn't be bothered on an old high-mileage car. It runs great, and the mechanic said the ticking wasn't of a nature that required immediate replacement. He indicated the car would likely run for years in that condition.
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Re: lifter tick

Postby 850 Turbo1 » 11 Jan 2010, 04:15

renns wrote:-1 on SeaFoam - sorry guys, but I feel compelled to provide this link. The noise, which appeared after SeaFoam treatment, continues to this day, and was confirmed by an experienced Volvo mechanic to be stuck lifter(s). It's been about 4k miles since the SF treatment. I've tried various oil types and weights, and also changed out the oil sump o-rings. Nothing's left but swapping out the lifters, and I just couldn't be bothered on an old high-mileage car. It runs great, and the mechanic said the ticking wasn't of a nature that required immediate replacement. He indicated the car would likely run for years in that condition.


-1 on sea-foam as-well ...there are many people who have had the seafoam method do more damage than repair and clean...lots of stuff on the forums if you search..GODLUCK!
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Re: lifter tick

Postby phils94850 » 12 Jan 2010, 16:08

i guess ive been lucky kinda, ive used seafoam on three diff. cars two of the three didnt have any probs. afterwards.

I did have a 87 turbocoupe t-bird that i seafoamed and shortly very shortly afterward the HG blew on it. Ofcourse i cant say seafoam caused it.

after reading all the probs with using seafoam im not gonna mess with it. Im planning on either using some engine cleaner or ATF and run thru it... hopefully thatll take care of it.
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Re: lifter tick

Postby zanzabar » 25 Dec 2010, 05:31

renns wrote: ... The noise, which appeared after SeaFoam treatment, continues to this day, and was confirmed by an experienced Volvo mechanic to be stuck lifter(s). It's been about 4k miles since the SF treatment. I've tried various oil types and weights, and also changed out the oil sump o-rings. Nothing's left but swapping out the lifters, and I just couldn't be bothered on an old high-mileage car. It runs great, and the mechanic said the ticking wasn't of a nature that required immediate replacement. He indicated the car would likely run for years in that condition.


I'm another one who developed lifter ticking after Seafoam. The new (and old) oil is Rotella T6 5-40 synthetic, Mann oil filter, just changed recently after 8oz Seafoam ran in crankcase for 500 miles. Very slight ticking noise (lifters) was present when I got it 3000 mlies ago, but it's getting louder now. There's really nothing I could justify doing to permanently fix this, it's more of a drive-till-it-dies-car. But if there's something easy I could do to keep it from failing I'll do it. Any suggestions? (Tire guys suggested 20-50 oil and Lucas oil treatment. I can't say I'm too fond of heavy oil.)
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Re: lifter tick

Postby jblackburn » 25 Dec 2010, 05:52

I would not use a 20W-50 in it. That is an oil best suited for olddd engines, before tolerances were anywhere near as tight. We used it in a '74 BMW and a '65 Chevy.

What about a high mileage oil, such as Mobil-1 HM 10W-40?
'98 S70 T5 218K miles
2012 Chevy Cruze LT 6MT


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Re: lifter tick

Postby reds70turbo » 25 Dec 2010, 06:41

I actually just got done emailing Volvo Cars back and forth in regards to oil weight. I sent them an email because I was using 10w40 and was experiencing somewhat harsh cold starts. Thinking it may have been due to the oil weight and the outside temperature I decided to email them. Here is the response I got:

Aaron,
Our engineering group advises 10W40 should only be used for extreme summer temperatures such as those in Arizona and California. Volvo now recommends 5W/30 as suitable for your PA winter temps.
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