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  View original topic: Failing hydro lifter?
furbo Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:53 am

79 Westy, 2L Hyrdo engine.

Last 2 days, starts a bit rough, drives well for 15 mins, then seems to lose power and make noise. By the time I get the engine bay opened to check it, it stops and runs normally.

Only thing I can think of is a failing lifter. Anyone else have an idea?

SamboSamba22 Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:15 am

Just because I've had my coffee this morning, it's important to clarify, you have a hydraulic (oil pressurized system) type lifters, not hydro. All I can think of when I read that is Dennis Hopper in Water World.

We need to know your fueling system, you running carbs or factory fuel injection? It's hard for me to think it's a lifter, they should build up pressure as the engine is warming up. And if you drive it regularly, that shouldn't be an issue at all.
Sounds to me, only a couple possibilities:
- fuel delivery (clogged filter, wonky pump, clogged jets)
- electrical (spark, coil, ignition, etc)
- vacuum leak

Start with the easy stuff, it usually is. And for good measure, double check your battery and transaxle ground cables and connections.

airkooledchris Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:50 pm

furbo wrote: 79 Westy, 2L Hyrdo engine.

Last 2 days, starts a bit rough, drives well for 15 mins, then seems to lose power and make noise. By the time I get the engine bay opened to check it, it stops and runs normally.

Only thing I can think of is a failing lifter. Anyone else have an idea?


Running fine for 15 minutes and *then* running rough seems unlikely to be hydraulic lifter related. Those usually show their issues moreso when cold than when warm.

Have you ever checked/adjusted them?

as SamboSamba22 mentioned though, always start with the easiest basics first.

When you say that it makes noise, after 15 minutes, but the noise goes away when you stop - what does it sound like?

Does the noise go away if you just press in the clutch and allow the engine to run at idle - while still at speed?

SGKent Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:36 pm

could be a lifter but my thoughts would lean more towards a valve seat coming loose.

oshima Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:57 pm

SGKent wrote: could be a lifter but my thoughts would lean more towards a valve seat coming loose.

This is what happened to me when my valve seat disappeared. When it's running rough you can stick a vacuum gauge on the plenum and it will wobble back and forth really quickly if there's a seating or guide issue.

furbo Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:06 am

oshima wrote: SGKent wrote: could be a lifter but my thoughts would lean more towards a valve seat coming loose.

This is what happened to me when my valve seat disappeared. When it's running rough you can stick a vacuum gauge on the plenum and it will wobble back and forth really quickly if there's a seating or guide issue.

I'll check that, but these are Jake Raby heads for that very reason.

Busdriver79 Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:58 am

A vacuum gauge will tell you everything about how your engine is running...You just have to know how to read it.

raygreenwood Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:04 am

furbo wrote: 79 Westy, 2L Hyrdo engine.

Last 2 days, starts a bit rough, drives well for 15 mins, then seems to lose power and make noise. By the time I get the engine bay opened to check it, it stops and runs normally.

Only thing I can think of is a failing lifter. Anyone else have an idea?

The time factor and the fact thst it GOES AWAY.....means its heat related. Be damn sure about the "15 minutes". Time it.

Are you sure its not just 5-7 minutes....or 10?

Its important.....because if its just 5 to say...even 8 minutes......it CAN still be a lifter bleed down issue needing time to pump up.

It can also in that period of time....be the AAR. It can and will cause a different engine sound while warming up until it closes...depending on how your system is tuned.

There are a whole slew of heat/time related things that change tjrough heat expansion in the 0-15 minutes range.

More examples. All of my engines....and all of Jakes engines....use solid spacers on the rockers. If one is set up too loose or too tight....that will change with heat and time...probably somewhere in the middle of a 15 minute range.

An exhaust manifold to head sealing ring can leak....and seal up from expansion....in that range. Been there...done that.

You can have a crappy CV joint that is noisey because it does not get enough lube until the grease gets warm and flows.....same with a wheel bearing or a clutxh release bearing. So why would those last three sound like an engjne issue?

Same thing.....if somewhere the engine mounting is slightly off and either trans or engine is making contact with chassis.....until things warm up and vibrate around.....you can get noise that keys to the engine.

Lots of things to check. Ray

SGKent Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:58 am

Good points Ray.

Maybe the OP can describe the noise.

Quote: Last 2 days, starts a bit rough, drives well for 15 mins, then seems to lose power and make noise. By the time I get the engine bay opened to check it, it stops and runs normally.

furbo Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:29 pm

SGKent wrote: Good points Ray.

Maybe the OP can describe the noise.

Quote: Last 2 days, starts a bit rough, drives well for 15 mins, then seems to lose power and make noise. By the time I get the engine bay opened to check it, it stops and runs normally.

All good - to clarify - it runs ok the first 15 or so, then loses power, makes noise - not unlike a seat letting loose - been there. But then stops in 5-10 mins and is fine afterwards. Also the engine is not Raby - only the heads...because I got tired of valve seats (the #1 Ex specifically) letting go. Ironically, since I put the Raby heads on it, (2006?) it's been the most reliable vehicle I own.

busdaddy Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:44 pm

What are you setting your valves at (1.5 turns?, 2 turns?, more?), what weight of oil are you running?



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