99 4.0L incredible valve clatter - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


4.0L OHV & SOHC V6 Tech General discussion of 4.0L OHV and SOHC V6 Ford Ranger engines.

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Old 09-12-2016
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99 4.0L incredible valve clatter

I recently purchased a veeeery nice 99 XLT ranger, 4x4 offroading package, supercab, 4.0L with 5 speed manual. Super cherry, previous owner documented everything, even when he waxed it. It has 171k miles, a little high but you don't notice the mileage. I've put a little over 1k on it now and noticed the oil was starting to get a little color on it and it was about due for a change. Previous owner put Castrol GTX 5w-30 in it with a microguard filter, every single oil change. Filled up the maintenance schedule and started adding pages to it. I followed in his foot steps and use the same stuff.

Now this motor had a little bit of clatter prior to the oil change, but now it sounds like the valves are going to shoot right out the side of the motor. I thought perhaps I had a bad filter, so I changed it again using a different brand (Wix XP) and it made no difference. Since I lost a bit of oil with the filter change, I added a quart of Hy-Per Lube which is something I've had excellent results with in the past. Still no change!

So she clatters like heck after the motor is warmed up, and only at idle. Driving and revving it goes away entirely so I'm pretty sure it's valve train related. But it sounds like all 12 are at it! I've put 40 miles on it now since the oil change too. Doesn't seem to get worse or better.


I understand this motor was made in cologne germany, which is neat, but they didn't solve the design issue with the rockers causing premature wear to both the rockers and pushrods. Does this seem like my issue to you guys? Would an oil change effect it that much? At this point should I consider replacing the rockers/pushrods?

Thanks!

P.S. it has no lack of power or anything, runs like a raped ape down the freeway
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Old 09-13-2016
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Reads like oil pressure issue since increasing the RPMs solves the clatter issue.
Could be over pressure check valve has opened or pump is starting to fail.

Did noise start just after an oil change or just one day?

It would be worth while to get a mechanical gauge and hook it up in place of sender, then see what actual pressure is at idle and what it increases to at 2,000rpm.

In the late '80s Ford switch to an on/off style oil pressure gauge, the sender is set for 6psi, when oil pressure is 6psi or higher, sender is Grounded(on), gauge on dash should show pressure, under 6psi sender is not grounded(off) so no pressure on gauge.


Oil pressure is back pressure not pump pressure, but is effected by pump volume.
When engine starts the oil pump should provide more oil than can pass out thru the bearings, this restricts the oil and back pressure is built up in the main passage, where sender is located, and that is the oil pressure.
As RPMs increases the pump volume increases but the bearings don't pass much more oil so back pressure increases.

Valve train needs back pressure to be above 4psi to overcome gravity and get the oil to lifters and rockers.

If a bearing gets too big of a gap then more oil passes and there will be less back pressure, this is what happened on the 2.9l cam bearings, causing valve train clatter, but not 4.0l at least not that I have read about.

Obviously if pump volume is lower then back pressure would be lower, oil pumps have a ball and spring valve for over pressure, if pressure at the oil out passage gets to high the ball will be push open against spring pressure to relieve this higher pressure, if this spring should fail or fall out then it would cut flow in half.

So I would check oil pressure first and then go from there
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Old 09-13-2016
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It clattered only a little bit when warm prior to oil change. Oil change exacerbated the problem many times over. Started happening within 15 minutes of the oil change. There is absolutely no clatter on a cold start until there is a bit of temperature on the gauge. I will see what I can do about getting another gauge hooked up to it. Do you know where the sending unit is? Is it possible to read oil PSI via OBDII? I have a nice Bluetooth scanner maybe I will give it a go on lunch.


My other thought is that the older oil had broken down enough to splash onto the ends of the rockers and pushrods thereby giving it a bit more cushion. Perhaps the new oil is too viscous to splash effectively. The lubrication issue in this area is main stream enough to be noted on Wikipedia for this engine. What do you think?
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Old 09-13-2016
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I dropped a note with Castrol yesterday. They called me back just now. They are concerned enough I might have gotten an old jug of oil that they want me to drain/fill immediately and are sending me a coupon for free oil. So we will see where that leads us.
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Old 09-13-2016
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Wikipedia is generally not a good reference for something like that.

2.9l did for sure
4.0l could have one or two lifters fail but overall the Ford fuel injectors made way more noise than valve train.
Just my experience with 2.9ls and 4.0ls.

Oil sender is on drivers side just above oil pan, kind of in the middle from front to back.
It often has an extension.
If there is an oil level sensor on the oil pan follow that wire up, it will go to oil sender.

You don't need to install a mechanical gauge, just hook one up to see what oil pressure actually is, on cold start and after warm up.

If it started making more noise after oil change then yes, switch to a 10w40 or even 10w50 , as engines age the bearing gaps get wider, so you want a thicker oil to maintain proper back pressure, i.e. high mile oil

no reason to use 5w in mid calif.


Most oil filters have a back flow preventer, that keeps oil in the passages for next engine start.
But on older engines the bearing gaps do allow more oil to drain down from the top end.

Ford Computers have a "Clear Flooded Engine" routine, most fuel injected vehicles have the same.
After turning on the key press gas pedal to the floor and hold it down all the way, this tells computer to SHUT OFF fuel injectors, to........clear a flooded engine.
As soon as you release the gas pedal injectors will start working.

You can use this on older engines to get oil circulating BEFORE engine starts, highest wear.
Crank engine over for a few seconds before releasing gas pedal, that gets oil up to the top again.

Last edited by RonD; 09-13-2016 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 09-13-2016
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Alright I hear you guys. On the valve train wear note, it wasn't just Wikipedia I saw that, but on a couple other forums as well.

Any who, I haven't been able to get a mechanical guage on her yet but I drained and filled the oil per Castrol's instructions to no results. I also bought a stethoscope while I was at it and I noticed a few new things. First of all the noise is noticeably louder from under the vehicle. I poked around at the oil pan and sides of the motor and could only just barely hear it. Tried out the transmission and it would get louder a little behind the clutch which didn't make sense to me. Then I noticed every time it would get a little louder I was getting closer to the exhaust cross over from the drivers side. Sure enough there's all kinds a clatter in the pipe between the drivers side upper Cat and the lower cat. It didn't seem quite as loud up at the exhaust manifold. I'm going to do some more investigating tomorrow but it sure sounds to me like either an exhaust valve(s) or cat substrate. Never heard Cat substrate sound like that before but wierder things have happened. It does kind of get louder and softer as the motor idles and the speed doesn't seem consistent either.
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Old 09-14-2016
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Alright guys here's the run down:

I get 15 psi idle warm, and 60 at 2500 rip'ems. Seems fairly healthy to me. Here's my diagnosis after thinking about it a little more and poking around with the stethoscope some more. I don't think it even had anything to do with the oil change, and possibly more to do with the fact she sat for a week immediately before that while I was on vacation. Ive found old vehicles dont like to sit. It actually misfired upon startup. It did it again on my way home from work today so I yanked out the plugs and found a couple with signs of dry fouling. Noted that they didn't look worn but the wires did not receive grease prior to installation (might have had something to do with it...). Greased em up and we shall see if that helps that problem. Probably going to get a new set of plugs anyway as they were gapped to 0.037 and I beleive she requires 0.054.

So for the clitter clatter. I'm now completely convinced it's the exhaust valves on 1,3, and 5. So either the pushrods got flattened, or the lifters are leaking. My next step will be to open up them valve covers and see what I find. That will happen over the weekend.

Wish me luck
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Old 09-15-2016
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Oil pressure looks high, 10psi per 1,000 RPM is general rule, but not excessive at 60psi

Yes, regap those spark plugs, way to narrow for 4.0l
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Old 09-18-2016
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Alright here's a mind blow for you.

I thought I had the misfire issue licked when I added grease to the plug/wires connections and the problem went away but was planning on giving it a full tuneup Sunday evening. Well we went to South San Jose going down 85 and the misfire came back with a vengeance. There was a cylinder going in and out. Immediately got off the freeway and went to the nearest autoparts store. By the time I got there the cylinder was completely dead and it chucked a code at me. I go in and purchase a set of plugs/wires/boot grease and a couple tools and proceed to giver a tuneup on the spot. #3 looked washed with fuel, but the tuneup cured the misfire. Took her home and read the code with my scanner, sure nuff p0303. Cleared it out and the wife and I proceeded to run errands in the truck.

Along the way I noticed some miraculous: the supposed valve train noise was entirely gone! Mind = blown. This defies all logic to me. I went and inspected all the old parts, no worn down plugs and all wires ohm 2.7k-6k where the 6k were the longest two. Broke out the old ear inspector and started looking down inside the plugs and a hah! The ceramic was coming apart down inside the plug from #3 and there was a bit of electrode exposed. I'll be darnd. Now she purs like a kitten and idles smooth as a babies butt. I can't beleive it.

Gotta keep an eye on the passengers side Cat now I'm guessing.
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Old 09-18-2016
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What brand of plugs were they ?
Sure seems to be allot of plug issues around here.

Must feel great to have that solved !
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Old 09-18-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff R 1 View Post
What brand of plugs were they ?
Sure seems to be allot of plug issues around here.

Must feel great to have that solved !
Autolite XP. I don't know how long they were in there. And yes I'm very relieved. I was picturing having to pull the heads off and rebuild her from the cam up.
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Old 09-18-2016
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I know when Ron suggested the oil pump was not putting out, I thought that was really odd.
I've never heard of an oil pump failing before or it's release springs, valves etc.
It's always in oil...
I thought maybe there was some weak thing that goes wrong with the Ford pumps.

I have car that's more then 50 years old and the pump in it was still with in spec.
Even with the crappy oil from the 1950's, and through the decades, it's still going strong today.
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Old 09-19-2016
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I had an NGK plug fail while driving, got a steady miss while driving down the highway, no warning or anything leading up to it, it just died.
Thought it was an injector at the time, because never had a spark plug just die, random misfires yes, but never just stop.
I drove around at least 4 more hours that day and it never came back.

Got home, let it cool down and pulled the plug, looked fine, tested it and no spark, put in another plug and engine ran fine, so not the injector.
Couldn't find any sign on that spark plug of why it failed, no cracks, resistance tested OK, but it would not spark on my test coil.


So the clatter you were hearing wasn't valve train related, had to be delayed spark or soft backfires, unburned fuel igniting in exhaust manifold, which is why it seemed louder and lower on one side of the engine.
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Old 09-19-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonD View Post
Couldn't find any sign on that spark plug of why it failed, no cracks, resistance tested OK, but it would not spark on my test coil.
It was probably internally shorted.
The resistance would still test OK, but if you did a continuity test I bet it would be shorted.
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Old 09-19-2016
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Well I learned a valuable lesson: anytime you got an engine making wierd noises, especially if you pick it up in the manifold with your stethoscope, break out the ol $13 ear inspector and a multimeter and really give your plugs/wires a going over.
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